Andrea has a background in Myers-Briggs and Western astrology. She mostly writes about relationships.
House of Wands Explained
Let's talk about fire! The House of Wands is all about free will, creative energy, passion, and choices. I was recently asked a really good question: why are you calling suits "houses?" I'll explain.
Yes, it is normally called the "Suit of Wands." I like house because of the imagery it builds. Think of it this way: the houses from Harry Potter, the houses from Game of Thrones. "Houses" give the cards more life and meaning. We begin to think of them as a collection of personalities that have united together for a particular cause. It designates a family around an element. Using the word "suit" doesn't quite have the same feel.
Calling them suits makes the cards more practical. It takes us back into the truth: Tarot cards were first used for entertainment in the mid-15th century in Europe. Centuries later people began to use the cards for divination, for cartomancy, and for more spiritual tactics.
I think by calling the suits "houses," we give them life. Not a magical kind of life, but it reminds us that Tarot cards are for storytelling. They're incredible linguistic wonders for creating narratives.
- Suits = logical, keeps things simple, based more in card playing.
- Houses = dynamic, brings out the stories of the cards, helps us make broader familiar connections.
Feel free to call them suits or houses. Most people you run into will call them suits, which is perfectly fine.
What Would a Household of Fire Look Like?
- Fire-breathing dragons guarding the palace walls.
- A fireplace brimming with colorful flames.
- Red carpets, red walls, and red rubies.
- Crackling cauldrons, burning candles, sparks flying.
- Matches in boxes, wood chopped for fire, torches.
- Images of volcanoes, the sun, and distant stars.
- Heat, steam, smoke, brightness, boiling.
- Fireflies dancing in the garden.
- Electricity running throughout the house.
- Reliance on solar energy.
The Elements in the Deck
There are four suits/houses in the Minor Arcana. They're commonly known as the wands, pentacles, swords, and cups. These cards are used in common playing cards but under different names: clubs, diamonds, spades, and hearts.
Wands Are the Clubs
They're the black pip cards along with spades/swords. Wands can be used to build homes, as a cane for travel, to fight off attackers, and many other forms. Wands are versatile—perhaps the most versatile suit. They're about action, cardio, and momentum.
Each suit has 10 numbered cards and four face cards: the page, the knight, the queen, and the king. The face cards are also associated with an energy regardless of their suit:
Page = Earth
Knight = Fire
Queen = Water
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King = Air
The Major Arcana Has 22 Face Cards
21 of those cards are numbered. The Fool card can be used as a zero or 22. The Major Arcana cards deal with scenarios that people commonly come into—or inevitably will. Tarot is about boiling down all our human experiences into the most common ones, and then shuffling those cards and laying them out to consider our possibilities.
The Major Arcana cards are also divided into different elements. Seven of those cards pertain to fire: Emperor, Strength, Wheel of Fortune, Temperance, Tower, Sun, and Judgment.
The Major Arcana altogether is considered the element ether; it contains the most important secrets and mysteries of our life.
In Western Astrology
In Western astrology, the fire cards relate to Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius. Aries rules the beginning of spring, Leo dominates the middle of summer, and Sagittarius ends fall. There are no winter fire signs.
In the Chinese Zodiac
In the Chinese Zodiac, the snake and the horse represent fire. The Chinese Zodiac is a 12-year cycle, whereas the Western Zodiac represents a single year with 12 months.
Fire and Vitality
Fire represents the powers of vitality. These include: Passion, creativity, life force, growth, humor, anger, spirituality, energy, and motivation. The expression that goes with fire is: "I do."
Fire = Powers of Vitality
Earth = Material Resources
Air = Powers of the Mind
Water = Matters of the Heart
Fire in Western Astrology
The Archer / Centaur
Represented in the Body
The Head / The Mind
Pisces / Taurus
Cancer / Virgo
Scorpio / Capricorn
The Mystery Behind Wands
Why wands and not just straight up fire? The wand is meant to be thought of as a torch, a match, or a stick that can handle fire. When thinking about these cards, you want to consider what is dormant and what is active. The wand always has the potential to be lit and bring about new action. When the card is active and upright it is mobilized by fire, which can be creative or destructive.
When the card is inactive or reversed, the fire isn't there. It's not in play, it's not getting the energy it needs to move forward, it isn't giving off warmth. You could think of this as an unlit candle, a dark fireplace, or a dragon with no fire in its belly.
There could be times that you want the wand but not the fire itself. Would you want your house made of sticks on fire? Would you want the wooden arch where you share your vows to be on fire? Fire needs to be balanced with other elements and not out of control. When fire is out of control it can be destructive, egotistical, and divisive.
