The King of Wands is the patriarch of the Minor Arcana’s Wands suit which deals with the element of fire. The King of the suit embodies all of its qualities and associations, positive as well as negative.
When the upright King of Wands appears in a Tarot reading, he is a good omen, bringing positive fire energy, radiant life force, passion and drive. The King of Wands is a big energy, and he has high standards and great expectations, of himself as well as of people .
When we encounter him in his reversed position, however, his wilful energies spill over into rushed decision making, his decisive nature becomes daredevil impulsivity, and his high standards warp and he becomes overly controlling.
The King of the flames and the wind
All court card s of the Minor Arcana are linked to an element. The four Kings are all linked to the element of air, just as the Queens are linked to water, the Knights to fire and the Pages to earth.
This means that the King of Wands Tarot card combines the elemental flames and wind in a powerful, if sometimes volatile cocktail.
In the language of the Tarot, flames are symbolic of drive, ambition, creativity and raw passion. Air is symbolic of fast and clear thinking, skilful communication and novel ideas.
Flames and air work beautifully together, fuelling creative thinking, inspiring passion and self expression, and driving innovation. As long as the flames are directed with forethought and intelligence, the King of Wands works as a force for good in your life.
King of Wands Tarot card description and symbols
Renditions of the King of Wands card vary from Tarot deck to Tarot deck, but most contain the essential symbolism known from the Rider-Waite Tarot. These are the symbols we will be looking at here.
The primary figure of the King of Wands Tarot card is, of course, the King.
Seated on his impressive throne, the King of Wands appears to be gazing out over his kingdom with a relaxed but alert expression, suggesting that he is aware of every move and shift happening in his kingdom. He is clad in a bright orange robe and wears a headdress in the same colour under his crown, underscoring his connection to his element.
The blossoming wand
In lieu of a sceptre, the King holds a large wand in his right hand. In fact, the wand has grown into a staff, reaching the ground at his feet and extending above his crown.
In the Tarot, wands signify willpower and the ability to direct the force of one’s will into magical manifestation – and in the metaphorical, pictorial language of the Tarot, size does matter. One glance at the King of Wands’ magical staff makes his magical prowess and the force of his willpower clear.
It is also interesting to note that this King has no sceptre and no globe, the typical vestments of a monarch. His willpower, symbolised by his magical staff, is all he needs to assert his dominance and ability to lead.
An unusual feature of the King of Wand’s staff are the buds sprouting from it. They suggest creativity and the ability to make things happen, further underscoring the King of Wand’s position as a master manifestor.
What is a king without a crown?
The King of Wands wears a golden crown with suitably flame-shaped points. The crown, its shape and colour further links him to his ruling element and suggests that the King draws his authority from its flames.
The lions and salamanders
The King’s cape and throne are both decorated with salamanders and lions.
The lions tie him to the solar energy of the Leo zodiac sign, while the salamanders biting their own tails suggest eternity and continuity. Both animals are linked to elemental fire.
King of Wands Tarot card meanings
While depictions of the King of wands vary, his significance and meaning do not. Which aspects of the King of Wands card stand out will depend somewhat on the other Tarot cards in the reading.
From leadership skills to inner compass, here are the primary King of Wands Tarot card meanings.
Natural born leader and entrepreneur
The King of Wands represents a natural born leader and trailblazer, someone for whom leadership skills are hard-wired into their personality.
In its upright position, the King of Wands suggests a fiercely independent and self sufficient person, who at the same time is extremely skilled at building relationships and rallying other people around their ideas.
The King of Wands is also creative and radiates an invigorating, special energy that others want to be around – no one can get people fired up and following like the King of Wands.
King of Wands personality types are not afraid of taking control and accepting responsibility – this earns respect, as many might balk or buckle under the weight of the same commitments that the King of Wands is able to carry with such ease.
King of Wands personality types often run their own business or enterprise, as they crave independence and the privilege of calling the shots, in business as well as in just about every other area of life.
A person with a King of Wands-like personality is a natural disrupter, and likes to introduce and element of uncertainty into a stable situation.
Drive and ambition
The King of Wands personality is far from being a passive observer of life – they want to get right in there, get involved, and give direction.
A person with a King of Wands-like spirit will be driven, passionate and ambitious, fiercely alive in every arena they enter. They are typically exceptionally vigorous and seemingly always in good health.
A King of Wands-like personality has a big energy and radiates energy. When they set their sights on a goal, they will pursue it to the end of the world if necessary.
