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4 of Wands | Weekly Tarot Card Pt 3: Element & Number

This is the third installment of the 4 of Wands Weekly Tarot Card. Today we will look at the 4 of Wands suit and number. You can read the first two installments in the following links:

Yesterday we looked at how the 4 of Wands can help you as a map to your goals through meditation. Today we start breaking apart the 4 of Wands suit and number in an effort to look at the broader representations of the card. I often think that the number and the element of a card are like looking at the colors that make up another color. By knowing yellow and knowing blue, we can put them together and make green. In this case, the colors are the element of Fire and the number 4.

4 of Wands Suit and Number: Fire

The element of Fire is our inner drive. It pushes us forward, makes us move whether we want to or not. It is adrenaline, it’s anger, it’s passion, it’s lust, it’s creative force. Cars use combustion to run, and electric cars use electricity to run. These are both related to fire. Electricity doesn’t cause water, air, or rocks. It causes fire.

Thus, consider the things which get us up and moving, that is, things that propel us. I don’t mean responsibilities like needing to go to that job you hate, but things that get you excited, that which makes you act without thinking. It’s the idea that makes you jump up and say, “This is what I have to do, right now,” and makes you giddy with excitement. When you talk about it, people see your eyes light up, and hear that this is more than just a mere interest, this is a sould-driving passion. This is the Fire within you.

However, Fire isn’t always a positive force. It’s whatever makes you move, and sometimes anger, hurt, fear, jealousy can make you move. People go blind with rage, they go silly and possessive with lust. These are the negative aspects of Fire.

The Fire within all of us is like a camp Fire: once we have the spark going, it’s our responsibility to maintain it and keep it safe. It can do so much good for us while it’s contained, but if it strays from a safe position, it can destroy.

4 of Wands Element & Number: 4

The number 4 is a number of structure. Structure comes in many forms, whether rule, laws, and systems, or physical structures of buildings, cities, kingdoms, or foundations. While the 3 represents the first shape with the triangle, the 4 is the first structurally sound shape with the rectangle. It provides not only strength, but also the ability to be build upon.

Before moving on, consider how it is that the understanding of the element of Fire can be infused with the number 4. What does it mean to you? Look at what structure looks like in terms of Fire. Consider what Fire looks like in terms of structure. How do they differ? How many different perspectives can you develop of these combinations? Relating back to the color metaphor, consider the various shades of green there are based on how much yellow or blue are added to the combination. What are the different hues which can be made from the combination of Fire and the number 4? Share your thoughts in the comments below to start the discussion.

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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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