Friday 1 December 2017

Sagittarius in the Minor Arcana: The Eight of Wands

Moving on now to the Minor Arcana, in the astrological correspondence system that I follow, Sagittarius is linked to the Eight, Nine and Ten of Wands. Today I’m going to look at the Eight of Wands, which is linked to Mercury in Sagittarius, and corresponds to the first ten days of Sagittarius (this year, 22nd November to 1st December).

Sagittarius is the mutable Fire sign, so we’re looking at transforming what’s been established into something else.  It combines a fiery passion and creativity with the expansiveness and benevolence of Jupiter, the ruler of Sagittarius, to give us the visionary, the explorer, the philosopher.   

Eight of Wands (trimmed):
© Druid Craft Tarot
Mercury is associated with communication, so when linked with Sagittarius could indicate fast thinking, perhaps, or open and optimistic communication.  Ideas are probably more to do with long-term goals or aspirations towards an ideal. Getting bogged down by details seems unlikely, and there could be a sense of restlessness involved.  There might also be an interest in teaching others about what we’ve learned in our own journey. Tolerance and broad-mindedness are also qualities of this combination of planet and sign.

Mercury rules Gemini, the sign that sits opposite Sagittarius in the zodiac.  Opposing forces at work here, you might think.  Rather than buzz about pollinating local networks, Mercury is being challenged here to work on a much larger scale. Global rather than local. 

Eight of Wands (trimmed):
© Sharman-Burke/Caselli Tarot
So how might this play out in the Eight of Wands?  Let start with a relatively ‘traditional’ depiction of the Eight of Wands – as illustrated by the Sharman-Burke/Caselli (Beginners Guide to the Tarot) and Druid Craft decks. Here we see wands flying through the air, representing new directions and many opportunities or possibilities.  There’s plenty of space for ideas – represented by flames on the wands - to expand and grow.  The wands are in their element, literally, in Sagittarius.  Juliet Sharman-Burke uses the phrase ‘full steam ahead’ to describe this card; steam is a product of fire and water, taking me back to the idea of Temperance and alchemy! There’s a goal – maybe more than one – to aim for (the castle in the background representing hopes and wishes). The thing to be wary of here is that if the activity is so widespread, it’s possible that nothing will ever be completed! Focus that creative fire into fewer things.

Eight of Wands (trimmed):
© Shadowscapes Tarot
The Shadowscapes version of this card shows the seeds of ideas being carried away on the wind – being communicated and transported in a Mercurial fashion. In the accompanying book, the deck’s creators write “the seeds spin away on the wild winds – at the mercy of entropy but sailing with the purpose nature bestowed on them... and then set down to ...become a mighty tree”.   For me, that sense of being taken wherever nature carries them reflects the Sagittarian expansion by Mercurial means!

Eight of Bows (trimmed):
© Wildwood Tarot
In the Wildwood we have the Eight of Bows.  We see people gathered around a fire, celebrating, perhaps.  Here’s Mercury – gathering, communicating, and sharing with friends and neighbours.  This, to me, seems more about the aftermath of going out and achieving the Sagittarian quest, whatever it might be, rather than the wands being sent out through the air - although you could argue that there's plenty of "spreading the word" going on around the fire!

Eight of  Flames (trimmed):
© Margarete Petersen Tarot

Margarete Petersen’s Eight of Flames gives us a big cat – a cheetah perhaps, as it’s the fastest of all the felines – above and to the left of a figure with a bow and arrow. The bow reminds me of the Wildwood’s use of Bows in place of Wands…  The arrow hasn’t been released yet, so this might not be so much the end of the action, as in Waite-Smith-based images.  It could signify the sending of news, or maybe even reflecting on what releasing the arrow might manifest.

Eight of Wands (trimmed):
© Thoth Tarot

In the Thoth deck, the image is very different – yet the meaning is similar. The card carries the word ‘swiftness’, which we see in the images on the other cards; there’s a sense of those arrows flying at speed through the air.  Here the arrows are red (fire), shooting off in all directions. Communication is clear (the crystal), direct and honest, so that misunderstandings can be avoided or overcome.   Make sure you know where you stand, and that it’s clear to the world!

If you’ve enjoyed this post, you might be interested in my e-book, Astrology in Tarot, now available from Amazon.

Beginner’s Guide to the Tarot created by Juliet Sharman-Burke, illustrated by Giovanni Caselli, published by Connections
DruidCraft Tarot created by Philip Carr-Gomm and Stephanie Carr-Gomm, illustrated by Will Worthington, published by Connections
Margarete Petersen Tarot, AGM-URANIA/Deep Books, 2004.
Shadowscapes Tarot created by Stephanie Pui-Mun Law and Barbara Moore, published by Llewellyn
Thoth Tarot created by Aleister Crowley, illustrated by Lady Frieda Harris, published by U.S. Games Systems, Inc.
Wildwood Tarot created by Mark Ryan and John Matthews, illustrated by Will Worthington, published by Connections

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