The Oracle of the Tarot

Paul Foster Case (1933)

The Suit of Wands

TAKE the 14 cards of the suit of Wands from your pack, and put the Servant or Page face up on the table before you. On this put the Warrior, then the Queen, then the King, then the spot-cards, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, Ace. You will then have all the Wands in a pile, face up, with the Ace on top and the Servant at the bottom. This is the order of the following paragraphs. As you read a paragraph look again and again at the card it describes. When you have finished the first paragraph, turn over the Ace, to the left, as you would the page of a book. Continue until you have read the 14 paragraphs. Do this at least once a day for a week, and you will find that you know the cards. Do not write anything on the cards.

The suit of Wands corresponds to the first letter of IHVH, the letter Yod, to the archetypal world of ideas, to spiritual energy, to force and initiative, and to the element Fire. This element is represented by the upright triangle.

Ace of Wands

The triangle is black, but radiant, symbolizing the Radiant Darkness or Potential Energy in which all beginning, symbolized by the white, dotted circle, concentrates itself. The white circle symbolizes Kether, the Hebrew idea of the number 1, called the Crown, or Primal Will. Another symbol shows the circle, Unity, the Spiritual Triad or Triangle, and the Square of the Lower Quaternary, indicating that the card represents the life-power in man. Behind the Ace (which symbolizes the concentration of Spiritual Fire for works of creation) is a sun rising over the horizon of the waters of creation, and this sun also suggests the dawn, or beginning of a matter. Astrologically the Ace of Wands governs the quarter of the Heavens from Aries 0 to the last degree of Gemini.

Time period

March 21st to June 20th, inclusive.

Occult title

The Root of the Powers of Fire.

Meanings

Natural, as opposed to invoked, force. Strength, force, vigor, vitality, and particularly the force of concentrated Will. The principle, or beginning of an enterprise.

Keyword

Initiative.

Two of Wands

The coiled serpent in the triangle symbolizes Wisdom, the idea associated with 2 in Hebrew occultism. Crossed wands symbolizes balanced force.

Time period

1st decanate of Aries, March 21st to 30th inclusive, ruled by Mars.

Well-dignified

This key means force, enterprise, boldness, resolution, originality, some combativeness.

Ill-dignified

It shows fierceness, shamelessness, ambition, restlessness, turbulence, obstinacy, revenge. A card of enthusiasm, but strong self-interest.

Keyword

Dominion.

Three of Wands

The radiant triangle encloses a lamp, symbol of Understanding, represented by the number 3 in Qabalah. The three wands form a fire triangle, and suggest the enclosure of power in form.

Time period

2nd decanate of Aries, March 31st to April 9th, ruled by the Sun.

Meanings

Mental energy, leadership, ambition, determination are among the meanings. It is also a card of the realization of hope, of success after struggle.

Well-dignified

Courage, persistence, pride, nobility.

Ill-dignified

Conceit, arrogance, insolence.

Keyword

Established strength.

Four of Wands

The T-cross in the triangle symbolizes measurement and order. The same ideas are related to the number 4, symbol of Beneficence in Qabalah, which also calls 4 the Measuring Intelligence. The square formed by the 4 wands has the same meaning.

Time period

Third Decanate of Aries, April 10th to 19th, ruled by Jupiter.

Well-dignified

This Key symbolizes success through personal merit, good social standing, influential friends: the perfection of something built up after labor; benefit through travel, shipping and business with foreign countries.

Ill-dignified

Loss in the same things, or in consequence of unpreparedness or hast action.

Keyword

Perfected work.

Five of Wands

In the triangle are the Tables of the Law, referring to the Hebrew attribution of 5 to Justice. But 5 is also Severity, and is called the Sphere of Mars, which somewhat modifies the meanings of the card.

Time period

First decanate of Leo, July 23rd to August 1st, ruled by the Sun.

Meanings

Power, and pleasure in exercising it; adventure, speculation, and uncertainty; strong attachments.

Well-dignified

Boldness, command, generosity.

Ill-dignified

Cruelty, violence, lust, prodigality.

Keyword

Competition.

