Ten of Wands | Tarot Card Meaning & Interpretation

Keywords for the Ten of Wands

HARD WORKOVERBURDENED
CHALLENGESEXHAUSTED
STRUGGLEOVERWHELM
DIFFICULTIESOPPRESSION
BURDENSCARRYING A HEAVY LOAD

In the image on the card, we see a tired looking man, dressed in drab, ill-fitting and worn work clothes. He is carrying a heavy bundle of ten wands in his arms as he struggles down the path toward town. 

Unfortunately, he seems to be struggling so intensely to carry the weight of his burden that he hardly seems aware of the destination he is heading toward. 

He has lost sight of his goals, and under the strain of his effort, seems to have forgotten where he had even hoped to arrive at the end of his journey. 

He holds his head down, pressed up uncomfortably against the load he carries. All he seems aware of now is the crushing weight of the burden he bears before him. 

Interpretation of the 10 of Wands in a Reading

When the 10 of Wands comes up in a reading, it typically means that we have taken on more than we handle. It often indicates that we feel overwhelmed by the amount of responsibility that we now have to deal with. 

It can also indicate that we may be struggling to clearly define what is ours to carry. We might find ourselves carrying burdens that are not truly ours, but more rightly belong to others.

This can lead to the “daily grind” of work and errands and tasks and projects to be completed, all of which take a toll on our mental and physical health. We might begin to feel disillusioned, apathetic, with little hope for a happy future. 

When all we can see ahead are struggles, with no room for rest and relaxation, we may well begin to despair of ever feeling the optimism and joy we had once envisioned our future with. 

As a result, this card often asks us to pause for a moment, put our burdens down for just a moment, and take a step back to re-evaluate our situation. From this place, we can take a clearer look at what it is that weighs us down.


We can then try asking ourselves: Does this responsibility truly belong to us? Do all of these things we are paying so much attention to truly still matter? 

And, if we have found them to no longer be a priority, how can we put them down and move on in a way that is ethical and fair to all involved? 

We might even ask ourselves if there is a friend we can call on who would be willing to walk beside us and share the load together.

If we can do any one of these things, we might find ourselves walking with a lighter step. With this weight now off of our shoulders, our sense of frustration and overwhelm can begin to recede into the past. 

Having achieved new clarity on the priorities that matter, we may very well find ourselves with a new sense of vitality and hope for the future and what lies ahead. 

Nine of Wands | Tarot Card Meaning & Interpretation

Keywords for the Nine of Wands

DETERMINATIONDEFENSIVENESS
RESOLVEREACTIVITY
GRITFEELING GUARDED
ENDURANCEUNHEALED WOUNDS
RESILIENCEHYPERVIGILANCE

In front of us we see a man who, battered and bruised, stands in front of a tall fence of wands he has built himself.

He grips a final, ninth wand tightly in front of him, on the defensive and ready to ward off any potential attack. 

Despite the defense he has created for himself, he is still wary and ill-at-ease. He gazes suspiciously behind him, unwilling to trust that he could be safe and out of harm’s way.

Interpretation of the 9 of Wands in a Reading

When the 9 of Wands appears in a reading, it typically indicates an area of our lives where we may feel insecure and doubtful, one where we have been hurt before and now have difficulty in trusting again as a result. 

The Nine of Wands can indicate an unwillingness to let our guard down. We may feel wary about others’ motivations, and could exhibit defensive or even paranoid behavior, as we assume the very worst about a person or situation in our lives.

This is especially true if we have experienced trauma or abuse in our lifetime, particularly in childhood. This card at times speaks to the hypervigilance or generalized anxiety we may have developed as a response to overwhelming situations that occurred in our pasts.

It often indicates where we may be letting our physical and psychological defense mechanisms stand in the way of greater connection, intimacy and growth. 

When the 9 of Wands comes up, it may be helpful for us to ask ourselves if we are, in reality, responding to an actual, present danger—if we are truly in danger now—or if this may in fact be a learned response based on a past situation we have now left behind.


The point of this kind of questioning is not to abandon ourselves in the places where we feel fear. Inquiring about the true nature of our patterns and defense mechanisms should instead be a gentle process of determining what our current needs truly are, and then, if our habitual patterns of response no longer feel adequate, looking for creative new ways to meet the needs of our current lived experience (rather than simply responding to the past).

