by Anna Ervin
When I first started learning about Tarot, cards like Death and the Ten of Swords scared me the most. Today, they are two of my favorite cards in the deck, but only after a little soul searching allowed me to realize their true definitions. The purpose of these cards is not to make you dread or fear your life, and they do not often show up when everything is sunshine and rainbows, only to crash your party with forecasts of doom and gloom.
The Ten of Swords usually reveals itself when you are already feeling like you’ve hit rock bottom. It’s actually a reminder that you’ve endured more than you ever thought possible, and through those experiences you’ve managed to learn something about yourself, or your situation, that will soon help you step into a healthier reality. It’s a symbol that not only are you stronger than you imagined, but that the discomfort you feel right now is only temporary.
Death, on the other hand, could show up any time you are facing a major change in your life. 99.9% of the time, this card does not mean that someone is going to die (although, if you’ve recently lost someone, it may show up to help you process that). Because of this, it’s easier for me to refer to this card as “Change.” It’s not the only indicator of change in the Tarot deck, but it is certainly the card that taught me the most valuable lesson on the topic.
Why does change scare us so much? That’s a lot to unpack, but when some aspect of your personality, your routine, or your external reality must die in order for something new to emerge in its place, the uncertainty regarding what will come next can be debilitating.
Venturing into the unknown, leaving everything you know and are familiar with behind, and grieving the loss of those comforts can be a lot to process at once. It can feel overwhelming, but if you’ve ever been dealt this card (either literally or figuratively), the only thing you can do from that point is move forward.
I’ve been thinking a lot about change lately, as my life has recently endured a series of major shifts. I think change has always appeared to come easily for me, and I have my stubborn refusal to focus on anything but the positive to thank for that. However, only looking for the good in every situation, or in some cases, leaving the whole situation behind in search of something a little more uplifting can be both a blessing and a curse.
I think sometimes I’m so focused on looking for that positive underlying message, that I glaze right over the more difficult lessons that were meant to be processed along the way. Of course, I’m not suggesting that we should dwell on or bask in the things that bring us discomfort. But, we’re always going to have to deal with detours and sharp corners on this journey through life, and I don’t think we’re meant to speed right through them just to find ourselves back on a more comfortable path.
Maybe sometimes it’s okay to slow down and take stock of the things that challenge us to dig deeper, or to shift into a new perspective as our external world shifts around us.