By Sarah Taylor
There is a sense of being in two places at once with this reading — in a way that is both literal as well as metaphoric, and where those places are not at odds with each other. In other words, we are dealing with two complementary states, brought together by the card in the centre, the Two of Wands.
In the Two, a figure stands at a parapet, looking out at the sea beyond, a globe in his right hand, a wand in his left. A second wand stands behind him. This is an act of creation, where the potential of the Ace is ‘drawn down’ into the world and given form — in this case, the world itself, through the fire of the Wands suit, which is libido, energy, the field that underpins existence.
What is the figure in the Two of Wands creating? Nothing less than his own path. The card that he looks towards is the Knight of Wands, an explorer, pioneer and agent of change. The Knight is fire incarnate: flames lick from his armour; black salamanders — fire creatures that they are — adorn his robe. His wand has five sprigs of leaves on it, while the wands in the Two of Wands have three. What he brings with him packs a punch — it is extroverted energy that is expressed rather than sublimated. He is instigator, fighter, red-hot Romeo.
The horse holds significance here too:
Horse is physical power and unearthly power. In shamanic practices throughout the world, Horse enables shamans to fly through the air and reach heaven.
… Through their special relationship with Horse, humans altered their self-concept beyond measure. Horse was the first animal medicine of civilization. Humanity owes an incalculable debt to Horse and to the new medicine it brought. It would be a long walk to see one’s brother or sister if Horse had not welcomed the two-legged rider upon its back.
[Medicine Cards, Jamie Sams & David Carson]
Unlike the wild-eyed creature in the Knight of Swords, and the respectively plodding and docile steeds in the Knights of Pentacles and Cups, the horse in the Knight of Wands feels entirely attuned to his rider. Its chestnut pelt and mane mirror the Knight’s flames and it exudes a desire to spring forward even while the Knight is skilfully holding it in check. Here, man and beast have the potential to work together seamlessly. Likewise, with the aid of Horse medicine — the vehicle with which we can move with greater speed and ease — we can harness the fiery energy of Wands, and ride out of our comfort zones.
But let’s whoa there! for a minute, before we get completely carried away — because the Knight is only one side of the story. Without the other, we’d be galloping off into the distance, full throttle, with no sense of grounding, our action without direction or meaning. Soon both rider and horse would be spent, and with little or nothing to show for their enthusiasm.
Luckily, then, we have the Six of Cups.
The Six of Cups exudes a warm glow for me. It is the card of love, devotion, soul mates, an anchoring in the past. It also denotes sex and passion, but coupled with emotion and trust. Look at how it and the Two of Wands work with each other: the idea of battlements (the parapet) is continued with the foot soldier in the Six — except in the Six, he is walking away from us and into a greyed background. This is not a card of battle and hot pursuit; it is a balm to the adventuring soul where we are offered a haven. This haven is feeling-based — and the feeling is good.
Each cup is filled with a single white flower (echoed in the coat of arms on the parapet wall in the Two — the red rose denoting the passion of the Knight), and the larger male figure is offering it to the woman with a sense of reverence. The figures at first seem anomalous: the woman on the right looks older, and yet she is disproportionately smaller than the male figure on the left, who seems child-like by comparison. This, to me, speaks of the role-reversals inherent in the idea of reincarnation, where we are born into different bodies and yet on one level are still able to recognise the souls of lovers, and loved-ones, past.
Thus we have balance: primarily yang energy embodied in the Knight at left, yin energy embodied in the Six at right, held together by the two wands — one for each card — in the Two at centre. This, perhaps, is a means by which we can forge our world — through the tempered juxtaposition of outer and inner, going out on a limb while finding root.
You don’t have to get carried away, scattering energy on hot-headed pursuits and foolhardiness — a rebel without a cause. You don’t have to get stuck in the past, retreating into the safety of the familiar when you feel the pull of the new. You have it within you to ride this energy while simultaneously staying in touch with what it is that feeds your heart and your soul. When you’ve got that, you’ve put yourself in the driver’s seat. Enjoy the journey.
If you want to experiment with tarot cards and don’t have any, we provide a free tarot spread generator using the Celtic Wings spread, which is based on the traditional Celtic Cross spread. This article explains how to use the spread.