Of course, you wondered what card is the worst of them all. That’s a natural reaction, as we want to protect ourselves from everything that might be considered a bad omen. Let’s look at the scariest and darkest cards in the deck and what to do if they show up.
As a general rule, the Tower is the worst card to get in a tarot reading. The Tower indicates chaos and destruction, an event that will impact you to the core of your essence. The very meaning of the card is agony, pain, and upheaval. Both upright and reversed represent shadow sides.
We generally fear death, destruction, deception, chaos, sickness, and loss of wealth in life. The Tower is the card that might indicate all of the above. That’s what makes it the ultimate lousy card in the Tarot. But there are other cards as well that bring negative mojo.
THE WORST TAROT CARD OF THEM ALL
Say hello to the worst tarot card in the deck: the Tower. This is the card that most tarot readers and seekers fear the most. 34% of the tarot reader asked, say the Tower is the worst card of them all. The 10 of Swords is runner-up in the poll.
Depending on the situation and the card spread, many cards in the tarot deck might bring bad news. But one card sticks out from the crowd. It represents every fear in life you can imagine; chaos, upheaval, and destruction. The Tower is fear printed on card stock.
The essence of the Tower is the experience when the rug is pulled under your feet. It might happen due to the death of someone loved, unemployment, divorce, sickness, lies, deception; the list goes on and on.
The Tower represents the moments in life when your world gets smashed into pieces. In the card, you notice how the Tower gets struck my lightning and destroyed. The crown you see on the roof is fall falling to the ground.
The Tower is a metaphor for your “castle” and pride being destroyed. Maybe the construction was unsteady, to begin with, but you didn’t notice. But now, you certainly do. Like a bolt of lightning, it just strikes with mercy.
The card turned upright is chaos caused by external factors and reversed internal factors. Both are as bad as a result is the same, utter chaos. This makes the Tower the worst card of them all; it has no light side. Both sides are dark. Just dark in different ways.
THE TOWER AND THE 10 OF SWORDS
As always, I’m interested in what my peers have to say about what card they think is the worst. I asked the question “What is the worst card in the deck and why?.” At the time of writing this article, 116 tarot readers had answered the poll. 34% voted for the Tower, and 33% on 10 of Swords.
The Tower is a Major Arcana card. It governs significant life events, while the 10 of Swords everyday life events. The impact of the 10 of swords is not as profound as the Tower, even if it’s not pleasant to get.
The Ten of Swords represents a man with 10 swords stabbed in his back (or chakras). In the background, you see a new dawn.
The 10 of Swords represents when you are down on the ground, defeated. You might be a victim of infidelity, betrayal, your work is cut, or something you treasure will be ripped out of your hands. Something you love will come to a painful end. But on the horizon, you see a new beginning as the sun rises again. In that sense, the card is not as brutal as the Tower. It gives a shimmer of hope that the pain is soon over. Not to begin as in the Tower.
This is why I still consider the Tower the worst of them all, even if the cards are both sharing top spots in the poll.
But I do understand that the two cards share the top placement. They are much alike, but it’s the impact that differs. The Tower will influence you for life or at least for a long time, while the horrors 10 of Swords will pass faster.
The Tower is like pulling a bandaid very slowly, and the 10 of Swords are like ripping it off. The pain is the same, but the time you have to endure it differs a lot.
Below you find a table of the poll I did in a Facebook group for tarot readers. The Tower and the 10 os Swords are winning by a landslide. The vast win makes it easy to see that the most feared cards are the Tower and the 10 of Swords.
|10 of swords||Minor||38||33%|
|3 of Swords||Minor||19||16%|
|7 of Swords||Minor||9||8%|
|8 of Cups||Minor||2||2%|
|2 of Swords||Minor||2||2%|
|8 of Swords||Minor||1||1%|
WHAT TO DO IF YOU GET THE TOWER IN A READING
Even if the Tower is bad in every way, the result of the Tower might turn into something good in the end. But don’t get me wrong, the pain is the toll you need to pay. But when you come out on the other side, you might experience that it was the best thing ever happening to you. Not the pain but the result of it.
Say you caught your partner cheating. The infidelity turned into a separation and chaos in your life. Everything from feelings to your financial situation was turned upside down. During this period in your life, you were forced to change your habits, routines, learn to trust people again, mend a broken heart, and find joy in life again.
What if I said that many, in the end, say that this was the best thing ever happening to them? You would not believe it during times of destruction and chaos. But maybe you were set free from a bad relationship? Perhaps the only way out was through pain?
