3 of Wands

Alt names: Virtue, Vantage
Keywords: Implementation, action, exploration
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Range of meanings

Light: Putting a plan into motion. Taking that critical first step. Making good things happen. Going beyond your limits. Blazing new trails. Hitting the ground running. Seeing your plans come to fruition.

Shadow: Procrastinating. Knowing what to do, but refusing to do it. Launching a project without a clear definition of who should do what. Rejecting an opportunity to try something new. Failing to finish what you start.

Questions to ask

  1. How can you make a habit of breaking your habits?
  2. How can you be a decisive leader in this circumstance?
  3. What’s your action plan for the next week, month, year, or decade?


Personal Growth: Routine is the enemy of growth. Take new roads. See new sights. Pick a new hobby. Order the menu items you don’t recognize. Make a habit of blazing new trails.

Work: Lead by doing. Forge ahead with your plans, but don’t forget to show others what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. Be proactive, brainstorming obstacles and minting solutions before breakdowns occur. Define very clearly your criteria for success and measure progress daily.

Relationships: Knowing what you want or need does you no good if you don’t come up with a plan for achieving it! It’s time to expand your horizons: go places you’ve never been, try sports you’ve never tried, meet people you’ve overlooked. As your world expands, so do your opportunities.

Spirituality: Rather than look for a guru or a well-worn path, take the spiritual initiative. If you could express your spirituality in any way, what form would you choose? If you could worship anywhere, where would you go? Break the mold. Remember: bearing new fruit takes time.

Fortune-Telling: You’ll be planning a trip soon. Be on the lookout: your ship is coming in.


Astrological: Aries

Planet: Sun

Fool's Journey: The main character’s initial plans are laid and launched.

The Number 3: Getting Results: expression, productivity, output.

Wands: One of the four suits of the tarot. Also sometimes called rods, staves, or staffs. Represents desire, inspiration, vision, creation, and invention. Many decks depict budding Wands, suggesting the potential for growth. As a suit marker, Wands suggest the power and potency of a king’s scepter. When a Magician wants something to happen, he waves his magic wand to make his intentions manifest.

Wand in Hand: In RWS-inspired decks, the 3 of Wands card often depicts a merchant and three wands. Two (the number of duality) have been planted in the ground, but one (the “starting point”) is in hand—suggesting the time for debate has given way to a time for action.

Distant Ships: In the background of RWS illustrations, the 3 of Wands card often features ships sailing toward the horizon. In The Pictorial Key to the Tarot, Waite says these belong to the central figure, who sends them out to do his bidding.

Content generously licensed from Mark McElroy via TarotTools.com.