It's going to be an interesting week, to say the least. As we've all noticed by now, the reading is a study in contrasts. Two harsh-looking tens flank the lush self-assuredness depicted by the King of Pentacles.
The Ten of Swords especially dominates the reading, as certain swords cards do best (I'm looking at you, Three of Swords.) A figure is lying prone with ten - ten! - swords piercing their back. One would certainly do the trick, so why ten? This is a card that urges us to ask what message is being concealed in the excess.
Swords govern our intellectual life. Our ways of thinking, communicating, and looking at the world. It's interesting then that these are, at first impression, the most "negative" group in the tarot deck since they don't actually reflect a tangilbe reality. This suggests that what we are capable of cooking up in our own minds can cause us the most pain and suffering.
Nowehre is this more apparent than the Ten of Swords. The poor figure is absolutely, positively slain by his thoughts and beliefs. They're laid low, incapacitated, and overwhelmed.
And yet this card is a ten, the end of a cycle. If your'e thinking, "man, what a depresing way to end a cycle," I hear you. But the tarot isn't a literal system and this card doesn't mean being laid low irrevocably in sadness and defeat. Or, even more frigteningly, finding youself pierced by ten swords on a forlorn beach.
Instead, this card shows us the messy and painful catharis that comes when we are unable to avoid our anxieties, fears, and negative thoughts. There's a terrifying vulnerability when we have to contend with the fact that we can't control our thoughts 100% all the time. Irrationality, fear, and self-doubt sneak up on us and wreak their havoc. It's how we treat ourselves when this happens that matters most.
But before we go there, let's take a look at the card that sets the stage for this week, the Ten of Wands. If you remember, we ended last week's forecast with this card. Isn't it amazing how tarot can be so on point? It's popping up in the past position here to remind us that all our hustling and bustling to the finish line has worn us out.
All the overextending and hard work we've done has come at a price. We're exhausted physically and mentally, and what would you know? That's the perfect recipe for the cataclysmic thought process we see in the Ten of Swords.
Maybe now that the dust has settled we're reflecting back at our efforts critically. We didn't try hard enough, we made a mistake there. Sure, we finished what we set out to do, but it wasn't quite as breathtaking and effortless as we had hoped. In fact, it was extremely effort-ful. We had to push oursleves to get somewhere and instead of congratulating ourselves, we're heaping on the blame and criticism.
And yet who do we have here as our central card? Oh, it's the massively successful and stable King of Pentacles. That seems... odd. What's he doing here amidst all the angst of the tens?
If tens are indications of the end of a cycle they are to be celebrated, even if they bring the stress of the final push, like the wands, or the pain of negative thinking about ourslves, the swords.
The King of Pentacles is showing us that we are, in fact, highly accomplished and rooted in our lives. We have a lot to enjoy if we choose to look up from our immediate concerns.
And in addition, The King of Pentacles reminds us that it takes struggle and hard work to inhabit the powerful position of a King. We might think that in order to do this we need to avoid all struggle and flailing. In this thought pattern, any trepidation or hangups equals inferiority.
The King of Pentacles does not sit on his throne looking luxurious and put together all the time. He's experinced the ups and downs of success, striving, and all the effort it takes to manage his life the best he can. In fact, that's part of his plan.
Perhaps the key lesson he's offering us is that to be one's best self is to make room for the complicated emotions that come from existing in the world. That instead of making us less than they make us more capable and skilled in both seeing the complexity of the world and caring for ourselves in all our emotional states.
We can enter this week grounded in this message from the King of Pentacles. And when confronted with our wild and sharp feelings we can practice listening to them while remaining secure in our own accomplishments and the solidity of who we are.