In her book, The Celtic Tarot (Aquarian Press), Helena Paterson explains that in this deck, the suit of Wands represents "the Spirit of Primal Fire, the mystical symbol which awakens the spiritual will of man." It expresses the idea of initiating magical or mysterious changes. Purple and violet swirls form the borders on all Wands cards in this deck, symbolizing spiritual and divine energies.
The numbered cards of the Minor Arcana contain geometric arrangements of wands, swords, cups, and coins rather than scenes. Thus the Four of Wands "are resting on each other and form a diamond-shaped archway." We see a setting sun – symbol of rest and repose. . . completion of the matter. (Paterson)
In my Tarot system*, the number Four represents the potential for stability, protection, structure, tangible achievement, caution, conformity, practicality, and stagnation. In astrology, the Fourth House is called the House of Home and Family, which gives additional support to Paterson's view of the Four of Wands as it relates to that area of life.
Instead of using reversals, Paterson outlines a system that interprets cards as "dignified" or "ill-dignified." The meaning of a card can be displaced, held in check, or reinforced by surrounding cards. Divinatory Meanings provided by Paterson for the Four of Wands are:
- Dignified – The satisfaction of a job well done. A cause for celebration in the family. If house-hunting, the ideal home becomes available. A quiet period spent at home or in a favourite retreat.
- Ill-dignified – Uncertain conditions and conclusions. Not a bad card generally, the neighbouring cards will determine the extent of the disruption caused.
* Please note: My numerological keywords are based on personal experience and many different sources accessed over a period of several years.