Four is the number of the world and its order, consisting of the four elements of fire, water, air and earth. Most of the “higher” creatures have four appendages. We live through the four stages of life: childhood, youth, adulthood and old age.
The year is divided into four seasons and the heavens into four points of the compass. In the Bible there are four rivers of paradise. In Buddhism, the Damba tree of life has four branches from which four rivers spring. The Four of Wands, a Tarot card of the Minor Arcana, has an order to its symbolism as well.
In the Rider-Waite Tarot deck, we see people who seem to be living in ordered relations in a protected space: the walled or mountaintop city in the background. The Tarot card Four of Wands in the foreground form an arbour with a square formation, which again represents a kind of order. Indeed, the people seem to be preparing to leave their walled domicile for this arbour that is open on all sides. They are opening themselves for new things, new people and new situations in life.
The Tarot expert Rachel Pollack connects the Four of Wands with the Major Arcana card, the Tower. The people falling from the Tower are wearing similar clothing as the people in the Four of Wands. The message is: Free yourself from your prison and break down the walls before they become too narrow.
Unlike with nearly all the other cards in the Minor Arcana Tarot deck, you wish you could walk directly into this scene in the Four of Wands. It feels as if you would be greeted and accepted in a friendly manner. Depending on its placement in a Tarot reading, this Tarot card tells us to be open for that which the future holds for us: a new relationship, new job or whatever may be coming. Do not close yourself off. On the other hand, it can be challenging you to leave your protective shell, your self-made tower, and meet life head-on.
As a wand card, it is associated with the element fire, so the aspects of strength of will and negotiating belong as well. One should not be motivated to celebrate merely because of the happiness of others, but should try to reach within oneself and challenge oneself to discovering this joy within. This card is especially a ray of hope for those suffering from depression or in a difficult phase in which it seems easier to hide away. Things will improve, and times of happiness are ahead.
Although there aren’t really any season cards in Tarot, the Four of Wands reminds us of springtime. The wand in the foreground looks like the maypole, again a reminder of newness. Nature awakens to life after a long winter and the four wands make a defined frame.
Like many other Tarot cards, this card can also mean parting or departure. But here the parting isn’t painful, morbid or with heavy heart. You pass through this flowering gateway gladly, regardless from which direction you came.
When you leave this narrow security behind for new adventures, you also find security in a new space. The Four of Wands is a card of conciliation, friendship and getting together. This is the time to talk about things that have been put off or are difficult. It is important to establish a dialog with your fellow beings, and to be fully present when doing so.
Be happy if the Four of Wands is in your reading. Use the qualities that the card suggests to take some time off, celebrate and reaffirm contacts with friends. You are welcome, just as you are, right now!