TEN OF SWORDS
A Garden Shed Opens and Reveals the Planet Uranus
The Ten of Swords is the last numbered card in the Tarot. It symbolizes old age and the wisdom we have gained through living. The brick path represents the journey of life, and the tools and objects surrounding it are the events and needs we have in life. The little garden shed is the arena of our life and at the end of our journey we look through the door into death. The final sword in our life is the sickle of death which we trip over as we leave the security of the house of life.
All the things we need to grow through life are here in the shed: water from the can, soil in the burlap bag, stakes to make us stand tall and strong and tools to keep us properly pruned. Our lives are analogous to the plants in a garden and like them we grow and thrive with proper care. With this kind of thoughtful care we will have become wise and knowing in our old age. When we take the time in life to learn a discipline like gardening we learn how to care for ourselves as well. However, because this kind of lifetime pursuit is complex we can not expect to know everything about it when we die. It is important to understand that we can never expect to understand everything about life, because like the expression "the more you know the more there is you don't know" life gets more and more complex. In this final numbered image of the Tarot each of the gardening tools serves a different purpose, to symbolize an appreciation of this amazing complexity. This is the learning that the Ten of Swords shows us; a time in life when we have collected the various tools of living and can call on them to serve our needs in every moment.
All of the tools of life surround us and are within us: the disks in the hanging garlic and spiders' webs, the cups in the planting pots, wands in the broom and planting stakes, and swords in the cutting tools of the garden. Through our awareness of these tools we now know when we must speak or stay silent and when we must use our energy or save it. The wisdom we gain through living teaches us and our actions become tuned to the world around us. Gardening requires this kind of sense, for we must know when it is time to dig the soil and to begin planting and time to take our clippers to the roses. Like the tools in the shed, everything we do has its place and time. When the sage plant gets too large for its pot we move it to the garden beds; we give it a larger world to live in so that it may grow and expand. The plant is like the child who leaves the world of the home to take on the bigger world marching through one of the gateways of his life. But when the ivy - the ancient symbol for resurrection - creeps in at the door, we are drawn away from the arena of life and our minds and spirits seem to wander among the distant planets.
In a Tarot reading this is a card symbolic of a completion and of a sense that one has the tools and knowledge to follow through with the tasks at hand. The card reminds us that using the right tool for any job accomplishes the best result. Sometimes the plant needs water; other times it needs fertilizer or a new and bigger pot. We must also keep in mind the constant need for learning, so that our judgment about what we need to grow and change becomes better and better. When you draw this card think about all the various aspects of your situation carefully; these components are like the objects in the shed and each has its own place and time and effects. What can you call upon to nurture your growth and wisdom? Carefully consider how each new perspective has led you to make new and more knowledgeable decisions about your future challenges. This is how we learn in life. If you notice that the results of your actions were not helpful to you or to others you can use this information to act differently in the future. Then you will find that your actions will more often be in line with the natural world of changing seasons and growing plants.
Each action we take and each thought we have symbolizes the death of the moment as it passes into what has been and will never be again. The garden shed symbolizes the moment that has passed as you step through the door into the unknown. The Ten of Swords represents the finality of each moment and reminds us that every one of life's experiences will teach you something new and bring realization, both for yourself and for those with whom you have relationships.