It is often useful to remember that no matter how “unreasonable” a reaction to challenging circumstances may seem, our subconscious mind is typically doing the very best it can to protect us from harm. We often find that what appears to be “self-sabotaging” behavior is often a perfectly logical response rooted in a desire to protect the self, that makes sense when viewed in light of past experiences. When viewed in this light, we often find that there is no self-sabotage, only self-protection. 

The challenge comes in catching yourself in the moment, having compassion for the parts of yourself that are afraid, and then finding new, more self-appropriate ways to meet your current needs for safety and security. When we can do so, we often find that our boundaries become less rigid, letting in more of what we want, and shutting out more of what we truly do not. 

Eight of Wands| Tarot Card Meaning & Interpretation

Keywords for the Eight of Wands

SWIFT ACTIONNEW DEVELOPMENTS
FORWARD MOVEMENTUNEXPECTED SURPRISES
FULL SPEED AHEADNOVEL CIRCUMSTANCES
A FRESH STARTCOMPLETION
NEW BEGINNINGSENDINGS

In the background, we see a small city which stands atop a hill. Underneath, a river flows quickly on its way to meet the sea. 

Above it all, we see eight wands caught in flight as they move across the sky. They are like arrows which have just left a firmly pulled bow. 

It is now only a matter of moments before they arrive to strike their intended target. 

The fast-moving energy of the suit of Wands is on display here: pure action, essential movement, it is the quintessence of the element of Fire. 

Interpretation of the 8 of Wands in a Reading

When we see the Eight of Wands come up in a reading, we know that the time is right to take a chance and move forward into action. The time for waiting has passed; be brave and take a leap into the future that awaits you.

The 8 of Wands can signify quick action, forward movement, rushing forward full speed ahead. 

It can also signify the appearance of an unexpected surprise, novel developments in a once-stagnant situation, and the intrusion of the unforeseen or unexpected into our lives.

Alternatively, the Eight of Wands can signify the results of such action: it can allude to the end of an era, or the last burst of effort taken to complete and close out a long standing project.

Whatever the case may be, we can trust that when the 8 of Wands appears, we cannot remain “stuck” for much longer—something is sure to push us out of our comfort zone, propelling us forward into new situations and circumstances that will ultimately change our lives in a new and exciting way. 

Seven of Wands | Tarot Card Meaning & Interpretation

7 of Wands

Keywords for the Seven of Wands

ASSERTIVENESSFIGHTING SPIRIT
TAKING ACTIONTHE THRILL OF BATTLE
DETERMINATIONDEFIANCE
CONVICTIONDEFENSIVENESS
STANDING YOUR GROUNDRESILIENCE

A man stands at the edge of a cliff, both hands gripping a wand held high in self-defense. He is on high alert, ready for battle, fully prepared to fight off any of the attackers we see closing in on him, represented here by the 6 wands pointed in his direction. 

The man in front of us is fully alert, his body completely activated in a “fight” sympathetic nervous system response that has all of his internal resources mobilized and at the ready. Adrenaline and cortisol rush through his veins, making him feel fully alive, and ready to do whatever it takes to defend himself and survive. 

Interpretation of the 7 of Wands in a Reading

When the 7 of Wands comes up in a reading, we are most likely involved in a situation where we feel that we are on the defensive. We could have the sense that we are being backed into a corner, with little choice but to take up arms and defend ourselves the best way we can.

The 7 of Wands in a reading can also indicate the quality of resilience, of enduring and continuing to thrive even in the face of great adversity. It shows a capacity to persevere through even the most difficult of circumstances.

This card card can also mean that, with regard to the situation at hand, we are standing our ground, and holding true to our values. It can indicate our capacity to remain committed to the values that matter to us, even when confronted by challenges which seek to weaken our allegiance.

Above all, the 7 of Wands shows our capacity to meet the difficult challenges life presents us with strength, resolve, and determination. Even if it is not always an easy or enjoyable process, we often find that ultimately we have grown as a result of the tests life has given to us.

