The 10 of Swords

The 10 of Swords has waited for some time before giving itself up to my exploratory examination. I sit in the calm of the corridor, centered in this timeless moment, an invisible watcher, viewing the raised lances of 10 thousand armored soldiers as they practice their geometric marching formations in some ancient Chinese walled square. The mind is a powerful thing, capable of untold feats of endurance and strength, a weapon of unlimited strength when focused correctly. I walk today to discover this card for myself, but also particularly, I go for those of you who are prone to falling prey to the paralyzing and debilitating conditions that the mind can unleash upon itself when unhappy, I walk in the hope that you will find some peace in this journey, some peace to soothe your troubled soul.

I climb the beautiful wooden stairs slowly today, calm and meditative, easing myself into the experience, the soldiers have already forewarned me of the kind of thing that I will encounter, and I slowly open the metal bound door and walk through the molten orange silken pennant that proclaims the 10 of Swords.

The air burns like a voracious furnace, and I am engulfed by a searing blast of heat that threatens to singe the hairs on my face with its aridity. I am standing in a kind of corridor that stretches into the knowable distance, and on each side of me marches row upon row of sharp metal swords, in broad lines that stretch away into the far future. On and on the swords march, clattering and clashing, clamoring for space, as they jostle with each other for supremacy over their neighbors. The cut of blade against blade is deafening and oppressive, a relentless assault on my senses that unravels my mind into a fractured state of exhausted panic.

I decide that I need to try and take command of this unbearable situation, and I set off down the road ahead, trying to catch a glimpse of something, anything, that may lie beyond the metal maelstrom that crowds in on me from either side. Every so often, I think that I can catch a glimpse of green lying beyond the weaponry, but every time I do so, the swords quickly jostle together in order to block my view, and inform me that the green that I can glimpse is just a mirage, an illusion, an unreality.

Becoming tired and disappointed with my fruitless efforts, I sink, hot, heavy and hopeless to the floor, and stare intently at a meager looking plant that is clinging to some sort of life in the hell that we are in. As I stare at it, I suddenly glimpse a flash of cobalt blue on the dusty ground seeping out from under the rough grey green leaves of this tough earth hugging plant that I have never known the name of. I kneel down, and investigate further, lifting the leaves up and watching as more and more of the blue viscous liquid erupts from the earth. I watch it as it forms a puddle of shining Lapis Lazuli blue, flecked with shimmering golden stars. I dip my hand into the blue liquid and examine it, it begs to be used, it is so beautiful… and I smear it on my arm. It looks wonderful, the color, it is the depth of the Mediterranean Sea, on an afternoon in June, the mesmerizing mystery of a thousand Egyptian tombs and the arch of the sky after sunset above the mountains of the Hindu Kush. I become entranced by this substance, and smear more and more over my body, until at last I am covered from head to toe in this alchemical ingredient.

I begin to feel calmer, and cooler, and as I look up at the warring swords, I see that they have slowed their riotous insanity, and that I can see bigger gaps between them. Slowly, they are loosening their movements, and the sharp pointed swords, which not so long ago were tense and jarring, are gradually beginning to become smoother and more sinuous. The gaps between them are becoming wider and wider, and they are growing thinner too, blending into the landscape behind them until finally I can no longer see them as swords, and they are no more than the rustling ranks of bulrushes growing upon the banks of a cool azure blue river that is meandering calmly through a desert oasis.

I walk thankfully along this river bank, and as I do so, all manner of small animals emerge from the rushes, the animals from my childhood stories. A large turtle emerges first, closely followed by a hare; a hedgehog comes next, a tortoise and then others. These animals, coming out of the bulrushes are my helpers, they are with me always and have always been there, and I see that the nightmare is over, for that is what it has been, and I can see this land for what it truly is.

Like a child waking from a bad dream, I look out over the calm landscape and wonder at the harsh power of my waking terror, and how vivid and destructive it was. I look at the small animals around my feet, and I make a decision that I will remember them quicker in the future, and that they are always there, waiting in the bulrushes, waiting until I need them to help.

I hear the clear trumpet call that beckons me back, and I turn away from the oasis to see the orange pennant of the card fluttering in the cool breeze, showing the golden hue of hope now in the morning sun, as I walk again back through the portal, into the hallway of beginnings.


The 10 of Swords
Sun in Gemini
The Lord of Ruin
20 to 30 degrees of Gemini


My name is Joanna Grant, I am an Astrologer, Tarot Reader and Writer, who lives om the Head Shot Fadebeautiful Beara Peninsular in the South West of Ireland. My long knowledge of Astrology leads and informs my practice in offering guidance and empowerment, helping others to lead a more authentic and magical life. You can read more about me here.

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4 thoughts on “The 10 of Swords

  1. I love the part where you realise that the swords are bullrushes – that we create the swords in our own minds and we have the power (the alchemical blue of the river of consciousness) to change them. Beautiful writing, as ever. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

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