Exploring the Minor Arcana: The Tens

In this series we'll be diving into the world of the Minor Arcana. Each segment will group the cards by number where we can engage in their themes and differences. For all the posts in the installment, click here.


I can hardly believe we've made it to the end of the numbered cards in the Minor Arcana! It's been an illuminating journey, and what better place to conclude this portion than with the bustling, detailed tens? 

These cards signify the conclusion of a cycle, event, or undertaking. Because of this they represent both an end as well as the early stages of a new beginning. (I love the image of this in the number ten itself, with one being the singular accomplishment and zero being the seed that's yet to sprout.) It's already a lot to pack into one card, but as we can see from the images above, the tens are full of happenings and meanings.

I like to think of the tens using "the 3 C's" (and, yes, I do realize that's imminentely cheesy!): culmination, completion, and complexity. Tens represent the maximum expression of the suit - all the events, experiences, and lessons in one card. This can be heavy and overwhelming, like in the wands and swords, or joyous and full like the cups and pentacles. 

Let's dive into the details for each suit. Click on each for the full card meaning page.

Explore In-Depth Minor Arcana Meanings

The  Ten of Wands illustrates the overwhelm that comes with a pile-up of work, obligations, and tasks. Struggling forward with ten sticks obscuring your view is both difficult and disorienting. This card can either be a breaking point - where one or more tasks must be put down in order to continue - or a final push to the finish line.

For the Ten of Swords shows us how it's impossible to avoid our feelings. Hurt, fear, overwhelm, and doubt will catch up with us, not matter how hard we try to run. This goes for personal issues and external events. In occupying this dire-looking space we also acknowledge an end and with that comes the rising sun - a new day - to begin anew.

The Ten of Cups shows us how family, commnity, and romance can bring incredible amounts of joy into our lives. This card, a picture of domestic bliss, shows good energy radiating outwards. Caring for and celebrating connection bring even more good fortune our way. This card also illustrates the happiness that comes from domestic stability rooted in emotional connectedness.

Finally, the Ten of Pentacles gives us a beautiful depiction of the richness that comes from creating and caring for our physical world. This card speaks to the work and understanding that goes into creating a space meant to foster our growth and the growth of those close to us. Life explodes in a riot of color, connectedness, and complexity. It's rich and wild, deep and meaningful, and uniquely our own.

How do the tens speak to you in your tarot practice? Which ten do you relate to most? I'd love to hear your takes, so share away in the comment section below! And stay tuned for our next section of card meanings - the court cards! I'm excited to dive into these sometimes tricky, always illuminating cards with you.