Mary El Tarot - Ten of Wands

Bat Chicken

Where the other three cards definitely signify and end to Life and the cycle reflected by the numbered cards and the qabalah (Malkuth), the Ten of Wands seems to be dual with both a light and dark aspect. This is reflected in the description of the white horse in Revelations.

I watched as the Lamb opened the first of the seven seals. Then I heard one of the four living creatures say in a voice like thunder, "Come and see!" I looked, and there before me was a white horse! Its rider held a bow, and he was given a crown, and he rode out as a conqueror bent on conquest.
Revelation 6 : 1 - 2 ( N I V )

The path of the warrior is a double edged sword. This one wears the crown of Caesar ( the spread of Christianity? Or its enemies? Christ himself?) I get the sense of a fiery phoenix in the flames behind the rider – could this be Judgement, the Holy Spirit? The Bow seems consistent with the idea of God’s Judgement or in God’s doing battle against an enemy – further, the spread of God’s Word.

The traditional meaning of Oppression still carries through in this imagery. The outcome of conquest is not all positive. It indicates oppression to those conquered. Christianity’s conquest has been a mix of enlightenment and oppression. This is a powerful choice of imagery to represent the traditional card.


Feisty Kat

this card reminds me of Apollo, he who could heal as well as harm with his arrows. God of Delphi and of the Delphic maxims, starting with "Know thyself". Of all the Greek gods, he seems the most serious, the most determined on his own agenda, never sharing himself completely, only know truly by his mother and sister. He is a god of little humor and much seriousness.

UZU--Feisty Kat (aka Melia)


I watched "The Place Beyond the Pines" on the same day the 10 of Wands came up for study. It was remarkable how the themes in the movie and the card paralleled one another. The movie was about legacies from father to son and how cycles repeat through generations, similar to the way the 10 ends one cycle and begins another. The wands represent the "divine spark" and with that gift comes the responsibility of choosing how to use it selfishly or for the greater good. A character in the movie is a skilled motorcycle rider who uses that skill to evade police after robbing banks. He is successful at first, but it is only a matter of time before he is caught and killed by a police officer, "achieving greatness only briefly before falling back down". (Landscapes of the Abyss, p. 136) The officer is then praised as hero, but is not entirely comfortable in that position.

I see this card as representing the drawbacks of hero worship. The desire to put someone on a pedestal can create an enormous burden for them, because we all have flaws and many times opportunities for greatness come our way only through chance or acts of dishonesty. It also sets up the opportunity for corruption (which was also featured in the movie) when too much power is given to the so-called heroes or good guys, with not enough accountability or oversight.