Tarot Talk

October, 2018

Three of Wands

(The Three of Wands card is from the artist Ciro Marchetti**

We have already talked about the Three of Cups, the Three of Swords and the Three of Pentacles, so this month we will examine the Three of Wands. This is a Minor Arcana card so we know right away that the message offered by this card will most likely be more immediate in nature, or will most likely be connected to more day-to-day issues. The easiest way to get a decent understanding of a Minor Arcana card is to examine its number, or in the case of Court Cards, its rank, and to examine its suit. We can also find useful information within the image on the card.

The traditional image of the Three of Wands is a figure dressed in a robe of red or red and green, standing on a hill or a cliff, often surrounded by grass and flowers (representing fertile ground) and holding a living wand with leaves or flowers just springing out (symbolizing fertility and early manifestation), with two other Wands, one on each side of him, creating a sort of gateway (representing a transition point). He (or she; some cards show a woman) has his back to the viewer and is looking outward (showing a look into the future, or anticipation). Before him is usually a lake or body of water (thoughts or the subconscious) upon which sails one or several ships (journeys, cargo); sometimes a bird is flying overhead (representing grand ideas). On the far side of the body of water are hills and mountains (challenges and attainments). Everything in the image is bathed in a golden light. There is a sense of quiet anticipation in this image, and an anticipation of good things to come once his ship comes in.

For this discussion we will accept that the suit of Wands corresponds to the element of Fire. This is not always the case, depending on the deck being used; some see Wands as being connected to Air. Besides the element of Fire, the suit of Wands corresponds with the playing card suit of Clubs, and the cardinal direction of South. In its natural state, the element of Fire is hot and dry. It tends to bring spontaneous change or impulsive, energetic effects. Fire is passionate in nature and it transforms everything it touches, everything in our world. Fire can sanitize or cleanse, and it can destroy everything in its path; Fire can warm us and keep us safe, or it can kill us.

All of the cards of the suit of Wands (including the Three of Wands) teach us about Fiery attributes like creativity, ambition, growth, passion and actions, and how their presence or absence can affect our lives. The suit of Wands represents our ability to experience joy and passion (including sexual passion), and the Wands cards can represent our creativity, our ability to be artistic or to be drawn to beautiful things. Fire often represents Spirit or the Divine Will, and Wands cards also can present the possibility of some interaction with Spirit or the Divine, or actions or passions manifesting in line with Divine Will.

The element of Fire can be seen as kinetic, or even electric. It has the power to create greatness (when we are inspired to be better than we think we can be), or destruction (when we believe we are greater than we actually are). Fire fuels innovation, but an imbalance or lack of Fire can bring austerity. Action and energy are enhanced by this element, but so are destruction and oppression.

The number 3 usually represents the creation of something new, or the making real of concepts or understandings presented by the number 2. We can see the manifestation of this throughout our physical world; when a male and a female of any species come together, the result is often the creation of new life. The number 3 can also represent optimism, self-expression and the polishing or honing of skills already in place. On the uncomfortable side of things, the number 3 can represent self-doubt, wastefulness, or vanity.

Within the Tarot, the Threes are seen as either creating something out of the potential of the Ace and the partnership of the Two of their suit, or they are seen as manifesting or making real the potential of the Ace and the concept of the Two. Briefly, we have the potential for experiencing a creative force that could bring enthusiasm and excitement (the Ace of Wands), and the ability to be a pioneer and the courage to choose our own path (the Two of Wands). The Three of Wands presents the first-stage completion of a glimpse of what can be created if we stay the path (with the second stage at the number 7 and the third and final stage at the number 9), begun with the potential of the Ace which manifests in the Two card and then presents a sense of achievement in our Three of Wands. Our card tells us that we have the ability to take the long view and the courage to look for greater possibilities.

The astrological correspondence for the Three of Wands is the Sun in the astrological sin of Aries.

The Sun is the star at the center of our solar system around which the planets revolve; it provides our Earth with the heat and light necessary for life as we know it. The arc that the Sun travels in every year, rising and setting in a slightly different place each day, is a reflection of the Earth’s orbit around the Sun; hence its connection with reflection and fertility. The Sun travels through the twelve signs of the zodiac in one year, spending about a month in each sign. The Sun represents the conscious ego, the self and its expression, personal power, pride and authority, leadership qualities and the principles of creativity, spontaneity, health and vitality, or simply the “life force. In Chinese astrology, the Sun represents Yang, the active, assertive masculine life principle. In Indian astrology, the Sun is called Surya and represents the soul, ego, vitality, kingship, highly placed persons, government, and the archetype of The Father.

