With the Ten of Wands, I'm reminded of many trips to the grocery store, and the inevitable unloading afterward. When I was young, all of my siblings would pitch in to bring the grocery bags in from the vehicle, and it would usually take us several trips. These days there is usually only one other person there to help me unload. So what do I do? I grab several plastic bags in each hand, and slip several of them on to my arms. When my fiance asks if I need any help, I usually grunt a, “No, it's ok, I'm good.” and stumble off towards the apartment. It doesn't take long until my arms get weak and I have difficulty staying upright. Sometimes we're forced to take the load on alone, and other times we assume the responsibility ourselves (and then realize the trouble we've gotten into).
On this card we see an empty field – on the far side is a house, possibly a village with greenery all around. In the foreground we have a man struggling to hold a huge pile of sticks on his own. He's really putting his back into keeping all the sticks off the ground. Worst of all, it looks as if any of these sticks could slip from his grasp at any moment... but he works had to keep them all in line. Unfortunately, he still has a ways to go before he reaches the house in the distance, and he is personally blinded to that distance by the sticks in front of his face.
The Ten of Wands represents a huge burden, and the over-straining that you suffer when carrying it. This card helps put things in perspective, telling you that the load you are carrying is no light load. Sometimes we lose perspective on our own burdens, either thinking they are larger than they are, or thinking we can handle any huge burden that comes our way (when we really can't). This time you might have taken on too much.
The card also signifies that you have been run ragged for a long period of time. No R&R in your life can lead to even the smallest of tasks becoming huge and unbearable. This card may be calling you to action – while the tasks set before you might not have been your own choosing, it's your job to make sure that you are properly rested and have a chance to relax. You'll need a rest soon, otherwise you might snap!
Here are some things to ask yourself in the face of the Ten of Wands. How are you overburdened? Are you over-straining yourself? Are you consistently taking on more tasks than you can handle alone? How can you address this issue? How can you make sure to relax and rejuvenate?
Two five-cards have a great deal of similarity to the overextending present in the Ten of Wands – the Fives of Wands and the Five of Pentacles. The Five of Wands shows that hassles, struggles, and difficulties that can arise in your life – the big difference between the two cards is that the Five's struggles come from dealing with other parties, where the Ten's struggles are a singular variety. The Five of Pentacles deals with a different type of struggle – a worldly one. The Ten of Wands can be any struggle, so the Five of Pentacles can pair nicely alongside this card: it can be telling you that your struggles are physically based.