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Ten of Swords Reversed Meaning – Smith-Waite Centennial

We have more swords and even more drama in store for today's Card of the Day free reading. Let's talk reversals and what we can learn from probably the most difficult and frightening card of the Rider-Waite-Smith tarot decks.

So settle in, wanderers! We have some serious soul-searching to do today.

The Ten of Swords Reversed. Detailed image description in body text. The card is pictured upside-down against a deep blue-black backround. A black tourmaline pendulum on a silver chain is arced above the card.

The Ten of Swords in the Smith-Waite Centennial Deck

In this tough-to-look at card, we see a brutalized figure lying limply on a beach. They are teasingly close to an expanse of soothing water, but its healing energy seems as out of reach as the grey mountains beyond. That's because ten tall swords are jutting out from the figure's back.

The attackers who left them there are nowhere to be seen, and the yellow sun appears to be setting. While there's no gore in this illustration, the figure wears a flowing mantle that's the vivid red of blood. 

How do you interpret reversed tarot cards?

There are probably as many ways to interpret reversals as there are tarot readers! And as with all approaches to tarot, there's no one "right" way to understand reversals. As far as I'm concerned, every reading is valid if it comes from a sincere and loving place.

That being said, I've settled into one system for interpreting reversals that really resonates with me. And that's the approach I'll be sticking to in the context of our Card of the Day single-card tarot readings.

Fortunately for myself and any beginner tarot readers out there, this way is also a little easier than some other options. Simply put, with reversed cards, I don't identify the person I'm reading for with the protagonist in the card. Instead, I see the card as an exploration of the person's impact on other people. 

The Ten of Swords Reversed invites us all to be gentler

So does this mean I think you, dear reader, are out there stabbing guys like it's the Ides of March? Not exactly!

But I do want to make some space right now for us all to consider how we've been treating others lately. Is there someone in particular you've been taking advantage of, putting down, or overburdening? This could be a friend, a family member (chosen or otherwise), a coworker, or anyone you've crossed paths with again and again. 

If yesterday's Eight of Swords called attention to the strain imposed on us by other people, today's Ten of Swords Reversed reminds us that we ourselves are all too capable of harm. Importantly, this card invites us to examine our impact on others. We rarely know someone else is dealing with, and what we think might be a small request or conflict can sometimes be more than they can handle.

But you don't need to feel guilty. Our Card of the Day isn't a reproach—it's a gentle reminder. See if you can focus less on how many of these swords might belong to you. Instead, what would it be like if you could help pull them out?

S.M. signature — Savanna Margaret's initials

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