The astrological sign of Aries is a cardinal Fire sign that is a catalyst, a person that inspires others by being totally committed to his or her own vision. Aries is the first sign of the zodiac, the leader of the pack, first in line to get things going. Those born under this sign prefer to initiate, and they won’t shy away from anything new. Aries people are action oriented, assertive, and competitive. Aries is ruled by Mars, the God of War, bold and aggressive, and able to tap into the focus needed to take on any challenge. The symbol of Aries is the Ram, blunt and to the point, and a sheer force of nature. The great strength of those born under this sign is found in their initiative, courage and determination.

The Sun represents the individual, and Aries supports that concept by bringing in fierce independence. These are the energies of a warrior, a trailblazer who can see where to go in order to find his way. This combination gets the job done, often by steamrolling the opposition. In any event the courage and leadership and ability to think out of the box are assets that are very desirable. These energies can be impulsive, though, and they represent moments where it can be difficult to understand why others won’t follow our path.

The Threes have a place on the Tree of Life of the Qabalah; they are found in the sephira of Binah at the top of the Pillar of Form/Restriction. This sephira is seen as form, as force in pattern, and as the Great Mother and the Womb of Life. Binah offers shadow and contrast, which in turn gives us shape and form. Binah restricts in order to provide a springboard, and that restriction can also be its downfall if it becomes greed. Binah represents intuitive understanding, contemplation, and deductive reasoning, and the fertile receptivity of the Sacred Feminine.

The Llewellyn Welsh Tarot Three of Wands shows a figure standing on a hill covered with grasses and flowers, looking out over a bay on which there are three sailing ships. The person’s robe is blowing in the breeze. He holds a wand decorated with young green sprouts and a scarf that he holds in order to keep it from blowing away. On either side of him are two other wands. The keywords for this card are speculation, exploring, broadening horizons, trade and negotiations, distributing resources and gambling on the unknown.

The Three of Wands of the Thoth Tarot is named “Virtue,” and its image of three Wands topped with flowers and surrounded by flames represents the primal solar energy that penetrates the earth in Spring and causes the seeds to germinate. This card not only represents great power, but also the will and the courage to use that power.

The Legacy of the Divine Tarot Three of Wands shows the silhouette of a figure standing on a beach looking across calm waters as the sun sets and tinges everything with gold. Surrounding him are three Wands tipped with glowing crystals. In the sky before him floats a glorious wooden sailing ship held aloft by three brightly colored balloons, surrounded by sea birds. There are clouds in the sky and the figure’s cloak blows in the breeze, but there is not a sense of storms or impending chaos for the ship sails steadily. Is the ship really there? Or is the figure dreaming of possibilities or the future? The card represents the joining of forces, enterprise, trade, and power.

The Three of Wands is a very exciting card, for it tells of approaching good fortune. What we are waiting for is arriving and reinforcements are on the way. Success is within sight, and while there is still work to be done, perhaps frantic last-minute work crammed into a short time period, we are resourceful enough to communicate what we need and to make things happen. Luck is on its way!

** We Feature the art of Ciro Marchetti as part of Tarot Talk. You can view his work and Decks at


About the Author:

Raushanna is a lifetime resident of New Jersey. As well as a professional Tarot Reader and Teacher, she is a practicing Wiccan (Third Degree, Sacred Mists Coven), a Usui Reiki Master/Teacher, a certified Vedic Thai-Yoga Massage Bodyworker, a 500-hr RYT Yoga Teacher specializing in chair assisted Yoga for movement disorders, and a Middle Eastern dance performer, choreographer and teacher.  Raushanna bought her first Tarot deck in 2005, and was instantly captivated by the images on the cards and the vast, deep and textured messages to be gleaned from their symbols. She loves reading about, writing about, and talking about the Tarot, and anything occult, mystical, or spiritual, as well as anything connected to the human subtle body. She has published a book, “The Emerald Tablet: My 24-Day Journal to Understanding,” and is currently working on a book about the Tarot, pathworking and the Tree of Life. Raushanna documents her experiences and her daily card throws in her blog,, which has been in existence since 2009. She and her husband, her son and step son, and her numerous friends and large extended family can often be found on the beaches, bike paths and hiking trails of the Cape May, NJ area.

