3 of Wands | Weekly Tarot Card Pt 1: Observation and Description

Last week we finished up with the High Priestess, who is the feminine counterpart to the Magician. Thus we have covered the Aces and the 2’s, and discovered the feminine and the masculine in the Major Arcana up to yet.

Today we begin our way into the 3’s of the Tarot, starting with the 3 of Wands. As always, the first day of the Weekly Tarot Card involves looking at the Tarot card and taking the time to get to know it visually.

This is a time to journal about what stands out to you in the card, or in any of the cards presented here. Don’t put meaning onto them just yet, but just spend time thinking about what you see and what stands out to you.

I personally have 8 decks that are a part of this series, and thus, I use these 8 different presentations of the Weekly Tarot card to show the differences and similarities between depictions, to pick out the common theme.


The Rider-Waite 3 of Wands shows a figure looking out over a golden sea. The figure is in a red robe with a green sash over his left shoulder. He faces away from the reader, and wears a white band around his head. His sleeve is blue.

 He stands on a grassy surface, with a wand on either side of him, and one behind him toward the right of the card. His right arm is outstretched and holding on to one of the wands.

On the yellow sea there are three ships, all heading to the left of the card. Behind the sea there are mountains under a green sky.

Spiral Tarot

The Spiral Tarot shows a woman in a maroon dress (burgundy?) looking out over water. Her back is to the reader, but you can see the side of her face, though none of her features. She stands on a flowery hill looking at the boats that cross toward the right.

On the opposite shore a city can just be made out at the base of purple hills. The sky is yellow just above the hills then gives way to blue.

Three wands are around the woman with green vines growing up them. She plants her right hand on one of the Wands.

Aquarian Tarot

The Aquarian Tarot shows a figure with a helmet on and a cloak covering armor. The figure faces away from the reader but toward the left of the card, so you can just see their nose. The background of the card is white, and three wands surround the figure.

In the Aquarian Tarot, the Wands are called Rods, and each Rod has a flower blooming at the top. There is one Rod in the 3 of Rods whose flower has opened further than the rest, and that is the flower just behind the figure.

Vampire Tarot

The Vampire Tarot shows three stakes standing on a green floor. There is a gold frame, though I’m uncertain if it’s framing a mirror or a window. This shows a vampire with long black hair and a thin, long black beard.

He wears a red cloak and has his hand on a cane.

Faerie Tarot

The Faerie Tarot shows an older faerie riding a frog in a little fog saddle, holding the reigns in one hand. The faerie has long grey hair and a grey beard. His red hat turns into a branch at the tip. Around the faerie are three Wands that look like trees. The sky is grey in the background, and leaves are falling.

Thoth Tarot

The Thoth Tarot shows an orange card with three yellow wands crossing each other. Each wand has a flower at the top. Behind the three wands is a star with 10 points, each point having a flame coming from it. However, this could also be a sun.

Above the middle Wand is the glyph for the Sun, and below the same Wand is the glyph for Aries. The keyword at the bottom of the card is ‘Virtue.’

Prisma-Vision Tarot

The Prisma-Vision Tarot shows a figure kneeling before a…vortex? Fire? I’m not really sure what it is, but it is framed by three wands on the ground. From the center of this space whirls  [smoke?] decorated with flowers. The figure tends this energy center, smiling at their work. On their cloak is three flowers, while they hold another in their left hand.

This figure faces the reader, though is angled toward the left of the card. There are three flowers on the ground next to them. Behind them is a river, and on the opposite bank are more flowers which give way to black mountains against a starry sky.

Impressionist Tarot

The Impressionist Tarot shows a variation of Edouard Manet’s Argenteuil (1874), which shows two people sitting in a harbor. One is a woman in a striped dress and hat, and the other is a man sitting very near her, his body toward her, his leg grossed toward her, and he holds onto her arm. He is wearing a red and white striped shirt and a beige hat. Three masts to boats in the harbor represent the 3 wands.  

News for the Week

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If you’re using several of your own decks, consider what you see that’s similar between the all. Likewise, consider the similarities in all of these images. What stood out to you in all of them? Allow this to mull over in your mind for a little while, and then maybe journal about it later.

As you go through the various cards, what do you notice that is a running theme in imagery? What do you notice tends to differ? Which of the images resonates with you? Why?

Spend time considering your own tarot decks, and do your own comparison.

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Decks Used

The Aquarian Tarot in a Tin by Italian-born, American-raised David Palladini, was published originally in 1970 by U.S. Games Systems Inc, and then republished again in 2016 in a smaller size. Named after the Age of Aquarius, the Aquarian Tarot is a midieval depiction of the Rider-Waite Tarot system. The images are closer, and thus might give the impression of being more character-based rather than relying on symbolism. This intimate deck provides a stark reflection of the human condition in it’s journey through the tarot.

Faerie Tarot by Nathalie Hertz, published by U.S. Games Systems, Inc, 2008. Hertz is a French artist, and the creator of several other beautiful tarot decks. The Faerie Tarot was ‘inspired by the flora and fauna of the French countryside,’ and ‘invites you to see the world in a delightful new way…blending fantasy, whimsy, and nature.’

Impressionist Tarot by Arturo Picca (artist) and Corrine Kenner (author), published by Lo Scarabeo in 2015. This deck takes works of classic impressionist paintings and recreates them to fit the meanings of the tarot. It pulls from works of Edonard Manet, Claude Monet, Pierre Auguste Renoir, Edgar Degas, Vincent van Gough, and Paul Gauguin. A truly beautiful deck, especially for those who have interest in the art world.

Prisma Visions Tarot by James R. Eads, 3rd ed., published in 2016. The deck itself is beautiful, though perhaps not for the beginning tarot reader. The suits all fit together to create a master picture displaying the energy and progression of the suits. The figures and images flow from one card to the next, showing movement within the stationary cards.

Rider-Waite by A. E. Waite. The deck used in these photos is currently out of print. I won’t say much about this deck, as it is fairly standard and probably one of the most produced decks. It serves as a standard for many tarot readers and artists, depicting classic images relating in part to the original playing cards that tarot developed from.

The Spiral Tarot by Kay Steventon. With turn-of-the-20th-century style art, this deck takes from the classic Rider-Waite deck and brings it up to the late 1800-early 1900’s, a time of industry and contemplation for the western world as it moved forward into a more technological era. I am a little biased toward this deck as it’s been my main deck for 15 years. The cards are thick with additional symbolism that can be tricky to pick out of the traditional Rider-Waite, and adds layers of Greek myth throughout the Major Arcana.

Thoth Tarot by Aleister Crowley (designer and author) and Lady Frieda Harris (artist), published by U. S. Games Systems, Inc., in 1978. This deck takes from most esoteric imagery, and requires the reader of the deck to have deep, initiate knowledge of the symbolism used. There is nothing within the cards that is without meaning. However, on a more surface level, the deck draws from Egyptian symbolism and from the style of the Marseille Tarot (mostly seen within the Minor Arcana). For those looking for deeper understandings of the universe, I recommend this deck. I would caution that this deck is highly advanced, and might be avoided for the budding reader.

Vampire Tarot – by Nathalie Hertz, published by U.S. Games Systems, Inc. in 2000. As mentioned above in reference to the Faerie Tarot, Hertze is a French artist who gained her notability through the publication of her tarot decks. The Vampire Tarot was a bestselling deck upon its release, and plays on more gothic symbolism, providing more jarring interpretations to allow for the accepting of negative forces within the world to compliment the positive forces. The deck brings together myths and legends in the form of vampires, which ‘gives tarot readers a macabre passport’ into the world of divination.


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