Tarot readers say we choose the cards we are meant to see. What many readers do not tell querents, however, is there are some cards you never want to see in a tarot reading. These dark tarot cards show us something we may already realize is inside us, whether it be an addiction, betrayal, or the refusal to face the reality of a situation. While seeing these cards may help us face some aspects of our lives we have long been ignoring, it doesn't make seeing them in a spread any less horrifying.
Readers of the occult are quick to point out the names of these cards aren't necessarily predicting a querent's fate. For example, pulling the Devil card doesn't mean a demonic presence is going to wreck havoc in your life, and the Death card doesn't mean you are going to drop dead in the next 24 hours. The scariest cards to see in a tarot spread are figurative and hold up a mirror to our inner demons, preparing us to make significant chances in our lives.
The 10 Of Swords
This dreary little number features a man face down with 10 swords plunged into his back. He has a red cape pulled back, and the sky above him is often black and foreboding. The 10 of Swords is definitely not a reassuring one to flip over.
Traditionally, the card can be interpreted in a few ways, usually spanning somewhere between hitting rock bottom, feeling powerless or victimized, or being betrayed in some way. There is a silver lining to this theme of "bottoming out," or at least that's how some seers believe. There is nowhere to go but up from whatever situation the card is referencing, be it a sudden loss, natural diaster, money woes, or illness.
However, the position of this card in your spread changes the interpretation of it. If the 10 of Swords lands in the "future" position of your spread, it's indicating you have yet to reach the worst of something, and you should prepare for potential upheaval or calamity.
This card features a skeletal knight on a white horse - death itself - carrying a black flag as the figure rides through an apparent wasteland full of death and suffering. It is an alarming card to pull, even for the most experienced of readers.
Tarot readers are quick to remind the unfortunate souls who pull the Death card they aren't going to be struck down by lightning the second they walk out the door; instead, the card is often associated with a wrenching or life-altering change. The end of a relationship, a great loss, being fired from your job - these are all possibilities when the Death card is pulled, especially if it's in the future position.
However, one thing stressed about the Death card is it is impossible to fight. Readers say that once this card is pulled, the impending break or loss in your life is bound to happen, and it's best to prepare yourself to move through it.
The 3 Of Swords
Three swords plunged through a red heart... this card looks like trouble as soon as you flip it over. If you pull the 3 of Swords, it could mean you have recently experienced (or are in for) some form of heartbreak or pain.
Whether you walk in on your lover with someone else or find out a close friend has stabbed you in the back, the 3 of Swords represents heartbreak, loneliness, and betrayal. It can be a valuable warning if drawn in the future position. However, don't forget this card could also mean you have caused somebody else such pain. Beware if you pull this card, and think long and hard about the company you keep.
While the name seems innocent enough, the Tower is pretty foreboding. The card features a dark, stormy sky as the backdrop and a burning, lightning-struck tower in the foreground. Two men are falling from the tower, plunging towards their imminent, brutal deaths. The card indicates a sudden change or release, one that may have left you blindsided. The release can be anything from uncovering a hidden truth to having a life-altering revelation.
The Tower card is unique in that its power lies in the present; the position it lands in simply refers to where that lightning bolt of change will come from to jolt you. For example, if it lands in the past position, it means the roots of the upheaval have already occurred, and only now are the repercussions taking a hold in your life.