The Meaning of
the "Eight of Wands" Tarot Card
Tarot Quick Info
What is the inverted meaning of
the "Eight of Wands"?
The Meaning of
the "Eight of Wands"
The Symbolism of the Eight of Wands
On the Eight of Wands, a flight of wands hurtles speedily towards its destination. Like a wave of arrows shot by archers, eight wands fly from above, racing unimpeded towards the ground.
In the background we see a perfectly clear, blue sky. Lower on the card, we see an equally perfect, lush, green landscape, dotted with trees.
A small house perches on a fertile hillside, symbolizing stability, effective planning and a successful response to past challenges.
Like a wave of arrows shot by archers, eight wands fly from above, racing unimpeded towards the ground.
In the foreground, a straight blue river flows through the landscape; matching the smooth forward trajectory of the wands.
Unlike many other "landscape cards" in the Minor Arcana, there are no ominous grey mountains visible in the background. The tranquility of the scene suggests there is little resistance to movement here — and a seeming absence of challenges ahead.
Only pure speed and uninterrupted motion matter here.
How to Interpret the Eight of Wands
On the simplest level, the Eight of Wands references speed, momentum and pure, forward energy.
But a more nuanced interpretation of the Eight of Wands is that it represents a continuation of direction. In other words, changing strategies, pivoting or reassessing past steps is not represented here.
the Eight of Wands references an accelerated approach, or hastened movement towards an already defined goal.
Instead, the Eight of Wands references an accelerated approach, or hastened movement towards an already defined goal. As the card image illustrates, these wands are already moving — their direction is clear.
When the Eight of Wands appears in a reading, it's typically a sign that a chosen course of action is correct, but time and speed are of the essence.
If the card is referencing a past event, it may suggest that speed was crucial to the outcome, or that an accelerated approach was taken.
If the card references a current or future event the appearance of the Eight of Wands suggests that speed or one's rate-of-progress may be insufficient, or deserves attention.
Generally speaking, the Eight of Wands is an extremely positive card. It indicates a clear path forward. But the card also carries a direct message: The path forwards needs to be taken earnestly, and time should not be wasted.
The Eight of Wands Inverted
There are several possible interpretations to the reversed Eight of Wands.
The most common interpretation is that speed is excessive for some reason. Perhaps more cautious thought and planning are required before racing ahead. Or perhaps someone is not ready for the speed at which things are moving. Continuing at the current pace is only going to make things worse.
... the appearance of the Eight of Wands reversed suggests that blindly pushing ahead at excessive speeds is only going to lead to negative outcomes.
We're all tempted to race ahead at times, pushing forwards towards goals — but the appearance of the Eight of Wands reversed suggests that blindly pushing ahead at excessive speeds is only going to lead to negative outcomes.
Another common interpretation is that something was forgotten somewhere. As a result of racing from step to step or place to place, something may have been left behind.
If the card references a past event, it may suggest that corners were cut, and not enough time was taken.
Another possible interpretation is that change is happening all around us, but someone or something is resisting that change — or being a stick in the mud. If things are progressing more slowly than they should, the appearance of the inverted Eight of Wands invites us to consider exactly what might be preventing forward motion. That issue needs to be addressed.
Generally speaking the inverted Eight of Wands is negative card, but in most cases it should be taken as a gentle warning and not a predictor of negative outcomes.
Common Symbols Found On the Eight of Wands Card
Tarot cards often use a a common symbology to illustrate additional information about each card. The Eight of Wands makes use of at least four common, repeating Tarot symbols. Each of these symbols which repeat throughout the deck can add additional dimensions of interpretation to the card.
The symbols which appear on the Eight of Wands card are:
Green fields symbolism appears on the Eight of Wands card:
Green fields in Rider-Waite Tarot symbolism typically represent financial wellbeing, possibility, wholesomeness and health. While green fields are generally associated with positivity, they are sometimes included on cards which have an overall negative meaning to show a contrast between negative and positive themes — as shown in the background and foreground respectively.
Water symbolism appears on the Eight of Wands card:
In Tarot symbolism, water appears in multiple forms — ranging from rain, to secluded pools, to meandering rivers and streams, to wide seas and oceans. Although each one of these representations of water may carry a more specified meaning, water in most cases symbolizes nourishment, emotion and intuition. Water is more commonly found in the Minor Arcana cards, and is very often (but not always) found in Cups cards.
Rivers and Streams
Rivers and streams symbolism appears on the Eight of Wands card:
Water in a general sense, implies emotion. A stream or brook passing through the land frequently adds a dimension of emotional overtones or spirituality to the scene. A river may also indicate that emotion is a vital component of the scene or issue at hand.
Read more about the symbolism of "Rivers and Streams" in Tarot
Hills symbolism appears on the Eight of Wands card:
Single hills have a distinct symbolic interpretation in classic Tarot imagery. Single hills in Tarot, as opposed to large mountains and mountain-ranges, are often shown with a lone house on top. Hills represent a protected, private place or a place for a home. They symbolize security, safety, self-reliance and the comforts of home — but also a quiet space of privacy and introspection.
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