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4 of Wands | Weekly Tarot Card Pt 4: Symbolism

This is the fourth installment of the Weekly Tarot Card: 4 of Wands symbolism. You can read the first three installments in the following links:

Now we’re delving deeper into the components that make up the 4 of Wands, the symbolism. To do this, we’ll be considering some of the more common images used in the 4 of Wands. There are many different symbols and ways to understand each Tarot card, and there will be things that are missed out in this post. However, this should be a good starting point for you. If you have any additional images that you’d like to include, talk about them in the comments. It’s through community that we learn best.

4 of Wands Symbolism

Color: Green, Red, Yellow

Green

The color green is a representative of fertility and creativity, thus, creation. It also can represent healthiness, prosperity, and the Hearth chakra. Green also represents the element of Earth.

Red

The color red corresponds to the planet Mars, which is the planet of sexuality and passion. Likewise, the color red also is a color of sexuality and passion. Passion can be defined positively and negatively—it can be excitement in a productive way, or it can be anger. Red is also the representing color for the element of Fire, along with the color of Orange.

Yellow

The sky in the Rider-Wiate 4 of Wands is yellow. Yellow skies represent good omens. They are like the sun shining down on the scene below in such a way that all that can be seen is the sun’s beaming energy. However, the color yellow can also represent the element Air.

Astrology: Aries and Venus

When we are looking at the Tarot rather than specifically Astrology, we can see the combination of the Empress and the Emperor in this card. Because Aries rules the Emperor, and Venus rules the Empress, as the Thoth Tarot 4 of Wands says, we have completion.

Aries is the sign of new beginnings. It is the first sign in the new year, and is of a fiery energy. It doesn’t just start a new project, but it bursts through with gusto. Aries is a sign of charging forward into new things. This is also a masculine sign.

Venus is the planet of beauty and of romance. She is a feminine planet, and the ruler of love.

The combination of these two equate to a union of masculine and feminine, of energy and beauty. 

Plants: Garlands

The garlands are a symbol of celebration, but also of the seasons. Depending on when the celebration is, only certain flowers will be included. Thus, there is the meaning of renewal and of the cycle of the seasons. This gives the reminder that while this celebration is warranted, it too will pass.

Scenery: Castle and River

In the Rider-Waite 4 of Wands, there is a castle in the background. The Castles in the Tarot represent goals. The important thing to note in the 4 of Wands is that while there is celebration, it is not at the castle. It is still in the distance. The finish line has not yet been crossed.

Similarly, a river present in a Tarot card represents motion and fluidity. Rivers might slow or be quick in places, but they don’t stop moving. Thus, this continues on with the reminder that the goal has not been met yet, this is just a small victory along the way.

Again, these are just the broad strokes for the symbolism in the 4 of Wands. There are so many beautiful and intricate decks out there that bring new dimensions to the cards. When you consider your observation exercise from Monday, what stood out to you that you didn’t see here? What stands out to you that speaks differently than what was mentioned above? Share your thoughts in the comments to start a 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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