The King of Wands is a master manifestor, as his intention and actions always work in sync instead of, as is often the case, against each other.
Another interesting aspect of the King of Wands personality is that they are wilful and quick to take action – when an opportunity presents itself, the King of Wands strikes immediately and with great force.
The King of Wands is ferociously passionate and relishes in the pleasures that the world has to offer. He is very much in touch with his own wants, and he does not apologise for them.
Perhaps the greatest slice of wisdom that the King of Wants has to offer us is encouragement to become truly comfortable with who we are and with what we want in this world.
The King of Wants councils us not to hesitate and falter so much, and not to care so much about other people’s opinions, whatever they may be. He reminds us the life is a gift and adventure, waiting to be explored, relished and conquered.
Honour and integrity
The King of Wands runs his kingdom with honour and integrity. He listens to his own inner voice and moral compass, and adheres unwaveringly to the course they suggest.
The King of Wands is not swayed by group pressure and he does not take direction from others. He takes direction only from his own standards and moral compass.
When the Kin of Wands gives you his word, he might as well have signed his promise in the blood of his firstborn. His word is as good as gold.
Meanings of the King of Wands reversed
The King of Wands reversed is a character you would rather not come across or have to grabble with. Whether you encounter the qualities of the reversed King of wands in another person or find them within yourself, you can expect the encounter to be a challenge.
Here are some of the most prevalent reversed King of Wands Tarot card meanings.
Whereas the upright King of Wands is a sign of independence and a natural leader, the reversed King of Wands card represents faltering insecurity and quite often co-dependency.
When the King of Wands shows up reversed, there is a sense of being unable to cope with your own problems and leaning heavily on others for support.
When the King of Wands makes an appearance, it is always a sign that the energy and the assertiveness is there – the reversed King of Wands doesn’t imply that you haven’t got it, but merely that you are out of touch with it and would do well to rekindle your inner authority and relocate your inner seat of power.
The upright King of Wands Tarot card never wavers or hesitates, but his actions are always deliberate and well balanced.
The King of Wands reversed suggests rash decisions and acting on momentary impulse rather than in accordance with a higher goal or plan.
Focus, surety and assertiveness turn into aggression in the King of Wands reversed.
Here, the King’s fiery temper and big energy become highly unpleasant as the King tramples his own supporters, flying off the handle at the smallest slight or upset.
Unrealistic expectations, control issues
The upright King of Wands Tarot card implies a solid grasp on reality and although he expects much from life, from himself and from those he chooses to surround himself with, he never sets the bar unreasonably high.
Unrealistic expectations and a deeply flawed sense of what is possible and reasonable are qualities associated with the reversed King of Wands. The general meaning here includes an overly controlling attitude and a desire to micro-manage every aspect of the project or enterprise, being unable to trust in the abilities of others do to contribute and do their part.
What the King of Wands means in a love Tarot reading
When it comes to love life, the upright King of Wands is a positive sign, and potentially exciting news.
Not only does the King of Wands imply fiery passion and adventurousness – qualities most would agree are important in any relationship or romantic liaison -, he may also represent a person or a set of traits.
The King of Wands card meaning might refer to you and your characteristics or approach to relationships and romance – in which case, consider the appearance of the King of Wands a sign that you are doing it right -, or you might discover the the King of Wands meaning refers to another person who embodies these qualities and radiates this fiery and passionate energy.
When the King of Wands turns up reversed in a love reading, it is unequivocally bad news.
When you read Tarot, a card will sometimes have more than one possible interpretation and you will have to go with the one most fitting, as suggested by the overall meaning of the reading and by the surrounding cards.
For example, the King of Wands reversed might mean a couple of different things in the area of love and romance. One interpretation could be that there is a loss of passion and attraction.
Another possibility could be that one partner in the relationship is overly controlling and bad-tempered, making the other partner tip-toe around them on eggshells.
What the King of Wands means in a Tarot reading about money and career
In a Tarot reading about money or work, the King of Wands is a fortuitous omen.
You are in a positive place, feeling balanced, centred and confident in yourself and your abilities. Imposter syndrome is not your problem; you know that you have something to offer and bring to the table. You believe in yourself, you are bubbling over with plans and your energy is contagious, making it easy for you to attract customers or approach potential clients, investors or collaborators.
Another relevant King of Wands card meaning is a sense of control – you are the captain of your own ship, living within your means and using your resources well.
When the King of Wands shows up in his reversed position in a career reading or talking about money, it is a sign of a lack of control.
You might be living beyond your means or have lost touch with what your true contributions are.