Six of Wands

The flying disk suggests the movement of solar energy in the atmosphere, and reminds us that Beauty, the Hebrew idea associated with 6, is also called the Sphere of the Sun. The balanced triangles of the six wands are types of balanced force.

Time period

Second Decanate of Leo, August 2nd to August 11th, ruled by Jupiter.

Meanings

Success, happiness, gain; gain through love affairs, or by opposite sex; pleasure in labor, gain after a period of uncertainty or competition.

Ill-dignified

Loss through the same sources, waste in pleasure, trouble through pride of riches or through insolence based on success.

Keyword

Victory.

Seven of Wands

The palm-branch in the triangle is a symbol of success, and connects with Netzach, or Victory, the Qabalistic name of the number 7. The wands form a septenary, three over four.

Time period

Third decanate of Leo, August 12th to August 22nd, ruled by Mars.

Meanings

Pleasure in strenuous action; some danger through love-affairs or self-indulgence; but strength and magnanimity unless Ill-dignified.

Well-dignified

Adventure, strength, courage in the face of difficulties, influence over subordinates.

Ill-dignified

It indicates ignorance, pretence, vain-glory, quarrels and wrangling, threats, and very determined opposition, especially from subordinates.

Keyword

Valor.

Eight of Wands

In the triangle is a peacock feather, symbol of illusion and Maya. This connects with Splendor, the 8th Sephirah, called also the Sphere of Mercury, and said to be the seat of the lower manifestations of Intellect.

Time period

First decanate of Sagittarius, November 22 to December 1st, ruled by Jupiter.

Well-dignified

Aspiration, foresight; rapid expression of force, but quickly expended; the acceleration of anything in which the Querent is interested. Also

generosity, confidence, freedom.

Ill-dignified

Violence, warfare, rapacity, insolence, theft or robbery.

Keyword

Swiftness.

Nine of Wands

A pillar in the triangle suggests support, and thus harmonizes with 9, called Foundation or Bias in Qabalah.

Time period

Second decanate of Sagittarius, December 2nd to December 11th, under rulership of Mars. It suggests originality, independence and daring.

Meanings

Strength in reserve, health after illness, success, but attended by some strife.

Ill-dignified

Danger of violence in foreign places, or on or through the course of long journeys; difficulties with the relatives of the marriage partner; conflict with persons prominent in religion or law; obstinacy.

Keyword

Preparedness.

Ten of Wands

The key in the triangle suggests the opening of hidden sources of power, and the discovery of hidden things in the realm of ideas. The number 10 relates to Malkuth, the Kingdom.

Time period

Third decanate of Sagittarius, December 12th to 21st, ruled by the Sun.

Well-dignified

Generosity, success and honor in connection with the law, religion and philosophy; possibility of posts of responsibility; gain through travel.

Ill-dignified

Ostentation, dogmatism, overbearing pride.

Keyword

Fullness of power.

King of Wands

The Hebrew letter Yod in the triangle represents spiritual power. The card represents the force of will in the world of ideas.

Time period

From the beginning of the third decanate of Pisces to the end of the second decanate of Aries, March 11th to April 9th, combining the forces of Mars in Pisces, Mars in Aries, and Sun in Aries.

Meanings

Ardent, impulsive, influential man, one possessed of authority, and strongly marked by the quality of leadership. Somewhat hasty in temper, but just, generous and friendly to the Querent.

Ill-dignified

He represents the same general type, but cruel, ill-natured, intolerant, and probably unfriendly to the Querent.

Appearance

Red-gold hair. Gray or hazel eyes.

Queen of Wands

The vesica pisces in the triangle represents spiritual substance, and is closely allied to the first letter Heh in IHVH. The card represents the operation of the human soul in the world of ideas.

Time period

From the beginning of the third decanate of Cancer to the end of the second decanate of Leo, July 13th to August 11th, symbolizing the influence of Jupiter-Neptune in Cancer, Sun in Leo, and Jupiter in Leo. A card of adaptability, attractive power, and power of command.

Well-dignified

A kind and generous woman, but resolute in the face of opposition. Strongly psychic and intuitive, but practical in applying her psychic gifts. Intense, magnetic, friendly to the Querent, and favorable to the success and business of the Querent.

