The Rider-Waite-Smith Ten of Swords card concentrates its imagery on the Divinatory meaning of the TEN OF SWORDS that is; ruin, death, failure,and disaster. There is obvious death shown, with the ten swords sticking out of the individuals back. Since this card is in MALKUTH (Earth) it is more of a death card than Key 13-DEATH, of the Major Arcana. DEATH,key 13, is more of a situational death, a transformation, whereas, #10 of Swords, is a "personal disaster" waiting to happen. When and if this card shows up in the "house and Home" or "Beneath" you position in a Celtic Cross reading, go get a thorough physical check up from your doctor and focus on your physical and mental health. You may just need a "personality tune-up" but take no chances for its time to pay attention to how you perceive the world.
However, fear not as 10's are notoriously short lived, as they are an end of a cycle, and soon a new cycle begins, So a Ten, can also mean, the pain you are going through now is on the mend, especially if you are recovering from a physical or mental injury, where your movement has suffered a "ruin", but by focused perspective, you are aiding your recovery. A 10 is 1+ 0=1, which is the number of Kether, on the Tree of Life. Thus a cycle of the Tree ends, and a new one "down the Tree" begins.
The Thoth Tarot 10 OF SWORDS is called RUIN, and Lord of Ruin as Crowley names it. Here, the Sun is in Gemini, greatly diminishing the stability of the Sun. This makes it hard for the individual of this Sun sign, to concentrate upon any given subject as their tendencies are vagueness and irresponsible, which defines the disaster of the Ten/10 of Swords.
The Angels of the Decan, are Dambayah and Menqal.
The Ten/10 of Swords is Malkuth in Yetzirah, the Astral World[for more information on angels, see Crowley's books:777 and Book of Thoth].
For Material things, this is the most destructive card in the deck and most people dislike seeing it in a spread; However, those who know and use the Tarot as a instrument of Divination, understand that as in Astrology, "the stars impel, they do not compel".
Since, by focusing our thoughts, we have the capacity to improve or putrefy our life-motion, we should do pay attention to our "psychosomatic" universe of Spirit, Mind and Body. Such as the use of Tarot, for ethically this is no less moral than resigning a position when one sees what is a work related disaster on the horizon. What moral is broken, when one is told by the cards," that if you walk in the street you will be struck by a motor vehicle", and that person now chooses to walk on the sidewalk instead? Divination helps us make focused choices. We should use the capacities we are given, as we are not Slaves of any destiny outside of our own making. So when the 10 of Swords is in a reading, there could also be a warning that our thoughts are ill, and they will soon impact the body as "illness".
However, this destiny control, requires us to "Above all things, Know thyself", and to be an Active Personality of Spirit, rather than a Reactive Personality made by environmental and body fears. With a reactionary presence that is controlled by peers, or cultural definitions, our destiny is that of Ruin, as our performance is always "after the fact" and much to late to change the effect that was caused intellectually.
Therefore, the 10 of Swords Ruin, implies, the Horse is already out of the barn, and closing the door is a band-aid, not a solution. Something that our governments are slow to learn.
It's best to focus on what you are thinking, pay attention! For your thoughts create no others, nor their definition, as Your thoughts are the operating fulcrum of your Life-Motion, they create your destiny!
As scientist know, for a fulcrum to operate efficiently, a rigid base is a necessity. Thus, a "personality", which is a mechanism of the Mind/Psyche, that is formed on fears, becomes a personal mental Fulcrum which must overcome dysfunctional energy in motion (emotion) and devote most of its energy trying to hammer out a permanent way of movement (overcome negative thought) while trying to overcome the counter motion of a "wobbling base" that is produced by an uncertainty of Self, making the outcome for proper body-performance, bleak indeed. This is the message of the 10 of Swords.
Again, I cannot over state the necessity for "Above all things, know thyself"! Each of us must understand, that by thinking ill of ourselves or of another, we only supply our body with ill thoughts that confuse our performance and ruin our destiny!
When the Ten of Swords is thrown during a Divination, it may imply that:
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