ALTERNATE NAMES: The Root of the Powers of Fire; Maypole; Instigator


BASIC DESCRIPTION: A large white hand emerging from a wisp of gray cloud holds a leafed rod. The hand appears to glow, and some leaves are falling down. The landscape below features a green meadow with a few trees, a river, a small hill topped by a castle, and hills or low mountains in the distant background.
FIRST THING THAT STRUCK ME: The whiteness of the hand, and the lines radiating out from it, which make it appear to glow.

SOME UPRIGHT MEANINGS: Elemental fire, flame, light, warmth, and energy. Source, origin, identity. Conception, beginnings, new ideas, inventions. Inspiration, motivation, prodding, incitement, prankishness. A moment of illumination, an impulse to do something new. Activity, initiative, creativity, expression. Vitality, enthusiasm, confidence, boldness, courage, conviction, self-realization. Energy applied to begin a project or creation. Growth, enterprise, potential, unfolding. The promising new beginning of a project, idea, or adventure. Birth, fertility, sex, phallus, masculinity, power.

SOME REVERSED MEANINGS: Chaotic, unfocused, unmanageable energy. Damaging overzealousness, blind power, the destructive, burning use of fire or light. Bad planning, false start, cancellation, stunted potential, blighted growth, closing of ventures, leaving town. Loss of direction, stagnation, malaise, dullness, lack of energy or motivation, trepidation, burn out, writer's block. Impotence, infertility, barrenness, emptiness.

BIBLICAL: Aaron's rod (of Egypt fame), which blossomed and later was put into the Ark of the Covenant. Also the "brazen serpent" which Moses erected in the desert.
QUOTE: "And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.
And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.
And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.
And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, and the Spirit gave them utterance."--Acts 2:1-4

MYTHOLOGICAL: Prometheus bringing fire to man.
HISTORICAL: Peasants with sticks.

ANIMAL: While salamanders correspond to Wands in general, the Ace in particular makes me think of the rhino, giraffe, and elephant.
FOOD: carrots, celery
HERB: stinging nettle, chili pepper
FLOWERS: sunflowers, calendula
TREES: Looks kind of like a birch branch, except for the color.
LOCATION: The background looks like Lenzburg, with the castle and the Aabach.
TIME/SEASON: indeterminate (green trees=summer?)
MUSIC: "Fire" by Hendrix; "Light My Fire" by the Doors
FILM: "Walking Tall" and all "go for it" films.
BOOK: All inspirational or "go for it" books.

PUBLIC PEOPLE OR EVENTS: Olympic torch; Hendrix's guitar
OCCUPATIONS: baseball, polo, hockey, pool player; musical conductor, guitar player; carpenter; blacksmith; designer
QUOTES FROM OTHER SOURCES: What was it Roosevelt said: "Walk softly and carry a big stick" or some such?

PEOPLE OR SITUATIONS IN MY LIFE: This card came to tell me I was pregnant. (But it also made me think I would have a boy.)
PERSONAL THOUGHTS: I think the sexual aspect of this card is too often overlooked.

FAVORITE REPRESENTATION: My favorite Ace of Wands is the Healing Tarot.
COMPARISONS TO OTHER CARDS: Off the top of my head (i.e. without scanning the entire deck), the Ace seems to be the shortest, bluntest Wand of all; more like a club, while the others are more like staffs.
RIDER WAITE Ace of Wands
All the Aces are a bit bland about expressing their elemental energies, especially in comparison to more modern decks.
The key word that pops into my head for this card is "Instigator." An instigator is a person, thing or event which provokes action. This can mean many things, such as inspiration, motivation, prodding, incitement and prankishness (is that a word?). Since it is the *Halloween* Tarot, and the suit of *Imps,* I'm really reminded of the neighborhood kid who liked tricks more than treats, and tried to get others in on his schemes. I can't go into details though; I'm sworn to eternal secrecy!
One of the things I love about this deck is that the Staves (and Sacred Circles) are symbolized by a variety of items. So often we think of wands as sticks, staffs or cudgels, but this one is a fine piece of craftsmanship, fit for a pharoah. If I examine the card on its own merit--i.e. not in comparison to the rest of the deck or to others decks--I'm taken away from mainstream meanings. I get the sense of two things: eternity and reverse creativity (maybe not the best phrase; I'll explain in a minute).
Eternity--As well as signifying Man and Woman (horiz.) and God (above) and Earth (below), the ankh is well-know as a symbol of life, esp. eternal life. The Egyptian monuments are "eternal." Their true age is questionable, but I'm safe with saying 4500 years old, at the very least and about five times that at the most. Either way, it's too many years for a limited human being to get their mind around. Man could just as well conceptualize 4500 years with his finite mind as eternity. How long is a billion seconds? (Yes, this *is* a test!) Yet, we long for eternity, and tell stories about it. Why? Where does that come from?

Reverse creativity--What I mean by this is, not what *is* the inspiration, but what *was* the inspiration. What was the inspiration for the pyramids, the sphinx? Eternity, for one (or two). The monuments, regardless of their meanings and purposes, were intended to last as long as possible. Perhaps the pharoahs who were allegedly (to be) buried there obtained eternal life. Their monuments certainly did. The Great Pyramid is like a giant 3-D puzzle. Who came up with that, and how, and why? Dang, I bet they had job satisfaction! (And maybe still do? Or will?)
This is a kind of reverse, past-looking way to see the Ace of Staves. But it still fits in with my main interpretation of this card as "life-affirming" (creation, procreation, after-life, etc.)


maibaum &maistange



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This page contains excerpts from my original contributions to an online Tarot discussion. The Comparative Tarot list is made possible by Valerie Sim and Yahoo! groups.
Ace of Wands IMHO created: April 25 to May 30, 2004; last modified: never