Six of Wands | Tarot Card Meaning & Interpretation

6 of Wands

Keywords for the Six of Wands

VICTORYOPTIMISM
TRIUMPHSELF-ASSURANCE
GLORYCONFIDENCE
ACHIEVEMENTINFLUENCE
RECOGNITIONLEADERSHIP

We hear horns blaring and the clanging of cymbals, as a deafening military march causes a violently loud commotion in the streets. A throng of garishly dressed followers, acolytes and admirers crowd around our hero, jostling to get a glimpse of their beloved leader, the man who has made it all possible: our victory.

The victor sits back proudly on his horse, a wreath made of laurel crowning both his head and his wand. A lush royal purple robe sets him apart with distinction even further above the crowd around him.

However, not all is as it seems. If we take time to look a bit closer, we may notice the way the green cloth falls against this noble animal’s body in a highly unnatural way. The way the fabric is draped is unusual; it extends lumpily behind its rider, and forward beyond the horse’s own body. 

This seems to suggest that the truth of what brought our brave hero to power is not what it seems. There is the image that appears at the summit of power, and then, there is also what lies beneath.

The perception that his followers have of who he is and what he has done to deserve his crown may be a false one. 

There is often much that is done in the struggle for power that is far from noble or glorious. This indicates that we may do well to be wary of the images of power, status and moral goodness presented to us by the societal forces which surround us.

Interpretation of the 6 of Wands in a Reading

One of the most obvious meanings for the 6 of Wands in a reading is that of victory and success. It often speaks to personal recognition, power and influence.

It also indicates the attitudes of confidence, optimism, and self-assurance that so often accompany the most successful members of society. It is not simply that those who have succeeded have something to feel good about; rather, it is often the very expectation of fulfillment that ultimately creates the consequence which has been anticipated.

Another aspect of this card that we might consider is that of the power imbalances that may arise between ourselves and those around us. When we attempt to set ourselves up over and against the rest, there is a natural resistance and resentment which is aroused in the hearts of others.

It is wise to remember that glory and acclaim is not experienced in a vacuum. For an example of this, we can look to the man at the rear of the crowd behind the hero. He holds his wand up with a suspicious (or perhaps envious) glare in his eyes. 

Indeed, many of the most exalted and successful people have noted how lonely achievement often is. Distinction may very well be experienced along with a sense of alienation from others. At times, achieving the success dreamed of may be tinged with bitterness at having lost a sense of belonging to the collective of which one was once simply a part.

Five of Wands | Tarot Card Meaning & Interpretation

5 of Wands

Keywords for the Five of Wands

COMPETITIONCONFLICT
PLAYING GAMESMINOR SETBACKS
FIGHTINGIRRITATIONS
DISAGREEMENTSARGUMENTS
STRUGGLEFIERCE DEBATE

In the image on the card, we see a group of young men engaged in what appears to be a lively and playful battle game. Each of the five youths, armed with a wand of his own, has joined the fray and is enthusiastically wielding his baton in a spirited sparring match against his opponents.

Although it is clearly every man for himself here, their engagement with each other seems clearly to be more for the thrill of the fight. There seems to be little intent for physical harm. Above all, it is a fight that seeks instead to playfully show their skill in battle, to win out on top against their reasonably friendly opponents, and to develop their expertise and talent in battle.

Five of Wands Interpretation

When the 5 of Wands comes up, it can indicate challenges and some level of difficulty or interpersonal conflict.

In some cases, the conflict may very well be light-hearted and playful. In a similar vein, this card can indicate engaging in a lively and spirited discussion. We may be involved in a debate, a battle of ideas, a testing of arguments that is enlivening and intellectually invigorating.

On the other hand, this card can also signal a situation characterized by unhealthy competition. It may involve petty disagreements, lack of cooperation, and small but significantly irritating frustrations. 

The Five of Wands can symbolize feeling at odds with your environment, with days filled with minor setbacks that are not so harmful in the whole scheme of things, but which do serve as sources of profound annoyance and irritation.

While many might find themselves frustrated by the challenges represented by the 5 of Wands, there are some possessing a more competitive nature who might find the extra competition to be just the motivation they needed. 

Competition and rivalry are not always unhealthy. The powerful energies it unleashes can be the spark which lights a fire within us, one which burns intensely with a desire to succeed and win. 

When we see the 5 of Wands in a reading, we may wish to allow the powerful energy of this card to drive us to be our very best. It may not be easy, but we will often find that it has been worth it. 

