Knight of Wands
(The Knight of Wands card is from the artist Ciro Marchetti http://www.ciromarchetti.com/)**
Let us examine another Tarot “Royal” by getting to know the Knight of Wands. Just in case this is the first time you are reading my column, we will first review some basic information.
A Tarot deck has 78 cards. There are 22 Major Arcana cards dealing with broader and more far-reaching life experience issues, archetypes that are easy for us to identify with and connect with at some point in our lives. There are 56 Minor Arcana cards that are customarily grouped into four categories or suits that represent the four elements dealing with day-to-day issues.
The Court Cards are a part of the Minor Arcana, acting as a representation of the family unit (“families” of all kinds) and individually representing particular personality traits of people, places and events in our lives. These cards can also tell us about our own personality and how it is perceived by others. Thinking of Tarot cards as people, with each card having an individual personality, is particularly appropriate for the Court Cards, as they are the most human of all the cards in a Tarot deck. Even the illustrations for the Court Cards show humans in the majority of Tarot decks.
Instead of numbers, Court Cards have rank. The lowest ranking Court Card is usually called the Page, the messenger or intern or apprentice who is still learning of life and living, but who is also good at dealing with the unexpected. Next comes the Knight, the card we are talking about this month, who is the representation of strong, focused and even excessive manifestations of his suit.
Both the Queen and the King represent mature adults. The Queen manifests her suit in a feminine or yin or inner way, and the King manifests his suit in a masculine or yang or outer way. This manifestation does not necessarily correspond to gender; a man can be represented by a Tarot Queen if he has a strong inner focus, and a woman can be represented by a Tarot King if she projects a strong sense of authority. Some decks change the names around, but the meanings in the hierarchy of the Tarot Court are pretty standard.
We are talking about the Knight of Wands today, and we already know that our Knight will manifest his suit with strength and focus, even to the point of being excessive. Like his King, our Knight is concerned with results; his courage, loyalty, self confidence and determination make him a valuable asset to his King.
The traditional image on the Knight of Wands shows an armored Knight holding a Wand with sprouts of green leaves in his right hand and firmly holding the reins in his left, sitting on a powerful destrier with an arched neck who is rearing up in preparation for leaping forward. Our Knight wears a golden surcoat emblazoned with images of salamanders. He is surrounded by what appears to be a desert, with a clear blue sky overhead and mountains in the background. Some decks show orange feathers or ribbons that resemble flames fluttering from the Knight’s helm. The image hints at an explosion of energy on the verge of erupting.
The suit of Wands corresponds with the element of Fire, the playing card suit of Clubs, and the cardinal direction of South. All of the cards of the suit 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.
In its natural state, the element of Fire i tends to bring spontaneous change or impulsive, energetic effects. Fire transforms 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. 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.
In the Tarot Court, the suit of the card has an elemental correspondence, and the rank of the card has an elemental correspondence. Kings correspond with either Air or Fire (depending on the deck), Queens correspond with Water, Pages correspond with Earth, and Knights correspond with either Air or Fire (depending on the deck). For this column, we will assign the element of Fire to our Knight, making our Knight of Wands representing Fire of Fire.
Fire is active and masculine in nature; it is warm and dry, and it separates and shapes. Multiply the intensity, transformation, energetic effects and gregarious nature of Fire times 2, and you have a good picture of Fire of Fire, and of our Knight of Wands. Here we have a dynamic force where the will supports itself and fire burns ever brighter.
Like the other cards of the Tarot, Court Cards have astrological correspondences. Our Knight of Wands corresponds with the cusp of Scorpio and Sagittarius.
Scorpio is a fixed Water sign. In Astrology, Fixed Signs are associated with stabilization, determination, depth and persistence. For Scorpios, these traits are found through achievement, and through going deep into the timeless mysteries of the imagination, dreams, and passions. Scorpios are powerful and willful in all they do; they stick with a task to the end; they are also inflexible, rigid, stubborn, opinionated and single-minded. Scorpios will ruthlessly fight on behalf of their beliefs, regardless of any contrary beliefs, but they are most at home when immersed in a sustained, worthwhile situation.
