The Meaning of
the "King of Wands" Tarot Card
Tarot Quick Info
What is the inverted meaning of
the "King of Wands"?
The Meaning of
the "King of Wands"
The Symbolism of the King of Wands
On the King of Wands card, the King is seated on a throne with a tall back. The throne is adorned with lions and salamanders, symbolizing royalty, power and the element of Fire
The king's golden cloak is also adorned with salamanders, and his robes are a bright red color — both further associating the king with the element of Fire.
He holds his wand in his right hand. Its base rests on the earth at his feet, representing a connection to the land and to primal power.
The king's golden cloak is also adorned with salamanders, and his robes are a bright red color ...
At the base of the King of Wands' throne stands an alert-looking salamander, looking in the same direction as the king — indicating that they are in alignment.
Although salamander imagery appears throughout the Suit of Wands, this is the first and only actual salamander visible in the suit — signifying the strongest connection to the element of Fire.
NOTE: Lizard or salamander? Many students of Tarot point out that the little creature standing next to the king's feet looks more lizard-like than salamander-like. All imagery in the Tarot is open to your interpretation, but the widely accepted answer to the question of "Is it a lizard or a salamander?" is: Salamander. For a more esoteric answer: The Golden Dawn, the mystical group which tarot deck creator, Arthur Waite belonged to, associated salamanders (not lizards) with the element of Fire.
How to Interpret the King of Wands
As with the other court cards in the tarot deck, the King of Wands can be interpreted as a real person; Either someone the reader knows, or a famous person.
He is frequently involved in large-scale, creative projects or a career that is full of ambition.
The King of Wands represents raw masculine energy and determination. He is typically someone with a commanding personality who directs others. He is frequently involved in large-scale, creative projects or a career that is full of ambition.
The king is gifted with intense focus, and has the ability to bring others together to share in his focus and ambition. As an intellectual, he may be controversial — putting ideas and concepts first. He has both personal vision and the courage to be disliked by his critics.
When the King of Wands does not reference an actual person, the card may reference ambitious, grand projects and large-scale undertakings spanning great lengths of time. In a reading, this may also indicate the building of a house, the creation of a business, or any other project which represents years of commitment.
In a relationship reading, the King of Wands often represents powerful male energies, and a serious long-term intent to build something powerful and lasting.
The card may also serve as sign to be more aggressive or dominant in a particular situation — or it may reference a past situation where aggression and dominance were driving forces.
Generally speaking, the King of Wands card is a positive one, with overtones of dedication, loyalty and determination.
The King of Wands Inverted
The reversed King of Wands may have a few possible meanings, but most deal with the concept of cutting corners somehow.
It can be tempting, when pressures mount, when budgets pinch or when time seems too short, to cut corners or abandon one's core principles ...
It can be tempting, when pressures mount, when budgets pinch or when time seems too short, to cut corners or abandon one's core principles to reach the finish line. Taking short-cuts is something we all do from time to time — even though we all know the shortest route may not be the best route.
When the King of Wands comes up inverted in a reading, it's often a sign that someone — usually someone in a position of authority — is feeling the need to short-change a responsibility somehow.
While taking short-cuts, or abandoning core values may win the battle for the day, the long term results can suffer.
In a more general sense, the card indicates short term thinking; A focus on the here-and-now, while forgetting about the big-picture of grander ambitions.
Generally speaking, the reversed King of Wands is a negative card, and has overtones of accidents, sloppiness or negative outcomes. But there may be some cases, where the card simply indicates a short-cut being taken, and does not point to a negative outcome.
Common Symbols Found On the King of Wands Card
Tarot cards often use a a symbolic language to visually communicate information about the meaning of the card. The King of Wands includes at least two well-known, repeating Tarot symbols. Each of these common symbols can add greater dimensions of interpretation to the card.
The symbols which appear on the King of Wands card are:
Lions symbolism appears on the King of Wands card:
Lions in general symbolize strength and courage, however the depiction of lions in the Tarot varies widely, and their meaning depends upon the specific card where each lion appears. In addition to being the primary focus of the iconic Strength Tarot card, lions are a recurring symbol on several other cards across the Tarot deck.
NOTE: The lions shown on the iconic throne of the King of Wands are somewhat less formal than the two lions on the Queen of Wands' throne. These lions are accompanied by salamanders, which are the animal-representation of fire. The symbology here suggests a right to rule — which is not so much based on nobility as it is based on skill, intelligence and power.
Salamanders symbolism appears on the King of Wands card:
The word salamander comes from the ancient Greek words for "fire lizard". Throughout recorded history, salamanders have been associated with the primal element of fire, and have always been an important part of occult lore and magic. In Tarot symbolism, salamanders are associated with the Suit of Wands and are seen as a living manifestation of fire itself.
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