side-by-side: three of wands

Me: Gosh, why am I having such a hard time reading non-RWS decks for other people?

Also me, realizing on taking this picture: Three of my five decks are Marseilles-style decks.

February’s card, based on my 2019 spread, is the Three of Wands. Three in a family, that’s a magic number.

I will admit that I get the Three and the Two of Wands confused a lot — there’s something about the pillars and the turned-back figure in the RWS that always trips me up. But ultimately — this is about looking ahead and expansion. Ships are on the move, the journey is continuing on.

With the Wanderer’s Tarot, Feathers are the suit for Wands, which is interesting because it subverts the expected connection to Air for a feather. But, on thinking about it (just now!), Feathers are also the only suit in the Wanderer’s Tarot that come from an actual living, breathing, warm-blooded animal — a bird. So if we tie Wands and Feathers to vitality, to passion, to fire, then we have a match. The Three of Feathers are collected in a jar — one feather is a feather, two feathers are a pair, and three feathers are a collection. If you tie them with a string, they start to become something else – a magic wand, perhaps? The beginning of a wing?

The Wild Unknown also features something that you can’t have with just two — a rainbow, or prism, between the three wands (sticks — I always want to call it Sticks but I know it’s Wands). Once you’ve moved beyond the two, and grown to the three, you get a different perspective that you wouldn’t have had with just the binary of two.

And this factor of “you can’t have this without the third” is the Ophidia Rosa’s imagery as well — they’re bound together in a tripod manner, showing the stability of three. Ophidia Rosa is the trickiest of the decks I have, because even though this card showcases the suit more clearly than others in its art — that’s not always the case. It’s a deck that needs really close attention paid to it, which is hard to do when reading quickly for others.

Finally, Mucha Tarot mirrors the RWS again — but the sky is dark over the sea. Is it the end of a journey, with the sun setting over what the figure sees? Or is it the start, with the dawn? And if it’s the dawn, how do we figure in that classic “red sky at night” warning? It could be the satisfaction of a sunset, or the unease of an unknown dawn.

And how was my February? There was a lot of setting intention this month — setting up the groundwork. I booked a lot of appointments (for March), started in on some deep work with a therapist (not just my cards! a real therapist!), helped build some structure for projects I’m working on this year, and planted some really strong seeds in terms of getting ready to move this spring. (UGH, MOVING, NO.) I’m feeling good about this one.

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