Tarot Suits : The Meaning of the Wands

Click to see larger view of Princess of Wands A fundamental starting point for any serious student of the Tarot is to become intimately familar with the essence of each of the four suits of the Minor Arcana: Wands, Cups, Swords and Coins. Like regular playing cards with four full houses from Ace to King, the tarot also provides four different sets of cards, each with its own unique nuance and meaning. To fully understand the differences between the Ace of Wands and the Ace of Coins, the reader needs to discern the essence of the suit that a particular card belongs to, along with its individual meaning, for instance, the Ace within the suit of Wands.

The Minor Arcana cards represent the people, everyday situations and events along the Path of your Life. These complement the energy represented by the Major Arcana , which shows the actual life journey. The four suits also correspond to the many systems of four devised by people over the ages: the four directions or winds (north, south, east, west); the four elements (fire, water, air, earth); the four seasons; the four worlds of the Kaballah (Divine, Creative, Formative Click to see larger view of Ace of Wandsand Manifest worlds); the four Humors (yellow bile, black bile, phlegm, blood); and the four Jungian archetypical functions of the mind (thinking, feeling, sensation and intuition).

The suit of Wands corresponds to the South direction or wind; the Fire element and the color, Red; the Summer season; the Divine world of the Kaballah; the yellow bile humor, and the Jungian function of intuition.

A Wand by Any Other Name

To begin, a point of clarification is in order. For some mystifying reason, various tarot scholars have called the suit of Wands by other names. This can be confusing to the new tarot initiate, but forewarned is forearmed. If you read or hear someone talking about the suit of Rods, Clubs, Staffs, Staves, Batons - don't despair! What they really mean, is the suit of Wands.

Click to see larger view of Knight of WandsA Burning Vital Essence

When you think of the Wand cards, think of fire. You may actually see little images of burning objects on any of the Wand cards. Couple this with images of passion and desire, dynamic force, ambitions, creativity, vitality, self-development, growth, and perception. The Wands represent forward future-oriented energy that is active and inventive. Drawing any of the Wand cards introduces possibility and movement in the reading. Of course, the image provided by any card in the Tarot has both positive and negative aspects. The negative associated with the Wands is the scorching side of the fire - restlessness, anger, violence, pride, mischief, disruption and willfullness. In astrological terms, the Wands are associated with the signs of Aries, Leo and Sagittarius.

Getting Down to Business

Click to see larger view of Two of Wands The suit of Wands is associated with careers, business enterprises and work in general. If a reading brings up several wands, it points to career or work-related matters, especially organizational and creative aspects. If you are thinking about starting a new business or launch a new career, these are extremely informative cards to draw in a spread. If coupled favorably with some Coin cards, the new venture will be profitable. Often the wands also indicate the beginning stages of identifying and planning a new course for one's life, usually related to self-development and accomplishment.

(TIP: Click on the four Thoth deck card illustrations for larger view)

Read Part 1: The Meaning of the Wands
Read Part 2: The Meaning of the Cups
Read Part 3: The Meaning of the Swords
Read Part 4: The Meaning of the Pentacles or Coins

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