The suit of Wands, also called Batons, Rods, Clubs or Staves, represents the masculine element of fire, although in some decks they are swapped with Swords (air). The cards in this suit reflect the spark of creation, vitality, the limits of human endeavor, inspiration, motivation, spirit and action.
Wands, in the tarot, are connected to life force – desire, need and determination pull energy through us to distinguish us from inanimate objects. Of course this fire energy cannot sustain us without the corresponding forces represented by the other suits. Neither can they, in turn, keep us going without the burning element of fire to ignite our inspiration. All are necessary to maintain life.
Wands in Mythology
The wand appears in many ancient and modern cultures, from the stone-agers depicted holding sticks in cave art, to Freemasons who use 8 foot long staffs in their rituals. The staff is a magical tool, a weapon, a support and a status symbol. They can be plain twigs cut from hazel, or elaborately carved ebony or oak. A staff can hold possessions – think of the Fool – or it can carry fire. It can help someone to walk, or in numbers can support a row of beans.
The staff became linked with fire when the Greek god, Zeus got into an argument with another god, Prometheus, over who was to get the best part of an ox at a sacrificial meal – the gods or mortals. Prometheus, on the side of mortals, tricked Zeus into choosing the bones and Zeus, in a fit of pique, hid fire away from humans. Prometheus took a giant fennel stalk (staff) that he’d found washed up on a beach, and stole fire from Zeus and gave it back to humans. Later, Zeus had his revenge by sending Pandora to Prometheus, but that’s a whole other story.
This suit encompasses the three fire signs of Aries, Leo and Sagittarius. People who identify with these signs are charismatic, bold, enthusiastic, temperamental, impatient and active. They love to be challenged by others, but they prefer to create their own challenges. They are competitive, courageous and, when their mind is set on something, determined to the nth degree. They thrive on conflict, which can leave those around them exhausted.
Wands people love sport, travel, business, and anything where they can exercise their self-confidence and love of competition. They cannot bear to feel stuck or trapped. They need freedom to express their outgoing, extrovert personalities. The also love to be the center of attention, the star of the show.
Wands and Love
Wands are passionate in love, but are not renowned for maintaining a steady relationship. They need the stimulation of the chase; not for them the security of domesticity. They do best when they have the steadying influence of earth in their own make-up or in their partner. Even then, they can instigate dramas just to relieve their boredom. Wands tend to live in the present; they do not pay any heed to possible consequences.
Wands at Work
Wands are the ultimate career high-fliers. They thrive under stressful conditions and challenges. They are creative thinkers who can take a problem and turn it into an opportunity. They are the creators, innovators, idea generators and brain-stormers. Although they are natural leaders, they don’t always make the best bosses as they are so impatient and results oriented. As with personal relationships, they need a steady hand at the helm to keep their feet on the ground.
Wands and Money
Money only motivates Wands when there is a challenge involved. Money to a Wands character represents freedom and the means to do all the wonderful things on their lists. Wands can lose all their money in one fell swoop and then make it all back again without a qualm. They have a tendency to get into debt because they want all the bright, shiny stuff right now. Wands would much prefer accolades and attention to money.
Wands and Spirituality
Wands tell you to be prepared to explore fresh ideas, to revel in movement and to keep an open mind at all times. Wands are never set in their ways, so be ready for a spiritual adventure.
Several Wands Cards in a Tarot Reading
When the number of Wands cards in a reading exceed what you’d expect, take the time to examine issues around movement, travel, leadership and motivation. They may be telling you to expect an exciting, intense few weeks ahead. If there are court cards, try to determine if they are actual people or if they are exhorting the seeker to raise their own energy levels. Pay attention to surrounding cards and which elements and human conditions they represent.
Wands and Cups (fire and water): steamy relationships, fire doused, lack of energy.
Wands and Swords (fire and air): intense relationships, fireworks, anger, incitement, passionate communication.
Wands and Pentacles (fire and earth): smoldering relationships, fire tamed, steadying force.
Negative (Reversed) Wands
When tarot Wands appear reversed (upside-down) then expect problems. These will depend on the actual card and its number, but generally watch out for burn-out, stress, aggressiveness, dominance, tantrums, recklessness, abandonment, bullying, boredom, depression and exhaustion. Think of fire burning too fast or too slow – take the positive aspects of the card and apply those modifiers to reach an accurate interpretation.
Suit of Wands Keywords
Ace of Wands – first cause, seed, new idea, conception, source
Two of Wands – development, planning, preparation, mild frustration
Three of Wands – growth, expansion, consolidation, connections
Four of Wands – a goal attained, community, celebration, change of residence
Five of Wands – competition, minor disagreements, tension
Six of Wands – confidence, victory, good result
Seven of Wands – challenge, defense, determination
Eight of Wands – organization, change, group project, pregnancy
Nine of Wands – battling on, persistence, put to the test
Ten of Wands – responsibilities, over-commitment, drudgery
Page of Wands – on the brink of adventure, bright young person, free spirit
Knight of Wands – scattered energy, lust, fiery temperament, mover and shaker
Queen of Wands – warm personality, friendly, passionate, energetic, vibrant
King of Wands – leader, confident, problem solver, visionary.