The 10 of Wands is a card of burden. We might imagine that those wands are actual situations, problems, or worries in our life which we are carrying. They might represent items on a to-do list which we are waiting to tick off, but that day never seems to come.
You might wonder why this guy struggles as he does. In a reading, this is a question you may ask yourself or your client. The goal (symbolised by the city) is in sight, but should he wish to continue with this load upon his breaking back, should some adjustments not be made?
When the 10 of Wands sits after the Queen of Cups, he adds flavour to her character. We already know that this queen is immersed in her emotional world – look at how she focuses only on her cup! When the 10 of Wands partners her in this duo, we are looking at someone who is burdened and overcome by what they are feeling. She could be someone who is too sensitive to cope with the load they carry in life.
Might the Queen of Cups be overreacting? In some situations, this is possible. In a reading, she could be someone who takes on emotional conundrums like this man picks up sticks. If a person draws these two cards in a reading, we might need to find a way in which they can lighten their load by suggesting professionals who can help them to deal with the vast array of emotional difficulties they’re experiencing or the day-to-day problems they are finding it difficult to cope with.
When joined by Strength, we see quite a different scenario. Since both cards relate to the element of Fire (Strength is assigned to Leo), we see someone who has immense inner-fortitude. With this Major card beside him, the guy in the 10 of Wands doesn’t appear to be struggling quite so much.
These cards could appear for anyone who is facing a fear, fighting an illness or surviving through a difficult time. This is where the struggle is worth the bother; it is where it doesn’t kill us, it makes us stronger. Of course, I would not advise anyone to load them self up with stress and difficulty, but there are some people who thrive on challenge and pushing them self to the limit. This is not always something they are born with. Very often, people with a hard start in life build up the resistance and courage of Strength and carry it forward into everything they do.
Do we see the same city in both cards? You might consider that the one the man with the wands is travelling to is the one which the rider arrives in, where the crowd are welcoming him with praise and admiration. The sunset has become a sunrise.
We often look at cards like the 10 of Wands as being bleak and concerning big issues. Sometimes, it does, but on a mundane and everyday level, a twosome like this could describe the reward of persistence and hard work. Could these cards concern the student who has just finished her gruelling degree but has passed with flying colours and received the praise of her university, family and friends? We all carry burdens within life. In a reading like these, we need to work out whether they will make us or break us.
© Steven Bright Tiferet Tarot 2014
Illustrations by Steven Bright