The Emerald Tablet: My 24-Day Journal to Understanding

The Warrior Goddess

July, 2006

Positive Self Image

Before you can really learn anything about improving yourself, you have to truly believe that you can do it. Every time the words “I can’t” or “that’s impossible” enter into your vocabulary, you are setting yourself up for failure. Even worse, I have discovered, are the words “I’m trying”. It is ok to try in the original sense of the word… for instance, you can try food to see what it tastes like, but in the end there is either “I like it” or “I don’t like it”. In the sense of trying to do something, still, in the end, there is either “I did it” or “I didn’t do it”. Somehow I am reminded of Yoda here (thank you George Lucas)… there is either ‘do’ or ‘do not’; there is no ‘try’.

In the case of positive self image there really needs to be a quick change over from trying all the time to actually having one… because frankly, this is not a situation where you can try for a long time. If you are trying, you simply don’t have one. If you do not have a positive self image, if you do not believe you can do what you set out to do, then you will not accomplish all that you are capable of in life. If you want to be a Warrior Goddess, you must have confidence in yourself that you can accomplish anything you set your mind to. You must also not let your self confidence fail when what you set your mind to do does not work out.

So what is the biggest challenge presented to us that works against a positive self image? I bet most of you reading this will have the thought of “beauty” or something similar come into your head. Did the word “weight” come in there? Well… you would be among the majority. Body image is a huge challenge for us. So many women do not feel desirable if they are not model thin or action movie star muscular; so many of us associate our beauty and desirability with weight. It is truly a challenge not to; since most of what we see on television (there’s that dirty word again) and in magazines tells us that this is what desirable and beautiful women look like. It is true that even sometimes our own mates tell us that we need to lose weight; many times because they are worried about our health and are under the mistaken impression that weight is equal to good health; but unfortunately, many times because they are shallow asses.

Let me give you an experience from my own life that will give you an example of how pressured women are by society at large to be thin so that they feel beautiful, desirable and/or successful. In high school I exercised all the time. I would walk 6 to 10 miles a day. I would play racquetball. I was in marching band which is no small feat in the hot Florida sun. I am 5’4” tall and I weighed, at the time, 170 pounds. I wanted to go into the Navy to play in the Navy band. I auditioned and made it into the band hands down… but they told me I had to lose weight before I graduated high school or I could not get in. This only confirmed to me what the students of the school had already been telling me… I was fat and therefore, I was ugly.

I had such a low self image in high school, despite the fact that I was first chair in band, playing in televised music broadcasts for Disney, playing with a college band while still in high school and one of the best musicians in the state… I thought I was a loser and good for nothing. Why? Because I was fat and therefore ugly. I could not get a date and when I did, they would not admit they dated me. I let myself be treated like dirt.

So I sought to lose weight. I started eating only one meal a day, maybe two, and I began to exercise more. I lost 5 pounds. When I went to the entrance exam area for the Navy, I was still considered over weight at 165 pounds, so they did a measure test and passed me just barely at 33% body fat. I was considered, by their measurements, obese. So now I went back and exercised more and ate only salads. I ran in sauna suits and did things that endangered my health. I graduated high school and then I went back to the testing area. I weighed 160 pounds, still considered over weight. So they measured me again. According to the measurements this time, I was 36% body fat! So I was not allowed in the Navy.

This made it so I was not allowed to do what I had been trying for a year to accomplish (and planned my future around) because I was fat. How do you think this made me feel? It didn’t help that I was still made fun of for being fat by my school mates. Even my own friends made me feel fat, mostly because they felt fat too and I saw them as beautiful (and if THEY were fat, gods, I must have been behemoth). Well, this took a nuke to my already shell shocked self confidence. I got very depressed. Fortunately, I managed to work myself out of it and develop a positive body image from there.

Now, think about my weight that I told you, and my height. Think about how many times I was told I was fat. Think about how heavy I was. With that in mind, listen to this… when I weighed 170 pounds, I was a size 12. When I weighed 160 pounds, I was a size 9. A size 9 is NOT fat. Neither is a size 12, but that is beside the point… It was only later, upon being educated, that I discovered that muscle weighs more than fat. It also makes it really difficult to wear tiny sized clothing since it doesn’t squish in like fat does. Oh yeah, and that body fat test… the measuring test has a margin of error so big I could have been up to 7% higher OR LOWER than they measured me… which explains how I lost 5 pounds and gained 3% body fat in their eyes.

