The four of wands, one of the early tarot cards of the Minor Arcana suit of wands, is a joyful card with a number of pleasant and optimistic meanings. Just as the previous cards in the Minor Arcana suit have indicated hard work and the pursuit of dreams, the four of wands displays the fruits of one’s own labor and self sacrifice.
In the Rider-Waite tarot deck, the most popular deck in the English-speaking world, the four of wands depicts two joyful merrymakers, gathered in an apparent dance, waving bouquets of flowers in the air underneath a festival structure made of wands and grapes. They are standing outside a great city, celebrating a bounty or a harvest.
Given the context of the story told by the suit of wands, this could be seen as a previously-viewed adventurer greeting a prolific village festival; the mountains in the background may indicate that he has crossed the ocean seen in previous cards.
The four of wands symbolizes the joy that comes from a hard work, difficult journeys, and a previous willingness to take risks. It is the reaping of previously sown seeds. In the four of wands, people are able to celebrate and take pride in their accomplishments. A tarot reading’s subject can view this as a symbol of dreams and ambitions that have been fully achieved.
Depending on the context in which the four of wands is drawn, it may signify the beginning of a loving relationship, whether romantic or otherwise. It can represent love, trust, and bonding obtained through consideration and acts of kindness.
When reversed, the four of wands tarot card might represent a form of happiness reached through superficiality. The meaning of the card may represent an artificial form of happiness reached through material wealth, but not spiritual gain. The tarot subject feels content, but is blocked from reaching true happiness because of an unnecessary attachment to the material world.
Even still, unlike many tarot cards, the meaning of the four of wands is not made to indicate something disturbing or harmful when it is drawn in reverse. Instead, it indicates a goal of true, deep, and profound happiness that can be achieved when the reader lets go of his inhibitive attachments to snobbery and stinginess. This may, depending on the context, represent classist or prejudiced attitudes.
A tarot card generally representing joy and celebration, the four of wands is considered to be a lucky and exciting presence in a tarot spread. Tarot card readers should view it as a symbol representing bounty, joy, and contentment.
Source: Rider-Waite Tarot Deck