Tag Archives: tarot meanings

Mystic Monkey: The 6 of Wands

Well, howdy-do! Lookie who’s crawled out from beneath the rubble of the Tower to blog another day! And today’s tarot card of the day looks much brighter indeed. Technically, I first pulled the 8 of Cups, but I’ve covered that one previously, so I drew an additional card: the Six of Wands.

Stringing the above three cards together, I see a narrative of upending unstable living to move on to something better, healthier and more purposeful, and seeing some positive achievement as a result of that. While this isn’t playing out for me in a dramatic way at the moment, I do see how my immediate present has followed this trajectory in micro ways, and that’s been satisfying. Being a Major Arcana card, the Tower warns me of an overarching issue that could plague my life in general if I let it, but for today, the Minor cards are telling me that in my day-to-day, I’m doing okay. The past week, I haven’t exactly been at my best (giving in to tendencies as I will often do when left to my own devices), but these last two days definitely mark improvement.

Anyway, to bring focus back to the Six of Wands, we see a man confidently riding on his horse, like a knight on his white steed, returning from some victory abroad, perhaps, that has earned him his laurel wreaths. With back straight up and chest puffed out, he’s feeling pretty good about himself at the moment, which is reward in itself, but we see that he is also being celebrated by a group of people in the background, seemingly cheering on his triumphs with staffs upraised in hip-hip-hooray fashion. So, in that regard, this card signifies not only achievement but recognition of it, which is always nice. When we toil day to day at work or home, we can get through it (and keep it up) better when we at least feel like we’re appreciated for our efforts, that all our work isn’t for nothing. Not that we should be all about external praise and impressing others–those can be shallow and short-lived glories–but at the right moments, the right encouragement and reward can be a powerful esteem-booster and help us believe that we can just when we feared we couldn’t.

I particularly take this meaning away from this card because it came up once in a reading for my adult nephew, who was a bit lost on his path and asked the tarot for some clarity on when he could expect to finally start making forward movement in a career. The cards showed his eagerness to set out on this journey and how his temporary job was at least a practical way to earn some money in the meantime. As to what would give him that ultimate nudge, though, his frustrations and disappointments also showed up in the cards as a potential sink-or-swim catalyst. Looking for clarity on that, I drew the Six of Wands and speculated that after a discouraging period, maybe it would take getting recognized for something (whether at his day job or for his personal, creative projects) to feel more confident in his abilities and add momentum to his quest. Sure enough, he soon after received an award and extra responsibilities at his part-time job in recognition of his good work, which seemed to spark his pilot light back to life and transform his outlook on himself and his options, at least enough to motivate him to more seriously research and pursue his desired path. He embraced the fire and action of the Wands and is totally on his way now!

Anecdotes aside, every tarot card has a shadow side (yeah, they’re nuanced like that), so the Six of Wands sometimes also strikes me as a warning not to rest on your laurels. Yes, great, you’ve accomplished something and should treat yo self for that, but there comes a time when you have to buckle down again and keep at it. Keep striving, improving, because each little victory is fleeting and there’s always something else we must reckon with. Don’t let the highs go to your head, as you might not weather the lows so well if caught off your guard. It’s like in ancient Rome when a victorious military leader returned from war and was celebrated with a grand public triumph; standing behind him on the chariot would be someone whispering in his ear, “Look behind you”–as in, remember where you came from, that you’re just a man and fortune can turn on a dime (or in their case, I dunno, on a denarius?), so, sure, soak this moment up but leggo the ego. And when I really look closely at this Rider-Waite-Smith version of the card, the person on the left doesn’t actually look that happy for the victor, and the one next to him/her doesn’t even appear to be looking at the man of the hour at all, staring off to the side instead. Fame is fickle, and folks can be quick to envy or begrudge someone else’s success, especially if you’re a sore winner, so don’t rub yours in anyone’s face–and be ready for some competition that might take you down a peg. Any of those bystanders could easily use their sticks to knock you off that horse.

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Crystal pairing: almandine garnet for success and confidence while also staying grounded.

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