10 of Wands: Tarot Card Meaning

By Lauren Williams
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10 of Wands Keywords


  • Burden
  • Responsibility
  • Hard work
  • Stress
  • Achievement
  • Over-commitment
  • Effort
  • Ambition
  • Challenges
  • Duty
  • Accomplishment


  • Avoidance
  • Delegation
  • Lack of purpose
  • Negligence
  • Unbearable pressure
  • Release
  • Breaking free
  • Collapse under weight
  • Inability to delegate
  • Burnout
  • Dropping responsibilities

10 of Wands Essential Meanings Snapshot


The Upright 10 of Wands is often seen as a symbol of responsibility and hard work. It reflects a situation where one may be carrying a burdensome load, feeling overwhelmed with the myriad tasks or challenges at hand. However, it also represents determination and relentless courage. The burdens can be the imperative responsibilities or the obligations that one is bound to perform, which could feel heavy but are central to one’s journey or purpose.


In the Reversed position, the 10 of Wands suggests the possibility of relieving oneself of pressures, either by delegating tasks or reassessing priorities. It encourages the shedding of unnecessary burdens that might have been affecting mental wellbeing or impeding growth. It is a call to rebalance and lighten the load, to step back or seek help, recognising that it’s okay to ease pressures and set healthier boundaries for oneself.

10 of Wands Description

The imagery on the 10 of Wands card is striking and depicts a person struggling under the weight of ten large wands. They are stooped over and appear to be weary from carrying such a heavy load. The path they tread is a long one, indicative of a journey that is far from completion.

Man carrying 10 large wooden wands

On the horizon, there is a small town nestled against a hill, symbolising a destination that may seem unattainable due to the present hardships. The landscape is barren, leaving the figure exposed and alone in their efforts. Their face is hidden, adding to the overall feel of suffocating under the pressures and responsibilities, visibly struggling but soldiering on.

It is a stark card, accentuating a state of feeling burdened or overwhelmed by various facets of life. The person clad in a simple tunic suggests a lack of comfort or luxury, highlighting the struggle and tireless efforts.

Beyond the Surface: Symbolic Meanings

In the realm of tarot, the imagery on the cards holds rich and profound symbolic meanings. Delving beneath the surface into these symbols, we unearth a universe of messages and guidance. Here are the key symbols on the 10 of Wands card and their inherent meanings:

  • Overburdened figure: The man in the card is seen struggling under the weight of ten wands, signifying the burdens of excessive responsibilities or commitments. He symbolizes the heavy physical and mental toll borne by those who take on more than they can handle.
  • Distant home: The small house seen in the distance represents the end goal or destination. It is a promise of relief and fulfillment, a symbol of hope during daunting times. However, its far-off location emphasizes the length and difficulty of the journey.
  • Stars on tunic: The man’s tunic is adorned with salamander-like shapes. These represent transformation and the ability to withstand or adapt to life’s fiery trials. It also subtly nods to the concept of regeneration or rebirth after a period of struggle.
  • Heavy Wands: The massive wands the man carries symbolize the weight of ideas or tasks. They are a metaphorical reminder not to overextend ourselves or lose sight of the balance needed for healthy operation.

Interpreting these signs helps us to decode the metaphorical language of tarot, unlocking deeper wisdom and guidance that extends beyond the apparent scene depicted on the card.

Dual Perspectives: Upright & Reversed

Upright 10 of Wands

The upright 10 of Wands suggests responsibility and burden. It often represents someone who has taken on too much, leading to stress and a feeling of being overwhelmed. You have been striving towards a goal, but the weight of your responsibilities may have become crushing. It conveys the meaning that you are working hard but unable to find free time for your own pleasures. This card is the sign of overcommitment, trying too hard or pushing too far.

