10 of Swords – Acceptance
At first glance, the last numbered card in the suit of Swords appears to be one of the most frightening images in entire tarot deck. A man lies face down on the ground underneath a pitch black sky with ten swords pierced into his back.
Such a shocking and terrifying image reveals an incredibly difficult period of intense mental and emotional suffering. One in this situation feels powerless and victimized. It’s as though everyone and everything has turned against us. There is so much pain and loss that it feels like there is no solace and no way to move on.
Upon closer inspection, however, we can see that there is a golden lining in the horizon – dawn in breaking. While the card speaks of dark and tumultuous times, the thin streak of light in the horizon is a harbinger of better times.
They say that it is always darkest before the dawn. As long and dark as the night has been, day is rising. And along with this new day are new hope, new awareness and new opportunities.
In order to take advantage of what the new day has to offer, we must accept our current circumstances. Take responsibility of our own contributions to the problem. Be honest and ask how we got ourselves into the present situation and how we can do better in the future. If we’ve learnt anything at all from this period of struggle, then it would not have been experienced in vain.
When we receive this card, it is a signal that we are ready for change. There will be a sense of relief in knowing that the worst is behind us. In this way, in spite of the darkness displayed, this is a card of hope. It offers a better future by presenting us with the freedom of choice. At any time, we can choose to think differently and abandon negativity. The moment we choose positivity, we will transform ourselves and our reality.
Hexagram 49 – Revolution
Lake above Fire is a situation that cannot last – either the lake will extinguish the fire or the fire will evaporate the lake. Change must occur and so a revolution is in order.
While the I Ching stresses harmony, it also tells us through this hexagram that there are times when order must be broken. There are issues that can only be resolved through revolutions because the status quo is so corrupt and deeply rooted that gradual progress will not adequately address the problem.
This applies to both society and the individual. Just as nations are capable of great sweeping change, so is the individual when the time calls for it. In both cases, successful revolts against the old order must come from a genuine need, adherence to truth and justice and benefit the greater good. Furthermore, those conditions must be met with the courage to become radically different.
Nine on line 1:
Revolutions are not something to be taken lightly. It is a last resort. As such, restraint is important in the beginning. Don’t rush into anything so drastic but practice self-control. We must be absolutely certain of the situation and our own capabilities.
Six on line 2:
Until opportunities arise, we should take the time to thoroughly consider what we want and how to achieve it. With such careful contemplation, we will naturally know when to act. Then, when the time comes, we will be prepared for success.
Nine on line 3:
As with many important actions, timing is of utmost importance. We should wait when the timing isn’t right but also not hesitate when the situation is ripe.
Not every complaint or demand requires an action. However, when the same complaints are made repeatedly, and we have given it due consideration, we can commit ourselves to action.
Nine on line 4:
Radical change requires strong leadership. Those who lead revolutions must have a great store of inner strength and external influence. They must be mature, considerate and fully aware of the consequences of their actions. Most importantly, they must be dedicated to the greater cause. When all these qualities are achieved, they will have the support they need.
Nine on line 5:
Those who have strength and support are like tigers that move with supreme confidence. They are careful and not easily intimidated. For these people, they need not consult the oracle before they take action because they are sure of themselves and their cause. They need only look inward to know when and how to act.
Six on line 6:
Superior people change like a panther who gracefully camouflage and blend into their environment. Small people can only hide their thoughts and emotions.
After a reform, there will be many details that still need to be ironed out and not everyone will be on board. When small and petty people are dissatisfied, the best they can do is hide their disdain; they cannot truly adapt. At this point, we must be satisfied with what is attainable instead of aiming for perfection.
Transformation is when a caterpillar emerges from its cocoon as a butterfly. It isn’t merely a change, but an evolution.
For a person, to undergo transformation is to enter into a new stage of life. Those who transform take all that they’ve learnt and experienced and use it as the foundation for their new selves. While they remain the same in essence, they have completely outgrown their old and inhibiting ways.
To transform, we must abandon the thoughts and behaviours that prevent us from being all that we are capable of. We must embrace our own potential as well as all the possibilities that the universe has to offer.