The point of this story is… society is unfair towards people. We are expected to put ourselves into a box to feel successful and beautiful. It is not just in size and shape… it is in everything. We are subconsciously told things such as “body fat is ugly” or “you are not successful unless you make money” or “you are not likable unless you have lots of friends” or “you are not loved unless you have sex”. As pagans we need to break free from this box and start appreciating ourselves for our individuality. As Warrior Goddesses we need to fight this negative conditioning for both ourselves and other women of the world.

How do we do this? Well I will tell you, it isn’t easy. I believe I am beautiful, powerful and successful. I am loved, both by myself and by my friends and family. I know this. I am sure of it. However, I still have days where I feel bad. When do I feel this way? Well, when I am around others who feel this way and I am too tired to fight against it. When it is just me or my husband and me I feel fine. When I am around friends or family who feel fat, ugly, like a loser or otherwise unhappy, it is much more difficult to keep up the energy. However, it is something I keep trying to do. This is why I feel it is important not just to improve my own self image, but to help others improve theirs.

So here is what I challenge you to do on your journey to becoming a Warrior Goddess. Number one, throw out of your life anything you think is causing a negative self image. If you weigh yourself and think “I am so fat”, throw out your damn scale. If you have to weigh yourself for competition sports as I do, then only do it when you absolutely have to. Of course weigh yourself if you must for medications and such, but again don’t think of yourself as ugly because you are “over weight”. If you are in a relationship and your partner tells you that you are fat, ask them not to. If they are degrading to you, either seek counseling or dump them because anyone who degrades you does not deserve you. Do what you must to remove the negative image inducers from your life.

I am not saying dump anyone who is negative; just simply ask them not to be negative around you. Of course, if it were me, if I asked them to stop and they didn’t, I would limit my exposure until I was sure of myself. Remember, pulling yourself out of negative self image is like an oxygen mask on a damaged air plane… take care of you first and then the person who needs help. If you are dying from oxygen deprivation, how can you help the person next to you? It will end up that you both die.

Next step… positive image exercises. First, do what a lot of women dread doing… stand naked in front of a full length mirror. Look at yourself. See your body as it is. Find everything beautiful about it. If you have a low self image, it will take some time, but find something. The first thing I started with was my eyes. I thought my eyes were pretty. So I started there and then noticed that I liked my nose, and then my hands. The more days I spent staring and looking for things, the more I liked how I looked. You need to do the same thing in your emotional and spiritual life as well. Spend time looking at yourself internally and see your positive traits.

Now, if you find negative traits… and you will… do not harp on them. Just accept that you have them and decide if they are actually negative or not. If they are negative, make a plan to change them. Let me give you a hint… wrinkles, fat deposits and moles are not negative traits; neither is getting angry when someone wrongs you (it is how you deal with that anger that is positive or negative). Another rule that I think is an absolute must is that you must find TWO positive things for every negative thing you see about yourself. For instance, if when looking over your body you see your stomach and think it is ugly, then you can look and see that your are still well proportioned to your stomach and that your stomachs skin looks smooth and silky. Or if you think that you lose your temper too quickly you can realize that at least you care enough to get angry and that you are a friendly person most of the time. To be quite honest, if you cannot find two positive things about yourself on a regular basis, then you may want to consider professional counseling because most likely you are depressed.

Practicing for a positive self image is a constant process, but you can at least notice when you become confident enough where you can start fighting for others rather than just yourself. It feels really good to help others and it further boosts your own positive self image. Loving yourself, thinking of yourself as beautiful inside and out, is important for all goddesses. There is not one goddess in all of history who said “I am so ugly, everyone hates me or I can’t find a man because I am fat”. This is not the Goddess nature and since the Goddess is in all of us, it shouldn’t be yours.


author bio:


[email protected]

Athene comes from a family of Eclectics and has been practicing Paganism from a young age. Athene is an accomplished musician, swimmer, archer, artist, crafter and martial artist. She is active in teaching Pagan spirituality, magick and teaching and learning Judo and Jujitsu. She is also active in promoting equality and balance between genders and races, as well as environmentalism. Athene is well traveled and has been through much of the United States, as well as some traveling in Canada and France.

Athene has faced many challenges in her life, which fortunately she has over come. She tries to use these life experiences as examples to help others grow strong and sure of themselves. Athene’s current life goal is to help women become empowered through pagan spirituality; embracing themselves for who and what they are, overcoming social stigmas such as “thinner is more beautiful” and “women are victims”. She is willing to speak and teach at Pagan events and often will answer questions through email.