When you’re new to tarot, whether you’re reading it for yourself or visiting a pro, there are certain cards that seem really bad. The Death card, for example, can be frightening. However, Death is far from the most ominous card in the deck.
Sadly, there isn’t a Happy Squirrel card in the real Major Arcana, but the fortune teller from this Simpsons episode is right about Death representing transition, endings, or change. That’s not so bad, right? Here are the cards you should actually watch out for.
This might be the most negative card in the Minor Arcana. The 10 of Swords typically shows a person being surrounded–or perhaps stabbed–by a bunch of swords. 10 of them, in fact.
The card indicates that a sudden and unpleasant event has happened or will happen in the future. You’ll literally be stabbed in the back by someone you trust.
Swords deal with matters of the mind, and many of them are super dark. The 9 of Swords shows a figure sitting up in bed, head in hands, with a row of blades arrayed behind them.
This card is interpreted as anguish, despair, or guilt. Those are some seriously negative emotions! While it can be a helpful hint to take a look at the negativity eating away at you, it’s not a happy card.
Not to pick on Swords, but this suit has more than it’s share of negative cards. The 3 of Swords, shown in the classic Rider-Waite deck as a heart pierced by three daggers, indicates heartbreak. You’ll be rejected or lose someone you care about when you see this card.
The Hanged Man is a fascinating card, but not exactly a cheerful one. This card shows a young man hanging upside down. He’s not dead, but he’s still clearly not having a good time.
This Major Arcana is all about being stuck. You can’t do anything about your situation, so you might as well accept it. There’s a certain freedom in accepting that there are things you can’t change, but it’s not an easy message.
This card is so sad. In many decks, it shows a pair of desperate figures outside in the snow, looking in on a lit window that promises warmth and safety. Pentacles is the suit of earthly concerns, especially money, and the 5 of Pents shows a distinct lack of resources. It foreshadows poverty and loneliness.
Unlike Death, which isn’t as bad as it seems, The Devil is truly a card that you don’t want to see. However, there’s more to it than meets the eye. The card is not referencing the literal Devil, but your own personal demons. It’s especially relevant to addiction or self-destructive behavior.
Tarot experts will point to The Tower as the most negative card of Major Arcana. The traditional image is of a tower struck by lightning, with figures falling to the ground as the building burns.
There’s really nothing good about this card. It indicates a sudden, shocking, or terrible event. The only silver lining is that at least you’ll be prepared for the catastrophe when it strikes.