(i) Three of Wands Rider Waite Tarot Tutorial

This article on the Three of Wands Rider Waite Tarot Card is part of a complete series of written tutorials and YouTube presentations for this deck.

My in-depth YouTube Video on the Three of Wands Rider Waite Deck may be viewed by clicking on the image below:

Three of Wands Rider Waite Tarot Tutorial



(ii) Three of Wands Rider Waite Card

The Three of Wands Rider Waite Card shows a man standing on a clifftop, with his back turned, looking out over the sea watching ships on the ocean.

The Wands surrounding him are firmly planted in the ground, showing his down to earth nature and stability for carrying out the plans conceived in the previous card, the Two of Wands.

Three of Wands Rider Waite



(iii) Thoth Tarot Three of Wands

Showing 3 Wands in Harmony and the astrological association of the Sun in Aries. Notes for the Thoth Three of Wands can be found through the link here.

Three of Wands Rider Waite


(iv) Minor Arcana Numerology

Number 1 (Monad) Ace of Wands = perfect unity with NO dimensions of its own. However, then combined with other points it has the power to express its potential by creating new dimensions. Thus the Aces of the Minor Arcana are representing PURE POTENTIAL of KETHER which may or may not be realised.

Three of Wands Rider Waite


Number 2 (Diad) Two of Wands = the connection of 2 points to form a straight line. Duality is now present and we have the creation of opposites and this represents the Force of Chokmah emanating from Kether.

Three of Wands Rider Waite

Number 3 (Triad) 3 of Wands: Three distinct points form a triangle in 2-d space. The triangle is the first formed geometrical shape and can be seen within the light of the astral plane in meditation before manifesting physically. We now have 2 dimensions, moving on from the two, or straight line which was only 1 dimensional. The 3 is the first masculine number and symbolises the male genitalia (phallus and 2 testicles):

Three of Wands Rider Waite

The number 3 can represent major change and is represented Biblically as in Jonah and the Whale, the 3 days Christ spent in the tomb.

In tarot it can represent change as we move on from the preparation stage in the two, to practical action in the 3.

The 3 points now form a PLANE, and in the suit of Wands is the first time a plane is established in the minor arcana. Here we have the idea of a geometric leap symbolic practically as a leap in understanding of our world and role in it.


(v) Three of Wands, The Tree of Life & Four Worlds

BINAH is the last of the sephiroth that form the supernal triangle, it is feminine in nature and ruled by SATURN. She is like the COSMIC WOMB which receives the energy from Chokmah, the previous sephiroth. She has both Light and Dark aspects

Light = gives birth to all form, on all levels of creation

Dark = form by its nature is not infinite. It is subject to the cycle of birth and death as we see clearly on the physical plane. This is where Saturn exerts its influence as it is a ruler of TIME.


Three of Wands Rider Waite


Binah is also known as the ‘GREAT SEA’,  sea often being attributed to consciousness (the Bible has Water as an allegory for consciousness).

There is a sea in the 3 of Wands and also in the Thoth deck in the 3 of Disks surrounding the pyramid:

Three of Wands Rider Waite

A Tutorial on the 3 of Disks can be found through the link here 



Three of Wands Rider Waite

The Wands represent the element of Fire and they are therefore found in the first world of Atziluth (the fiery world of INSPIRATION) as shown in the diagram below:

Three of Wands Rider Waite

SATURN, being associated with governing structure, ,time and discipline implies the person in the card is coming to understand their place in the world and how to play an effective role within it.

So  Binah in Atziluth = birth of our inspiration into something promising (business plans, trips abroad, expanding our horizons)



(vi) Two to Three of Wands Transition

Three of Wands Rider Waite

In the Two of Wands, things were very much in the PLANNING phase, with the fire energy making use of the potential from the Ace of Wands to form something concrete. With the Three of Wands Rider Waite we can see even geometrically, we have MOVEMENT and therefore action. This is mainly a positive thing as we see throughout the threes in the minor arcana, with the exception of the Three of Cups which we will discuss in due course. The globe in the hand of the figure in the Two has become too small.. in other words he has his sights set on something bigger than his current circumstances. In the Three of Wands  he has a much expanded vista.


