Three of Wands

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The Three of Wands is an exciting card, filled with dynamic energy and a promise of expansion and adventure as you journey beyond your known surroundings and circumstances.

When the Three of Wands appears in a Tarot reading, it is almost always a sign that you are ready for something new, something more or merely different than the reality you have become familiar with. You may have outgrown your current circumstances, or you may have simply used up their energy and absorbed the lessons they had to offer.

Going beyond your comfort zone is going to take a certain amount of inner fortitude and courage – that’s why so many never make it. But when the Three of Wands shows up, you are committed to a vision of what you might be able to achieve or create. You are feeling confident as you head out to seek your fortune. You are not going to let anyone else’s feelings of ineptitude, jealousy or frustration rob you of any of your metaphysical energy as you move towards your goals.

What the Wands in the Tarot deck stand for

The Tarot’s Minor Arcana suit of Wands is connected to the fire element and everything it stands for – spiritedness, drive and ambition, passion, life force, willpower and confidence.

The Magician’s wand

In the Major Arcana’s Magician Tarot card, we see the Magician wielding his wand with skill and determination. Here the wand becomes a magical instrument, a conductor’s baton used by the Magician to channel and direct his willpower.

We all contain the energies of the four elements within us – earth, air, fire and water. Like the Magician working at his altar, we all have to learn how to master the different elements and the energies and areas of life they represent.

Numerological meaning of the number 3 in Tarot

In numerology the number 3 is connected to innovation and newness. Its energy is dynamic, shifting and invigorating.

In the Tarot, the four threes of the Minor Arcana all deal with change and expansion. The Three of Pentacles talks about collaboration and the blending together of different energies and input, the sum total becoming more than its separate parts and driving progress. The Three of Swords deals with the painful aftermath of heartbreak – but this is also an opportunity to growth and realignment. The Three of Cups is a celebration of friendship, creativity and collaboration.

Finally, we have the Three of Wands, which deals with the energy of personal ambition and the expansion of personal horizons.

Three of Wands Tarot card description

Different Tarot decks offer different takes on the Three of Wands Tarot card. Here, we will be looking at the details and symbols found in the Rider-Waite Tarot’s Three of Wands.

The man

The primary figure in the Three of Wands Tarot card is the man standing in the foreground, his back turned to the viewer as he gazes towards the distant horizon. He is dressed in red and green robes, linking his personality to the energies of fire and earth – this tells us that he is driven, but he is also practical and realistic.

The wands

Three large wands are stuck into the ground, almost like growing trees. They signify that the man is committed to his plans, and that they are grounded and solid.

The vantage point

The man is standing at an elevated vantage point from which he can see far – the landscape lie before him, and because he has the overview he is able to plan his way forward. He is viewing his life from an eagle eye perspective and making positive decisions about his future.

The ships

Far ahead in the distance is the sea, and on its waves are three ships. They are symbolic of adventure, exploration, movement and progression.

Meaning of the Three of Wands

Every Tarot card is a many-faceted prism of meaning, the Three of Wands being no exception. Here are some of the most prevalent meanings of the upright Three of Wands Tarot card.

Progress and growth

The primary meaning of the Three of Wands Tarot card is evolution, change and expansion. Your horizons are broadening, and you are reaching out for more of life than you have previously.

The Three of Wands is a very proactive card – its energy is the antithesis to sitting around waiting for life’s opportunities to come and find you. Instead, you are out there, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, chasing down those experiences and opportunities you desire.

A daring move

The upright Three of Wands card is a sign of transcending your comfort zone and your known surroundings or circumstances.

When the Three of Wands appears, there is a real desire to unfold, explore and experience more than you have so far. You make a bold and daring move in a new direction, or take a chance on a new person.

Travel and adventure

Whether literally or figuratively speaking, the 3 of Wands Tarot card indicates adventure, travel and exploration.

You may be going abroad, or you may be travelling in a more internal or metaphorical way. Either way, expect it to be an eye-opening, mind-expanding quest. Say yes and go with the flow.