In Feng Shui, fire nourishes earth by turning into ashes and helping the land to spread. Water is destructive to fire as it dowses flames.
Ace of Wands
Description: A hand appears from a cloud offering a wand. In the background, there is a castle representing the promise of more to come. There are hills and mountains in the way of the castle and you.
The wand gives you inspiration to push forward. It gives you hope that if you take on challenges you will get on the other side to the castle, to prosperity, to even be a ruler yourself.
The Ace of Wands gives you a snapshot of your end goal: to be king. Think of it as your David fighting Goliath. You're on the way to ruling a kingdom, but it will take one battle at a time to get there. You have to start from somewhere to get somewhere.
Upright: inspiration, new beginnings, courage, potential, possibilities, youth, new ideas, activating, consideration, an offer, the big picture, first step forward.
Reversed: lack of direction, delays, distractions, obstruction, impossibility, losing traction, backwards, retrograde, two steps back.
Two of Wands
Description: A woman in a red robe and hat holds a small globe. She stands between two trees or two wands. The woman is contemplating choices. She has the world in her hands. She has opportunities before her, but in order to take them she'll have to step out of her comfort zone. She is in the planning stage of how she'll take on the world and her future.
In the background, the land is rich with flora and rocks. If the woman goes into the field she'll definitely find good things like fruits, but she'll also have to overcome jagged and sharp obstacles.
Upright: future planning, decisions, discovery, progress, consideration, studying, open-minded, analyzing, reviewing, finding sense of purpose.
Reversed: fear of unknown, lack of planning, congested intuition, scatterbrained, overwhelmed, lack of preference, lack of choice, indecisive.
Three of Wands
Description: A man in decorative robes stands on a cliff with his back turned to us. Three wands or sticks stand out of the ground. He grips one of the sticks. He has left the comfort of his home. There is a vast sea before him.
Three ships sail past him representing movement and progress. The man is at the vantage point. He can see what is before him and what he needs to do to continue his journey.
Upright: progress, vast potential, understanding, moving ahead, journey, overseas exploration, travel abroad, movement, wanderlust, desire for nature.
Reversed: unexpected delays, Mercury retrograde, stuck in traffic, longer than expected, lost, pit stop, layovers, wrong direction, scenic route.
Four of Wands
Description: Two people dance and celebrate with flowers in their hands. They're under a canopy made of wands. Beauty abounds around them from flowers to fruits and fauna.
The two people have come together to say, "I do." They're uniting together for their future. They have entered a more committed part of their relationship.
In the background, another group of people stand in front of a castle: they represent family, safety, and the comforts of home.
Upright: marriage, celebration, harmony, togetherness, commitment, vows shared, homecoming, soul mate, long lasting relationship, companionship.
Reversed: lackluster, weak connection, short-term relationship, family disagreement, homesick, inner harmony or personal celebration, delayed relationship progress.
Five of Wands
Description: Five men are fighting each other with sticks. It's unclear who has the advantage in this battle. There appears to be no real sense to the fighting or no real outcome from it. There is senseless competition.
There are too many people trying to win the same thing. Each man wears a different outfit. They all come from different backgrounds and places. They cannot find harmony or peace with one another; the tensions are high.
They're using their wands as weapons rather than as tools to unite. They're focused on strength and might rather than diplomacy.
Upright: battle, division, chaos, tension, competition, aggression, physical force, upset, too many demands, toxic work environment.
Reversed: inner conflict, conflict avoidance, unable to focus, stress multiples, frozen by stress, burnt out, energy crash.
Six of Wands
Description: A man wearing a laurel around his head rides a white horse through a cheering crowd. He is the victor.
The horse represents strength, purity, and clarity. The man riding into the crowd is all about progress, celebration, victory, and public recognition. He is not afraid to show off his accomplishments. The crowd is cheerful and recognizes his work.
Upright: success, accomplishment, progress, celebration, victory, the winner, praise, joy, reassurance, parade.
Reversed: fall from grace, egotism, running away, discord, disapproval, mockery, but it could also be a private achievement or quiet success.
Seven of Wands
Description: A man is on top of a hill. He is using his one wand to defend himself against six wands reaching to the top of the hill.
The man is cutting off his competition. He is protecting himself from an attack.
The man is defending his territory. The man is wearing two different shoes; he may have been unprepared and caught off guard by the attack. He will have to make a decision about his stance if he wants to succeed.
Upright: challenge, competition, feeling attacked, safeguarding, protection, rebuking others, forced into battle, fight, defense, purpose, underestimated.
Reversed: exhaustion, giving up, cowering, losing ground, defeat, unprepared, lackluster, unskilled, overestimated, dower.
