A man is suspended upside-down from the top, via a cloth that hangs above his waist. He is pierced by swords.
This generally is a card of ruin or misfortune. The swords have embedded themselves deep within the man, and he has no way of getting them out. His bound position suggests that he has undergone some painful ordeal like torture. The wall behind him is peppered with splashes of blood, symbolizing pain inflicted upon him. His one hand is pierced by a sword, adding to the sense of grief in the card. His other hand holds on to the blade of the card, symbolizing perhaps a hopeless attempt to find something to hold on to, when, in his dire state, there is none.
And yet, when you look at the face of the man, he is not at all anguished. His eyes are closed but not grimacing; His lips relaxed. There is a certain sense of calm in his face. This would signify that indeed the worst has come, and there will no greater thing to endure. There is no more agitation because of worry or anticipation because it already has befallen him. A positive thing to note on such a card is that, from this very low point of ruin, there is no more worse state to look forward to. Each step one takes would either just at the same level, or hopefully, towards a better, less dire life.
This interpretation refers to ruin and anguish. Pain both physical and otherwise. Grief, trouble and calamity. But also, as mentioned earlier, of the worst having already come. And anything visible in the horizon would be something better.
Pen and ink on paper. Scanned, colored in Photoshop.
Christmastime this year has a weird effect on me that is quite bittersweet.
Go back to the project index, read the traditional card meaning, or get a free tarot reading with this deck.