The Ten of Wands is the 10th tarot card in the Minor Arcana suit of Wands and represents the culmination of the journey that began with the Ace. If Wands represent our life energy, passions, and creative urges, then this card illustrates the heavy responsibility of managing these drives and desires. The movement and action typically associated with Wands have become belabored by the sheer amount of wands, indicating the psychological weight he carries.

The Ten of Wands is associated with the element of fire and the third decan of the zodiac sign Sagittarius (20-29 degrees). In the Northern hemisphere, this is when the sunlight is diminishing and the calendar year is coming to a close, which echoes the theme of endings in this card. This decan is ruled by Saturn and indicates the presence of constraints, the need to assume responsibilities, and the task of bringing our ambitions into form.

Where the key meanings of the Major Arcana cards focus on life’s overarching themes and events, Minor Arcana cards like the Ten of Wands or the suit of Pentacles explore and reveal the more subtle changes impacting one’s day-to-day life and near future.

Ten of Wands Keywords

Upright Keywords

Reversed Keywords

heavy burdens, burnout, overloaded with responsibilities, nearing the finish line, doing it all by yourself, task of bringing dreams to form

collapsing under the weight of your responsibilities, exhaustion, taking on more than you can carry, freedom from burdens, release of responsibility 

Description of the Ten of Wands Tarot Card

The Ten of Wands is the culminating card in the suit of Wands. Through the imagery of its card description, the Ten of Wands represents the burden of ambition and the responsibility that comes with bringing our dreams to life in the material world. Likewise, it directly follows the Nine of Wands’ perseverance through life’s many battles. The energy of fire, which began as a spark of an idea in the Ace of Wands, has bloomed into a seemingly unmanageable bouquet of wands that seem almost to engulf the person carrying it.

In the Rider Waite Smith tarot deck, the man is pictured with his head down, not looking at where he’s going but simply trying to put one foot in front of the next. Perplexingly, he carries his bundle of wands in front of him—if he were to carry them on his back, he might be better able to manage their weight. This speaks to the ways that the various responsibilities we have in life can overwhelm us if not managed effectively.

He is pictured mid-journey, but the house in the background implies that he is close to reaching his destination. This speaks to being weighed down by the demands of a situation, but it is also a reassurance that you are close to the finish line and that the work you do is for a larger purpose, such as sustaining a home or family.

Ten of Wands Upright Meaning

In the upright position, the Ten of Wands suggests that you’re feeling weighed down by the responsibilities in your life. There may be many different tasks, chores, or duties which must be attended to in order to manage the upkeep of your life. Try to focus on the bigger picture and connect with the larger vision of why you’ve taken on the responsibilities that you carry.

You may be reflecting on the beginning stages of this particular chapter or journey in your life and how your current situation is the result of a simple desire which emerged long ago. Now you can reconsider if all of the different manifestations of this desire and its associated responsibilities are worth your time and energy.

The upright Ten of Wands can appear when you are under the assumption that you must do it all by yourself. If you avoid asking for help when you need it, this card is a reminder that the load will be easier to bear if you enlist the support of others. You might benefit from considering if and how you can delegate your workload so that you can focus on what is truly meaningful.

Love and Relationships (Upright Meaning)

In the upright position of a tarot reading, the Ten of Wands symbolizes taking on all of the burdens and heavy load of the relationship by yourself. This can show up as avoiding situations that might create conflict and, in the process, sublimating your own needs. Or when disagreement arises, you may deny your true feelings, attempting to keep the peace and smooth things over with your partner.

The upright Ten of Wands can represent feeling weighed down by a relationship and the resulting need to air your true feelings. It asks if you are taking on all the responsibility, emotionally or even in terms of your daily chores and household duties. It can represent feeling overwhelmed by the demands of everyday life and the need to delegate more to your partner.

Love/relationships upright keywords

Career/finance upright keywords

avoiding conflict, sublimating your own needs, trying to keep the peace, weighed down by a relationship, taking on too much responsibility

heavy workload, intense pressure, burdened by responsibility for others, needing to delegate or manage others, nearing the finish line

Career and Finance (Upright Meaning)

The upright Ten of Wands suggests that you are carrying a large workload, and this is weighing heavily on you. You may feel overwhelmed by the extra hours of work you have to do, the competing and various responsibilities you have, or the feeling of being responsible for the well-being of those who depend on you.

You may be carrying more than you can manage at work and would benefit from delegating your workload or managing others more effectively. Though the task can feel immense, this card is also an encouragement to keep going, as you are nearly at the finish line. If you can schedule periods of time to rest and slow down, you may reach your goal in a better frame of mind.

Ten of Wands Reversed Meaning

The reversed Ten of Wands can indicate that your responsibilities have become too heavy to continue carrying, the extra pressure of their weight crushing your spirit and leaving you feeling burnt out and exhausted. If you can find a way to set down some of your burdens, you will feel lighter and more capable of carrying on.

You may be overly focused on work or on chasing the next big goal without making time to enjoy the fruits of your labor. If you’re working too hard to enjoy what you’ve earned, this card is a reminder that the means need to justify the ends. Make pleasure and rest a priority, and you will feel replenished and more motivated to continue working hard.

The Ten of Wands meaning when reversed can also symbolize walking away from a situation, project, relationship, or job that feels too demanding. You may have been weighed down by it for a long time and are now coming to realize that you can’t continue in this way any longer. Be sure to leave the wands behind you (or metaphorically in the past) so that you don’t encounter them again on your way forward.

Love and Relationships (Reversed Meaning)

In the reverse position of a love reading, the Ten of Wands suggests that you’re feeling overly burdened by the demands of a relationship because you’re taking on too much emotional baggage. You could be assuming all responsibility or blame when conflict arises in your love life, and are feeling unfairly held accountable for all of the issues between you and your partner.

The reversed Ten of Wands can also speak to letting go of a relationship because it’s become too overbearing. You could be realizing that it’s causing you an undue amount of stress and tension, and you are freeing yourself from this unhealthy dynamic. It may be important to acknowledge ways you have unconsciously assumed this role in the relationship so that you don’t repeat the same mistakes going forward.

Love/relationships reversed keywords

Career/finance reversed keywords

burdened by the demands of a relationship, taking on all the emotional labor, feeling persecuted, freeing oneself from an overbearing relationship

overloaded with responsibilities, weighed down by demands of work, questioning the value of work, delegating work to others, reconnecting to original motivation

Career and Finance (Reversed Meaning)

The reversed Ten of Wands can indicate that you are feeling weighed down by the demands of your job or career, pulled in many different directions or overloaded with tasks and responsibilities. You may have lost sight of the reason you set out on this path and are wondering if all this hard work is worth the stress and pressure you feel. It is an encouragement to seek out moments of pleasure and relaxation so that you can feel connected to your work again.

This card asks you if everyone you are working with or for is doing their part and if you are assuming too much responsibility with your workload. If you find that you can delegate some of your work to others, you will be able to actually enjoy the fruits of your labor. You may need to reconnect to your original motivation or a feeling of deeper purpose in your work in order to continue the path that you’re on.

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