Without goals and plans to reach them, you are like a ship that has set sail with no destination.
Fitzhugh Dodson, author
For this first week of October, as we draw closer to the crackling bonfires of Samhain (or, as our friends below the Equator are doing, sparkle with Beltane’s approaching warmth), we have an old friend who comes calling. In this week of turning tides, we welcome the Three of Wands.
After most recently visiting us during last year’s magnificent Solar eclipse — the so-called American eclipse — the Three of Wands offers a message about the importance of planning, tenacity, and patience, if we desire success.
In the story of the fiery, magical Wands suit, the Three naturally follows the Two of Wands, which would have been a time of deciding. In the Three, the figure has already launched his choice, and his will is now in motion. With a calm confidence, in the golden light, he waits for the arrival of the success he has earned, as the ships sail by below.
The DruidCraft Tarot’s authors Stephanie and Philip Carr-Gomm point out that in the times of the sailing ships, such commercial enterprises were a gigantic risk, incredibly expensive, and an investment that could take years to realize – sometimes years without a single word of progress. Yet if their ships returned safely home, the owners stood to gain enormous wealth and power.
Here, our merchant is observing the result of his successful manifestation. Power fairly throbs within this dazzling card.
Threes and Fire
All of the Tarot suit threes are facets of the Major Arcana Three – The Empress.
It’s not surprising, then, that in the Qabbalah Tree of Life, this card is a component of Binah, the uppermost feminine element, and which is symbolized as the mother of the Shekhinah.
Its meaning is Understanding and is also associated with the Queens of the Tarot.
Threes are more generally about movement and change, synthesis and manifestation, and fertile possibilities coming to fruition, reinforcing its connection to The Empress.
And, as mentioned, the element associated with the Wands is Fire, which rules the qualities of creativity, action, magic, growth, and passion.
Arthur Waite describes this card saying, “Here we see a calm, stately personage, with his back turned, looking from a cliff’s edge at the ships passing over the sea. Three staves are planted in the ground, and he leans slightly on one of them.”
Dreams Launched and Returned
With Wands, we are not really talking about a merchant’s material riches on those ships a-sailing. The focus is not on the goods within, but how we wield our power successfully. Here we are experiencing the manifestation of our energy and will.
This week, be looking for results that are the culmination of your prior planning and foresight. And consider how plans made at this time will pay off for you later. Are you willing to wait patiently for your desire? How might your passion and creativity contribute towards a better future?
When success is in sight, instead of prematurely pouncing, or (more commonly) already turning towards the next thing, this is an opportunity to pause.
As a surprisingly contemplative card in the otherwise action-oriented suit of Wands, this would be a time for you to experience this sweet energy of transition and fulfillment, and observe how what you have planned is now coming home to you.
This happy anticipation can be a quiet space in the midst of all our doing. This is the Understanding, where inspiration and spiritual replenishment occur.
Planning and Time Magic
Some of you know that every year in late September, I order my new annual Planner Pad. Oh, sure there are cuter little journals and calendars on the market — lots of them. But more than just for jotting appointments, or using half my day playing with stickers, bullets, and markers, it’s a time and project management tool that works! And I love using it (with thanks again to Waverly, for turning me on to it years ago!).
I always purchase the October through September version, so that my new calendar year begins very close to Samhain.
As I embellish the pages, adding my own art, color-coordinated categories and headers, and so on (once and done!), I also use this period to dream, prioritize, and weave time spells for the coming year.
However, the weeks and months ahead for me are very uncertain until after my biopsy surgery next week, so I have hesitated. But with this card appearing, perhaps I will attempt to at least consider and make tentative plans.
What about you?
Are there circumstances that have held you back from committing to your dreams? What does your most exceptional self hunger for? What would be your most longed-for destination?
It appears that despite the many challenges we have been enduring, we are being encouraged to step back for some bigger perspective. Let us take this as an opportunity to stand on higher ground and see the larger patterns at work.
The Three of Wands is an open doorway to prepare for a long-term, successful future.
For better or worse, our “ships” are already sailing. What might we ask, from the creative Source Herself? How might we then fashion a strong, clear intention?
This week, use all your wisdom to know and name what you wish to manifest, perhaps in ritual, or other ways of focusing.
If your vision is to create or be something better, you surely have the golden blessings of the Universe.
By the power of Three, may our finest, brightest desires for the highest good of all be granted.