Four of Wands | Tarot Card Meaning & Interpretation

Four of Wands

Keywords for the Four of Wands

LIBERATIONCELEBRATION
FREEDOM HAVING FUN
OPTIMISMGOING TO A PARTY
JOYEXPRESSING GRATITUDE
EXCITEMENTENJOYING LIFE

It is a warm, early summer afternoon, one of those days where the sun seems to be smiling directly upon you, and you feel blessed to be alive. The sun, the season, the fruits, vegetables, and everything else under the glorious solar rays seem to be at full volume, completely ripe and ready to burst with life. A palpable sense of vitality permeates everything–all is graced by the golden touch of the sun.

In front of us stands a flowery canopy: four wands stand connected by a lush green garland of vines and leaves, decorated with the best of the season’s fruits and flowers, the crown gems of summer’s harvest on display.

Underneath this canopy, two women appear, raising lush bouquets of flowers towards the sky in a triumphant gesture of celebration. We can see other guests mingling behind them, all dressed in bright hues that express in vibrant tones their cheerful mood. The thrill of partaking in genuine and joyful communion with one another is palpable in the air.

Four of Wands Interpretation

When the 4 of Wands appears in a reading, it often signals a time of celebration, a time where we are free to rejoice and express our gratitude. We may have experienced difficulties in the past, but when this card appears, we can trust that the worst is over, and our freedom and liberation from restrictions is now assured.

At times, this card can quite literally signify a celebration: we may go to a dinner party, a festival, wedding or other social event. In simple terms, this card refers to having fun, to getting out and enjoying yourself fully and without reservations.

On a more general level, this card refers to celebration as an attitude of mind, an inner state of being characterized by a sense of optimism, happiness and joy. On that note, the appearance of the Four of Wands in a reading can more simply signify an attitude of enthusiasm, of faith in what the future holds for us.

It can also represent a spontaneous, open and free response to our current lived experiences, one where we feel free of restrictions, and unbound from any limitations. When the 4 of Wands appears, it signals that we are now free to go with the flow. We can feel grounded in the present moment, trusting in our capacity to react spontaneously, responding to whatever arises for us with a light touch and an open heart.

Three of Wands | Tarot Card Meaning & Interpretation

Three of Wands

Keywords for the Three of Wands

REFLECTING ON THE PASTPLANNING FOR THE FUTURE
WISDOMHOPE
PRIOR ACCOMPLISHMENTSFUTURE GOALS
MEMORIESVISION
ACCEPTING LIFE EXPERIENCEEAGERNESS TO EXPLORE 

A man stands facing the sea, staring out at the ships passing in the warm glow of the late afternoon sun. He contemplates their movements, watching as the wind fills their sails, propelling them towards their future destinations. 

On his back, he wears a patchwork cloak, made up of all the experiences of his past, containing evidence of everything that has led him up to this point.

The majority of the cloak is made of bright red cloth. It symbolizes desire, which is the primary motivating force behind man’s destiny.

The green is representative of his creativity, the imagination he possesses that is generative and productive, and can find new and original solutions to his problems.

Finally, the black and yellow patch stands for his past difficulties. Here we see the pain, the losses, the suffering and even the traumas that he has survived on his way to this point. Notice the similarity of this cloth to the image on Key 16, the Tower; it carries similar meanings. 

All of these colors and their related experiences make up an essential part of who we are. It is important to keep each in mind, to integrate and maintain an awareness of them all as we move forward in life. Each is an important element adding to our experience, and we would be wise to become conscious of them. For it is often what is found behind us that creates the structure and habits of mind which become the perspective from which we see our future.

Three of Wands Interpretation

When the 3 of Wands comes up in a reading, it often means that we have arrived at a turning point in our lives. We stand at a crossroads, one where we have the opportunity to weigh our options and make plans for the future.

The 3 of Wands often asks us to take a step back from our daily routine and our normal, everyday concerns, and to seek a higher vantage point from which we might access greater clarity about where we now stand in relation to our goals and aspirations.

More than anything else, the Three of Wands speaks to our capacity to think ahead. It is concerned with our vision for the future. It is not simply a matter of looking ahead, however. This card is concerned with utilizing the knowledge and wisdom we have gained from past experience in order that we may put our best foot forward as we step into the future.

