Originating as an Italian card game called Tarocchi, tarot cards have long been used for the purpose of foretelling the future.
Most tarot decks feature Death or even the Devil himself. However, these are not the worst dark tarot cards you can be dealt. The major and minor arcana can yield unexpectedly somber characters with a more dismal fortune to bestow.
Read on for our list of tarot cards that can be a bad omen in a reading.
Top Five Dark Tarot Cards
To the uninitiated, the Devil and Death might sound like the worst cards you could be dealt. But that’s not necessarily true. Here are a few more cards to keep an eye on if they show up in your reading.
Ten of Swords
One look at this dark tarot card makes it known that it foretells a dismal fate. It depicts an unsettling image of a man lying face-down with ten swords stabbed into his back. Dark clouds loom in the distance, signifying destruction and despair.
Depending on other factors of your tarot reading, the Ten of Swords can have a few different meanings. It may mean that you have been betrayed or victimized in some way. It can also signify a plunge to rock bottom in your life.
If you receive the Ten of Swords in a tarot reading for your future, it indicates dismal times ahead. You may be getting betrayed by a loved one or suffering a major loss such as a job, home, or relationship.
If the Ten of Swords is reversed, this dark tarot card means that whatever troubles await you will linger for a considerable amount of time.
However, it is important to remember that this misfortune will not be permanent. The tarot card also depicts a golden sky, which suggests more fortuitous times ahead.
Five of Pentacles
As the tarot suit of pentacles pertains to your financial situation, the Five of Pentacles typically deals with poverty and financial loss. This dark tarot card depicts a couple of injured, impoverished people left out in the snow.
The Five of Pentacles indicates that you have fallen on hard times in your finances. Perhaps it’s your job, home, material possessions, or a combination of those things.
Like the unfortunate characters depicted on this tarot card, you will also be left alone to face this financial hardship. You may feel isolated or “left out in the cold” when you need support the most. It may seem like those you love have abandoned you in your time of need.
The Five of Pentacles can also indicate your feelings of lacking something. You may be living in fear that you will lose something of great importance. Or you may be focusing on what you’re missing rather than what you already have.
To reverse this misfortune, it is vital to reach out for help. The solution is there, but you have to communicate your message of needing support.
The Five of Pentacles is only a dark tarot card in its upward state. If the card is drawn in reverse, this typically is a good omen. This signifies the end of a struggle or hardship.
Three of Swords
In many tarot decks, the Three of Swords depicts a heart pierced by three blades. The overall message is one of emotional pain, anguish, and heartbreak. You may be currently suffering these feelings, or this dark tarot card can indicate heartbreak in the near future.
The Three of Swords can be taken as a warning. It’s time to reexamine your relationships and prepare yourself for betrayal or a painful ending somewhere. Keep an eye on your daily love horoscope and be aware of your surroundings.
If drawn in reverse, the Three of Swords focuses on your own opinions of yourself. You may be beating yourself up or failing to see the good things you have to offer. Either way, now is the time to focus on your strengths rather than your weaknesses.
If you receive the Three of Swords in a tarot reading, be prepared for tough times ahead. You will likely suffer extreme emotional pain and loss. However, these feelings will eventually lead to new beginnings.
The Tower is a dark tarot card that depicts a tower surrounded by a stormy sky, lightning, and flames. Lightning strikes the walls of the tower and two men are falling to their deaths.
Receiving The Tower in a tarot reading means you will be faced with a very abrupt change. You will be blindsided by an unexpected loss and left to face the aftermath.
Just as the bolt of lightning strikes the tower, you will be shocked at this sudden change or revelation. Your picture of reality will be forever altered. However, this card may prepare you for it by foretelling such a change.
When The Tower appears in reverse, it suggests that you are going through a significant personal change. You may be feeling like you’re unable to continue your life as it is, or you may be delaying changes and putting off the inevitable.
The Hanged Man (XII)
The Hanged Man (XII) is the twelfth card in the major arcana of most tarot decks. It depicts a pittura infamante, which refers to a defamatory picture of a man hanging from one ankle. This type of hanging was a common punishment in Italy, especially for traitors.
Although the man depicted in the dark tarot card is being held by force, he has a neutral expression on his face. It’s as though he is calmly bearing the brunt of his punishment. He seems to have gotten himself into this predicament.
If you receive the Hanged Man in a reading, you may be suspended in a similar way. You are in a situation where you can no longer fight. Just as the Hanged Man dangles with no hope of relief, so do you.
If the Hanged Man is reversed, he represents indecisiveness. Something in your life is on hold and waiting for you to make a move. This tarot card may mean that you feel stuck in the situation.
Making the Most of Your Tarot Reading
While these cards may foretell misfortune, the future can still be in your control. A dark tarot reading does not have to be a final sentence.
Take this list of tarot cards as a warning to prepare for the difficult times depicted. As life often shows us, there are brighter times ahead.
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