Burden. Excessive pressure. Achievement.
The Ten of Wands shows a man carrying a great burden, and if this appears in a reading, it shows that you’re probably also carrying a burden, one that may be stressing you. Whatever you’re doing, it feels like hard work.
But great pressure can lead to great achievement.
However, there are times when you might want to release some of the burden from yourself. If you feel over-worked or extremely tired, then perhaps you need a rest before continuing.
You may be carrying a heavy responsibility, which could come from taking care of others.
Generosity and self-sacrifice are sometimes indicated.
You might be in a situation where you need to assert yourself.
This card suggests that you don’t easily flinch in the face of hard work, that you are able to rise to a challenge.
The realisation of a dream may be indicated, but one that has been bought at the price of hard work and stress.
Fortune or any sort of success is possible—but the Nine of Swords could change this to failure.
You may be carrying a cruel burden that needs to be released. It’s possible that someone you know is showing selfishness.
The Ten of Wands reversed may show you trying to do too much. You might have taken on more than is healthy for you, and it may be a good idea to let go of some of the burden. Perhaps someone else can help, or perhaps you just need to rearrange part of your life (this meaning can equally apply to the upright position).
It may indicate difficulties, but not as intense as in the upright position.
As always, the opposite meanings to the upright card are possible. There may be a sudden lifting of pressure from your shoulders.
Also, an internalisation of the energy of the upright card is possible. Perhaps you’re keeping the burden you carry to yourself; perhaps you should consider sharing it.
Reversed cards can also show blockages. Possibly you’re letting a burden prevent you from doing something important. Find ways to relieve this pressure.
The Ten of Wands showing a man walking towards a town. He’s bent over from carrying an oppressive burden of staves.
Waite suggests in his white book that the place to which the man is carrying the staves may suffer from them. Presumably, if they were used as weapons.
The Animal Totem Tarot shows a snail carrying its house on its back, showing slow but difficult progress.
The esoteric title of the Ten of Wands is Lord of Oppression.
Astrologically, this card represents Saturn in Sagittarius.