A man carries ten long rods away from the viewer’s point of view. His grasp is ungainly and holds the rods in a fan before him with all the weight off-center, forcing him to lean forward as he walks. Though we can not see his face, it is clear the rods obscure his vision, making an already difficult task dangerous to complete. The wood rods are budding at the top with twigs. In the distance, we can see a small keep that appears to be the destination of the over-burdened man. Trees and fields complete the distant view.
The burdensome terms and conditions of an abusive contract. The Sisyphean tasks that must be completed to earn five extra minutes for break. The denial of those good things a person wishes to have, to the point where the goods are allowed to spoil rather than allow another person to indulge in them. The Ten of Wands is more than mere oppression and burdens, it is often expressed as acts of spiteful maliciousness. This is a malefic card, one you hope will be inflicted upon your enemy than see as an influence in your affairs.
If the card is self-inflicted, then the axiom of “biting off more than you can chew” is the best description. The Querent has agreed to take on more than they can bear, and is now obligated to see the terms of the agreement through to the end, even if doing so causes the Querent harm. There is also a concern for where the burden of nettles and thorns is being taken to. The recipient of the load may be worse off once it arrives than if it had never reached its destination. There is nothing good here, for courier or partaker.
Ill-dignified, the burden is neither relieved or increased. Instead it is obscured. What was plain for third parties to see, and for the Querent once the burden was picked up, become obfuscated with intrigue and deception. The Querent does not realize they are carrying a loathsome burden, and may have been tricked into taking on the task as an act of goodwill or mercy. This does not make the burden any easier to put down, however. And the act of uncovering the deception will add even more pain to the task at hand.