What Does a Wand Mean Anyway?

Wands, cups, and swords: Oh my! Here’s what you need to know about the origin of Tarot.

Learn what a Wand means and explore the ancient wisdom of the Tarot at a #Wanderlust108! Click here for more information and to find an event near you. 

Long associated with psychics and mystics, Tarot cards have been around since the 14th century when they were used to play everyday card games. While these cards are now stereotyped to prophesize our future love stories or predict our demise, the authentic use touches more on intuition and personal growth. Like modern-day playing cards can be used for thousands of different games, Tarot cards similarly have a breadth of use.

Different Uses

At their origin, Tarot cards were hand-painted decks primarily used by the wealthy castle-dwelling elite. When the printing press hit the scene, cards showed up across the continent, ensuring centuries of fun for all users. They peaked in popularity around the 1700s. It was around this time that Tarot cards took on a new life as Protestants associated the cards with occult and mystical properties.

As cartomancy—fortune telling through cards—gained traction, the Tarot began to be used in readings. Regardless of the deck used, the cards guide subjects to connect with to their intuition and higher self. I’m no expert, but I’m not a stranger to Tarot card readings, and have learned the various ways you can interact with the cards.

Types of Readings

There are two types of readings when using the Tarot: Question readings and open readings. Question readings require the subject to ask a certain question to the cards. The purpose of this question is not to receive a yes or no answer but rather to focus on the cards as a solution, an insight to how you are involved, or a different perspective on the topic. These questions are best posed in the most specific way possible and positioned positively. If you want to know why you have not landed your dream job, you can alternatively ask what steps to take to set yourself up for success.

Open readings are by virtue more vague. The subject can cover some general area of your life or be completely up in the air. The focus in open readings should be on the subject’s intuition. What are her first instincts upon seeing certain cards or understanding the deeper meaning of the reading? Only the subject of the reading can truly decipher the cards.

Inside the Tarot Deck

Tarot decks vary in number of cards, pictures, and themes. All decks have cards that are characterized as either Major Arcana or Minor Arcana. The major arcana are the trump cards and represent the long term life events and energies associated with the subject. The trump cards comprise of four suits: swords, wands, cups, and pentacles. Protestants associated these trump cards as revelation and wisdom tools and published literature about tapping into one’s higher self. Minor Arcana represent the day to day ups and downs in life. Going through a reading it’s important to notice where Minor and Major arcana cards appear and in what order. If one minor card comes up in a reading and then shows up as a major arcana card in the next reading, this could signify the card’s deeper meaning become more intense in the subject’s life.

Using Tarot cards is a very individualized experience. Pulling cards is like organizing a map of life meaning and choice. The subject will decide based on internal instinct and intuition where the map leads. Whether you pick up a deck to play a game as was done in the early 14th century or to look at them as a glimpse into the future, Tarot cards hold a little bit of magic for everyone.

Cameron Cler is traveler at heart, obsessed with seeing the world and discovering ways to contribute to positive global change. As a registered yoga teacher, she balances her constant travel and work in the startup world by channeling her inner yogi and welcoming peace in chaotic moments. Her passion is cultivating creativity and inspiration while sharingtravel stories, yoga classes, wellness tips, and smiles with her friends, family, and students.