Eight of Wands Tarot Card Meaning & Interpretations
In the 8 of Wands tarot card we have a mix of some very powerful symbology. The Suit of Wands, and its element of Fire, symbolises energy, passion and drive. It is the fire that burns in the home and within the engines of our transport and industry. In numerology the number 8 gives you a "can do, will do" energy and ambition. It puts you in control with the focus to get things done. Not only the ambition but also the direction and resources to manifest goals. Combining the number 8 with the element of fire it would be perfectly correct for a 21st century tarot card to have a picture of a space rocket for the 8 of Wands. Or less dramatic, a cup of very strong coffee!
The Rider Waite Smith (RWS) deck was published at the turn of the 20th century only 6 years after the Wright Brothers achieved the first flight. Had Pamela C. Smith illustrated her deck 100 years later it may well have been a space rocket she would have used. Instead she illustrated what is probably the simplest card in her deck showing 8 wands flying together through the air over a simple, green, countryside. Smith uses the same background from her Ace of Wands but seen from a different perspective. In the Ace things have just started with a single wand being held upright by a hand. In the 8 of Wands things have progressed, multiplied, and are really moving on their own with no hands and no people. The 8 of Wands is the only card in the RWS deck not to feature a character or additional prop. The The Wheel of Fortune has its beasts representing Zodiac houses and the 3 Of Swords has its sword pierced heart. The 8 of Wands has nothing other than a simple background and 8 flying wands.
When illustrating a Tarot card there is a danger of influencing the deck user too much by depicting an overly elaborate story which distracts users from the basic symbology. A good Tarot deck should have cards that remain open and fluid to interpretation. To become proficient in Tarot you must always be aware of what is missing as well as what is being presented to you. Smith's decision to exclude any characters, or props, from only this card may have been to emphasise the point that this card relates to forces that have already been set in motion and are out of anyones control. Like arrows that are already in flight one can only wait and see where it is they land, if they hit their target and what damage they do if any.
The 8 of Wands, 8 of Rods or 8 of Batons, is a card symbolising swift action, travel and expansion. The element here is Fire which relates to home, community, work and projects. The aspects of the number 8 in numerology are power, control, ambition, organisation, practicality, focus and success. This card is more commonly depicted as 8 wands flying through the air. This may have the metaphorical meaning of things changing swiftly and for the better. Its meaning can also be literal and the appearance of this card could indicate travel by air in the future.
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THE PICTORIAL KEY TO THE TAROT
By Arthur Edward Waite (1911)
The card represents motion through the immovable-a flight of wands through an open country; but they draw to the term of their course. That which they signify is at hand; it may be even on the threshold. Divinatory Meanings: Activity in undertakings, the path of such activity, swiftness, as that of an express messenger; great haste, great hope, speed towards an end which promises assured felicity; generally, that which is on the move; also the arrows of love. Reversed: Arrows of jealousy, internal dispute, stingings of conscience, quarrels; and domestic disputes for persons who are married.
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