Ace of Wands (Tarot card)

The Ace of Wands is a Tarot card of the Minor Arcana, arcana being Latin for mysteries. The cards of the minor arcana are considered to be lesser compared to the major arcana because they discuss the minor mysteries of life, less important archetypes.[1] Modern Tarot readers interpret the Ace of Wands as a symbol of optimism and invention.


Tarot's pictorial symbolism embodies intellectual, moral, and spiritual ‘lessons’ constituting collective human experiences across times, places and cultures. Tarot establishes this much sought after connection between ‘self’ and ‘other’ akin to the famous ‘I-Thou’ relation in Martin Buber’s metaphysics.[2]

The ace card in a deck is considered the trump card. This card in a reading signifies success in all aspects. The success is backed by luck. This combination of success backed by hard work and luck is what forms the basis of the Ace card in the Tarot deck.

The element of the wands suit is fire. The key words are Passion, New Ventures, Success, good luck.[3] Therefore, wands are enthusiastic, inspirational, and spiritually minded. Wands correspond to the zodiac signs Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius.[4] The four suits, related to the modern hearts, clubs, diamonds, and spades, are swords, cups, pentacles, and wands.[5]

An Ace-Ace pair shows that a new spirit is entering one's life. It draws on the energy of the Ace of Wands: creativity, excitement, adventure, courage, personal power.[6]


The Minor Arcana consists of the suit cards. The leading French occultist of the late 19th and 20th centuries, who wrote under the name of Papus, rebuked certain of his colleagues for using only the major Arcana for divination, and insisted that the entire pack is essential; and all occult theories of those whom Papus rebuked were in better accord than he with the true facts of the matter. The suit cards are in no way special to the tarot pack; its inventor can have imbued it at most the trump card with esoteric meanings, since the others were not of his invention, but only rather faithful copies of the Islamic cards from which European ones were derived.[7]

Ace of Wands Dictionary

Arrien-The Torch of Fire. A deep spiritual desire and opportunity for self-discovery and self-realization that the individual has to draw upon for a year's time.

Cowie-New Idea. Having a new thought.

Crowley-The Root of the Powers of Fire. The essence of the element of Fire in its inception. The primordial Energy of the Divine manifesting in Matter at so early a stage that it is not yet definitely formulated as Will.

Eakins-Force. Transformative high energy. Great energy of new beginnings. A newly discovered source of power. Excitement. Exhilaration.

Fairfield-A New Identity. Planting the seeds for a new, public identity. Beginning to create a new name for oneself or taking on a new role in life.

Greer-Inspired consciousness. Consciousness Raising. Desire for self-growth. New idea. Burst of energy. The first impulse and the passionate will to begin.

Noble-The beginning of fire-spirit, intuition, energy. A rebirth of the spirit. The passions are aroused and creativity is assured. Expansive activity and willpower for whatever one's goals dictate.

Pollack-A gift of strength, power, great sexual energy, and the love of living. Or chaos and things falling apart.

Sharman-Burke-Positive new beginnings and ideas in the element of fire. Creativity, energy and initiative. Can symbolize a new business venture, a new undertaking, new foundation, and creative power with plenty of potential and ambition to progress and succeed.

Stewart-Fire/Light. In one sense the burning flame, while in a higher octave universal light, the energy of being. A balancing, affirmed power, an energy increasing in potency. The god of light in harmony and balance with the dragon power.

Waite-Creation, invention, enterprise, the powers which result in these; principle, beginning, source; birth, family, origin, and in a sense of virility which is behind them, The starting point of enterprises; money, fortune, inheritance. (The card) represents the critical factor for the seed of a new venture - perhaps as yet unseen. An opportunity to be met with boldness, vigor, and enthusiasm. The herald of birth, invention, or entrepreneurship. An innate and primal force released. Also, it may suggest a surge of vitality, creativity, or fertility that can set things in motion.

Walker-Power. Power and the masculine element of fire with its connotations of heat, vigor, aspiration, contest, enlightenment, and avidity to consume.

Wanless-Illumination. Purity, clarity, and honesty. State of enlightenment. Understanding. Having the courage to change and expand. Knowing what gives one energy and vitality.