Ill-dignified

Inimical to the Querent, obstinate, dangerous to the Querent's affairs, revengeful and tyrannical.

Appearance

Red-gold hair. Blue or brown eyes.

Warrior of Wands

The ankh in the triangle symbolizes the union of positive and negative forces, and corresponds to the letter Vau in IHVH. The card represents the influence of the world of ideas upon the astral body, and also the idea of the astral body in the archetypal world.

Time period

From the beginning of the third decanate of Scorpio to the end of the second decanate of Sagittarius, or from November 13th to December 11th, representing the combined influences of Moon in Scorpio, Jupiter in Sagittarius and Mars in Sagittarius.

Well-dignified

An active, generous, impetuous, quick-moving man, younger than the King of Wands. Secretive, probably interested in the occult, somewhat psychic and mysterious. Friendly to the Querent, and may bring him news relating to his enterprises.

Ill-dignified

He will be evil-minded, false, cruel, bigoted, brutal, unfriendly to the Querent and dangerous to his affairs.

Appearance

Yellow, or yellow-auburn hair. Blue-gray eyes. This key sometimes signifies departure, or change of residence.

Servant or Page of Wands

The cube in the triangle symbolizes the world of things or objects, and corresponds to the second Heh in IHVH. The card represents the influence of the world of ideas upon the physical body, and is also a symbol of the archetypal idea of a physical body.

Time period

The whole first quarter of the zodiac, from the beginning of Aries to the end of Genini, or from March 21st to June 20th, inclusive.

Meanings

A young person, youth or girl. Brilliant mind, courageous disposition, perhaps given to sudden anger, and desirous of power. Capable of great enthusiasm.

Ill-dignified

Revengeful at the least opposition, headstrong, theatrical, unstable, domineering, and decidedly superficial.

Appearance

Red-gold hair and blue eyes. Often this card is the indicator of a messenger.

N.B. Note carefully the time-attributions, for upon them and their astrological significance, blended with that of the numbers, the divinatory meanings are based. But at this point in your work you should not attempt to locate events by the time-period of the separate cards.

Practice Work

1. Shuffle and cut the cards as in the first operation, in order to determine whether or not the question is radical.

2. Take the pile of cards in which the Significator is placed, shuffle it thoroughly, and cut once with the left hand, restoring the cut, as in the first operation.

3. Deal the cards, face down, in three piles, from right to left, thus:

PilePilePile
321
FuturePresentPast

4. Turn Pile 1 face up, and look through it to see if it contains the Significator. If it does, say: "The dominant ideas in relation to your question had their origin in some idea which you held in the past." If the Significator is not in this pile, look to see if there are any cards of the WAND suit therein. Read each of these as you come to it, counting from the face of the small pack, held in your hand. But read it always in the past tense. If neither the Significator nor any cards of the Wand suit are in this pile of cards, put it aside, and say: "Your question is little concerned with any idea formulated by you in the past," and go on to the next step of the operation.

5. Turn Pile 2 face up, and look for the Significator. If it is in this pile say: "The dominant ideas in relation to your question have to do with something in the immediate present, or have just been formulated." If the Significator is not in this pile, read any cards of the Wand suit you may find in it, but always in relation to the present.

6. Turn up Pile 3, and repeat as before, except that all the reading from this group of cards in related to the future, and it is in relation to this pile that most of your advice to the Querent will be given.

N.B. No matter what Pile the Significator is in, read whatever cards of the Wand suit you find in either of the three piles. The point about the Significator is simply that it shows the Querent's personal attitude to be more particularly related either to past, present, or future.

Shuffle the cards so that some of them will be reversed. For the purpose of this kind of reading, those which are upside-down are regarded as being Ill-dignified.

This type of divination, which will be elaborated in subsequent lessons so as to include the cards of all four suits, and those of the major trumps, may be used for practice in learning the attributions, and should be the only method employed for any but really serious questions. It is often surprisingly accurate for the solution of all minor problems, and has the advantage of being the only divinatory method which may be safely used for entertainment among persons who are not deeply interested in occultism, or among those likely to be skeptical.

Previous: Introduction

Next: The Suit of Cups

Table of Contents