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Ten of Swords and the Devil, a combo of abuse and power?

“In the cult, the people in power dictate what cult members are to do. Children raised in cults are systematically stripped of their own autonomous power and forced to feel powerful only in the destructive context allowed by the cult, and always under the power of the leader. Ritual abuse survivors have had to learn to be outer oriented - to perceive what is expected of them and do that, whether it is healthy for them or not. When a therapist creates a context in which he or she is the leader, and the client is to listen, learn, and follow what the therapist says, the therapist has inadvertently replicated the power system of the cult.

That is not to say that the therapist has no power; the therapist has a lot of power, but the power the therapist has resides in authority based upon his or her expertise, knowledge, training and sensitivity. The point is to use this authority in a way in which the client can also begin to feel his or her own authority, and begin to develop a healthy feeling of power.
The word used quite often now is "empowerment." How do you empower a client?”

― Lynette S Danylchuk

Today I drew two cards from my Morgan Greer deck.

On the table, slipperty slap, fall the Ten of Swords and the Devil. My first reaction was to wedge them firmly back in the pack but that familiar still voice within stopped me and I instead felt suddenly inspired.

As a combination these two cards seem very dark indeed.

On closer analysis I can see that they are in fact symbols of poignant self-discovery and inevitable liberation mostly due to the journey of uncovering the self and yielding it forth as a bright diadem in the shady world of temptation and lust. As I write this, the image of the Lust card (Strength) or the Whore of Babylon from the Thoth deck springs to mind. And it occurs to me that these two card collaborators could be worthy components of the Strength card in terms of bridling our passion and being compassionate to self, patient and gentle as one moves forward. Goodness knows where to move right now but move one jolly well must do or one becomes forever enslaved within an earthly paradise which is little more than hell rocking up for cheap thrills and fantasy.

As a ten, this Swords card speaks of being in the earthly kingdom.

One could not argue that this pair are very earthy! Swords are about mental processes, the intellect and reason, those swords that pierce the body are our destructive and loveless thoughts that are tempered from the crucible of pain and loss and struggle. This is the Devil’s domain. He anchors us in the rarefied atmosphere of suffering, amplifying all the negatives from childhood to the last time one had a wobbly moment. Searching for breath we realise that we must break free, we must escape the heavy and hideous mantel that smothers the will to love.

The Ten of Swords acknowledges that there has indeed been patterns of pain and struggle in life.

However, we are also reminded that there comes a point where the past is no longer relevant to where we are at the moment and it is time to face the future. Not only does the world have a lot to offer us but we have a lot to offer the world. Our mental battle is that we are not to let the light of the soul be snuffed.

We are in danger of becoming the victim.

This ten tells us that yes we have had our fair share of suffering but we simply cannot unpack and live there. No experience is ever wasted and with the Devil’s help we can rise above our primordial self and become the refined self. As this ten can signify abuse, violence, victimhood and great loss, the end has to come and a new chapter must begin. It is here that we can see this combo now as an aspect of Death. We all must die, many, many times over. Our search for wisdom and understanding teaches us that death is a renewal and we have the power to recover our life through the lessons that can be learned. It is experience that becomes teacher or friend with that comes the revelation, we wake up.

The Devil coupled with the Ten of Swords could show a requirement for a contract to be broken.

Let’s suppose that this would be a soul contract. We are given the opportunity to remember why we chose to come to the earth plane and to see how our initial plan has shaped up. Contracts can be maintained, discarded or renewed. The mission could be to explore the deeper desires of the heart and to be open to the transpersonal experience.

In this combo we can see challenges regarding circumstances that have not yet been understood on a soul level. The hidden continent of the psyche is waiting to be explored and is demanding expression.

In this combination we can see a fear of looking within.

By constantly looking outward we are not able to evaluate how change can be a meaningful dynamic in life. Distractions of the outer landscape provide the necessary tools for sabotage and procrastination.

This combo is the search for the centre of the universe. Our ego is not that centre. It also shows manifestations of power that require control and compassion, the reason for this is that the Devil with this ten can show a shallow and crude mentality that revels in the sensual world of both pleasure and bitterness which disrupts the best laid plans for achieving growth and evolution.

This combination is not all doom and gloom.

We are shown that reflection and contemplation are keys to transcendence and ultimately freedom is reached from knowing the self. Here we meet the Hermit and the lamp that is the light of the soul shines forth the path that must be trod to break away from the piercing swords and the chains that bind us to an illusion.


A meditation or visualisation is a wonderful way of connecting to the self and the spirit within.

Find yourself a quiet place with a comfortable spot to sit. Light a candle and incense, play gentle music, create an atmosphere that reflects who you are. A simple altar can anchor you into your meditation space, put objects that symbolise you and your journey on the altar.

Take a moment to be still and calm. Allow tension to flow away.

Draw a card from the deck. Take note of the colours and imagery. Close your eyes. Let the image take you within. Feel and listen to the image unfolding within. Take note of any messages that this may give you. What is the mirror in the card?

Bring yourself back into the zone, gently open your eyes and when you are ready jot down the experience of the meditation.

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