The King of Wands, one of the tarot cards known to tarot readers as the Minor Arcana, is the highest card of the suit of wands. It is also referred to as the King of Rods or Batons in some tarot decks, and its equivalent in playing cards is the King of Clubs. In general, the King of Wands is seen as a card symbolizing romance, passion, and resolve.
In the Rider-Waite deck, the most popular tarot deck in the English-speaking world, the King of Wands is depicted as a man in elaborate robes. He wears a cape adorned with salamanders, and they also decorate the back of his throne. Another salamander sits near his feet. His crown is gold and made of flame-like shapes, and he holds a wand in his right hand.
Like the other court cards in the Suit of Wands, the King of Wands is full of imagery inspired by and relating to the element of fire. The salamanders, traditionally viewed as fire spirits, are seen in this tarot card as well as the other court cards of the wand. The metaphor of the salamander indicates passion, quick-witted thinking, and resolve. Most tarot readers view this card as a representation of leadership gained through passion and absolute willpower, or the start of a sexual and romantic relationship.
When the King of Wands is drawn, it may indicate an abundance of these features, or it may indicate their absence and need. The significance of the card will depend on its position in a tarot spread or the question being asked by the tarot reading’s subject. It can be a sign that the tarot reading’s subject posesses a fiery, vivacious, and powerful spirit, or it can be a warning that the person is lacking these traits and must gain these virtues to confront a challenge ahead. Often, it signifies a need for passionate and creative solutions to an uncommon problem.
Like the other court cards of the Minor Arcana, the King of Wands can symbolize an actual individual– a person, rather than just a state of mind or being. In this case, the King of Wands will represent a powerful masculine figure (although not necessarily a man) who is strong, courageous, outgoing, and quick. He likely has a zodiac sign associated with the element of fire, and may be hot-tempered, rash, or quick to judge.
These negative features of the King of Wands are emphasized even more when the tarot card is drawn in reverse. The reversed King of Wands represents rash anger, hostility, aggression, and exploitation. It is often a warning of someone who makes quick and angry judgments without accurately considering his effect on other people. Tarot readers should view the reversed King of wands as a signal to be extremely wary of rash decisions and obsession with control.
Source: Rider-Waite Tarot Deck.
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