In its upright position, the Ten of Swords represents absolute destruction, being pinned down by a multitude of things or situations. The person lying on the ground, defeated and bleeding, may also represent a feeling of hopelessness and being trapped by emotions or mental anguish, since Swords represent strife and the mind.
The Ten of Swords is the most grim card in the deck, more destructive and reminiscent of death than the Death card itself. However, upon closer examination of the images in the card, any real death or destruction, like all things, may not be permanent. There is hope regardless of the situation: this is the worst the querant’s situation could possibly be, and things will only improve.
In the card’s reversed state, it symbolizes a troubling situation that will continue for a significant amount of time. The card suggests that the subject should not despair in difficult times, to avoid ruining future prospects for success.
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(Source: society6.com, via panatheism)