Ten of Staves

Ten of Staves 1.1

The Ten of Staves, while not a “death” card like the Ten of Blades, is still a card of an extreme, in this case, over-work. Whether it’s the stress, the physical labor, the long hours, the lack of joy in one’s job, this is the card of being pushed utterly to the end of what you can handle in whatever you Work is. This is traditionally shown as a man struggling to carry a bundle of sticks up a hill- a Sisyphean task of never-ending toil.

Ten of Staves 2.3

In this case, we got rather literal. We had ten staves, and I made Stephanie carry them. And it was rather heavy! We shot at Lake Anza, after trying and failing to find anything “deserty” that we could successfully drive to after work and still have light, but I actually think it turned out quite well. I like the tree roots and leaves for the backdrop a lot.

Ten of Staves 3.2

This was another “now hold still, while I look through the view-finder and make sure I can see every stick!” card, and it was a race against the setting sun to make sure we got the shots. I think there is at least one where it’s a “you just have to trust us, all ten are in the photo” image. I always try to avoid those- if it’s  a ten, I want you to be able to count them- but it gets more and more difficult the higher the numbers get.

Ten of Staves 4.2

Gravity was not our friend for this card- the area around Lake Anza is hilly, and no matter how still Stephanie sat, the sticks would inevitably roll away from where I placed them. I think the photos turned out great nonetheless- this is definitely one of my favorite of the Staves cards. I feel as though it really captures the sense of inwardly-focused over-burdenment that we were trying to communicate.

Ten of Staves 5.1

Stephanie’s thoughts on the experience can be found here, and the full Flickr set is here. Remember also our Black Widow Honey website, where you can see our ongoing retrospective of all the cards we’ve shot to date.

Ten of Staves 6.2

And then, when we were done, I climbed a tree. It was glorious.

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5 thoughts on “Ten of Staves

  1. Pingback: Ten of Staves Roundup « Black Widow Honey

  2. You’re not mentioning the virtue or nobility of hard work, the benefit of labor to society or the personal character of the worker. “You work hard, learn humbly, you do very well.” –Master Keychun Song

    • hmm, no, I didn’t mention that. I think I associate that feeling more with the work cards in the coins/pentacles than the staves- the three, the seven, or the eight. Is that part of how you read this ten?

    • Thanks! I was really happy with some of these- the light worked out really well, lucky for us. And no, I sort of tried to tie them together at one point, but it made it even more difficult to count them all. I don’t know why I’m so hung up on that, but I guess I just feel like it would be very easy to fudge some of the higher numbers, and I want to be clear that we didn’t. 🙂

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