Ten of Wands Explained - Upright & Reversed Meanings
Last Updated: January 20, 2023
The Ten of Wands is the tenth card in the suit of Wands (also known as the suit of blades) and one of the fifty-six suit cards from the minor arcana. In divinatory tarot, the Suit of Wands is associated with the element of fire and traditionally signifies creativity, inspiration, ambition, determination and willpower. Each card of this suit represents aspects of our lives such as career, travel and spirituality.
Divination practices such as cartomancy can help us make decisions, offer guidance, and help us tune into our intuition when we are at a crossroads in our lives. Understanding the meanings of each tarot card can help you sharpen your interpretative skills so you can get the most out of your readings.
The Ten of Wands is all about the burdens of life and when this card appears, it very much signifies that hard work is required during this time frame. This card tries to teach the importance of delegating tasks and sharing responsivities so as to not overload oneself, as this card will acknowledge how poor we all feel when we have a never-ending amount on our plates!
In this article, we will discuss the meanings of the Ten of Wands in various tarot reading contexts as well as the different symbols and nuances that can be found within this court card.
Pictorial Symbolism in the Rider-Waite-Smith tarot deck
The artworks from the Rider-Waite-Smith tarot deck contain deeper esoteric meanings that tarotists love to decipher. An individual approaches a not-too-distance town whilst carrying 10 wooden staffs in their arms. This person is hunched over, clearly, they have been travelling a while and they are feeling the weight of what they’re carrying, they’re clearly very tired by this point! But they plod onward towards the town, knowing they will reach their destination soon, and that they will be able to put down their inventory and take a much-needed rest, they just need to get through this final stretch!
The Ten of Wands key correspondences
Stress, overload, problems, lost focus, burden, struggle.
Breakdown, can’t do it, issue after issue, pushing yourself too much, letting go, reducing responsibility.
|Yes or No|
Sagittarius, Saturn in Sagittarius, December 13th to December 21st
What does the upright Ten of Wands mean in the Tarot?
On one hand, you may have walked into something expecting it to be a great idea at the time, but slowly you’ve come to realise just how much weight this has brought to sit upon your shoulders, and it’s leaving you feeling very restricted during this time.
You may feel as though everyone and everything around you is just expecting you to do x, y, and z, and this is causing you to feel majorly overwhelmed. But, alternatively, this could mean that the end is very much in sight for you, you just have to keep plodding on as best as you can.
When pulled in the upright position, the Ten of Wands is associated with stress, overload, problems, lost focus, burden, and struggle.
What does the upright Ten of Wands mean in a love reading
If you’re in a relationship, then the presence of the Ten of Wands typically suggests that you feel as though all the fun and excitement has been zapped out of the relationship in favour of duty and responsibility.
You may be feeling as though the majority of the responsibilities are falling on your shoulders and that your partner isn’t picking up the slack or doing a fair share, this is leading you to no doubt feeling overwhelmed by just how much you’re doing. Remember why you started this journey together in the first place, and find fun in every day together.
If you’re single, then it’s likely that you’re struggling to make the time for dating and making any ‘fun’ commitments when it comes to any romantic interests, but you do have the ability to turn things around and find the time you need in order to get back out into the dating world once again.
Life can get hectic for us all, but it doesn’t need to run you to the point it exhausts you and makes you feel as though you don’t have the time for another, or to even take the time to get to know someone else – to see if it goes anywhere. Remember you’re in control, you have the ability to change this.
What does the upright Ten of Wands mean in a career reading?
Two questions. Work right now is preeeetty exhausting for you, isn’t it? You’ve taken on quite a lot of responsibility, haven’t you? It’s okay, sometimes we think we are capable of doing more than we actually can, it’s human error, but so long you recognise that you need to reduce what’s on your plate and that you’ll actively do something to change this, then it’ll be okay.
Speak to whoever you need to in order to shift some projects and/or tasks around, this’ll help you feel less frustrated by your job, and look to inject some enthusiasm back into what you do and why you enjoyed your work in the first place.
What does the upright Ten of Wands mean in a health reading?
It’s time to focus on yourself as a priority as right now you’re your own worst enemy health-wise; all this worrying and stressing you’re doing is doing you absolutely no favours, and it’s having a negative knock-on effect on your health.
You need to focus on reducing your current level of responsibility and/or burdens, as you need to give yourself a break and space in order to make sure your health gets back on track – or to at least prevent it from going off the rails.
Don’t let stress knock you off your feet, especially when it’s something you can prevent and avoid.
The Ten of Wands as feelings/emotions
If you are asking the tarot how someone feels about you, pulling the Ten of Wands suggests that this person is feeling the stress of life’s burdens and it’s very much weighing them down, and any feelings of romance or a love interest, in general, is knocking their mindset even more as they’re just viewing all of this as a negative overall – it just feels like an added burden to them, because of how much is already on their plate.
