Monday, June 25, 2012

Perfect Tens

I heard my father's words, deep in my heart-
'Son, know your enemy,
As I would have them know my son'.
-Aurelio Voltaire, Crusade

Looks like we're coming to the end of the Minor Arcana cards, and the last on the list is the Tens. Tens represent completion, the end of the cycle, for better or worse. Though these cards represent an end, there is also a sense of circularity- we see here also the basis for a new beginning- there is a connection between the Tens and the Aces. However, the Tens differ from the Aces in that there are lessons, things learned, that have occurred over the course of the cards, leading up to the position of the Tens, and this forms the foundation for a new chapter. Whereas the Aces represent a kind of primal starting point, the Tens represent what has come before and contributed to the current situation. As always, let's begin with the suit of Wands, and examine each card in turn.
This version comes from the Infinite Visions Tarot, and seems to convey a sense of burden. Here we see an older guy, contemplating what appears to be a big pile of work in front of him, with less than an enthusiastic look. It seems he has to get started, and the work ahead will be long and ardurous. Yet at the same time, we can hope that this man has been at this for a while, and has learned from his studies and effort, and has the resources to get through his latest project. And the message of this card is both a sense of burden, and having the resources to cope with that burden. The suit of Wands has been one of exercising will and building success. Here we see the results of that- when we work hard, and build up, we also assume the responsibility and control of that which we have built. Here is the burden of that responsibility, which comes right alongside enjoying the benefits. Yet it's not an insurmountable responsibility, rather, we have learned the lessons and ways and means to deal with added responsibility, and can keep both in balance with what we hope to accomplish. The negative side of this card lacks that balance- that is, we might feel overwhelmed, and may have taken on more than we can handle. In that case, it becomes a matter of finding what there is to set down, and what we're carrying without the need to do so.
Next, we have the Ten of Swords- this one seems pretty clearly negative, and there is a negative connotation to this card-

Here we have a picture of defeat- all those swords we have kept in the air come back down, and wind up right in this person's back. Yet more than a card of destruction, it, like all the Tens, is a card of completion. There's a message here that it's time to let go of what has been on your mind, and to let that blossom into something else. I always pictured this as a card of hope. From the shed blood, soaking into the ground, new plants and new life will begin. It could be a reminder that the course one is on isn't the right one- we've come to the end of this particular road, and now it's time to move on, not hold onto the past. There's a sense of old ideas and old patterns no longer serving the purpose they were put in place for, and with this, a time to move forwards and leave the past behind. In the more negative sense, this card portrays destruction, but the destruction is not absolute, and perhaps can be avoided. It's a card of recognizing and seeing clearly. Whether or not there's anything to fear depends on our perspective on the situtation.
The Ten of Cups is a little more optimistic, and shows not only a house, but rather a home.
It seems here everything is coming up roses, and that is definitely a part of this card's meaning. However, this is a card of hard work, emotional mastery and coming to a place of completion. What is shown on this card has been worked for, not given. The path up to this card through the Cups suit has not been entirely an easy one, and like all the Tens, it's a card of having been there and back again.Yet all the hard work and all the heartbreaks have not been in vain- rather they have brought us up to this point, and this place of fullness. The message here is that things are working out for the best- you've come to the end of at least this particular road, and now it's time to rest and enjoy the present moment. There may be more to come, but you have the emotional resources to deal with anything yet to come. In its more negative sense, this card can mean stagnation, an inability to move forwards and clinging to the past, perhaps the more negative aspects of nostalgia.
And finally, we come to the Ten of Pentacles. Perhaps even more than the Ten of Cups, this expresses the sense of completion and closure.
This particular version comes from the Druidcraft Tarot, and expresses a sense of completion and wholeness. The elderly man in the picture is a parallel of the home behind him- something, or someone long established, long worked-for and invested in. It's a kind of snapshot of a happy home, and a happy moment. This man is at peace, things have worked out, and he enjoys the benefits of his labor, and the rest from those labors. The message here is that what he has made will endure, and will remain for generations. There's also a sense of the seasons of the earth here- the old passing away, to be replaced by the new. The old man knows this, and accepts it. Again, the Tens indicate completion, and in this case, a sense of security and peace coming from the knowledge that what has been built will remain. In its more negative sense, this can indicate some holes in the foundation- things being less stable than they appear, though this too is not without hope. Coming to identify these things is the first step towards putting them back together.
So as the Tens represent completion, they also represent a new beginning and a new start- yet again, unlike the Aces, there's much more knowledge and wisdom than when the journey first began.

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