The Mary El Tens are once again a single theme.
They appear to be the Four horsemen of the Apocalypse from the Book of Revelations – The white, the black, the red and the pale horse: Victory/Conquest, Death, Famine and War. Two of the cards are in daylight, the other two in darkness – with either a full of waxing crescent. The Tens are Malkuth – the material bottom of the Tree of Life. More on the individual cards!
The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.
I am learning here, and typing my experiences as I learn, as I do not know much about the Four Horsemen. I hope that what I learn might help someone else.
The 10 of Wands shows a Pale Horse. (As an aside, Clint Eastwood rode a pale horse in Pale Rider) ... this pale horse represents Death.
It is noted that in the book of Revelations, out of the Four Horsemen, this is the only horse that is actually named (Death).
The others, while they have been given names, aren't specifically named in the text.
Quoting from wikipedia:
"When the Lamb opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature say, "Come and see!" I looked and there before me was a pale horse! Its rider was named Death, and Hades was following close behind him. They were given power over a fourth of the earth to kill by sword, famine and plague, and by the wild beasts of the earth." --Revelation 6:7-8 NIV (NIV = New International Version bible)
Ten of Swords
Shows a white horse and a black horse.
Wikipedia talks about a white horse as both evil and good.
Quoting this Bible verse:
"I watched as the Lamb opened the first of the seven seals. Then I heard one of the four living creatures say in a voice like thunder, "Come and see!" I looked, and there before me was a white horse! Its rider held a bow, and he was given a crown, and he rode out as a conqueror bent on conquest." --Revelation 6:1-2 NIV
As evil, "conquest" as in "military conquest" is mentioned, although "conquest" could also apply. Destructive forces are also mentioned.
As good, and this depends on one's spiritual beliefs (I myself being of the agnostic/atheist sort) it speaks of this horse depicting the Holy Spirit. A more widespread meaning might be righteousness.
See the Ten of Disks for the meaning of the Black Horse.
The presence of two horses in the card to me indicate a duality of some sort.
Plus the presence of the white horse, with two opposing meanings, one good and one evil, indicates a duality.
Ten of Cups
This is another unnamed horse. (not named in the Bible verse)
The horse is the Red horse, meaning War, although war is not specifically "named" in the verse, although the meaning is clear:
"When the Lamb opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature say, "Come and see!" Then another horse came out, a fiery red one. Its rider was given power to take peace from the earth and to make men slay each other. To him was given a large sword." -- Revelation 6:3-4 NIV
The color red suggests blood that is to be spilled, according to wikipedia.
Ten of Disks
The Black Horse
"When the Lamb opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, "Come and see!" I looked, and there before me was a black horse! Its rider was holding a pair of scales in his hand. Then I heard what sounded like a voice among the four living creatures, saying, "A quart of wheat for a day's wages, and three quarts of barley for a day's wages, and do not damage the oil and the wine!" — Revelation 6:5-6 NIV
This horse is named Famine. This horse also seems to appear in the 10 of Swords, which has two horses.
There is a scale in this card from which hang 10 disks. Wikipedia suggests that grain prices will go sky high in a famine year, such as a drought year when there is not much water to grow grain. Grain must be weighed, thus the scale, as the price is about "ten times normal" per wikipedia which would explain the 10 disks? Does anyone else have another explanation?
To me, another explanation would be that disks represent the earth, the very earth from which the grain and which all food comes forth. There is a balance in nature between human and nature. The scales represent that balance, and when things go out of balance, we have famine. The scales are a reminder to keep life in balance.
A Ram rides upon the back of this horse. I think the Ram could represent sacrifice. Perhaps sacrifice is necessary in order to keep the Black Horse in check?
Tens being four horsemen from bible represent Death. Death being not only the end (of material world) but also a new beginning (of Gods kingdom). Endless cycle, victory over death and immortality.. Reaching our full potential but also having to remember that it is not an end, but a new beginning. and new challenge is around the corner....
First impressions of the 10 of Cups ...
I ride a red demon horse, the flesh stripped from my bones. I cradle a skeletal infant in my arms, looking lovingly down upon it. A snake wanders erratically around and through us, about to sip from our cup of blood. Blood spills, horse strains to carry us. Swifter, ever swifter. Through the clouds, moon behind us. A living history of death.
A living history of death.
That is a great line. Something to think about....
I find these tens quite difficult. The horsemen of the Apolocalypse. I love them nonetheless. There is something so grim about all of them. But the design and composition of the Ten of Cups is just wonderful. The spilling is the key to this card I think. That redness and the mane. Gorgeous. This deck is bottomless in its symbolism.