They’re struggling to see how feelings of affection could help them and be more of a positive focus, it just feels like another task for them to deal with and navigate right now.
The Ten of Wands as a person
As a personality archetype, the Ten of Wands represents someone that typically takes on too much and frequently experiences burnout.
They may even have the typical hero complex where they want to save the world, so will take on any and all problems to try and fix them singlehandedly, most of the time convincing themselves that they can actually do it, without realising that no human alive could complete 250 tasks in the space of 15 minutes (an exaggerated example, of course).
But they will be the type to go “yeah, I can do that” because they just want to be helpful and useful, whilst failing to see that they’re having a negative impact on themselves, and constantly wearing themselves out. For this person, there is always a marathon task involved.
The Ten of Wands as advice
Things may be feeling rough at the moment, but the Ten of Wands is here to advise you to buckle down, bear the weight of whatever you have on your shoulders, and keep pushing onward – you’re nearly at your destination, you can absolutely do this.
It’s acceptable to ask for help from those around you if the burdens you’re carrying are too much and you’re feeling completely and utterly overwhelmed, a problem shared is a problem halved, it doesn’t make you a failure.
I’d suggest making time for self-care and a reward awaiting you that keeps you motivated and looking onward – you’ve got this.
What is the zodiac or astrological sign associated with the Ten of Wands?
Saturn in Sagittarius whilst seemingly like a paradox is more of the reserved university professor heading towards tenure versus the eternal student of life that backpacking around the world makes you think of regarding this placement.
Remember that there is wisdom in finishing your goals, remembering why you restricted yourself to this path and its reasoning, to aid you with finding the accomplishment for your benefit. The card rules December 13th to December 21st which is close to the solstice.
On the solstice, it’s the time to focus on balance, and letting one season end leading for the next.
Is the Ten of Wands a yes or no card?
Due to the Ten of Wands’s nature of being linked to feelings of being overwhelmed, exhausted, and overall just worn out, this is typically seen as one of the minor arcana’s ‘no’ cards.
In this context, instead of action and ‘plodding on’, this Ten would advise alleviating your burdens and stressors before adding anything else to your plate and moving forward.
You need to make space for the ‘yes’ that you’re after, and you can’t do that if you’re carrying the weight of the world.
Below are some of my interpretations, as an experienced tarot practitioner, based on different types of questions:
Querent question: “Will I get the job?”
Card interpretation: The Ten of Wands could suggest that you’ll be walking into a job that is full of a lot of demand and responsibility, and oh boy will you be feeling it! But you have the persistence to be successful here, you can cope with the grind necessary to move onto greater aspects within the job/career.
However, due to the cards nature of also being about being overburdened and finding the strength to get to the finish line, it could also suggest that no matter what happens, no matter how many times you hear “sorry, you didn’t get the job”, whilst you may be feeling the weight of how negatively impactful that can be, you still have the persistence to push onward, fighting for a job after job, and that willingness to continue on will see you land something soon.
Querent question: “Is this new person in my life good for me?”
Card interpretation: They will be the type of person willing to take on your own personal burdens in order to help you, but they also typically do this for most people they meet, as they just want to be helpful and try and fix as many things as they can. But they will be exhausted because of this, so whilst they may be willing to help, be mindful that they already have so much on their plate, and perhaps it is you that could help assist them with realising that they too need a break. This could be someone that you help and in return, they equally help you but don’t let their stress bring you down – remain mindful of that. Just because they have taken on a lot doesn’t mean they get to put anything negative on you (ie if they lash out during a stressful moment). It won’t be uncommon for this person to praise the work of others but then also be incredibly critical of their own, and more than likely resort to some sort of personal punishment against themselves, this in itself can become a burden on you, as negative words and actions of others can be exhausting – no matter how ‘helpful’ that person is trying to be in other aspects, so just keep that in mind too.
Querent question: “Should I make the investment?”
Card interpretation: Now is far from the time to be considering laying down your cash on some sort of investment other than helping your situation. You need to focus on how to get your money into a better place than where it currently is, and seek legal or professional help if necessary – especially if you’re struggling. You don’t want those problems to get even more out of hand than what they potentially are, so don’t look for a quick fix, take steps towards improving your existing financial state as a priority.
Querent question: “Will I achieve my current goals?”
Card interpretation: Whilst you may very much be on the right path, and nearing your final destination, it’s clear you’re feeling the weight of just how much you’ve taken on to go after these goals of yours! It’s okay to let go of some of that weight, you’ll still get there regardless, you don’t have to do a thousand and one things all at once – it isn’t worth the burnout! Look to alleviate your workload and carry on ploughing on with the rest of it, you’re making the progress necessary, just stop biting off more than you can chew. It’ll still work out!
Querent question: “Should I start my own business?”