Foresight

The Three of Wands Tarot card often represents foresight and planning.

Your current vantage point allows you to see the larger picture and overall trajectory of your life. You are in a good position to be making fresh, new plans, and to move your life forward in a new and different direction that is more aligned with your true ambition. The Three of Wands often shows up at the beginning of a new journey or chapter, when you are taking the first few steps in a new destination.

Meaning of the Three of Wands reversed

When the Three of Wands Tarot card appears in its reversed position, its bright and positive, forward-moving energies are stifled or suppressed. Here are some of the most significant meanings of the Three of Wands reversed.

Playing it safe, staying small

Whereas the upright Three of Wands represents growth and development, the Three of Wands reversed can indicate that you are living below your potential and are afraid of growing and exploring. As a result, you are holding yourself back from pursuing your brightest ideas and your biggest dream.

You might lack confidence, or perhaps you have never fully recovered from an earlier experience of failure that clipped the wings of your ambition.

Whatever the case may be, the reversed Three of Wands encourages you to rekindle your inner fire and to start taking more risk by venturing further afield from your comfort zone, whether we are talking about your career, your relationship, or anything else.

Delays

Obstacles and setbacks are an expected part of the course when you set out to learn and grow as a person. The reversed Three of Wands Tarot card can sometimes be a sign of externally-imposed delays and circumstances that are holding you up and slowing you down.

Lack of foresight

Whereas the upright Three of Wands Tarot card indicates foresight and planning, the reversed Three of Wands can be a sign of the opposite. Here, you are approaching your future and trying to manifest your ideas in a slapdash, sporadic way.

There is something to be said for having confidence in your own ability to work things out as you go along, but there is no reason not combine your sense of confidence and optimism with a healthy dose of proper planning and preparation.

The Three of Wands Tarot card reversed reminds us that there is a difference between taking a calculated risk, and being sloppy and underprepared.

Three of Wands Tarot card interpretations

The Three of Wands Tarot card has multiple layers of meaning, and many possible interpretations depending on the context and subject of the reading, as well as on the individual interpretation of the Tarot reader. Here are some examples of how the Three of Wands Tarot card might be interpreted in different contexts.

What the upright Three of Wands means in a love Tarot reading

The magic of a new experience or possibility is calling out to you.

You are either near the beginning of a new relationship or budding romance, or merely entering a new chapter within an existing one. Either way, you are feeling adventurous, curious and excited by the possibilities. You want to explore, expand and delve deeper.

What the reversed Three of Wands means in a love Tarot reading

The reversed 3 of Wands is never a positive sign when it shows up in love Tarot readings.

You are feeling stuck and frustrated, whether your existing relationship is stagnating or you are on your own. Your fire is trapped, and you are unsure of how or where to channel it. There might be circumstances beyond your control that are keeping you from feeling satisfied and fulfilled.

What the upright Three of Wands means in a career Tarot reading

The upright 3 of Wands is an encouraging sign in readings about career or money.

You may still very much be learning and finding your foothold within your industry, but you are learning and growing, and you have got a pretty clear idea of where you are going with it all. From where you are standing you can see lots of possibilities and opportunities just waiting for you to explore and develop them. You are approaching your career or business with a positive outlook and a mindset geared for growth and progression. You are not viewing the success of others as a threat to you, but rather as inspiration, gasoline on your own fire.

What the reversed Three of Wands means in a career Tarot reading

Success seems to evade you and you are sinking down deeper and deeper into frustration. Your position or business may seem unfulfilling to you, and from where you are standing, it looks like countless obstacles, red tape and grumpy gatekeepers are poised to erode what level of success or stability you have achieved.

Lucius Nothing

Lucius has been slinging tarot cards professionally since 2014. He’s taken the tarot to places most wouldn’t think of: His best-known patrons include Torture Garden, The Dark Circus Party, Handel & Hendrix, A Curious Invitation and The Candlelight Club, where he has been resident tarot reader for the past half-decade. His writing on divination, magic and creativity has been published in Sabbat Magazine and on Medium.

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