Reversed 10 of Wands

On the contrary, the reversed 10 of Wands implies release and unburdening. It often shows that a stressful period is ending, and the weight of responsibility is beginning to lift. It symbolizes the process of delegating tasks, shedding unnecessary duties and learning to say ‘no’. You aren’t held captive by your responsibilities anymore. This card signals a stage where it is time for stress release and letting go of control that adds more stress, rather than value, to your life.

In comparing these two positions, the upright 10 of Wands speaks of emotional or mental struggles and exhausting hardships, while the reversed position highlights the potential for lightening the load and experiencing stress relief.

10 of Wands in Life Scenarios

Tarot cards are not just about predicting the future but also guiding us in our present journey. Let’s delve into how 10 of Wands can apply to different aspects of our lives.

Growth & Self-Discovery

When the 10 of Wands appears in this context, it may suggest a period of overwhelming self-discovery. You’re possibly carrying too many roles and responsibilities that prevent you from focusing on your personal growth and understanding. The card advises you to let go of what isn’t serving you and prioritize your welfare. It encourages a closer look within, to find the balance and personal strength needed to lighten the emotional or mental load you’re carrying.

Career and Creativity

In the realm of career, this card could indicate overwork or heavy responsibilities. It can mean you’re burdened with more tasks than you can handle, creative burnout, or facing too many obstacles to achieving your career goals. The encouragement lies in meticulous prioritization of tasks and possibly seeking help or delegating duties. Remember, it’s important to have a balance between work and-free time to maintain creativity.

Relationships & Bonds

In terms of relationships, the 10 of Wands could signify an imbalance. It represents carrying too many burdens or responsibilities in your relationship. It might suggest one partner bearing the weight of the relationship, leading to frustration and fatigue. This card highlights the importance of communication, equal distribution of responsibilities, and practicing empathy within the relationship. Resolving such imbalances enhances bond strength and relationship satisfaction.

To read more about the 10 of Wands in the context of feelings, read our 10 of Wands as Feelings article.

Choices & Life Decicisions

In the context of life decisions, the 10 of Wands may point to a time where you feel overwhelmed due to an accumulation of small choices that have grown into a large burden. It suggests you’re taking on more than you can handle, leading to stress and negativity that clouds clear decision making. The card encourages you to assess your situation, release unnecessary commitments, and make careful, practical decisions based on understanding of your capacity and personal peace of mind.

To read more about the 10 of Wands when making decisions, read our 10 of Wands: Yes or No article.

10 of Wands from Past to Present

The 10 of Wands, one of the cards from the Minor Arcana of Tarot, has a dynamic visual history and essential historical significance.

Visual Evolution

The traditional Rider-Waite depiction exhibits a man struggling to hold ten heavy wands, heading towards a homestead in the distance. This imagery signifies burdens, responsibilities, hard work, and nearing completion of a daunting task.

In comparison, the Thoth Tarot showcases ten wands (or flaming rods) arranged in an upright position against a flaming background. The transformation from human figures to abstract symbolism over time represents the universal struggle and resilience.

Historical Significance

Historically, the 10 of Wands signifies Saturn in Sagittarius, two potent astrological symbols. Saturn, the taskmaster planet, met with the adventuring, freedom-loving Sagittarius in this card, creates a heavy yoke of responsibility.

From the Italian Renaissance decks to Arthur E. Waite’s iconic deck, this card’s essence remains unchanged – a symbol of burden, struggle and eventual triumph. Meanwhile, the way artists have interpreted these concepts has evolved dramatically, often reflecting the zeitgeist of their era. In modern decks, the card design varies but the core meaning of “carrying a heavy load” persists.

In essence, the 10 of Wands’s transition from past to present reflects an evolving understanding of struggle, responsibility, and the authenticity of individual experience. It stands as a stunning testimony to human tenacity and resilience, reminding us of the light at the end of the tunnel: the journey towards accomplishment and fulfillment.

Synergistic Card Combinations

In Tarot readings, the ten of Wands doesn’t operate in isolation. Each card has relationships with the others, and their meanings can be shaped by these interactions. Herein, we’ll discuss and explore how the ten of Wands interacts with some other tarot cards, sparking unique conversations and bringing fresh interpretations.

