3 of Wands
You make a choice, plant your intentions like staves in the ground – and suddenly the path appears before you. It leads away into the future. You stand gazing out at the horizon, poised to take the first step…
In the Druidcraft deck, the three wands are saplings growing under the shade of an old willow, perhaps planted by the figure who stands beside them gazing at the path ahead. Willow saplings are fast-growing and quick to flourish. The plantsman has laid the foundations for future growth, putting in the work needed for his plans to become action. Now a path has opened up ahead: all he needs to do is walk it.
Although this card is more earthy than the traditional Smith-Waite image, it still carries the same basic symbolism. The three wands are planted in the ground, symbolising firm commitment, while the figure gazes out into the distance, seeing all the possibilities ahead.
In Beth Maiden’s ever-inspirational interpretations, the 3 of Wands is almost always part of a process, intimately linked to the 2 of Wands: thought into action.
The Druidcraft deck draws a clearer symbolic distinction, showing the Long Man of Wilmington with his two staves as the 2 of Wands. We glimpse him through a gap in a hawthorn hedge, with no clear path towards him (in reality, there is a lovely footpath along the edge of a field to reach the little hollow where the Anderida Gorsedd meet – but the path is almost invisible from the road).
This deck has really coloured my interpretation of the cards. The 2 of Wands feels like a moment of stasis, with choices and possibilities all hanging in the balance, while the 3 of Wands feels like a card of movement: a decision has been made, the wands have been planted, and all that fiery energy can be channelled in a definite direction on the path that opens up ahead.
The journey might have begun with the inspiration of the Ace and the choices of the 2 of Wands, but the 3 of Wands is where we take the first step. That sense of possibility and movement makes this card one of my favourites in the minor arcana.