Riley-Evokes the Force. Unseen self-organizing. The Spirit rising up from within. The drawing of desire, passion, enthusiasm, creativity. Indicates some form of I desire.[8]

Card Description/Mythological Image

There are different versions of the Ace of Wands as well as different interpretations of their meaning.

One is that a hand comes out from a cloud holding a flowering wand. In the distance is a mountain peak surmounted by a castle.[9]

Another says that the image found on the Ace of Wands card is the rod with which Moses used to strike the water out of the rock or the club of Hercules.[10]

How the Ace of Wands relates to Life

Work: If looking for a new position when the Ace of wands appears, know that something new and very positive is likely to be headed one's way soon. Be bold and ask for what is wanted/needed in the work/career arena. One is likely to be more successful than dreamt possible.

Love: If single, this can indicate the beginning of a new love relationship heading one's way. Make oneself available for love in whatever way makes sense. If one is already committed, the ace tells that the relationship is about to undergo a 'new beginning,' and those in it will rise to new levels of understanding each other. Express oneself.

Finances: The appearance of this card is usually the sign of a turn for the better in terms of fortune and wealth, and sometimes it can even indicate gifts of money, or inheritance from unexpected sources (but it certainly doesn't mean that someone has to pass over for one to receive this inheritance.) This gift does not have to be money of course; any kind of gift that has value to both the giver and the receiver can be indicated by the Ace.

Health: One will soon reach new, positive levels of health and vitality. This is an excellent time to begin a new health regime. Start where one is. If this means exercising for two minutes, or eating vegetables at one meal a week, then that's what one should do. The payoff for doing so will be huge. Don't delay.

Spirituality: Mind and body are more closely linked than one tends to consider. One affects the other, without fail. This card can indicate a new spiritual influence coming into one's life. Think about one's spiritual role models. If none, read philosophy.[11]

Upright: Fiery and creativity, the Ace of Wands speaks of energy and ambition. When one sees this tarot card meaning, it is a reminder that it is a time where action is more important than words.

Ideas are not enough. It takes hard work and perseverance to take something from a thought to reality.

With this tarot card, heady optimism mixed with ambition can make any dream come true.

Reversed: At this time, the urge to change and develop is present but circumstances are delaying progress. If one is an impatient person by nature, this tarot card meaning may be uncomfortable.

When the Ace of Wands is reversed, blocks and delays may lead to impatience in creative and intuitive matters.

Sexual and emotion relationships can also be subject to misunderstandings and dysfunction. This is just a temporary influence; patiently examine one's role in what is occurring.

Set frustrations aside and start to talk with the intention to make lasting changes.[12]

Key symbols to the ace of wands Tarot card meanings

Clouds: Symbol meaning of clouds deal with ambiguity, mystery, and things hidden. Most renditions of this card depict a hand holding a flaming torch thrust out suddenly from the clouds. This is symbolic of our ideas or energy coming out of the hidden places of our psyche and into the light of day. Clouds often deal with hidden agendas that might be keeping us in a holding pattern. They may also indicate underlying beliefs that hold us back from our being our brightest selves.

Rivers: River symbol meanings deal with motion, direction, and the flow of our thoughts as well as our lives. When the river in the ace of wands Tarot card flows into our psychic vision it is a message that we must consider the direction we are taking in our lives. Specifically, since the ace of wands deals with passion and energy, we may want to consider where our actions are taking us. Take the time to reassess one's goals and be confident one is heading in the life direction desired.

Mountains: Symbol meanings of mountains deal with challenges, acquisition, accomplishment and aspirations. Mountains are a symbolic allegory for us in that as we climb them, each step brings us closer to our highest point. This highest point, the top of the mountain, can be a spiritual goal, physical goal, or anything else that we aspire to reach. The mountain is unbending, and inflexible. This makes it a reminder that only we can change how we deal with challenges (because the mountain certainly isn't going to change for us). This being the case, we can embrace the lessons we gain as we take on the challenge of the mountain. We can also rest assured that the peak will always be there as we aspire ever higher to our desired results.[13]


In some cases, tarot can also be made into art. London's Spill Festival which was from April 18 to 24, 2011, included an installment in which several artists were commissioned to re-imagine the tarot card. It ended up becoming a large-format photographic display of the full deck of cards, leaving visitors to read their fortunes.[14]

