A woman with a severe expression sits on a heavily carved throne. She grasps a sword in her right hand and it appears to be balanced on the arm of the throne. Her left hand is raised in the air, as if she is pronouncing judgment.
This card shows the presence of a very strong, highly intelligent individual. It may represent a highly skilled professional, such as a lawyer or a doctor. The emphasis here is on intelligence and strength because there may a certain emotional coldness and distance to his or her personality. This is a person who can be of great service if she chooses to be but isn’t a great snuggler. Look for help, not affection.
Reversed: This may very well be a professional with whom you are clashing, such as a lawyer who is threatening to sue you or a doctor who is insisting on a course of treatment that you don’t agree with. On a mundane level, this may indicate the presence of a cold, judgmental dark haired woman.
EXAMPLES: The friend who is always analyzing you. He may care about you but he approaches everything from an intellectual rather than an emotional perspective.
A Knight in full armor, sword brandished before him, is charging at a balls out gallop. His visor is open, his expression is angry, and his horse looks panicked.
This card indicates an environment charged with action. Swift assessments, swift appraisals, swift responses. The open visor indicates that the questioner knows precisely where he or she is heading and has decided on what goals they want to attain. It may also indicate that the questioner is not taking prudent care to protect herself and she needs to be careful to control the situation carefully. On a mundane level it may show the presence of a dark haired, powerful young person
Reversed: A possibility of arguments and disputes coming in the very near future. There may be medical procedures that are looming. It may indicate a very aggressive, argumentative, unpleasant young person, probably with dark hair.
EXAMPLES: A friend who keeps charging into situations despite your warning her to be a little more cautious.
Being totally inspired by a new idea or new project and going for it with everything you’ve got.
A young man holds a sword upright in both hands. One foot is planted firmly on the ground while the other foot is on its’ toes. The land beneath the young man undulates, almost as if it were waves instead of earth. The wind is blowing and dark clouds are beginning to gather.
This card tells the questioner to stay alert and be ready to act at a moments notice. Either an opportunity or a problem is coming soon. On a mundane level this card may indicate the presence of a child with dark hair.
Reversed: Minor arguments, problems, squabbles. There will be disappointments but nothing major or lasting. If the card indicates the presence of a child, the child may be troubled and is perhaps in the habit of spying on adults.
EXAMPLES: An amazing business opportunity drops into your lap and you have to act fast to take advantage of it.
A young co-worker who is incredibly inquisitive about how the business works.
“Just the Tarot,” by Dan Adair Available on Amazon.com
And you thought the Eight of Swords was a scary card! A man lies on the ground, obviously dead, his body pierced with ten swords. The sun is either setting or rising in the background.
This is the ultimate ending to the power cycle. If we approach life in terms of power and dominance rather than love and compassion we end up face down, defeated, and full of swords. This is a card of basic karma: whatever you put out there comes back to you ten fold.
This card indicates treachery, deceit, changes for the worse. It can signal a very bad ending to a relationship or the loss of a job.
Reversed: Things will gradually get better. The swords will fall out and the situation will improve. If the questioner has been having health problems there will be a slow, but steady, improvement.
EXAMPLES: An alcoholic or drug addict who has really and truly – finally – bottomed out and is ready to admit that he or she is powerless.
Going through bankruptcy and losing everything.
This card shows an individual sitting bolt upright in bed, face buried in her hands, with nine swords lining the wall behind her. This is a card of waking up in the night screaming in terror. It represents the sudden, conscious realization of the bad results of power games and aggression.
The swords on the wall appear to be locked together, hilt to hilt. They’re like the bars in a jail cell, showing that there is no escape from the consequences. The patches on the quilt are embroidered with the signs of the zodiac, suggesting the bad karma of many lifetimes coming to fruition.
To put it simply, this is a card of your chickens coming home to roost. The negative energy that the individual has put out into the world is coming back to bite her in the ass.
Reversed: The anxieties, fears, and bad karma are gradually fading away.
EXAMPLES: Scrooge and the Ghost of Christmas Future. Suddenly realizing that you’ve really screwed up, there are consequences to pay, and you’re all alone.
Getting a wake up call that you’ve been acting like a real jerk and your friends and lovers have all walked away from you.
A woman in a red gown with her arms heavily bound and a blindfold over her eyes is surrounded by eight swords planted firmly in the ground. A castle rises behind her and oily water lies at her feet.
