Happy International Tarot Day! Bree over at Nym’s Divination has organized a blog hop that I’m participating in, and I was chosen to write about the Ace of Wands. Being an Aries, the fiery suit of Wands is a comfortable place for me. So while all of the Aces are worth knowing, the Ace of Wands holds a particularly special place in my heart. It’s passionate and fiery. It resides in a liminal space of ideas not yet formed. It shows us both creation and destruction, life and death. Different decks tease out different layers of this card, and I wanted to share a few that I particularly like.
The traditional Ace of Wands is the budding branch, and it offers us a traditional meaning. Because the suit of Wands concerns itself with passion and innovation, it’s possible to view the entire suit in terms of the creative process. And that does seem to be the most common way to interpret it. If we view the suit through that lens, then the Ace of Wands is the inspiration. It’s the lightning strike. It’s the idea that keeps you up all night. It’s the spark that stops you in your tracks. The creative capability of the entire suit of Wands is condensed into this one card. It is a pure and powerful potential.
With its Ace of Branches, the Slow Holler Tarot gives us an interpretation of the Ace of Wands as defiant middle finger. If we talk about the suit of Wands in terms of the creative process, we can’t forget that creativity is often about challenging the status quo. If viewed that way, the Ace of Branches becomes an act of rebellion. The Ace of Wands has a fiery energy. We like to think of that energy as creative, but sometimes it's less about genesis and more about destruction as a catalyst for change. And we see that potential for both creation and destruction in this Ace of Branches. We see buds just about to pop. We see a middle finger that’s also a match, ready to burn down the world if given a spark. We see a volcano, biding its time, ready to erupt at the right moment. The Ace of Branches is that pregnant moment of pause just before everything blows and is created anew.
The Wooden Tarot’s God of Stones corresponds to the Ace of Wands in traditional decks. This card shows us an example of the guiding force of the Ace of Wands. The Ace of the suit often represents the abstract concept of the suit, and we do see that here. This God is raw power, and the clouds behind them link this card to the element of air and its associations with ideas and abstract thought. So the philosophical nature of the Ace isn’t lost here. But there’s something more concrete here, too. The God of Stones looks directly at us. The hands hold a stone in offering. And, most importantly, this God has antlers. For me, antlers are a powerful symbol because deer so often represent spiritual authority. The native tribes of North America believe the deer to be a messenger and a symbol of intuition. In Shinto, deer are considered messengers of the gods. The Celtic tradition saw the stag as the king of the forest, an animal that guided people to the deep-seated wisdom they could find there. The antlers on the God of Stones connect it to this idea of deer as messengers and figures of authority. The God of Stones is a guide, and they’re ready to lead us through the life-changing truth and wisdom of the suit of Stones.
There’s also a deeply sexual aspect to the Ace of Wands. It's why I like the Eros Tarot interpretation of the card—the artists just go for it. The erotic qualities of the card aren't talked about often, even though tarot folks joke all the time about how phallic the Ace of Wands is (and I mean, it's hard not to). But really, the entire suit of Wands is full of sexual energy. Even though the passion that we find in the suit of Wands is absolutely a mental passion, it’s not always so abstract. That fiery energy can speak to intellectual energy, but I’m of the opinion that tarot doesn’t always have to be so deep and metaphorical. Sometimes the Ace of Wands is exactly what it looks like. Sometimes that budding branch really is about sex! The Ace of Wands speaks well to the liminal quality of orgasm. It's neither here nor there. It briefly takes you outside of time, and there's a lot of magic and power and potential in that moment.
Honestly, the Ace of Wands has so many layers that I sometimes have trouble reading it when I pull a single card. It can be difficult to tease out the particular meaning when there’s no context. But I think that’s also part of the beauty of the Ace of Wands. At its root, it’s about manifestation. The Ace of Wands is the Magician’s wand. It shows us the power of taking our desires and making them reality. That can be done in myriad ways, though! The wonder of the Ace of Wands is that it shows us the many forms that magic can take.
I hope y’all have been enjoying this blog hop! If you're reading through all of these posts, you can find the previous post on the World here and the next post on the Two of Wands here.