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The Tarot Suite of Wands

To best understand the workings of the Tarot in general, and the Suites in particular, one should have a comfort level with the underlying aspects of the divination technique. While it is workable to memorize meanings of the cards, one does not have a full appreciation of their workings if the archetypes and metaphysical symbologies are not understood. There are symbologies of numerology and elements present in the minor arcana. This set of notes will focus on the specific suite/element of Wands/Fire.

There are four traditional elements in the Western metaphysical world. These are: earth, fire, air and water. These elements are the basis of most every magical/metaphysical working and belief. So, it is not surprising that the elements are also present in the Tarot. The elements are directly embrace the Minor Arcana, with each suite representing an element.

All creation starts from a single source, a seed. This is true in the use of the elements. The entirety of the universe represents the oneness of the elements. All the metaphysical expressions of the universe are presented by one, or a combination, of the elements. As thinking creatures, the idea of an infinite oneness is not palpable to us. It is said that to name a thing is to both know it and change it. At the risk of changing the oneness, mankind does name it, divide it into parts to create a thing that seems finite and understandable.

The oneness of the Universe is then divided by two. A duality is created. The female division provides the creative potential of live and the male division provides spark that moves the creation forward. Below is a chat of symbolic roles:

 

Female

Male

Lasting

Short-lived

In Charge

For Show

Covering and Hiding

Revealing and Exposing

Eternal

Cyclical

Passive

Active

Inner

Outer

Dark

Light

Roles of the Genders

While it may seem that the genders contradict each other, they are actually complimentary. If a system is completely female, it becomes stagnant fuel/potential with no movement. If a system is completely male, it burns itself out with no fuel available to maintain the spark. A mixture of the two is needed to provide the fuel (female) and the spark (male) to the light of life.

 

To properly read the both the minor arcana, and their associated Court Cards, one must have a grasp of these mystic associations of "male" and "female" energy. Male energies are fast and sudden. The price for the bursts of energy are paid through short duration and non-lasting effects. Given their shorter life cycles, male energy is associated with completion and readiness to let go or move on. We shall see later that the elements of fire-wands attest to this. The forces of require much energy to maintain. When the energy is removed, the fire are still and inert. A forest is an elemental example.

 

The genders are next split in two, creating four states of being in the elements. The split represents a duality of Inner and Outer. A male and female pair embraces an energy that is expressed inwardly, in ways associated with the single system or individual. The other male and female pair embraces an energy that servers or focuses on those things outside of a single system or individual. So, there is defined a "female-male" element, a "female-female" element, and so one. This is a very important differentiation, and should be understood.


Divisions of Universal Oneness

Traditionally the elements interact with each other using rigid rules: Fire and Water are enemies, therefore weaken each other. Air and Earth are enemies, and threefore weaken each other. The interesting point with this rule is that elements of the same "gender" don’t work together. Water and Fire are both female in orientation, and their combination leads to a passiveness that does not prosper. Likewise, Air and Earth are both male in orientation, and their combination burns out and does not prosper.

Below is a chart focusing on the suite/element of Wands/Fire:

Element

Gender

Focus/Direction

Duality

Expression

Traditional Meaning

Fire

Male

Inner /Self

Male/Female

energy, creativity, 
passion, and spirit

actions

Now that we have an understanding of the origins of FIre, the element now be correlated to its Tarot suite, and the suite will be examined in detail.

After much discussion, now the Wands of the fire element is presented:
Suite
Element
Gender (Main)
Gender (Secondary)
Wands/Rods
Fire
Male
Female
Table of Suite Correspondences

WANDS (Leaf, Wands, Tree-Branches, Twigs)

Symbolism/Interpretation: Fire, inspiration, intellect, creativity, glory, air, feasting, dawn, childhood, animation, growth, will.

Wands/Rods correspond to the male element of fire. They represent energy, creativity, passion, and spirit. Wands are also closely associated with career and work situations.

The element of Fire adds passion and energy to the foundation created by the element of Earth. The natural rhythms of the planet are usurped by outside influences. The result is new creations and ideas. The goals created are not dependent on the timing of the planet. As events are accelerated, the natural balance is sometimes overthrown. The result is competition, seen most vividly in the sixth through ninth cards. The passion of the Wands is a force largely devoid of emotions. It is neither cold hearted nor full of anger. The volcano is an analogy in that it can destroy existing land, plants, and animals as it creates new land. There is no motivation of destruction. Transformation, a function of death and birth, is a balanced force of nature.

We refer to the element of fire as the force of Spirit. This means that through the expressions of fire, the primal forces of creative expression are manifested. Fire is the desire for life, the will to be, and the act of individualizing the self from the rest of Mankind. It is the element of fire serves as the animating force behind an individual’s self-assertions.


SOME NOTES:

The outline presented here is the mainstream traditional view of the genders and the suites. It should be noted that there is another group of opinion that the Wands and Swords are switched. That is, that Wands are associated with Air and Swords are associated with Fire. If this is done, the rest of the material presented holds true. The switch is based on metaphysical philosophy, and offers an example that there are no set rules.


Meanings of the Numbers and Cards

 

Number

Meaning

Ones (Aces)

New beginnings

Twos

Relationships, duality, balancing of two

Wands: as far as can go alone need collaboration to move forward

Threes

Synthesis, collaboration, self-expression, expansion, fulfillment – except Swords where this is missing.

Wands: fulfillment of creative ideas, blending of three approaches, strengths and success from good partnerships, ships coming in.

Fours

Foundations, stability, status quo

Wands: stability of a permanent committed relationship, marriage card, stability in life

Fives

Change, instability, volatile, necessary to adapt to unpleasant changes

Wands: competition, combat and strife, heated arguments, challenge that calls for patience and courage – can win

Sixes

Assistance, idealism, perfection, and a change for the better

Wands: insight and inspiration, brought about by some force, ending of a cycle and the unfolding of the soul

Sevens

Unexpected change, perception, insight, new awareness and perspective, change brought about by insight

Wands: position of advantage, ability to succeed against opposition or competition, victory through courage

Eights

Control, power and mastery over a situation through self-reliance and autonomy, organization

Wands: swiftness, good messages of all kinds

Nines

Completion and fulfillment of each suit, maximum intensity of each suit in the cycle, completion, fulfillment

Wands: watch and wait, prepared for further attacks, strength in reserve, support and help time of conflict, ground work laid

Tens

Renewal through a new cycle. Many lessons have been learned regarding the suit in question – mastery.

Wands: stress and pleasure, heavy burdens and responsibilities

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