About Eight of Wands
Meaning in Tarot
Like most Tarot practitioners, I find the absence of humanness in the eight of wands vastly intriguing. Indeed, it’s the only card in the minor arcana that does not focus on the anima in some way (3 of swords comes close, but the focus on the heart keeps the 8 of rods exclusive in the claim).
Early Tarot decks depicted the minor numerical cards with only their suit symbols clumped on the card, excluding emotive elements altogether. See an example of this here. I wonder (along with other enthusiasts, I’m sure) why, out of all the minor number cards, the eight of wands were left essentially untouched and in the card’s primitive state.
Some keywords pointing to eight of wands Tarot card meaning:
- Back to basics
- Getting a signal
- Environmental matters
- Going with the current
I translate the retention of original card imagery to mean a return to our personal integrity and getting back to basics. As we’ve progressed through the story of the rods and the plight to “carry the torch” for our causes of passion and creation, the eight of wands is a pause on that path.
When I was a kid, my school executed regular fire drills in which a clever mnemonic was employed to save our skins in case we caught on fire (stay with me here). When this card shows up in a reading I often hear my old gym teacher bellowing “Stop! Drop! Roll!” in those unnerving fire drills.
When the eight of rods shows up in your readings, I invite you to do the same:
Get quiet. Stop taking action. Reevaluate the situation. Those pastoral scenes in the card are an invitation to breathe deep and take in the magnificent bounty and beauty available to us if we would but stop to be aware of it.
Hunker down deep into the recesses of your soul and rest in silence. Drop your consciousness into the endless, timeless nature that is both beginning and end. Those of you who meditate know what I mean by this. Dive deep into the well that is the Absolute and Infinite. Why? Because that is where we receive our next instruction; our next call to action.
If we’ve stopped and dropped, we now know in what direction to roll. And, odds are, we’ll be divinely guided to roll in the path of least resistance, leading to our best interests. Those tranquil waters running through the eight of wands indicate our best action is surrender to the pull of a higher current. It’s a faith thing.
This grade school advice is made even more poignant when we consider the fire element inherent in the suit of wands. Closer inspection reveals this fire drill tactic may serve to snuff out other frenzied flames in our lives.
To summarize, the eight of wands Tarot card meaning is a big comma in the long sentence of our life. Take a breather, and wait for the next paragraph to write itself on the pages of your epic autobiography.
Side-note: The rods in this card can serve as an arrow. Pay special attention to the neighboring card at which the “arrows” are pointing. This card often works in conjunction with another, pointing out a need to take a sober look at an issue surfacing in your reading.
Another side-note: I also get clear, intuitive hits about ecological matters with this card. Other than the minuscule house in the background (which plays into the concept of tending to our Earth home), the absence of human influence in the card beckons the intuitive mind to consider our environment, ecology, bio-friendliness, and other hot “green” topics we face in our world today.
Some symbols babbling from the brook of the eight of wands:
Clouds: Clouds hold the symbol meaning of revelation. Consider out of the mists of our deepest thoughts suddenly an epiphany comes, a bright idea comes out from nowhere – this is the basic cloud symbol meaning. Depending on the card, clouds can also symbolize confusion or clouded judgment. Primarily, clouds represent higher thought and messages from the divine.
Earth: On some level, all threads of life are first woven with the fiber of Earth. This inter-connectedness reminds us not only is the earth a stabilizing and a wholly physical symbol, but it also represents a network. Earth is synonymous with belonging. She represents community and shared wisdom. Earth also embodies the concept of solid ground. We’ve released the limitations of the “small mind” and returned to the foundation of our true nature.
House: Houses are where we live, die, play, cry, grow, hide, dream, the list goes on. As such, they are symbols of our deepest secrets and the tenderest parts of our hearts. House symbol meanings also deal with protection and the value we feel we must guard against theft. When houses jump up to our vision in a reading it may be a sign our security is threatened, or it may convey the opposite, and we should not be concerned with safety. We are already protected.
Mountains/Cliffs: Seen on many of the cards, mountain symbol meanings deal with triumph, challenge, attainment, and realization. Mountains also represent timelessness and an endurance that is infinite. When those mountains peak out of the cards into our attention, we may consider the vastness of our universe, and contemplate our place within it. We may also want to consider the heights to which we are climbing, and what the realization of our goals may mean for us and those around us.
Rivers, Streams, Waterfalls: Water is a symbol of emotion and the subconscious. Therefore, waterfalls deal with the constant running and flowing movement of our emotions and the stirring movements of our deeper minds. Observing the nature of rivers and waterfalls, we see they typically move at such a rushing speed that they tend to take everything with them in their path – rocks, trees, any debris in the midst of water’s dominant path is subject to its pull. In the eight of wands Tarot card meaning, we are called to submit to that dominant pull and higher purpose.
Questions the eight of wands asks of us in a reading:
- Am I moving with or against the natural current of my life?
- What does the concept of surrender mean to me?
- Is it time for a break?
- What about a small vacation away from the bustle?
- Is it time to reprioritize?
- Do I need to refocus on family and home?
- How can I get back to basics and still maintain the progress I’ve achieved up to this point?
- To what is this card pointing to?
- What is the condition of my environment?