The Suit of Wands Card Meanings

 Wands celebrate the devil in us all and the fire that keeps us alive.


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Ace of Wands

Element: Fire, devils

+ A birth

– False start; disappointment

The devils of this suit are defined by impatient and vengeful traits but also a strong drive and desire to succeed. They are not entirely bad or good, instead it’s the methods that determine the level of madness. The wands themselves are impromptu weapons. Whether to bludgeon or pierce an enemy, they offered an up close and personal interaction. 

The Ace tells the story of a beginning—much like the Fool but with a far more slanted and intense energy. This beginning focus on our purpose: a vocation or a spiritual endeavor. While the Swords tell much sadder stories, Cups are emotionally complex and sexy, and the Coins are down to earth and practical, the Wands are all gas with no breaks. 

Depending on what other cards are placed around this Ace determines whether this beginning is legit and exciting or if the reader is just drunk on the feeling of newness. The deals these devils make are complicated and human ones—so always with a cost. The intention however is not to suffer. Instead, how much discomfort can we handle in order to achieve our goal. We can’t become better people without challenging ourselves.


For some people, this comes more naturally. Fort he devils of the Wands it’s an uphill battle against fear, anger, resentment, and discontent. Once those feelings are put in check, the real work can truly begin. It’s worth it to work on it.


Two of Wands

+ Looking out towards the future with a bit of hope (even if it looks kind of shitty)

– On the (barbed) fence about it; indecision

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre features a group of men and women who are prayed upon by a family of mass murdering cannibals who brutally torture the unfortunate group until only one character, (a final girl) survives. This film triggers the flight response so intensely, to this day I have a hard time watching the meat hook scene while sitting down. 

The Two of Wands references that burnt Texas landscape that holds either promise of escape or the path back to despair. 

Maybe the choice being presented in your reading is not one of “run or the cannibal is going to get you” but an analogy can be made. Escape is dangerous and extremely difficult but if a change isn’t made the other option becomes a fatal dead end.  


Three of Wands

Pronouns: He, him

+ Building experience through a shit ton of suffering (emo style!)

– Feeling deeply in order to understand, learn, and move forward

Regardless of the suit, threes tend to be cards about balance in relationships (work, love, or family—take your pick). 

This devil is experiencing an emotional awakening but hasn’t fully accepted what this means or come to terms with how his personal journey will affect his relationships with others. 

Understanding our own emotions is a process. We get overwhelmed and it feels like it will never pass. Learning that no feeling lasts forever and coping appropriately can help to ride the extremes out. Next, there is learning how to relate to our friends, family members, and others going through their own emotional ordeals without trying to fix things, explain it away, or downplay the situation—but be present if possible so that they can weather the storm. It sounds so simple but it’s hardly easy. Take it in stride and know each day is another filled with opportunity to practice.


Four of Wands

Pronouns: She, her

+ Staked into place! 

– Kicked a chair leg out from underneath

The Four of Wands is scarred across her chest where the wooden wands have been staked through, nailing her to the ground. This is symbolic of putting down roots or starting a family. For some it’s the ultimate goal and a time to grow in a different direction. For others it a burden that is placed on people simply because they were born into the expectation. 

Family is not always the one we are born with. For many it’s the people we find along the way in life who scoop us up into their life raft (or vice versa). Those of the relationships we celebrate.

This “devil” has no horns because she isn’t really. It’s her resistance to the expectations to domestic life that have branded her as a devil. The joke is on them however because this label and the sentence cast upon her has awoken something inside this woman. Her eyes are red beneath those lashes.


Five of Wands

Pronouns: She, her or They, them

+ A bulldozer attitude

– Conflict; brewing intense animosity

In 2020 it’s incredibly hard to talk about the pitfalls of self-justified anger without sounding like a pious asshole. Let’s be clear: this isn’t about the real and necessary anger that fuels the important fight for equality. Instead, the anger of the Five of Wands is a biting and bickering kind of self-justified anger that serves no one—especially this devil. 

Anger is as additive as drugs or booze. The intensity of it, the extreme emotional hangover after a vicious spat—it’s dizzying and exhausting. This is the card about tantrums and the impossible battle for the last word. It’s a pride fueled bloodbath that hurts everyone including the party that’s being defended. 

Should this appear in a reading, what kind of bad blood is brewing?


Six of Wands

Pronouns: She, her

+ Celebrating being past the mid-way point

– Read the room... You are on fire and not in the good way!

The most amazing aspect about this figure’s posture is the “fuck you, go ahead and burn me” energy from it. There are times when that is just the mood of the day. 

The Six of Wands is a “mission accomplished” of sorts but what looks like a victory is really just a parade. The halfway mark has been met so maybe not count all the chickens before they hatch.

The RdD upon the stake stands for reine des démons or “queen of demons”—a reference to Lilith. One of the most fascinating character in western culture, she is a symbol of defiance and a nice compliment to her more passive counterpart. 


Seven of Wands

Pronouns: She, her

+ Keeping up the good fight; joining them to beat them

– Lack of understanding

Growing up in the Bible Belt I didn’t fully understand the impact of that environment on my character and beliefs until much later. While, my household was not religious, the region is run by Jesus and a Protestant work ethic. What is it about work exactly that determines our value as a person? It is the most difficult thing for this driven artist who loves to work but also hates to be worn down to overcome. 

We are not “viable products” or bodies to be sacrificed for the cause. This especially effects Black, Indigenous, and People of Color, combating a legacy where they are treated as expendable labor and less than. 

This card is for the people keeping up the resistance.


Eight of Wands

Pronouns: He, him or They, them

+ The only way forward is through; another kind of creative activity 

– Block; paranoia; delay

Letting go and allowing things to work themselves out is torture for the anxious controlling type. Having a hand in everything satiates the fear of the soul that is ever present.

This card will mean something different for everyone. For this illustrator, it takes me back to sleepless nights and anxious days trying to keep my head above water at university. Each day, every class, every interaction was terrifying. Nothing I did felt right and I was convinced that I was a fraud and shouldn’t be there. I stuck it out and got the diploma but the experience changed me and not all for the better. I decided to hide for a long time after that, figuring it was the best way to survive. Unfortunately it’s inauthentic. I’m tired of hiding now.


Nine of Wands

Pronouns: He, him

+ Room to grow into self

– Suppressed rage; denial of oneself

The man in the Nine of Wands is simultaneously embracing and protecting himself. It takes patience and bravery to unlearn the shit imposed on us by a culture that needs things clearly defined. The Nine of Wands doesn’t have the answers. Like the Hermit, it’s a call to protect yourself, take your time, and attempt the fight again tomorrow after a reprieve. Unlike the Hermit however, there is a warning: denial can result in anger and a rage that lurks beneath the surface.  


Ten of Wands

Pronouns: She, her

+ Overburdened; fearful; regret

– Plagued by the past; shame

Whatever Happened to Baby Jane is about delusion, abuse, and regret. The title character was once at the top of her game and the downfall—although through no fault of her own—was swift and devastating. Locked away with her successful sister whose own brilliant career was tragically cut short, the two now elderly sisters live in intense hatred of one another. Jane takes out her resentments on Blanche by torturing her with physical beatings and withholding food. Their story ends with truths being revealed and an unclear resolution to a chaotic and tragic tale.

The Nine of Wands is about holding on to more than one can carry. The cycle of abuse creates an inner burden that creates chaos and pain until wounds are addressed and healed.

August 30, 2022 — Genevieve Barbee-Turner