The Most Dreaded Cards in the Tarot & How To Embrace Them

The Most Dreaded Cards in the Tarot & How To Embrace Them August 7, 2018

It’s time for your annual reading or perhaps, you are having a crisis and need some insight… you head to your favorite reader and as the cards are slowly being turned over…one by one… your anticipation gets carried away. Secretly, you are hoping that the reading goes well and you do not get any ‘bad’ cards.

Life isn’t always sunshine and roses and neither is the Tarot

The Tarot reflects a journey through life with all its rewards, trials and tribulations.  A Tarot Reading can give you insight, ideas and perspective as to where you are headed and what you may need to do in order to fulfill your dreams. To look at the Tarot or Life as being all positive or all negative would be an injustice. Just like we need balance in our lives, there needs to be balance in the Tarot.

The Hanged Man

By its title, The Hanged Man sounds quite frightful. Here you have a man hanging upside down from a tree. Note his pose, with his one leg bent and arms behind his back. I have been told that this is similar to a pose with the Freemasons. It is also similar to a traditional initiation into witchcraft pose where your hands and feet were tied while you hung upside down. The thought is it creates a ‘death’ of your old self and are reborn into your ‘new’ self more awakened. You can see the enlightenment by the yellow light shining around his head. Now let’s turn it upside down.

You can see that the man hanging upside down is no worst for wear. In fact, he might be better as he is reborn into a better self, more awake and in tuned for his path. Notice how he seems to be ‘hanging’ out. When I see this card come up in a reading, I know that the seeker is stuck. They have been ‘hanging’ out too long. They more than likely know that they have something they need to change or do, but they are afraid to do it. We all get too comfortable, too routine. When something changes, it can cause chaos.


Think about getting a new phone number. Panic sets in when you try to remember to call your utilities, credit cards, banks, school etc. The list goes on. You may even find that you have trouble sleeping because you are worrying about who you may have missed, that would have been important. This is just an example how something so small impacts your life so big. As humans, we dread change. We will drag our feet even when we know it will lead up to a better place.

You can embrace this card by embracing change. Shake it up a little. Break your routine. Be spontaneous.

The Three of Swords

I have to admit, when this card comes up in my own personal readings, I cringe. The imagery on this one is pretty blunt. Heartbreak, betrayal, loneliness. Defensive mode says, “Everyone has these.” Yes, that is true but when this card comes up, it suggests that your heartbreaks and relationships from the past are still haunting you to this day. It is hard to get beyond heartbreak and find the perfect for you relationship, when hurt still is deeply rooted,

The best way to embrace this card is to sit and do reflection. Sit with the pain. Name the pain. Get mad about it if you want and beat up a pillow. Write a letter to the person, you do not have to mail it. The important thing is to release and name it. When you do meet new people, or maybe you already are in a relationship, look for triggers. Are you blowing up over something really small and can’t figure out why? Look deeper to see if it is in relation to something from the past.

Embrace and know that it will come to pass. After-all what could be worst than the three of swords?

The Ten of Swords

It is a matter of perspective. The ten of swords could seem worse. Ten swords all stuck in your back. Gives meaning to the puns, “Cut like a knife” and “Stabbed in the Back.”

When this card comes up, you may feel like you have had enough. You may even feel like giving up. Don’t! If you feel like you hit bottom, guess what? Now you have only one way to go and that is up! Stand up, brush yourself off and start anew. Be loving with yourself. Be kind! This is a time for pampering yourself. Think about what you would do for a friend that felt like they had hit bottom. Roses, chocolate, ice coffee or soup. Show yourself kindness and know that you will get through this.


This can be another card that comes up and gets a response of fear. Two people jumping out of a fiery tower. It is the upheaval of life as we know it but how many times does something that we view as being negative bring us to a better place? With this card, it is likely that there is chaos going on, things have gotten heated or you may feel like things have exploded beyond your control. They have not.

Embrace the chance to kick out those boundaries.   When a building has had a fire, we tear it down and rebuild. It is the same sort of idea when the Tower card appears. To embrace this card, you need to kick out your boundaries. Try something new because what you have been doing so far has not worked.


Where would this article be without the Death card? Tarot is famous in movies and TV shows strictly for this card alone. When I am reading in Salem, I start every reading with “there is a death card…” The one time that I did not, I thought the person was going to have a panic attack when they gasp so loudly when it was over turned. That being said, 99% of the time, the Death card does not mean death of a person. It is the death of something….the ending of something that you grieve as it makes you sad but it leads you to a better place.

It is like having a cup full of water. A friend has a bottle of wine and you would like some. You have to empty, or get rid of, the water in the cup to make room for the wine. You have to let go of something and that can create a sadness but what comes after that makes you happier than you were in the first place.

The other 1% of times this card comes up can represent someone who has passed and their death is affecting you very much still. Again, sadness and sorrow comes from the situation. It will make you stronger than you ever thought you were.

The Final Word

It is important to note that nothing in the Tarot is written in stone. Everything depends on your next move. If something comes up in a reading that you are uncomfortable with, sit with it and reflect. What can you do to change or better the situation. Feel your power and your magick.

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