In the book Sepulchre by Kate Mosse, she has readers return to the Languedoc of 1891 where the legend of a Visigoth tomb, a demon and a tarot pack that led visitors into the mystical past.[15]

If the card is drawn reversed it can mean: fall, decadence, ruin, perdition, to perish also a certain clouded joy.[16]

Key Meanings

The key meanings of the Ace of Wands:[17]

  • Birth
  • Commencement
  • Creativity
  • Inventiveness
  • New Beginnings


  1. Ivtzan, I (2007). "Tarot Cards: A Literature Review and Evaluation of Psychic versus Psychological Explanations". Journal of Parapsychology: 139–140.
  2. Semetsky, I (2009). "Transforming Ourselves/transforming Curriculum: Spiritual Education and Tarot Symbolism". International Journal of Children's Spirituality. 14 (2): 105–120. doi:10.1080/13644360902830192.
  3. Lyle, Jane (1994). Tarot Cards. L & P. ISBN 1-85152-685-4.
  4. Anthony, L (1997). "An Introduction to the Tarot". Looking Deeper: 1.
  5. Shepard A., Leslie (1991) Encyclopedia of Occultism & Parapsychology, Third Edition, Volume 2, ISBN 0-8103-4916-7.
  6. "Ace of Wands".
  7. Decker, Ronald, Thierry Depaulis, and Michael Dummett (1996) A Wicked Pack of Cards: The Origins of the Occult Tarot, ISBN 0-312-16294-4 p. 38.
  8. Riley, Jana (1995) Tarot Dictionary and Compendium, ISBN 0-87728-821-6 p. 90-91.
  9. Gray, Eden (1879) The Tarot Revealed: A Modern Guide to Reading Tarot Cards, ISBN 978-0-451-09510-7 p. 13.
  10. Banzhaf, Hajo (1993) The Tarot Handbook, ISBN 0-88079-511-5 p. 62-63.
  11. "Tarot Card Interpretation & Meaning - Ace of Wands".
  13. "Ace of Wands Tarot Card Meaning".
  14. Gladstone, V (2011). "Accessing Difficult Art at London's Spill Festival". New York Times: 1.
  15. Mundow, A (2011). "Anna Mundow Reviews 'The Winter Ghosts' by 'Labyrinth' Author Kate Mosse". Washington Post: 1.
  16. "The Pictorial Key to the Tarot: Part III: The Outer Method of the Oracles: Ace of Wands".
  17. Trusted Tarot (2010) Ace of Wands

Huson, Paul, (2004) Mystical Origins of the Tarot: From Ancient Roots to Modern Usage, Vermont: Destiny Books, ISBN 0-89281-190-0 Mystical Origins of the Tarot

Further reading

Banzhaf, Hajo. The Tarot Handbook. Stamford, CT: U.S. Games Systems, 1993. Print.

Decker, Ronald, Thierry Depaulis, and Michael A. E. Dummett. A Wicked Pack of Cards: the Origins of the Occult Tarot. New York: St. Martin's, 1996. Print.

Gray, Eden. The Tarot Revealed: a Modern Guide to Reading the Tarot Cards. New York: Bell Pub., 1960. Print.

Ivtzan, Itai. "Tarot Cards: A Literature Review and Evaluation of Psychic versus Psychological Explanations." Journal of Parapsychology (2007): 139-40. Print.

Mundow, Anna. "Anna Mundow Reviews 'The Winter Ghosts' by 'Labyrinth' Author Kate Mosse." Washington Post: 0-1. Print

Shepard, Leslie. Encyclopedia of Occultism and Parapsychology: a Compendium of Information on the Occult Sciences, Magic, Demonology, ... with Biographical and Bibliographical Notes and Comprehensive Indexes. Detroit, MI: Gale, 1991. Print.

Semetsky, Inna. "Transforming Ourselves/transforming Curriculum: Spiritual Education and Tarot Symbolism." International Journal of Children's Spirituality 14.2 (2009): 105-20. Print.

Riley, Jana. Tarot Dictionary and Compendium. York Beach, Me.: Samuel Weiser, 1995. Print.

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