Obviously, this is a nasty assed card and you shouldn’t expect any positive meanings for it. The subject is completely immobile and helpless, bound in place by the powers that surround her and blind to what has caused her dilemma. There is really nothing she can do to help herself because she doesn’t even understand how this happened to her or why. This isn’t just about being a victim; there’s also a lot of denial and refusal to face reality.
Reversed: The forces that restrict her will gradually loosen their grips, but there are still hard times ahead.
EXAMPLES: The alcoholic who just got busted for his fourth DUI but refuses to get into recovery.
The abused wife who insists that her abuser, “really loves her,” and is going to change.
A man with a mocking grin on his face is seen sneaking away from an encampment bearing five swords in his arms while two swords remain thrust upright into the ground.
This card hearkens back, therefore, to both the five of swords and the two of swords. The same sort of merciless, sadistic power games are being played as in the five of swords, but there is an element of secrecy, concealment, and being underhanded about his malice. The individual is causing just as much harm but doesn’t want others to know about it.
Swords represent power and he is literally stealing someone else’s power from them. As a result of it he is leaving them power-less, locked into the same state of stalemate as the two of swords and no longer able to function.
Reversed: The person doing the stealing and deception is about to get caught. His or her behavior will be revealed and the problem will resolve.
EXAMPLES: The employee who is constantly undermining her supervisor with malicious gossip.
The, “friend,” who is gossiping about you behind your back and destroying your credibility and reputation.
A woman and a child huddle in a boat surrounded by a cluster of upright swords. Behind them a boatman propels the boat forward with a long pole.
This is a card of leaving troubles behind and moving toward better times. A journey from rough waters to waters that are placid and calm. There is a definite element of escape, of fleeing in this card. It springs naturally from the brutal power games of the Five of Swords. The subject of the card has had enough and is taking a leave from it all. Note that the woman and the child are hooded and their heads are down, as if concealing their identity from the dangers they are leaving behind.
There is also an element of turning your power over to someone else, of letting a third party make decisions for you if that will get you to safety. It is the man who is the motive force here, not the woman and child and he is transporting them to a safer place. On a mundane level this may indicate a journey across a body of water.
Reversed: Difficulties in travel and travel arrangements. Missed connections, lost tickets. It may indicate loss due to inattention or a failure to move rapidly.
EXAMPLES: An abused woman fleeing to a shelter for battered women, perhaps being escorted by the police.
Quitting a horrible job with no notice.
“Just the Tarot,” by Dan Adair, available on Amazon.com
A grinning man gathers up fallen swords while one person walks away from him and another person has his face buried in his hands, as if crying. Storm clouds gather over a stagnant sea.
Trouble, arguments, strife, perhaps degenerating into physical violence. This is a card of extreme power games where the only objective is winning despite the pain and injuries that are being caused by them. There is an element of merciless sadism and mocking to the central figure. He fails to understand that people are disgusted and hurt by his actions and that they are literally leaving him alone. If the card represents the questioner, he needs to take a serious look at the damage he’s causing to the people around him. This may also represent a seriously spiteful person causing pain in the questioners life.
Reversed: The troubles are leaving the questioner life, perhaps because he or she has made the decision to just walk away from it.
EXAMPLES: The bully, school yard or otherwise. This is the person who enjoys inflicting pain just for the sake of making other people suffer. A petty sadist.
The so-called, “friend,” who is constantly making sarcastic, hurtful remarks about you and undermining your self-confidence and sense of self-worth.
The card shows a figure lying in repose, hands clasped in prayer, three swords suspended above him and one sword lying below him. In the upper corner is a stained glass window or a bright tapestry.
This is a card of rest and repose. The three swords above him hearken back to the Three of Swords and its’ incredibly painful trauma. He is taking a break from life and slowly healing.
Note that there is a definitely creepy feeling to this card. He doesn’t look like someone having a nice nap, he looks like a corpse laid out in a tomb. The sickly yellow tinge of the lower half of the card reinforces that impression. This isn’t just resting; this is a deep withdrawal from normal life. The sword below him represents the next step, the strength he needs to regenerate in order to start over. His folded hands and the stained glass window suggests the power of prayer in healing. On a more mundane level this may indicate that a person who has been physically ill is recovering.
Reversed: The period of rest is over and it’s time to get on with life. Things are falling apart because this person isn’t taking care of business. Laziness, a lack of motivation, or a masochistic dwelling on grief and pain.
EXAMPLES: A friend who has withdrawn from all social contact after a bad break up and sits in her house alone and crying and thinking.
A person who is quietly healing from deep hurt through intense prayer and meditation and wants to be left alone.