Ten of Wands with The Fool

When the Ten of Wands and the Fool interact, it presents a picture of brave naiveté. The Fool, full of innocence and optimism, plows forward without considering the burden symbolised by the Ten of Wands. This combination signifies that taking leaps of faith may lead to unforeseen burdens, but not necessarily negative ones. It encourages embracing the weight as part of the journey.

Ten of Wands with Four of Swords

Interacting with the Four of Swords, The Ten of Wands relays the need for respite. The Four of Swords speaks to rest and inward contemplation. When combined with the Ten of Wands, the cards indicate that the burdens carried have become too great, and the urge for rest is centrespace.

Ten of Wands with The Tower

When combined with the Tower, the Ten of Wands implies a massive change or upheaval under the weight of burdens. The tower signifies sudden, transformative change, which can bring unexpected release from the pressures signified by the Ten of Wands. The change may be disruptive, but ultimately helps to shed the load.

Ten of Wands with Six of Cups

When juxtaposed with the Six of Cups, the Ten of Wands presents a different dynamic. The Six of Cups refers to nostalgia or past memories. When combined, these cards indicate an unnecessary burden of past events or emotional baggage and suggest the need to leave the past behind to continue the journey unladen.

Ten of Wands with Nine of Pentacles

With the Nine of Pentacles, the Ten of Wands warns about the costs of attainment. The Nine of Pentacles signifies material wealth and abundance but reminds that the journey to achievement can be steep, as seen with the Ten of Wands.

Remember, the combined meaning of Tarot cards creates a deep, complex language of symbolism and allegory – it’s an evolving dialogue. These interpretations of dual card synergies are just a glimpse. The insights can be infinitely richer and more varied depending on the layout, placement, reader and the question asked. Use intuition and practice to develop a personal understanding of synergistic card combinations.

Introspection & Meditation

The Ten of Wands as a meditation tool invites the practice of self-reflection, urging us to seek within and explore our inner landscapes. As a symbol of burden, responsibility, and hard work, it can guide our introspective journey by helping us realize areas where we might be carrying excessive emotional, mental or spiritual weight.

Start by visualizing the image of Ten of Wands in your mind’s eye during a meditative session. See yourself as the figure in the card, weighed down by his load. What does each wand represent for you? Perhaps one is a regret, another a fear, and so on. Unpack these burdens one by one, acknowledging the strain they place on your well-being.

In the calm stillness of your meditation, let these weights dissolve, trusting in the process of release. Notice how your psychic energy shifts as each wand slips away, echoing the theme of liberation inherent in this tarot card.

The Ten of Wands also encourages a meditation on resilience and strength. Amidst the struggles, remind yourself of the burdens you’ve already overcome, leading to an internal strengthening and a subtle shift in self-perception. Discover the profound control you hold over your life, one that comes from inner strength and personal resolve.

This card’s message of introspection emphasizes self-awareness and personal growth. Use meditative practices to explore these themes, encouraging a deeper understanding of the self and a more balanced, unburdened existence.


The article is a detailed guide on the symbolic meaning and significance of the 10 of Wands in Tarot with visual, historical, and practical examples. It covers various perspectives of interpreting it in both upright and reversed positions. The article demonstrates how the card can guide self-growth, career choices, relationships, and decision-making situations by representing burdens and hardships. Reference to the 10 of Wands interaction with other tarot cards for a deeper understanding is also provided. Lastly, it presents the importance of introspection, meditation, and symbolism involved in easing mental loads and navigating personal growth.

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Lauren Williams
Lauren merges ancient wisdom with modern insights, offering a fresh perspective on life's mysteries. She's passionate about guiding individuals through the world of astrology, lunar cycles, numerology, and tarot. When she's not charting the stars or reading tarot, she enjoys getting out in nature, hikes and yoga.