Feeling the 10 of Swords

I have a tendency to go through the emotions of any artwork I am working on… ‘living’ my way through the story as it takes form. If you are an artist; a painter, drawer, musician or writer… I would love to hear if you have the same kind of experience.

I recently signed up to be part of the 5th Collaborative Aecletic Tarot Deck – a most exciting adventure involving artists and creative people from around the world, each bringing their style and interpretation to the card (or cards) they choose to create. I put my name down to do the 10 of Swords – a card I really, really wanted to explore further …

10 of Swords - Nine Lives Tarot    10 of Swords - Rider Waite Smith

Above: Nine Lives Tarot and the classic Rider Waite Smith (illustrated by Pamela Coleman Smith) depictions of the 10 of Swords

Why 10 of Swords?

Some see this card as ‘doom and gloom’, even physical death… I don’t. While destructive and bad things do happen, I don’t believe it is the job of any one card to foretell these events. Rather, each card has the ability to remind us of things we can and perhaps need to learn along the way.

Swords represent the journey of the mind; soaring through air, while gaining clarity, insight and understanding. The suit number can be an indication of where we are at, or what is currently in focus. As life is cyclic, we are bound to revisit situations and emotions many times – albeit from different angles. If you look on the minors as a journey, the Aces embody and represent the essence of the suit, numbers 2 through to 10 indicate challenges and insights we discover along the way – and at the very centre of each suit, we find the royal family; offering advice, encouragement and sometimes even distractions; all heavily influenced by the suit they rule.

10 of Swords holds the pain, the weight and the memories of past obstacles and challenges. Having travelled from clarity to clarity facing harsh emotions in our mind, we find ourselves at the point where we cannot get up. In a visual sense of the card – we are ‘pinned down’ by each and every challenge we have met … Yet, if we remember the knowledge we have gained, and turn our head, we will see that there is light on the horizon…

Feeling the 10 of Swords

Yesterday, I spent most of the day in the company of the 10 of Swords – I cleaned up the initial sketch I had done a few weeks ago and moved on to the early painting stages. I delved into the underlying meaning as I painted; taking on board feelings of ‘wanting to give up’, feeling ‘sad and rejected’ and having a distinct sense of ‘been here before’…

While deep in the emotions of the 10 of Swords, I learned that my Artistic Journey entry had not made it to the top 50 in the Deviant Art contest:

Artistic Journey - Annette Abolins
On top of an already roller-coasting week, I felt my heart sink with disappointment *sigh* … Thousands of artists entered in the contest, like me, everyone hoped that their artwork would be chosen. From several thousand down to 50! … maybe the real truth is that we (artists) are either bad at maths or incurable optimists… or, a bit of both :)  As I browsed through comments on the Deviant Art announcement page, I could understand those who voiced their disappointment …

It is okay to feel sad and rejected for a little while; but it would be way too sad to give up what is an intrinsic part of oneself, all because of external outcomes that have little (or nothing) to do with the journey itself…

To me, creative expression is so much about honesty to self… If we do the best we can, and the expression is true to our soul (as opposed to ‘following a trend’), then that is something to be celebrated in itself. Keep the flame and move forward with no regrets :)

Painting the 10 of Swords

In this version of the 10 of Swords (for the 5th Collaborative Aeclectic Tarot deck) – I want the emotion, the pain and the helplessness to show… I also want to show the wisdom of her two guides, the Raven and the Cat; as their knowledge is also hers. They know, and soon she will too, that as the sun rises – her sense of defeat will transform to acceptance and understanding.


Above, shows where the painting is at: The Raven is almost done (feathers and all :)) and also her hair and shirt (or dress). The wound on her forehead symbolises the challenges she has faced on her journey through the mind… The Cat is patiently waiting for colour, which should happen by my next update :)

An Exciting Update

The green and blue crocheted Tarot bag, the prize in my recent subscriber give-away, has travelled across the seas (all 7 of them :)) and found its new home! I received this lovely photo showing that it has settled in, and is busy looking after the Animal Wisdom Tarot:

tarot-bag-new-homeThanks for the happy Tarot photo Marirowana :)

Nine Lives Tarot Birthday month Specials

Don’t forget that during November all Nine Lives Tarot decks are 15% off, to mark the one year anniversary….

And, if you subscribe to my blog before the 30th November, you will be in the draw to win the ‘birthday deck’, a Nine Lives Tarot deck, which will be drawn on the first day of next month.

Stay safe and well – and thanks for visiting!

Annette :)

2 thoughts on “Feeling the 10 of Swords”

  1. That was a great post, Annette. Thank you. I could relate to the disappointment you felt, missing out being ‘one of the fifty’, but anything creative – art, writing, music – is so subjective, and if there had been other judges your entry may well have been chosen. I do agree with you about not losing heart; if we were to do that, we would stop being creative…

    I loved your ‘talk’ about the 10 of Swords – it was all very illuminating. Your new card is looking great, and it is interesting with a completely different perspective. I am looking forward to seeing the cat receive her colour.

    • Thank you for such a heartfelt response :) Life does go up and down, but I think that on the balance it is a pretty exciting journey :) Cat is almost done, so you can tell my favourite model to get prepared for her ‘reveal’ :)

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