Ten of Wands

Number: 31/10

Element: Fire

Astrological Association: Saturn in Sagittarius

Key Meanings: Responsibilities and a burden

The Ten of Wands in Tarot stands for overextending, overwork, burdens, oppression, and struggle. Some of the cards that reinforce the qualities of the Ten of Wands are Justice (Major Arcana card) and the Five of Wands, Six of Swords, Nine of Swords, and Five of Pentacles. Some cards that oppose the Ten of Wands are the Fool and Hanged Man (Major Arcana cards) and the Four of Wands, Four of Swords, and Seven of Swords.

Upright Meaning:

The upright Ten of Wands reveals that you are carrying too much on your shoulders just now. You may have become so used to being overloaded that you’ve lost sight of the reason you’re doing the work. It’s a common card for homemakers and entrepreneurs, those of you who must multitask and constantly respond to a wide range of demands. Consider saying no to any future requests and decide which projects or jobs you can stop or hand over to someone else. There’s a real need here for delegation and support from others. No one expects you to carry this on your own, and this goes for emotional burdens, too—they need to be shared. The card can also suggest that you may be carrying issues from the past. On a more positive note, the card reveals that you can be successful, albeit with careful management of time and resources.

This card can show up in a reading to reveal that you may need to look for less demanding work, but you feel too drained by your present job to spend time searching. This puts you in a catch-22: The situation can’t change until you pull back from current responsibilities and invest what energy you possess into changing your circumstances. The Ten of Wands can also show that relationships are neglected because all your attention is on work.

Also note that if the Ten of Wands comes up as the you/situation card in a reading, you or the person you are reading for may not be receptive to the reading simply because too much is going on. Lay the cards again or wait three days.

Reversed Meaning: When reversed, the card’s meaning is very similar to that of the upright card, except that some of the burdens may be more perceived than real. This may be a sign of ongoing stress, where every task gets framed as a potential problem. The message here is to try to lighten up a little and take some of the pressure off yourself—you don’t need to be perfect. Obstinacy is one of the card’s meanings, so do ask yourself if you have created too much self-pressure, fixating on impossible goals.

The reversed card can also show you being caught in an exhausting grind between work and domestic commitments because you are trying to keep everyone happy. Make a vow to make some space for your own needs—you need to please yourself, too. When you can do this, you’ll see the way ahead more clearly.

About the Deck: “Ciro Marchetti’s Tarot of Dreams” from Tarot.com.