Moving Forward and Afar: Three of Wands Tarot Meaning

The three of wands represents your desire to move forward in your life. What is holding you back?

Spread of tarot cards on a candlelit table.

It can be difficult to learn and understand all of the cards in a tarot deck. However, once you learn the patterns and overall themes of the cards, things fall into place a bit easier. If you’re looking for ways to interpret the three of wands during a reading, read on!

Today we’re going to cover:

  • What is the minor arcana
  • Three numerology
  • The suit of wands
  • How to interpret the three of wands during a reading

Minor Arcana

In the tarot deck, cards are either part of the minor arcana or the major arcana. The three of wands is a part of the minor arcana. The minor arcana is no less important than the major arcana– they are both equally valid. The difference is mainly in the time frame. Minor arcana refers to current and daily interactions/struggles. This is unlike the major arcana, which provides insight on overarching themes in your life.

Hand swings a pendulum over tarot cards. Candles light the table.
Three in tarot numerology symbolizes problem solving and finding the best solution

Three in tarot numerology

In a tarot deck, each number has a different meaning. If you pull more of one number, the characteristics of that number likely reflect you as well. The number three can be complicated because it is a combination of the previous two numbers: the unity of one and duality of two. Twos are associated with contrast and differences. When joined with the infinite possibilities of the number one, three is created.

Three symbolizes problem solving; taking multiple options and finding the optimal solution. Because of this, people who frequently pull threes are often optimistic and motivated to succeed. They are humorous and talented, but can be grounded and find answers when needed. The lucky gemstone of the three is yellow sapphire, a joyful and optimistic stone.

Tarot reader holding a deck of cards for a woman to pick from.
The three of wands is part of the wand suit– it is an energy source. The three of wands may fuel your desire to start new projects or chapters in your life.

Suit of Wands

In the minor arcana, there are four suits: cups, swords, wands, and pentacles. Each corresponds with a different element and has different meanings. Wands are associated with fire elements and fire signs like aries, leo, and sagittarius.

The wands are an energy source. They encourage us to change our lives or improve ourselves, hence why it is the suit of energy– we need to put in the effort and energy into improving ourselves. However, when reversed, wands can be volatile and wreak havoc, like an out of control flame. This is why the distinction between upright and reversed cards are so important– they are direct opposites of each other.

Three of wands

Traditional depiction of the three of wands. A figure looks out on a shore as boats approach them.
The three of wands means opportunities and decisions may be approaching. Image Courtesy of Labyrinthos.

Image Description

Though there are many different tarot decks, all have a similar composition: a figure with an obscured face looks upon a shore. He is holding one staff, or wand, in his hands, the other two are behind him. The figure not facing the reader symbolizes looking towards the future. The boats in the sea are often associated with oncoming hardships or opportunities.

Upright three of wands

To pull an upright three of wands means your hard work and drive is paying off, and your future is solid. It means you are expanding your possibilities for the future, but that there may be challenges ahead (the boats in the water). The distance in the image is symbolic of planning and being aware of future obstacles. Use your forward thinking.

The upright three of wands means you are feeling confident and in control of yourself, (the figure stands alone). Thanks to all of your preparations and foresight, plans and solutions are being put in motion, successfully, at that. It also means you are experiencing your life to the fullest and spreading your wings.

Having both land and water in the imagery is a sign that travel and adventure may be in your future. Perhaps you are moving abroad to see the world, or you need to move around to find an answer to a problem you’re experiencing. Travelling means you can learn more about yourself and the world, though it doesn’t have to be a great distance. Be aware of your surroundings and future opportunities. More will approach you, so think big about your future.

Love spread

In a love spread, the three of wands represents moving forward, success, and planning. If you are in a new relationship, you need to make sure to create a stable foundation and plan. What do you want to achieve from the relationship? Make sure you and your partner are on the same page so you can move forward together. For a more serious, long-term relationship, work together and think about the future. The three of wands may represent a long-distance relationship, however, it can also mean moving abroad together.

If you’re single and pull a three of wands, this means you are enjoying the freedom of being alone and spreading your wings. It can also represent finding connection over a vacation, or meeting a loved one while abroad.

Work/Finance Spread

When upright, the three of wands depicts adventure and travelling abroad. This is not limited to love and life. Your position may expand, have new requirements, or even need to move to a new location. It signifies new opportunities in your job, so think ahead about what you want, but keep an open mind about expansion.

For a financial read, the three of wands is a good omen of incoming success.You will soon reap the rewards of all your efforts. Make sure to use this money for yourself. Perhaps, take a global journey, expand your business abroad, or take a vacation. The cards want you to embrace your hard work and stretch your mind.

 Modern interpretation of the three of wands. A woman looks out a window at oncoming boats. Instead of staffs, pens and pencils fill the role of the wands.
The reversed three of wands means the exact opposite of its upright counterpart. Adventure and growth are available to you but you are not taking the opportunities. Image courtesy of Tumblr user ComparativeTarot.

Reversed Three of Wands

When a tarot card is reversed, it means the opposite of the upright interpretation is true. For the three of wands, opportunities are approaching you, but you are declining, choosing to stay in the familiar. Consider what is holding you back from taking new chances and keep an open mind.

It can also represent returning home from abroad or unexpected delays and obstacles to established plans. You may feel disappointed, but the obstacles are part of life. Embrace the challenges and move forward, regardless.

It can also represent overstretching yourself. Maybe you put too many plans in motion, but none of them were developed enough, so you feel stuck.

Love spread

A reversed three of wands in a love spread is a sign that you are feeling stuck within a relationship. Perhaps you or your partner want to travel or move forward together, but one of you is holding you back. It can also be a sign that a long-distance relationship has just ended or will.

If you are single, the reversed three of wands means that you are letting the past hold you back from trying new things. Your fears are preventing you from new love.

Work/Finance Spread

In a career or money spread, the three of wands is a bad omen. It can represent canceled travel plans or not taking a job in another location. You may be feeling confined within your position, like you are stuck without the ability to grow.

For your finances, the three of wands may indicate that your money is all over the place. You need to keep a handle on where your money is going.

Keep Reading!

Now that you’ve studied a bit on the three of wands, keep going over the cards in a deck. It can be complicated and daunting, but interpreting the tarot is an enviable skill. Give some readings to your friends as practice and as the three of wands suggests, take new opportunities to read.

Lydia Rosenstock

Lydia Rosenstock is a writer, fashion-lover, and theater nerd based in Pittsburgh, PA.
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