By Nikki Harper
Staff Writer for Wake Up World
We’re taught to read tarot cards by understanding the imagery on the cards – but what of those cards which have negative, gloomy or downright frightening imagery? Card like the Tower, and the 10 of Swords? Traditionally, these cards do speak of negative events, but as with other forms of divination, the point of tarot is not to scare you, or to foretell doom and gloom – it’s to help you tap into your higher consciousness, from where you can access the not-so-scary wisdom these cards truly hold.
In the end, there are no “good” cards and “bad cards” – a spread full of the most positive cards imaginable can actually point to complacency, missed opportunities, laziness or smugness. Likewise, a spread full of challenging cards can be just the catalyst someone needs to lift their game, lift their sights and lift their spirits. Here’s an overview of the hidden feel good factor in six of the tarot’s most feared cards.
For the non tarot reader or inexperienced client, Death has to be the number one bogey card in the tarot. Most Death cards feature quite scary imagery and well, there’s the name of the thing. Not a word which most of us find very appealing.
When Death turns up in the tarot, it does not, of course, mean physical death. But it does mean an ending, and many endings, by their very nature, can be painful and traumatic. However, the hidden message of Death is that a decisive ending clears the ground for a new phase of life. When one door closes, and all that. In a situation where the querent is struggling, Death can be a welcome card to draw. It means that what must end will end, and soon – and that in itself brings relief and clarity.
Another one with a catastrophic reputation is the Tower card. Lightning strikes, falling masonry and tumbling people doesn’t fill most of us with joy – and indeed, the Tower does speak of sudden, dramatic events and sometimes, yes, of what will be perceived as a catastrophe. Nobody’s going to hang out the bunting when the Tower turns up.
But here too, there is a positive message. What the Tower destroys has outlived its purpose to you. Without tearing this down and razing the ground, you do not have time or space to move on to something more worthwhile. Whether this applies to the loss of a job, or a relationship, or devastating business news, it’s not going to be fun at the time. But the Tower tells us to hang on in there, because this calamity is a blessing in disguise. It may take some time – years, even – but eventually you will be able to look back upon the event the Tower refers to and understand it as a positive turning point in your journey.
For those with a Christian background, the Devil is a scary card to draw, but it’s actually about enslavement rather than anything to do with the Christian devil. When the Devil shows up in a reading, it’s here to warn us that we’re being held captive by something or someone, and that we need to free ourselves. It might be our role as a wage slave which is in question, or it could be an addiction, or perhaps a hypnotic but ultimately destructive relationship.
As well as warning about the current situation, many Devil cards also show the answer – in the traditional Rider Waite tarot, the two humans have only a loose rope around their necks, which they could easily lift away if they wanted to. For this reason the Devil can actually be considered one of the most empowering cards in the deck – because we can get free, if only we choose to. Most often when the Devil card shows up, we are our own captors.
The 10 of Swords
Backstabbing, defeat and betrayal is usually depicted on the 10 of Swords, so there seems to be little to love about this card. However, as a ten, it is the ultimate expression of its suit. This means that although there is pain currently, it will soon be over, and no more pain will come from this quarter. Therefore, the 10 of Swords can be quite a comforting card in many ways – the end of the battle is in sight, and soon you will be able to move on from the hurt and the negativity. The saying “It’s always darkest just before dawn” is very relevant here.
When the 10 of Swords turns up, it’s usually an invitation to accept a loss or defeat and to learn from it. Take the hit but turn it to your ultimate advantage.
On a more spiritual note, the 10 of Swords can also represent spiritual evolution or growth. You’ve come through a dark night of the soul – a necessary stage in anyone’s spiritual development. Something within you – your ego perhaps, or your attachment to something or someone – has been damaged, perhaps severely, but this has brought you one step closer to ascension.
The 7 of Swords
The 7 of Swords speaks of deception. If it is you who is deceiving, this card is a warning that you will be found out – in this way, it gives you the opportunity change or amend your behavior before it is too late, which is a very positive thing. In business, this card can also indicate the need for some lateral thinking and strategy changes, which is by no means a bad thing.
If the card refers to others deceiving you, then although that is unpleasant, forewarned is forearmed. When the 7 of Swords turns up, we know to be on our guard for a few weeks, in order to protect ourselves from unscrupulous people.
Crucially, this card also asks us to look at what we are hiding from ourselves. What lies are you telling yourself in order to get through the day? And what would happen if you stopped doing that? Are you brave enough to find out?
The 5 of Pentacles
After the major arcana biggies and the “negative” swords cards, the 5 of Pentacles is the next most feared card, because of its messages of financial loss and a lack of security. Definitely no picnic – but thinking about it in a more positive way, this card can herald the start of a less materialistic mindset, and a more spiritual path. Financial hardship can also be the catalyst for great inspiration and new ideas which lead to success. From the apparent poverty of this card, great things can arise.
So use this card as a warning that you may be too attached to material issues, or overlooking the many non-material blessings in your life. Stop thinking about what you do not have, or you will only manifest more of the same. Meditating on the 5 of Pentacles can be a useful visualization on abundance, and what that concept means to you. It’s your invitation to see beyond your next paycheck or the next bill to pay and to cultivate a wider definition of the riches you deserve.
Recommended articles by Nikki Harper:
- Harnessing the Power of Synchronicity
- Beyond 11:11 – The Significance of Repeating Number Patterns
- A Time to be Born and a Time to Die: Can Astrology Predict Death?
- Premature and Caesarean Birth: An Astrological Misinheritance?
- The Benefits of a Daily Divination Practice – and How to Start One
- 7 Ways to Find Awe in Your Everyday Life
- Need Answers? Looking for Insight? 7 Ways Astrology Can Help
- Alone But Not Lonely: 6 Amazing Benefits of Solitude
- Dancing in the Rain: 6 Reasons We Should All Be Pluviophiles
- Finding Time for a Daily Spiritual Practice – How and Why to Devote Your Time
- 7 Simple Steps to Start Communicating With Nature
- Getting Started with Remote Viewing: Step by Step to Strengthen Your Psi Abilities
About the author:
Nikki Harper is a spiritualist writer, astrologer, and editor for Wake Up World. She writes about divination, astrology, mediumship and spirituality at Questionology: Astrology and Divination For the Modern World where you can also find out more about her work as a freelance astrologer and her mind-body-spirit writing and editing services. Nikki also runs a spiritualist centre in North Lincs, UK, hosting weekly mediumship demonstrations and a wide range of spiritual development courses and workshops.