Maybe you found yourself again? This, in turn, opened your heart for true love. Someone that would never cheat on you? Perhaps this was a blessing in disguise?
I hope you get my point. The Tower is a representation of transformation through pain. Often we need some resistance to be able to change. Have trust in the Universe and that you are cared for and loved. In the end, whatever happens, you will come out a renewed person. Stronger and more fierce than ever before?
So don’t fear the Tower. Fear the challenge ahead. Sometimes the mere wakeup call by getting the Tower is enough and all that’s needed. The ultimate bad might never happen, but you might shift your mindset and face the challenge head-on. See it as a wakeup call and try to identify weaknesses or cracks in your “castle” before the thunder ball needs to strike it.
Tarot is the book of life, and we all experience challenging times whether we want to or not. It’s a natural part of the human experience.
So buckle up and get ready for a ride. Try to be proactive and evaluate if there are any weak spots you need to strengthen. If you are in tune with your intuition, you might have a chance to minimize the magnitude of the blow.
ORACLE CARDS TO SOFTEN THE BLOW
I often pull an Oracle card if I get the Tower in my reading. This is to give me some comfort and spiritual guidance on what I can do to prepare. This is something I do when I experience “bad” messages in readings. It helps me to ground. My favorite Oracle deck for this is the Kuan Yin Oracle deck (Paid Link – Amazon). Its focus on divine power is beneficial in Tower situations. I love the advice and the mantras added to every card.
THREE OF SWORDS: THE CARD OF HEARTACHE
There’s no way around it. Most of the tarot readings I do are about love in some way, shape, and form. So I thought it’s more than fair to show you the worst love card as well when we’re at it.
In the poll, it came in third place, and that’s no surprise. 16% of all tarot readers thought this was the worst card of them all.
When it comes to the matter of the heart, the Thee of Swords is a terrible omen no one wants to get. The mere look at the card says it all. Three swords dug deep into the heart while the rain was pouring down. The energy of this card is all but merry.
The Three of Swords is a Minor Arcana card. This means that the pain you will experience will not be long-lasting, only temporary if this is of any comfort. The pain you will experience is real, though, don’t get me wrong.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU GET THE THEE OF SWORDS IN A READING
The Three of Swords represent deep disappointment, heartbreak, and sorrow. When this card shows up in your reading, make sure to patch the cracks in your relationship before the 3 of Swords become a reality.
The wheels might not yet be in motion. Maybe you have the time to hit the breaks. Be sure to talk to your partner, open up for a discussion. Perhaps, you can talk things out before it spirals out of control.
Being able to be proactive is one of the benefits of reading cards. Use it to your advantage. Don’t sit and wait for things to resolve.
As it’s a Minor Arcana card, the Tower trumps it. But by no means, this card is no joke.
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THE WORST SUIT OF THE TAROT
Well, there is a thing as the “worst” suit of the deck as well. The suit of Swords is filled to the brim with cards that indicate hurt, despair, and upheaval.
The thing is, the Swords is all about truth and communication. Most of the heartbreak we experience in life is from breaking trust, untruthfulness, and inadequate communication.
So the suit is not bad in itself, of course. It’s the area of our life it rules over that is the bad guy. Truth, or lack of truth, is a typical start of arguments and, of course, deception. But not though, you can lie to yourself as well. Many of the cards in their reversals indicate self-deception.
Many hurtful situations in life come from not being true to yourself or others.
The worst cards of the tarot are the Tower, Ten of Swords, and the Three of Swords.
But is there such a thing as bad cards? Some say there’s no such thing. All the cards are equally important and can be “bad,” depending on the question or circumstance. Yes, that is right. I agree. But still, there is no way around it, in my opinion. No one wants to experience bad things, even if it’s a part of life.
Who wants to get a Tower, even if it’s a part of life? Do we want to suffer just because we know the end will be sunshine and rainbows? No, of course not. We fear turmoil, chaos, and upheaval. Most of us, at least.
So I still believe the Tower, 10 of Swords, and the Three of Hearts are bad guys, even if they have good outcomes.
We grow through pain, so it’s an essential part of life. But yet, in the end, we don’t think as rationally about this. We don’t want to be challenged and hurt. We want to be loved, love, stay healthy, have a job to go to, have our loved ones around, and have food on the table.
Faced with the Tower or the other not-so-pleasant cards (which one it might be), draw an Oracle card to soften the blow and get advice. It’s the best recommendation I can give. Be sure to try to change the course and find the cracks. Often there’s time to change the future.
THE DEFINITIONS IN THIS ARTICLE ARE BASED ON THE RIDER WAITE DECK AND SYSTEM.
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