I’d sure like this to lighten up a bit. I’ve cut the Ten of Swords for this blog entry. In the old Ryder-Waite deck the meaning of the card is expressed by a man lying prone, ten swords in him, a ragged yellow sunrise on the horizon. You have to have an end in order to have a beginning. Ten is the end. It arrives in Fire and we say “I can.” It is held in water and we say “I wish”. Then come the Swords, and we say “I will.” This is the hard one. The next step is Earth, Manifestation, the Incarnation of the Idea. It is made Flesh, and in doing so makes an agreement with Death.
When I think of the Ten of Swords, I think of Sarah McLaughlin singing “Hold on to yourself; this is going to hurt like hell.” Then I think no, don’t hold on to yourself. Let go of yourself because that’s the only way to deal with this kind of pain. The Ten of Pentacles is the final perfection, the end-point of manifestation. It’s the living Now, if you like, the All-That-Is.
The gateway is the Ten of Swords. It cuts the cord that holds us in the Infinite, lets us drop into the Finite, the Now. Into the living world where life is always an agreement with death. We get bodies, lovers, children, nervous systems, roses, jasmine and a lover’s skin on a summer night. And we get cancer and dementia and death. It’s so breath-takingly, hearth-achingly beautiful, and it’s going to hurt.
And, speaking of love and death, in the Renaissance the vernacular for having an orgasm was ‘dying’. Not bad, eh?