10 of swords


Hello friends of the Fey,

I have some problems understanding the 10 of swords. Looking at the card I got two ideas:

1 - the fey has landed in some kind of sand or mud or concrete and is now moving or fighting to shake it off, get rid of it. Maybe some connection with the tiled floor. Remainders of the concrete the tiles were put on.
Could mean: get rid of old ideas and values; let your spirit fly.

2 - (that's the frightening one). She is transforming and dissolving herself in sand. That corresponds with the broken sword and the ribbon that is still clean and around the sand legs. If she landed in sand, the ribbon would also be full of sand.
Could mean: losing ground, thinking won't help any longer

What does the symbol at the wall mean? Some kind of warning 'the menetekel'?

I'm very interested in your views and ideas about this card. I would also appreciate some hints about what the 'book' says...

Thank you very much



My take on the 10 of swords

Hi widar,
I think that a lot of folks underrate this deck and its intensity and clarity of vision because of the subject matter, the fae. And the suit of swords I consider the most powerfully realized of them all in this deck. Here is my take on the 10 of swords.

You have to see Swords, like all the suits, as the progression of the power of the suit. In the case of swords, among other aspects, it is the progression of the impact of of the use of intellectual/ mental powers and aspects. It is often the left-brain aspects, pure intellect or mental processes.

The Ace starts with the power of new ideas, the shining vision, the drawing power of thought and clarity. Notice how in some of the Sword suit the swords are in some way embedded, or part of the person, this is especially noticeable in the 3 and the Queen where it looks almost painful. In the 2 and the 4 the fae is totally obsessed with the power of the sword (intellect) to point where it is drivng the fae, rather than the other way. The 5 and 6 are somewhat more reflective, standing outside and regarding the effects of pure intellectualism/ mentality. Reason without the softening aspects of other suits (powers).

By the time you get to the last three cards, the 8, 9, 10 reason has become the goaler and the fae is trapped and eventually destroyed by this enslavement to pure reason without the clarity that comes with the addition of the power of wands, the heart of cups or the grounding of pentacles. It is the divorce from other aspects shown in the last three cards, trapped, then threatened and eventually dissolved.

The 10 then is the last step, but in it lies the salvation. The final realization, at the moment of loss, what must happen. Pure reason eventually turns its user to dust. Salvation and incorportation of other aspects must come next.

That's my take on the 10 of swords, coming from someone who uses sword power entirely too much.


and a couple of more thoughts...

Last night I returned home after another week of travel and intense interactions. Becoming increasingly paranoid and building a mental contruct which is trapping and smothering me. And I consulted the I Ching and got "Your thoughts are turning you to stone. Do not stay inside even one more day."

Your thoughts can also turn you to dust, much the same effect. Something dry, no emotional 'water', something unmoving and stuck, no wands fire and energy, and and something not connected to nature, pentacles, not grounded in life and livng things. I believe the 10 of swords, in this tarot, shows that moment when you start to dissolve, turn to dust, because you have become so threatened (9) and trapped (8) by your beliefs in the way the world works (generally negative constructs). When you hit this moment often you are so horrified you can start again, and I think that is meaning of the circular symbol on the wall behind.

It doesn't have to be that extreme in real life of course.

Laura Borealis

I dug this quote out of my tarot journal; it's general rather than specific to the Fey, but it goes along with the idea of the progression of the suits:

"Swords are seen as particularly difficult; it is said that after six, they go rapidly downhill, until they fall into the perfect ideal of the suit of Mind, which is to say, Utter Madness, pure mind, in other words."*

I think the Fey give more hope for averting this state than the typical Rider-Waite based cards do. For this card, I'm feeling that sometimes the best thing to do is let go - stop fighting the invitable, just let it wash over you. In the book, Riccardo says that the Fey can't die. I feel that her dissolution is not permanent. She only looks startled, not terrified.

The carving on the wall behind her reminds me of a mandala, a tool used in meditation. In meditation, sometimes the goal is the dissolution of the Self, merging with the energy of the universe -- Nirvana. I'm sort of talking out of my ass here, sorry. :)

I feel that with the traditional Rider Waite card, the meaning is defeat -- and you've got that poor guy stabbed with ten swords, it seems quite fatalistic -- but with the Fey ten of swords, the battle is over (the sword is broken) but the situation is not so dire. There's a transformation into something else. Maybe not what you wanted, but not all bad, either.

Does any of that make sense?

*The author went by the screen name of Peccavimus, and I think the source is the paganism forum on isca bbs. The year would be somewhere around 1996. I should keep better citations!


Thank you

Hello Marion, Hello Laura_borealis,

Sorry for the delay of my answer.

Thank you very much for your thoughts and hints.

Yes - the swords are really difficult. Especially if someone like me (aka 'Knight of Swords' ;) ) tends to think that everything can be solved by thinking...

I didn't see the development of the suit from 8 to 10 as Marion pointed out. I'm lucky that my tarot teacher isn't on the internet. laying down the minor arcana cards from ace to 10 and studying the development of the element's events/status is one thing he taught me.

So obviously the situation calls for a non-thinking solution. The mind's power has come to an end.

I'd like to share with you some excerpts from the book
The sand is the symbol of time. lt indicates that all things have an end, ours and
those of others, whether powerful or weak.
The sword that breaks is the conclusion of the battle and the end of pain.
Red indicates the threat one feels, and also indicates that it went too far.
The seal is truth, the external intervention that completes everything.
(thanks to 'skydancer' for mailing me the lines)

Another aspect I see - perhaps not dirctly in the card, but fitting to my situation and at least one other card of my spread (tower):
Thinking has lost the connection to the ground, to the earth element. Too many crazy and unproductive (at least non-creative) ideas...

Thanx again



posting a complete spread ?


it's me again :D
I'm not so familiar with the rules in the aeclectic forum. I got a bit confused by the 'reading exchange guidelines' - probably a language problem :( . Even after reading the FAQs I'm not sure:
Is it allowed to put a complete spread with the drawn cards in the forum and ask for help in interpreting the cards? I won't do this with the spread where the 10Sw showed up, but maybe with my next drawing.

Thank you for enlighting me on this topic



Re: Thank you

Hi widar, why not,



If you want to post a spread with your cards and ask for comments use the Forum called:

Your Readings


I see this Fey as one who has realized an end.
The Fey does not do battle- so there is not an opponent, it is only they fey and her fate.
I see the expression on her face as one that represents the suprise one might feel if there is no acceptance of the change.
fighting agains the current so to speak.
The book mentions sand representing time, I can see an hourglass from the waist down.
Legs that hold up the Fey, move the Fey forward, turn into the sands of time, when all the sand has fallen, time is up.
The broken sword carries somewhat the same message, 'fight no more'
This is a 10 card, which I associate with the Wheel of Fortune. The Cycle of Life- an ever constant stream of beginnings and endings. Behind the Fey is a symbol expressing this cycle.
I see an aknowledgement of the 4 directions - seasons as well.

Laura Borealis

Everyone's words here are adding to my understanding of this card... thank you, fellow Fey-ites! :)