|Card 1||Three of Wands|
This suit, most often called "Wands" and sometimes called "Rods" or "Staves," represents initiative, ambition, drive and desire. This is the suit of enterprise and risk-taking.
A Three in this suit symbolizes an inner balance that allows you to feel more optimistic about new endeavors you are committed to, or want to commit to. In the illustrated Tarots, the human character is standing on his balcony, watching ships leave the harbor, loaded with his goods for far-off ports, dreaming of the fortune he will reap if all goes well. Summon the optimism within you.
This energy must be patient and trusting, because he or she will have to wait some time to find out how the ships have fared. Meanwhile, a lot of resources are tied up until they return with the bounty. Only those truly confident in their ideas and abilities would undertake such a risk. This card represents the energy a person needs to take on great adventures and accomplish noble (and remunerative) deeds.
A detail that sometimes appears in the more esoteric Tarots is a winged wand with two snakes twining around it, called the Caduceus, which is Mercury's wand. This is an ancient symbol of the healer or shaman, one who can travel between the worlds to rescue souls from death or possession. Perhaps the feeling of empowerment this card represents points to the internal mechanisms of self-healing. Perhaps it refers to the courage it takes to be an entrepreneur or an inventor, which is in itself a magical process -- bringing not only opportunity for success, but also an awakening to higher potentials.
|Card 2||The World|
What has traditionally been known as the World card points to the presiding intelligence, called "Sophia," or Wisdom, which upholds life on this and all worlds. A more precise title for this card might be "the Soul of the World," also applicable as a symbol of personal empowerment and freedom. In most Tarot decks it is a female figure that has become our standard World image. She originates in Hebrew, Gnostic and Alchemical lore, and stands between heaven and earth as the Cosmic Mother of Souls, the Wife of God and our protector from the karmic forces we have set loose upon the Earth in our immaturity and ignorance.
Where the Empress energy secures and fertilizes our terrestrial lives, the goddess of The World invites us into cosmic citizenship -- once we come to realize our soul's potential for it. Just as the Chariot stands for success in achieving a separate Self, and Temperance represents achievement of mental and moral health, the World card announces the awakening of the soul's Immortal Being, accomplished without the necessity of dying.
This card, like the Sun, is reputed to have no negative meaning no matter where or how it appears. If the Hermetic axiom is "Know Thyself," this image represents what becomes known when the true nature of Self is followed to creative freedom and its ultimate realization.
|Card 3||The Fool|
Pamela Coleman-Smith's artful rendition of an "innocent Fool" archetype (Rider-Waite deck) is often used to represent Tarot in general. Early classical versions of the Fool card, however, portray quite a different character -- a person driven by base needs and urges, who has fallen into a state of poverty and deprivation.
In some instances, he is made out to be a carnival entertainer or a huckster. In others, he is portrayed as decrepit and vulnerable -- as the cumulative result of his delusions and failures. Not until the 20th century do you see the popular Rider-Waite image of the Fool arise -- that of an innocent Soul before its Fall into Matter, as yet untainted by contact with society and all its ills.
Modern decks usually borrow from the Rider-Waite imagery. Most Fool cards copy the bucolic mountainside scene, the butterfly, the potential misplaced step that will send the Fool tumbling into the unknown. Don't forget, however, that the earlier versions of this card represented already-fallen humanity, over-identified with the material plane of existence, and beginning a pilgrimage towards self-knowledge, and eventually, wisdom. The Fool reminds us to recognize the path of personal development within ourselves -- and the stage upon that path where we find ourselves -- in order to energize our movement toward deeper self-realization.