The number 10 represents the final equilibrium of a first evolutionary cycle in order to serve as the basis for following cycles, the Ten of Swords makes this operation manifest, both of completion and of transition, by the arrangement of two swords depicted literally, whose points remain in the interior of the oval of the eight stylized swords and whose hilts are positionned at the exterior, whereas this arrangement is inverted in all preceding cards with an odd number of swords.
It symbolizes, in this way, the conscious direction imposed by Being on its vital activities, as much to assure an interior protection by the awareness of forces which are balanced as to synthesize them in one unity, likely to be repeated anew with the benefit of what it has achieved.
The design of the Ten of Swords shows that one is able to regard it as representing 8 + 2 = 5 + 5 = 10, according to whether one can regard it as representing 8 + 2 = 5 + 5 =1-, depending on whether one takes it in its entirety (8 stylized swords + 2 concrete swords) or successively, by the left one (4 + 1) and the right one (4 + 1).
In the first case, 8 constitutes a state of passive equilibrium, fermented by the internal activity of the two. In the second case, each 5, by its nature, implies a state of transition but, with the analogies evoking qualities and not quantities, the two 5s are of different natures and, in particular, opposed and complementary, owing to the number 2. These two 5s correspond to a state of vibration, one on the physical plane, the other on the mental plane; together they result in a passive operation, which is to say, internal.
The points of the swords remain at the interior of the oval and lean on the red and yellow handles of the stylized swords in order to show that they have not been positioned to cut through the oval and act on the outside of it, but in order to discipline or stop, by the protective stop and the unifying of the will, the disorders which could result from a relaxing of the anima (the blue, crossing swords) from currents of the subconscious.
The placement of the handles of each of the literally-depicted swords at the exterior indicates the free will of Being, because, due to its disposition, it is able to guard itself freely with its hand (analogically, by its act of will), in order to gather scattered psychic currents (the blue color of the swords) and permit them to penetrate into the 8.
The real sword on the right has a black cross on its blade; and its yellow handle and its red hilt guard have their colors reversed on the left sword. Furthermore, these two swords cross, at their center, the four stylized swords and emerge, through the central yellow parts to end with their points touching yellow and red stops, showing therefore the psychic and spiritual activity ready to manifest itself.
There are but two flowers on the outside, at the top of the card, instead of the four as seen on the two cards or the Nine of Swords. These flowers are the result of the perfection of the Ten of Swords and their equilibrium: activity and passivity, and only the spiritual flowers have been preserved.
Meanings As They Relate to the Three Planes
MENTAL. Fair judgement, humanity.
ANIMISTIC. Satisfaction and mystical agreement about any feeling.
PHYSICAL. Philosophy before material things. Happy attitude in the face of the events through a mastery of oneself, like a sentimental balance. Providentially bolstered matter of business. Health based more on nerves than physic, possibility of nervous anemia.
INVERTED. Sentimental disorder which impairs judgement.
In its Elementary Sense, the Ten of Swords represents the animistic sensibility of Man, who, when he is enlightened by the equilibrium of what he has achieved, permits him to act knowingly and to be able to realize the affections enveloping him, in the manner of a maternal figure who guards and protects her creations.
[1.] The reader will refer to the meaning of the number 7, [page 104].