Thursday, June 4, 2015

Tarot Essay: The Ace of Wands

The tarot is very important to me. It is my preferred method of divination and I find it to be a fluid and varied set of symbols that continuously unfolds and shows me new things and insights. Let's explore, for a few moments, the symbolic connotations of one of the tarot cards.  Eventually I'd like to get through all 78 but I'll be tackling them one at a time and not necessarily in any specific order.

The Ace of Wands

Ace of Wands, first card of the suit of Wands, is a card with some very potent symbolism. Generally Wands represent creativity, energy, life force and sexuality and is almost always represented as a stick or branch. The traditional elemental attribution is to Fire. There are a couple of contexts in which these attributions make sense.
One of these contexts is Prometheus's fennel stalk. Prometheus stole the spark of fire from Olympus by hiding it in a fennel stalk to transport it to humanity. In my view this is the first image of the Ace of Wands, the hollow stick holding the spark of divine fire within it. The divine fire is creativity itself from which springs innovation and all culture. The fire is a spiritual fire and not a physical fire but the two do share some qualities. Its movement is upward, rising. Elemental fire is the lightest and most subtle of the four and lifts like hot air above the others. Spiritual fire also energizes and incites movement.
The Wand with the Spiritual fire inside also symbolizes all life. The Spiritual fire becomes the energy of life within living things, pushing out in all directions not only as spiritual emanation but also as metabolism and growth of the physical body. This is the image of the sprouting or fruiting branch. The sprouting branch as Ace of Wands also aptly symbolizes the creative nature of this card as it is continually creating leaves and fruit. In this respect the Wand is similar to the Shiva Lingam, a phallic symbol from which all forms are created.
Through history wands and staffs have been symbols of authority. In this context the Ace of Wands is God bestowing the wand of divine authority. This is Moses's staff, the magician's wand, and the scepter of a king.
The Ace of Wands is generally a very positive card but it does have attributes on the liability end of the spectrum of its meanings. Numerically this card is a 1, the very beginning, and can represent energy that is wild, amorphous, and perhaps unattainable. If you needed energy for a specific purpose this could indicate seeing it exists all around but not necessarily in the form you need. Like feeling a room full of people alive with nervous or excited energy but actually wanting an outlet with electrical energy.

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