4 of Wands

take a break from the activity

Fours offer stability + Wands represent energy and identity.

from the Proletariat Tarot

In its centered or balanced position is the result of will / drive. This is the quintessential thanksgiving; the harvest is in and we can celebrate our bounty. We may have attained some milestone or inner growth and are invited to relax and step away from our work to enjoy a break. Kick up your heels!

When the four’s Fire is deficient, we don’t want to make a big deal of our accomplishments or have trouble expressing gratitude. Perhaps we feel undeserving of the harvest, or don’t feel like we can take a break right now.

At the other end of the spectrum, we may be complacent, taking the fruits of our labor for granted.

Questions we may be prompted to ask when this card appears include

  • What prevents you from taking a moment to just have fun?
  • Are you taking the rewards for your labor for granted? Is it time to get back to your work?

What else? This is just one angle on it and you may have other insights. How has it come up for you? Feel free to share in comments.

3 of Wands

envision and assimilate in order to expand

Three is the response to the two and its integration (expansion) + Wands relate to our energy and where we put it.

from the Spiral Tarot

In the upright or centered position on the card’s spectrum, the Three of Wands sees the return of the two’s exploration and we’re assimilating and considering what’s next in expanding our horizons. If the two was sending our ships out, three shows them coming in, and we are seeing the return on the groundwork we’ve laid; but things are still in process or evolving (three strives for form), so follow-through is key as we’re building, expanding, managing the next cycle of the journey and the opportunities that allow us to expand. What is our vision, and how can we keep growing toward it?  The key here is to review and integrate what we’ve already put into play before adding anything else or proceeding.

We may also see an aspect of the return here combined with the synthesis of three as ancestral lands, the expat, and looking back in order to understand the present course (or future) as genealogical research.  What factors came together to create the fire in your belly, and what wisdom or direction does that offer you?

When the three’s Fire is deficient, we’re bored with it already or we lack vision. Fear of the unknown can stifle our desire for expansion.

In excess, we’re overreaching, seeking or seizing opportunities which are beyond our capabilities.  Allow the current track to assimilate before seeking more.  Are we afraid of missing out on something?

Questions to ask when this card comes up may include

  • what obstacles prevent you from realizing your vision?
  • Is follow-through a challenge for you?

What else? You may have other insights. How do you see this card? How has it come up for you? Feel free to share in comments.

2 of Wands

Take the initiative to explore outside of yourself.

Twos take us from the sole oneness of Ace to something outside of ourselves + Wands represent energy and identity; the life force that drives our actions.

from The Relative Tarot

And so, in its upright or balanced position on the spectrum, the 2 of Wands is standing at the threshold, considering the initiative to go beyond what we’ve been comfortable with and allowing ourselves to explore new territory; to reach out; to set goals; sending out our ships, sharing something of ourselves with the outside world. We may be confronted with a choice between inner emptiness and outer fulfillment; between action and inaction. Will we forge a new path or choose to risk nothing?

When this desire is blocked, we may have some hesitancy or indecision around this outward venture, or we’re stuck in a pattern of complacency. For some, negotiating the outside world can be challenging. What holds us back?

In excess, we’re never content with what we have, always searching elsewhere for gratification, or for something bigger & better.

Questions we may ask when this card comes up include

  • Is there a part of you or an identity that’s ready to be brought forward?
  • How are you holding back? Why might you be doing so?
  • Are there competing desires you’re trying to integrate?
  • Is there something about success that frightens you? What might that be?

What else? Of course, this is just a sampling of this card’s spectrum, and you may have other insights. How do you see this card? How has it come up for you? Feel free to share in comments.

Ace of Wands

reach out and take hold of that energy

One of the things I’ve noticed in books and other writings on shadow work is that they only talk about the trumps, as though the pips are insignificant in these matters. On the contrary; I think the cards that represent our daily interactions and feelings and responses are those we should explore first when trying to better understand the parts of our psyche. So, in this new series on the cards to include shadow meanings, we’ll start with the pips and then go into courts, finishing up with the trumps.

Aces are often considered some of the most amorphous of the cards. As the beginning of the suit, Aces represent the possibilities of their element — and that can seem wide open. If we consider the imagery used in the Smith-Waite decks, the Aces show an article of the suit (wand, cup, sword, or pentacle) held by a hand emerging from a cloud, indicating that there is an offering here. Will we accept it? Are we ready to step up and take it? That’s really the directive of the Aces, isn’t it? Are we going to reach out and take hold of it? What are we going to do with it? What we’re asked to confront in the shadows of this card is what is holding us back?

from Soprafino, by il Meneghello

And so, in fiery Wands, the Ace is raring to go. It’s the spark of desire, the motivation to reach up and grab that energy or desire so that we may actualize it in our lives.

In the spectrum of this card, that positive initiative is in the balanced center. On one end of the spectrum, where there is resistance, we hold back, reluctant to take what is offered. Are we not ready yet? Do we feel incapable? We may miss the opportunity out of fear, complacency, or a lack of focus. Our task here is to identify what may be holding us back.

On the other end, where there is excess, it may be counterproductive by generating hasty, impetuous, or bold behavior. By placing too much importance on it, we may jump the gun and miss the opportunity.

Questions that we may want to ask when this card comes up include:

  • Is there some fear or doubt holding you back?
  • Is there a desire you’re reluctant to allow out?
  • Are you procrastinating about something? What part of you is that serving?

But of course that’s just a beginning. How do you see this card? How has it come up for you? What is your favorite depiction of the Ace of Wands?