Eight of Wands
Description: Eight wands fall from the sky rapidly. They look like arrows. Their flight suggests a rapid change in movement. The sky is clear. A river flows freely in the background—the landscape is beautiful, but the movement in the air is cause for concern.
Someone has thrown wands up into the sky. This could be a targeted attack or a chaotic, unpredictable event.
Upright: efficiency, speed, sudden movement, rapid change, air travel, arrows, quick.
Reversed: delays, resisting change, wrong target, internal conflict, shifting allegiance, aimless drifting.
Nine of Wands
Description: An injured man clutches a wand. He stands next to eight other wands. The man looks battered. He is tired. He isn't sure how to keep going. He has been through a battle, but there are more challenges ahead of him.
He might not have enough time to recover. He must endure this last fated challenge before he can get to the end goal, to find liberation, or to come out as the victor. It's not going to be easy, but he has to find inner strength.
Upright: test of faith, perseverance, last bit of strength, coming out of the cave, hope for triumph, resilience, the final resort.
Reversed: defensive, paranoia, struggle, overwhelmed, disheveled, dishonored, critical injury, crippled, veteran.
Ten of Wands
Description: A woman carries a bundle of sticks toward a village. She only has a short journey left before she arrives at her destination. She is weighed down by the bundle. She is so close to where she needs to be that if she keeps moving forward she'll finally be able to release her heavy burden.
Upright: burden, extra responsibility, almost at the finish line, carrying extra weight, pregnancy and labor, hard work, heavy lifting.
Reversed: release, doing it all by yourself, carrying too much weight, falling short, didn't make it home.
Page of Wands
Description: The page holds a long staff in both hands. The stick sprouts green leaves and blossoms. The page stands still. His staff planted firmly on the ground. He is mesmerized by the potential the stick has in it. He is similar to a young Moses who carried a stick and told water to turn into blood. Moses hadn't quite realized his full potential: he was beginning to take his role like the page in this card.
The landscape behind him is mountainous. The page has the potential to take on this rugged landscape if he holds onto the magic, the spirit, god's promise in the burning bush. Moses and his story is often compared to the zodiacal sign Aries.
Upright: inspiration, possibility, spirit, discovery, potential, infinity, free-will, knowledge, leveling up, mesmerized, amazed.
Reversed: losing power, redirecting energy, convoluted spiritual path, losing essence, decay, loss of flora, famine.
Knight of Wands
Description: The knight is in full armor. He is decorated with salamanders. He rides a horse into battle. His helmet has plumes of fire. He holds a sprouting stick which symbolizes his power, his dedication to his mission, and his high potential to succeed in a battle.
The horse raises up its hind legs. The pair is poised for action. The background is hot, dry, and barren. It has the warring energy of Mars. It has the ego and charisma of Leo. It has the wild energy of the centaur Sagittarius.
Upright: passion, vitality, adventure, haste, impulsive, action, fierce, anger, attack, competitor, strength, excellence.
Reversed: Don Quixote, scattered energies, taking on the wrong opponents, Leroy Jenkins, frustration, dire move.
Queen of Wands
Description: The Queen of Wands sits on a throne decorated with lions and cats. The lion symbolizes Leo. She has a sunflower in her left hand. She also has a sunflower in her hair. The flower symbolizes fertility, joy, sunshine. She is satisfied in her life.
A black cat sits at her feet. A sign that while the Queen is bold and ferocious, she still has a lesser-known shadow that she doesn't know as well.
Upright: courage, power, elegance, social butterfly, femininity, confidence, the cat's meow, the lion's roar, flattery, determination, royal, encounters in the day.
Reversed: introversion, focusing on the shadow, superstitions, self-awareness, encounters in the night.
King of Wands
Description: The King of Wands sits on his throne. He holds a blossoming wand. His throne is decorated with lions, salamanders, or dragons. The salamanders bite their own tails representing infinity and the ongoing drive to move forward; they represent the spark that sets the universe in motion.
The man is a beast tamer. He has tamed all the creatures around him, and he knows their names. He puts the lion to rest; he pacifies the dragons. He is like Daniel from the Bible: the lion tamer and the prophet.
Upright: natural-born leader, sage, godlike power, exponential growth, excellent visionary, honor, accomplishment, establishment.
Reversed: impulsive, haste, chaos, ruthless, too high of expectations, awful, untamed beasts, carnage.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
© 2021 Andrea Lawrence
Andrea Lawrence (author) from Chicago on January 28, 2021:
@Umesh Chandra Bhatt
Thank you for reading!
Umesh Chandra Bhatt from Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, India on January 28, 2021: