Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Eight of Wands - Astrological Associations

Astrological associations for the Minor Arcana cards typically involve both a planet and a zodiac sign. The attributions established by the Order of the Golden Dawn (OGD) are by far the most commonly used. However, some Tarot decks use a different set of associations. As a professional astrologer, I find it interesting to compare and contrast these associations from deck to deck. The use of astrological associations with Tarot is completely up to the reader. This is merely intended to be interesting and fun.

Yay! I finally found time to do a bit of exploration into the astrological implications of the EIGHT OF WANDS!

Thoth Tarot by Aleister Crowley
For Crowley (and the OGD), the Eight of Wands represents the energy of Mercury (planet of the mind and communication) and the zodiac sign Sagittarius. Crowley titles the card "Swiftness." The astrological association makes sense in several ways. For one thing, Mercury (named after the speedy messenger god) is the fastest planet in our solar system. Sagittarius is a Fire sign, and Fire signs are known for high energy and impulsiveness -- tending to act and react quickly in nearly any situation. Hajo Banzhaf and Brigitte Theler (in Keywords for the Crowley Tarot) describe the energy of the card as: "Confident, farsighted, hopeful (Sagittarius); thinking and perceiving (Mercury)."

One World Tarot by Crystal Love
Crystal Love associates the Eight of Batons with the first subdivision of the sign Sagittarius, with Jupiter as the natural ruler and Mercury as the subruler. She writes: "The fortunate and creative sign of Sagittarius is here given the quick intellect of Mercury. . . There will be much communication and travel, a quick intellect with great versatility and good judgment."

A.E. Thierens, PhD. (Astrology & the Tarot)
Thierens describes the Eight of Wands as having the energy of "Air on the Eighth house." This makes sense in that the Eight of Wands is the Eighth card in the suit of Wands. In astrology, the Eighth house is associated with the zodiac sign Scorpio, a Water sign ruled by Pluto and/or Mars (depending on which astrologer you talk to). Based on this association, Thierens describes the energy of the card thusly: "the influence of Scorpio will make the mind acute and sharp, so as to investigate and to examine the most hidden riddles, while in this house the mind comes to the sensation or consciousness of pleasure and pain, thirst and drinking. . . As to swift or speedy messages, this may sometimes happen, because the Scorpion is sometimes very sudden in its movements." Keywords include examination, interrogation, quick response, searchers for the hidden side of things, poetry, music and sculpture, sex questions. (Note: The system devised by Thierens is radically different from that of the OGD. I will not go into detail here, but will simply provide the astrological associations for the card under discussion. If you are interested in learning more about this system, I recommend the book referenced above.)

The Mandala Astrological Tarot by A.T. Mann
Like the OGD, Mann's deck associates the suit of Wands with the element Fire. Mann describes Wands Eight, Nine, and Ten as "The Rainbows of Sagittarius." Wand Eight is assigned to the First Decan of Sagittarius -- Jupiter in Sagittarius. On the King Scale of Color, both Jupiter and Sagittarius are linked with the color blue. Mann's keywords for Jupiter are "idealism, vision, expansion, mania, success, popularity, religion." For the sign Sagittarius, his keywords are "hibernation; advent; the inner life; meditation; expansion; realization; aspiration; higher mind; religion and philosophy; sport; freedom; rebirth."

The Whispering Tarot by Liz Hazel
Liz Hazel's suit of Wands is the suit of the Fire element, embodying "ambition, vigor, creativity, travel, high spirits, and energy." Her use of the colors red, yellow, and orange is a lot more subtle than what we see in some of the other cards in this set. Like most of the others in this discussion, Hazel associates the Eight of Wands with Mercury/Sagittarius. In her excellent book Tarot Decoded, Hazel notes that in astrology, Mercury "represents the conscious mind and cycles of awareness and perception. . . teaching and learning, the ability to perceive and understand, and the capacity for thinking and intuiting." In the Eight of Wands, Mercury can bring "good news, exciting messages. . . a swift and penetrating intellect, clever solutions, high spirits and a happy heart" as well as "nervous energy. . . practical jokes that cause humiliation. . . too many deadlines all at once."

The sense of swiftness and quick progression toward a goal that I get from the Eight of Wands across a wide range of decks seems like an excellent match for the energy of Mercury and Sagittarius (and Jupiter through its rulership of Sagittarius). Thierens offers an interesting comment about Scorpio, which is not a sign I normally associate with quickness (I think of Scorpio as being more contemplative and brooding) -- the Scorpion can and does strike quickly!

I welcome your comments!



  1. really like the phrase, "The Rainbows of Sagittarius." -- I'm a Scorpio and never associated swiftness with my native sign, but when I think about it, I am very contemplative, I take my time investigating a situation...and when I am satisfied with my conclusions, I make my move quickly. Never thought about it like that, thanks!


  2. Hi Eartha! Good to hear a Scorpio perspective on this. Thanks for your comments!


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