Futhark Village

Tarot for Rune Lovers – The Tens

The Tens

The Tens in the Waite-Smith Tarot Deck

The Tens of each suit are the logical conclusion of being the person depicted in the cards before. I placed the cards above in order of how happy that ending is. There isn’t really a rune of endings, though ᛞ (Dagaz) comes close. 

Ten of Pentacles

Ten of Pentacles
Modern Witch Tarot

This is truly a card of ᚠ (Fehu). This isn’t the moneylender from the Six of Pentacles, or the luxury of the Nine of Pentacles. This card shows the things which truly make one wealthy. Three generations of humans and two pets gather in the picture on this card. They are comfortable and loving. This is the true meaning of wealth, and it is possible to achieve even without a boatload of money. 

The person closest to the reader of this card is the elderly person on the left. In the Modern Witch Tarot above (as well as the Waite-Smith and many other decks), this person is explaining something to the dogs. The crones in our lives have wisdom (ᚨ, Ansuz) which should be shared. The children/parents appear to have their backs turned to this wisdom, but the dogs can hear it.

Ten of Wands

Ten of Wands
Wildwood Tarot

The Ten of Wands is a card of overwhelming responsibility, but it is also a card of ᛃ (Jera), getting things done. The man in the picture is overladen with sticks, but he keeps on walking despite his burden. 

The Wildwood Tarot, above, shows a man climbing a mountain at dawn ᛞ (Dagaz), overladen with sticks. In the picture, you can see him smiling at his task. He will reach the top right on time. It reminds me of stanza 58 from the Havamal:

Get out the door early
If you would earn the prize of another man.
The slothful wolf will be hungry
And no sleeper will win.

There is a warning to this card, similar to the caution I advise when I see ᚾ (Naudhiz) and ᛁ (Isa) in a reading: Be sure to pay attention to your own needs. Slow down when you need to. Don’t take on other people’s burdens when you are struggling to carry your own. 

Ten of Swords

Those who live by the sword shall die by the sword.

The Anglo-Saxon Rune ᛠ (Ear) means Grave, and I am tempted to compare the Ten of Swords to that, but it doesn’t quite fit. The person who died in the Ten of Swords was never buried. He was claimed by the Valkyries, and shall live forever in Valhalla. 

Note to Christians and people new to Heathenry: Valhalla is not Heaven. Yes, it is eternity in the presence of the King of the Gods, which is the Norse equivalent of Heaven geographically. But Valhalla is not a place of calm and singing praises to any god. Valhalla is a hall where people battle and drink mead and battle some more until the end of days at Ragnarok, when all will be destroyed and reborn. Most people would not enjoy Valhalla.

Thinking about this card in terms of the Sagas, an unburied body was a murder, not a killing. In Icelandic law, you could kill someone legally, as long as you buried the body and notified the next person you saw outside your own household. This card depicts a murder, a betrayal. All of those swords are in the back, and the person who did it tried to hide from their deeds by fleeing without burying the body or notifying the deceased’s family. This card represents the height of dishonor.

Ten of Cups

This is the card of what comes from following your heart: a happy ending, surrounded by family. That can be blood family or it can mean chosen family, such as a coven or a kindred. If you spend your time and energy building a collection of good people, then you will never be alone. 

I chose the Pagan Tarot above because it shows a coven of witches having a proper Sumbel. This card is a card of ᛗ (Mannaz): Everything from the sense of community to the rainbow to the high priest in the center of the card reminds me of Mannaz. 

Some think that it is strange that there is no rune for family, considering how important family was to Norse and Northern Germanic culture. I say that nearly every rune is a rune of family, that family overlays their lives so much that it doesn’t even make sense to have a single rune of it. ᚠ (Fehu) is about taking care of the little ones so that they can be your wealth, ᚦ (Thurisaz) is about the conflicts within the family, ᛒ and ᛜ (Berkano and Inguz) are biological parents, etc. This card incorporates all of that.

But a family isn’t just the end of a journey, it is the ᛞ (Dagaz, beginning) of a new journey. Being part of a family is its own ᛚ (Laguz, river-journey), pushing you along in its own way.