Sagittarius is often seen as the wanderer, but remember, not all those who wander are lost. Sagittarius is the truth-seeker, the enthusiastic consumer of information who loves knowledge achieved by traveling the world and talking to everyone. Sitting for hours talking of philosophy or religion is heaven to those born under this sun sign. The life quest of a Sagittarian is to understand the meaning of life, using both spiritual and philosophical disciplines to digest what they learn. This is a mutable Fire sign, and thus while exploration and adventure are a necessary part of life, procrastination is also a danger. Sagittarius corresponds with Jupiter, and is expansive in all things, is an effective healer, and can be a bridge between humans and animals.
The Scorpio/Sagittarius cusp is known as the Cusp of Revolution. Scorpio is about beginnings and endings, and about understanding the deep, dark secrets of the self. Scorpios are motivated and penetrating, and they are very good at hiding their emotions. Combining Scorpio’s motivation to understand the deep dark secrets of the Self, and Sagittarius’s enthusiastic independence, creativity and ability to take risks while seeking truth and knowledge, creates an energy that is intense and passionate. This about refusing to live within restrictions that bring an unfulfilling life. This combination will break the walls down and recreate the status quo in a new and exciting way, totally in line with the generosity and care for others that fuels this passionate fire.
Because they are Minor Arcana cards, Court Cards also correspond with a sephira on the Tree of Life. The Knights correspond with the sephira of Chokmah, the first actual manifestation after the pureness of Kether (Kether represents the cause or catalyst of manifestation). Chokmah is found at the top of the Pillar of Force/Expansion. It is seen as dynamic thrust, and as the Ultimate Positive, the Great Stimulator and the Great Fertilizer (one of the symbols of Chokmah is the penis), and thus this sephira is connected to the Wheel of the Year. It represents dynamic male energy and is the origin of vital force and polarity. In Chokmah, pure being becomes pure force (and thus, pure formlessness), and independence is possible. This is a perfect description of the Knight cards.
The Llewellyn Welsh Knight of Wands shows an armored Knight sitting on a boldly-striding warhorse holding a Wand like a lance or a spear. The Knight’s gaze is forward and he appears to be confident and in control. This Knight is clever and unpredictable, and he has an unusual way of seeing his world (which enables him to perceive opportunities that are missed by others). He may know several languages, and is known for both his loyalty and his sense of humor.
The Shadowscapes Tarot Knight of Wands is mounted on a proud and muscular lion with a thick mane rippling in the breeze; he wears beautiful armor engraved with swirling shapes and is surrounded by foxes that are galloping along, eager for adventure. This Knight is aggressive and confident, sometimes to the point of creating rivalry and conflict. He is clever and brave, fearlessly leaping forward, but does not notice the flowers he may trample in his headlong plunge.
The Thoth Tarot Prince of Wands wears a crown that resembles the rays of the sun and sits in a chariot pulled rapidly forward by a lion. This Knight is known for his endurance and ability to play the very long game. He expresses opinions emphatically, but may not actually believe what he presents. He is known to be both noble and generous, and also somewhat of a boaster. While he can be prone to violence, he is not mean.
The image on the Knight of Wands in the Legacy of the Divine Tarot is of a Knight’s helmet decorated with horns and red flame-like feathers fluttering from the top. Below the mask, two fiery dragons fight each other, surrounded by a forest that appears to be burning. This Knight is brave; no challenge is beyond him. Where the charismatic Knight of Wands goes, people follow. He has achieved impressive power but may be impulsive or irresponsible when using that power.
The Wands cards of the Tarot Minor Arcana are about creativity, adventure, excitement, and personal power. When the Knight of Wands appears in a spread, we should look for opportunities to push beyond our limits because potent and confident energy is available to us. Opportunities to travel to new places and have new experiences could present themselves, opportunities that are connected to careers or to what we like to do in our spare time.
Knights are seen as messengers, mercenaries, defenders of Court and King, and the arm of the law for the kingdom (they don’t create the law but rather, enforce it). They are able to move in different directions as they accomplish their tasks because their purpose is focused only on the accomplishment of those tasks. The appearance of the Knight of Wands could be indicating that his confident and passionate style may be in play. He is sexy and attractive, but beware because he tends to be shallow, to act without thinking, and to get in trouble because of his temper.
The Knight of Wands could also be hinting that a bit of balance is needed. Is confidence morphing into anger? Are you rushing into a situation without preparing for it or not taking the time to think of consequences? You might need a little less of the energies of this Knight. Are you in a rut, or caught up with planning every single detail of every part of your day? Are you working too hard? Today might be the day that you need to hang out with the Knight of Wands, and share his world of excitement, risk, and adventure.
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, DancingSparkles.blogspot.com, 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.