Exploring the Four of Wands

Welcome to Tarot Thursdays! This week we will be exploring the Four of Wands and how it can be used as a prompt or brainstorming in our writing.

Tarot is an interesting thing. It’s based upon symbolism and metaphors through imagery. With these images the subconscious mind is tapped into through the story provided. Not everyone gets the same thing from a piece of art. Each piece will influence each person in a slightly different way.


Introduction of the Card

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The Four of Wands is card number 25 in the deck and the fourth card of the Wands Suit in the Minor Arcana of the Tarot.

Let’s take a look at the following examples of this card below.


Card Examples

 

 

This one I’m going to deviate somewhat and add links to additional images to more cards because like the Two of Wands, I ran into some trouble understanding this card.

Notice the similarities between them and take note of their differences. Do any of these move you more than the others? Take your time and allow these cards to tell you their story.


My Analysis of These Cards

One word comes to mind when I look at these cards together: RITUAL.

Like with the grapes one for the Universal Tarot. It reminds me of harvest and canning time here at home. There is a specific process in how we do it and when we’re in synch and all the steps are followed correctly there is harmony and peace in it. Everything falls into place right down the line. It goes smooth and everything gets down quickly. If one thing isn’t right shit starts to fall apart. The jam doesn’t come out right. The pickles taste bad.

My son, Tuxedo Cat, is like this with his daily activities. Everything has its place and everything is done in a certain order. If not, he falls apart. Everyone else can do their own thing their way, but he has to do his thing in his order.

Look at the cards depicting magic in use. In fantasy stories magic functions the same way as home canning. If one thing isn’t done exactly right, then the spell goes awry. Sometimes this is used for comedic effect, but other times it’s used for disastrous plot twists.

The doors in the Dreams of Tarot make me think of the Mormon temples and how it’s a huge rite of passage the first time you go and get your temple ordinances. I realize these doors can mean a billion other things, but in context of these other cards it just makes me think of a rite of passage of some kind.

The pillar that the dragon is wrapping itself around in the Dragon Tarot has a similar feel as the Tarot of Dreams. This is either a magical or religious rite for the dragon from which it is gaining empowerment and peace.

And in the Mythic Tarot it’s clearly them sending him off. Back then it was a big deal to see long voyages off. Here the king and queen are giving them their blessing and support. A similar thing was done for Columbus I believe. So it was a very long standing tradition to do this. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Navy units around the world still does this. It serves an important function in letting these sailors know they are thought of and people are wanting them to return safely.

Turns out, I’ve been following puimun on Deviant Art for quite some time and have been admiring the art for her cards without knowing what she had ever named this deck. Come to find out, she named it Shadowscapes. Having said that, I find her card intriguing here. It looks to me as though kirin have come together with faeries in a procession or a parade – which incidentally is another type of ritualized celebration. But I can’t help but wonder what or who it is they are celebrating here.

Finally, in the Rider-Waite deck they are celebrating something with the grapes. It is the harvest? A wedding? I’m not sure. But weddings themselves are ritualized. They are often rehearsed like graduations and parades. By the time the big day comes around, everyone knows their place, their role, and what they’ll be doing and it becomes this big wonderful event.


Themes of the Card

Each card has a set of keywords associated with it that serve as themes for its image. These keywords will vary somewhat depending on who you ask.

According to the Learning the Tarot website, the keywords associated with the card are:

  • CELEBRATION
  • FREEDOM
  • EXCITEMENT

You can learn more about what this site has to say about this card here.

According to the Biddy Tarot website, the keywords associated with the card are:

  • CELEBRATION
  • HARMONY
  • MARRIAGE
  • HOME
  • COMMUNITY

You can learn more about what this site has to say about this card here.


What this Card Means to Me

So building off from my analysis above, rituals create a safe space within the chaos we call life by bringing order, structure, and predictability. This creates harmony within our homes and communities. It allows us the freedom to celebrate the various holidays and life events we have because we know what to expect. This card really is all about the ritualized aspects of home life that brings us peace and happiness.

The keyword I choose for this card is: RITUAL.


Music Playlist

In this spirit of all this, these are the songs I have picked out for this card.


The Writing Exercise

This exercise is a free write. Permit yourself to write whatever comes to mind based upon the theme of this card. Choose a keyword or key phrase and run with it to see what you come up with.


I would love it if you linked or pinged back what you wrote so I could see where you went with this.

Happy writing!


Mythic Tarot by Liz Greene (Author), Juliet Sharman-Burke (Author), Tricia Newell (Illustrator) © 1989
Dragon Tarot by Terry Donaldson (Author), Peter Pracownik (Author) © 1996
Universal Tarot by Lo Scarabeo (Author), R. De Angelis (Illustrator), A. E. Waite (Designer) © 2001
Tarot of Dreams by Ciro Marchetti (Author), Lee Bursten (Author) © 2015

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