Card interpretation: If you went into this journey at this time, then it’s going to be a struggle and a sludge! You’ll have a lot on your plate with this one, and it very much has the chance of overwhelming you – and doing so quite quickly for that matter. However, if you are committed to this… you’re willing to fight for your dream business, and you genuinely 100% want to do this, and you’ll carry the weight of what’s necessary…then you’ll reach your final destination. Remain mindful of delegating where necessary to not bring yourself to burnout – that’ll do you absolutely zero favours on this complex journey.
So, fundamentally, it’s up to you if you’re up to the challenge this will be at this current time. It won’t be a walk in the park, that’s for sure, so this is for you to decide.
What does the reversed Ten of Wands mean in the Tarot?
With the reversed Ten of Wands, it typically suggests that you have taken on too much but that these tasks/issues that are bringing you this level of stress can absolutely be dropped. Is it bringing you joy?
Is it furthering your personal advancement? Do any of them actually do anything for you? Because if not, bin ‘em, boo! You have to remember you do indeed have control over certain stressors in your life, and with the aspects, you can control here of what’s overwhelming you, bag it and bin it!
Don’t deal with unnecessary things ‘just because’. In some cases, however, it can also suggest that you have indeed started that process already of ditching these duties and unloading your workload completely – for the better!
But are these the responsibility of other people? Are these duties you are passing off meant for you only, and you’re hiding from this? Take a minute with yourself, and make a decision to finish or what to share.
When pulled in the reversed position, the Ten of Wands is linked with issues after issue, pushing yourself too much, letting go, and the importance of reducing responsibility.
What does the reversed Ten of Wands mean in a love reading?
If you’re in a relationship, then this Ten can very much go one of two ways, either 1) you and/or your partner have taken back control of sorting out your responsibilities and have removed unnecessary stressful tasks from your personal lives and this is having a positive impact on your relationship with one another.
Or 2) your current burdens are sitting so heavy upon your shoulders that it’s having such a severely negative impact on your relationship, and you may even be feeling like throwing in the towel here is the best option.
Whether this is you or your partner, that doesn’t matter; what matters is that everything is being dealt with by only one individual here at the moment, and the other is slacking. One person cannot juggle all the burdens alone. A relationship is about teamwork.
However, if you’re single, then the reversed Ten of Wands typically indicates that you’re either currently focusing on, or will begin to focus on, getting rid of unnecessary burdens and stressors in your life and this in turn will lead you to be able to find more time for the dating world.
What does the inverted Ten of Wands mean in a career reading?
Whilst this Ten isn’t usually seen as one of the minor’s more ‘positive’ cards, the reversed Ten of Wands in relation to career can actually be a good sign! Have you been working towards sharing out your workload to ease the pressure and stress you’ve been under?
Because you will end up feeling better because of it and actually having a moment to breathe again! But saying that, this card can still also mean that you did not do this, you got too stubborn with your workload and you crashed and burned because of it, you silly goose.
So whilst the card is calling you out, why don’t you see what you can do about it?
What does the upside-down Ten of Wands mean in a health reading?
This is where you really need to know yourself because on one hand, this could be a good omen, but it can equally be bad. Have you been ill or injured lately and have been brushing any symptoms and/or issues related to this under the rug?
Ignoring it won’t make it go away and you’ve potentially not done yourself a favour at all by doing this as your health will be taking a plunge as a consequence. However, if you’ve actively been doing something about how stress has been impacting you, this card can also mean that your health will begin to improve now!
You’ve done yourself a favour and you’ll soon come to see the improvements because of it.
In conclusion, the 10 of Wands tarot card is a powerful symbol of stress, overload, problems, lost focus, burden, and struggle. When this card appears in your reading, it is often a sign that you need to remember why you are on the journey in the first place. Amongst all of the stress and troubles, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed and loose motivation. The 10 of Wands is asking you to remember the “why” in order to keep the motivation to carry on forward.
Despite its association with mysticism and occultism, the tarot has grown to become much more than a simple “fortune-telling” tool. For many tarot practitioners, it is a complex system made of symbolic imagery and psychological considerations (Jungian archetypes for example) that can be used for self-exploration, meditation, and personal transformation.
The 56 lesser arcana cards relate to the day-to-day events of our lives, the more mundane aspects of our existence. Even though that part of the tarot is about the “smaller picture”, it symbolizes the constant choices we make that shape our lives, our characters, and ultimately our destinies.
Have you ever had a reading where the Ten Of Wands appeared? What was the outcome? What does that card mean to you personally? How do you interpret this card in your own tarot practice?
Share your thoughts and experiences with me in the comments below. Additionally, If you want to know more about the different tarot cards, feel free to check out my complete list of all 78 tarot cards and their meanings.
Written by Amy
Outside the weird and wonderful world of my craft, I like to cosplay and fully dive into the fantasy genre across all forms, from books to video games and everything in between.