Two of Wands | Tarot Card Meaning & Interpretation

Two of Cups

Keywords for the Two of Wands

AUTHORITYMAKING A CHOICE
INFLUENCESUCCESS
WORLDLY POWERRESPONSIBILITY
LEADERSHIP”VENI, VIDI, VICI”
COMMANDS RESPECTJADED

In the image on the card, we see a well-dressed man standing on a balcony, a man who clearly exudes an aura of power, authority, and success. His position high above the town in his castle, his expensive attire, royal purple robes, and confident stance make clear that he is someone who commands respect.

Gazing out at the territory stretching out in front of him, he holds a small globe in one hand, gripping a wand in the other. He seems to be deep in thought. He turns the globe over and over in his hand as he contemplates a decision to be made, weighing each choice carefully in his mind. 

Alternatively, he might be reflecting on his past, remembering the exploration and adventures of his youth, captivated by the memories of the battles won, success gained and victories had in days gone by.

Ask anyone on the street in the town below, and they would tell you that they envy this man, admire his accomplishments, and only wish that one day they might possess a fraction of his power, status, and wealth. 

But ask this man himself? Well, he might tell you a different story… You would hear how he is bored, restless, uninspired by this life of comfort and stability. You would know how trapped he feels, chained to the earth by the work of his own hand, ruled by his own extensive possessions. 

Even without a word, we can guess that likely feels trapped, even lost, without a goal to organize his efforts around. We can see this symbolized by the second wand, which stands to the right of its own accord, lacking a connection to life. It is held upright only by the metal shackle which binds it to the castle wall, making it unlikely to fall, yet also unable to be free.

Two of Wands Interpretation

When this card appears in a tarot reading, it can indicate the possession of great personal power, accomplishment, and success. It refers to the fruits of a brave and courageous soul, a heart that seeks the thrill of adventure and loves a good challenge, along with an original mind that knows how to make it all happen.

It can also refer to an ability to command respect, to act as an authoritative leader and influence others through the powerful force of his will and determination. The 2 of Wands may also reference a certain aura of “greatness” such a man (or woman) will naturally possess, along with the attention, admiration and influence inspired in those he comes into contact with. 

Another possibility expressed by the 2 of Wands is that of being at a turning point, of reaching a critical juncture where a decision must be made in order to move forward. It shows a person at a crossroads, carefully weighing each decision, preparing to take action.

Finally, this card may also indicate being possessed by a troubling sense of ennui, of listlessness, of feeling bored and uninspired by one’s current circumstances. The Two of Wands can appear when we are more focused on the thrill of the chase, This comes up in situations where we care only about conquering, and lose interest once the challenge has disappeared.

If this is the case, we may want to ask ourselves what we gain from being in constant pursuit of “the next best thing.” While this pattern may at times be very gratifying for the ego, if we persist we may find ourselves locked into a destructive pattern of dominance and aggression, which ultimately leaves us and others feeling empty and unfulfilled. 

Ace of Wands | Tarot Card Meaning & Interpretation

Keywords for the Ace of Wands

INITIATIVESTRENGTH
PASSIONPOWER
ENTHUSIASMINSPIRATION
MOTIVATIONSELF-EXPRESSION
CONFIDENCESUCCESS

It is a bright summer day in the countryside. We see a castle on a hill set against a backdrop of purple mountains, while beneath it, a river rushes forward relentlessly towards its destination. 

High above in the sky, a hand emerges from a cloud, tightly gripping a tall wand. This phallic object exudes so much vitality that green leaves literally burst forth from the top in an exuberant display of primal life force energy.

Ace of Wands Interpretation

When this card comes up in a tarot reading, it likely indicates an auspicious new beginning for us. 

The fiery energy of the suit of Wands blesses us with its passion, vitality, and enthusiasm. When we see this card, we can trust that we have the confidence, motivation and strength to move out in the world and make things happen.

This card can also indicate the presence of other qualities associated with the element of Fire, such as creativity, originality, and inspired self-expression. When the Ace of Wands comes up in a reading, it is safe to say that we can believe in ourselves and our capacity to find inventive solutions to any challenges before us. 

The Ace of Wands is, above all, a card of enthusiasm, excitement and adventure. When this Ace comes up in a reading, it can inspire us to have faith in ourselves and move forward. With this attitude of self-assurance, we are free to embark on whatever adventure is calling out to us, and trust that we will be met with success.