The Ten of Wands is the card of burden, responsibility, obligation, duty, stress, and burnout. The card depicts a man carrying a large bundle of sticks. His back is bent by the weight of the sticks. He is weighed down by the heavy load. However, he is almost at his destination. He will soon be able to release the burden that he is bearing.
The Ten of Wands reminds us that life does not come without corresponding baggage and responsibility. Sometimes, it’s when we feel most burned out that we are nearest to the end of a cycle. The Ten of Wands urges us to look at whether or not the burdens we carry are adding net positive value to our lives. Duty and obligation can be for the greater good, or it can be at our own detriment.
If the Ten of Wands appears in a Tarot spread as a person, that means that this person is going through a lot. They carry a lot of burden on their shoulders. However, because this is a Minor Arcana card, their circumstances shouldn’t be permanent. This is just a chapter in their life, and they can and will get out of this. It is astrologically associated with Saturn in Sagittarius. Because both Saturn and Sagittarius carry masculine energies, this card carries a doubly active and assertive energy. Saturn is all about burdens, and Sagittarius is ruled by expansive Jupiter, which spans everything it touches. We all have a little bit of both energies expressed in a balanced way, regardless of which gender we identify as.
For physical characteristics, the Ten of Wands as a person represents someone who finds their physical appearance to be a burden. This person puts a lot of stress and energy into the way that they present themselves. They could be somebody who lives beyond their means and purchases items that they can’t afford. They may believe their beauty is a curse. Or, they may push themselves too hard at the gym. They may overindulge to the point of endangering their health. This person may feel like they have to look a certain way to be accepted, and that weighs heavily on them. However, that’s not to say that this person is shallow. They may be hard on themselves because their career relies on them being in shape or wearing the latest trends. They struggle to keep up with those standards. This may also indicate somebody with chronic illness and struggles with fatigue or pain on a daily basis.
For emotional characteristics, the Ten of Wands as a person represents someone who is going through a lot of stress, and is probably seriously burnt out in multiple areas of their lives. However, this card asks us to ask these following questions: First of all, why is this person carrying these ten heavy wands on their own? If this person doesn’t have anybody to share their workload with, then why are they not carrying three or four wands at a time, or some other more reasonable load? Why is this person being so hard on themselves? They need to be kinder to themselves.
For careers, the Ten of Wands can represent someone who has bitten off more than they can chew, or feel overly burdened by work responsibilities. This person may have a very difficult job where they have to make life and death decisions for others. For example, they could be an ER doctor or surgeon. Because this card is astrologically associated with Saturn in Sagittarius, they may be responsible in high-stakes intercultural relations, armed conflicts, or international trade. They may be an interpreter whose choice of words could make or break a trade deal or peace agreement. Additionally, this may be somebody who is forced to work in a field that goes against their personal philosophies, beliefs, morals out of necessity to make a living.
The Ten of Wands as a person represents someone who makes you feel either burdened by their burdens, or compelled to ease this person’s burdens. This person’s issues may be so overwhelming to them, that it’s all they ever talk about. They may also project or take your frustrations out on others, including loved ones, which may become a source of conflict. This person may be quite stubborn. For example, they could refuse assistance and insist on doing everything on their own. Because this card is astrologically associated with Saturn in Sagittarius, this person may secretly feel like their own life’s principles, philosophies, beliefs burden them. They want to live by a certain moral standard, and they put on a brave face, but deep down, they wish they could be free from those constraints.
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If the Ten of Wands reversed appears in a Tarot spread as a person, that means that this person feels burdenless. This can be a good thing or a bad thing depending on the situation. Because this is a Minor Arcana card, some of these traits will not be inherent aspects of their identity. If they are behaving unfavorably, they might just be going through a temporary phase. It may be a behavioral pattern that they can still unlearn, if they choose to. Good or bad, nobody is perfect, and people can use their free will to change for the better.
For physical characteristics, the Ten of Wands reversed as a person represents someone who tries not to put too much pressure on themselves when it comes to physical appearance. This person may have come to realize that the superficial is unimportant. However, it’s very likely that this person learned it the hard way. They may be struggling internally with this newfound lack of concern for outward appearances. This person may have superficially judged others, which backfired on them. Alternatively, drawing this card in the reverse may indicate laziness, or recklessness about one’s body or health.
For emotional characteristics, the Ten of Wands reversed as a person represents someone who refuses to address or acknowledge their burdens. They may feel that they just can’t be bothered to do their duties. Unfortunately, this could translate into irresponsible parenting. For example, they may be unwilling to provide child support. On the other end of the spectrum, this could be someone who has finally decided to accept help and assistance from others, despite being stubborn in the past. This could be somebody who has been resistant to the idea of hiring babysitters, but now they’ve finally come around and entertained the idea of having a little time to treat themselves.
For careers, the Ten of Wands reversed can represent someone who takes no pride in their work. There is an element of irresponsibility to this card when drawn in the reverse. This person has no sense of duty or honor. They have no sense of ownership. They feel disconnected from their work and employer, and they’re just in it for the paycheck. This may be someone who is just not finding fulfillment in their career. But at their worst, this could represent someone who lacks a moral compass.
The Ten of Wands reversed as a person represents someone who makes you feel guilty for their burdens. This person may be unloading their burdens onto you. Alternatively, it may become very obvious to you that their sense of duty toward you is burdening them. This may leave you feeling guilty for troubling them. If they’re putting these burdens on themselves without you ever asking, let them know that it’s not necessary for them to do whatever they’re doing for you. Don’t allow yourself to be guilt tripped or let them transfer their burdens onto you.
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For love readings, the Ten of Wands represents burdens and obligations. This can be viewed both positively and negatively, depending on the context. Too much can weigh us down. But without any duty, we are not tightly bound to the people we love. The Ten of Wands reminds us that there is good and bad in the baggage we carry. Ultimately, we have to judge whether or not it is for our own greater good.
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