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Tarot of Prague Café Club - Ten of Wands

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Tarot of Prague Café Club - Ten of Wands


This card haunted me in readings for myself, until I consciously cut down on my commitments and now he appears much less - it's uncanny how the cards seem to know when you've taken their advice.
The masked wooden puppet figure struggling up the steps with his heavy armful of wands is quite a startling one in the ToP - he stands out among the many graceful figures in classical poses. You can literally see the distortion he's undergoing from being so overburdened. He's all out of alignment, and not using his body well to cope with his burden. His poor feet are turned inwards; they look as if they're too heavy for him to lift so he just drags them them; you can almost hear the sound of wood on cobblestones. His face is contorted with effort and he looks as if he's gasping for air. The book points out that the city behind him is serene and tranquil in the evening light but that he's unaware of this. He's consumed by thoughts of all the work there is to be done.

The wands themselves look very attractive - they have carved heads and are shot through with rainbow colours. This adds to the message for the card for me - the undertakings, responsibilities, or projects that the wands represent may all be very striking and inviting and worthwhile but the fact remains that their carrier cannot do justice to all of them. Something's got to give.

A final thought - the black mask with its white streaks gives the figure an ethnic look (sorry if that's a really inane way of describing it). For me it conjures up an image of a Maori tribesman, say, or an Amazon rainforest native. I never thought of this before but I wonder if this card can carry hints of political oppression and slavery as well as personal burdens? Any opinions on that one?
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Hi there BF,

Yes I can see the slavery/oppression thing in this card too. I don't know why that is. Perhaps its the mask. Not being yourself, putting on a front or an act, to hide what is really being felt.

The thing that strikes me with this card is the stiffness. Normally we see a figure struggling with the weight of his burdens, and he often appears hunched over. However, this card shows the burden differently. The puppet is made of wood, which is strong and durable but also unbending. Movement is only effected if the string is pulled. His left hand is white and appears to beckon us, almost willing us to help and take some of the wands from him.

The wands are tied with string, symbolising the restriction. It makes me want to just pull that loose end and let the lot drop to the floor! He seems to be on a solitary journey and the effort, struggle and determination is evident on his face. That said, we can see what he has to gain from persevering. All those beautifully carved and colourful wands.

I wonder if there could also be a touch of martyrdom here. A sort of 'I can do it on my own, I don't need you' type of attitude.

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A pretty heavy load! He seems a bit tired but a proud worker. He won't leave his load to anybody else.
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I was looking at this card today, and it struck me that in addition to its usual meanings -- too many tasks or the consequences of going it alone -- it might also represent carrying around a "burden of guilt."
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He looks like he is made out of different pieces and parts. One of his legs is bigger then the other one. The phrase "pulling oneself together" comes to mind. Maybe he has done this task so much that it has worn him out. He keeps trying to hold himself together so he can finish this task, but it may not be worth it anymore. He wears a mask, so maybe his very identity is made up of carrying the staffs around and would'nt know what to do with himself if he stopped. His real identity and what he really thinks is a mystery to him. But he needs to stop what he is doing and take care of himself if he wants a better existance.
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