A naked man sits alone in a cave. His nakedness shows his vulnerability.

The cave is related to the primitive part of the self or the unconscious. It suggests a dark situation or experience. It represents the place of union of the Self and the Ego and also the meeting place of the divine and the human. In this card it becomes the place of hidden fears. Passage through a cave represents a change of state and overcoming dangerous powers. This man's passage is temporarily halted, suggesting that he's stuck between states of being and that he is losing the battle with the dangerous powers.

The darkness of the cave represents the place where one is unable to see or think clearly. It's gloomy and disheartening. It suggests being without wisdom, knowledge or insight. "To be in the dark" is to be kept unaware.

He is apparently unable to find his way out of the cave and has now resigned himself to the hopelessness of his predicament. As time has passed without food or water, his mind begins to play tricks on him and he sees nine swords appear in a glimmering light above his head.

The swords represent thoughts, fears, weaknesses, impotence and being dominated. They suggest a struggle with oneself, with a situation or with the environment and also the need to think things through. They bring to mind the Sword of Damocles, which suggests imminent and ever-present peril, a sense of foreboding brought about by a perilous situation and the threat of impending disaster.

Appearing the in darkness, the swords suggest a fear of the unknown.

Light represents knowledge, insight, understanding or hope. Coupled with the swords, the light suggests false knowledge or hopes that keep one imprisoned.

On the ground near the man is an ankh, which is a symbol of life. Its appearance near the man (but not in his possession) suggests that he's given up the will to live. The ankh is also the key of hidden knowledge and wisdom, suggesting that the man has within himself the means to escape his current predicament.