(vii) Astrological Association of the Three of Wands

Three of Wands Rider Waite

Three of Wands Rider Waite


As shown above the 3 forms a  triangle and when upright is the symbol for the element of Fire:

Three of Wands Rider Waite

 Left unrestricted FIRE expands upwards and outwards and we see this played out in the definition of the card.

The Three of Wands Rider Waite Card is ruled by the SUN in ARIES. The Sun is the natural ruler of Aries and is also exalted in this sign which makes it twice as potent. Astrologically the Sun represents the self, the ego, or will and feeds Aries need for leadership, strength, and role of being a pioneer, shaping destiny with your own initiative.


(viii) Symbolism of the Three of Wands

Figure with his back turned = he has turned his back on the past and embraces the future. If card is reversed he has turned his back on himself and his current lifestyle is not supporting him.

3 Wands = as was discussed above The number 3 in numerology, sacred geometry and in Tarot has very strong associations with creativity, growth, birth, abundance, movement and expansion.

3 leafs and 3 growths on Wands = Binah

Man with his back to us = he is now undertaking a journey that was conceived in the previous card, and is moving away from his home, the fortress, which he occupied in the 2 of Wands. 

Cloak = for travel. It is red representing the passion and impulse of Aries to move forward in life. He has freed himself of the restrictions of the bolt restricting one of the wands in the Two of Wands. Green = doing what comes from the heart.

Checkered Pattern on Cloak = symbolising the polarities of man; light and dark and the integration of opposites in the Two of Wands. This is similar to the meaning of the chequered pattern of the hallway of Masonic Lodges:

Three of Wands Rider Waite

Three of Wands Rider Waite


Dirty Yellow Sky = represents both opportunity and challenge, day and night and the polarities of life in general.

Hill Top Vista = he has perspective on his world and can therefore execute his plans with efficiency, seeing the bigger picture of things. He is no longer caught up in conflicts of interest. His eye is set on distant horizons where physical travel may well be a possibility.

Two Shores = one near to the land where the figure stands and the other the distant shore. Represent his old world and the new, unknown lands which he has yet to explore.

Golden Ocean = yellow indicates the ‘moment’ and also the riches of gold. It has a sunny disposition and so the yellow ocean indicates a period of prosperity and leaving negative or limiting things behind.

Ships = The ships symbolise the journey of discovery he is about to embark upon.  Representing travel it could indicate  new cultures and lifestyles from places he has not been to before.  

Ships are also  symbolic of trade and commerce & so  the person may have turned his attention overseas with the intention of expanding an existing business or starting a new one. Market research may be necessary or internet searches on the world-wide web.

In previous times many cargos and lives were lost when ships sank during storms and so he knows he is taking a gamble but does so willingly.

Headband = clear vision ahead (keeps hair away from the eyes)



(ix) Divinatory Meanings of the Three of Wands



Three of Wands Rider Waite


  1. The Three of Wands Rider Waite Card indicates that you want to maximise your future potential and you can action any plans you have made to something constructive.
  2.  The Three of Wands Rider Waite Card also indicates opportunities to expand your horizons, through a business venture, travel or study, all of which serve to increase your understanding of the world around you and help you to grow as a person. So this card often depicts travel.
  3. Your best opportunities lie outside of your current place of work so it is time to think big. What you can do to open doors for yourself exploration opportunities ?
  4. The Person in this card can see far ahead of himself so you may already be aware of the upcoming changes and challenges and can prepare for them ahead of time.
  5. Embracing change and adopting a longer-term view in your business plans. You are being encouraged to aspire beyond your current limitations. Now is the time to embrace these goals you have.
  6.  In relationships this card may indicate a joint business adventure or planning long-term goals as a couple and combining skills.
  7. Working with people from different countries and cultures.





Three of Wands Rider Waite

  1. Three of Wands Rider Waite reversed suggests that you have attempted to better yourself in the world  but you have been unable to accomplish the goals that you had hoped for and your plans have not come to fruition.
  2. Unexpected delays and creative blocks to achieving your goals.
  3. There is disappointment and frustration in business but you need to learn from these experiences and move on now.
  4. Feeling as if your plan of action is overwhelming you through unexpected challenges or things that you have forgotten to plan for. Perhaps breaking down your work load into more manageable chunks or delegating work responsibilities would help.

5. Delays and setbacks in business through no fault of your own due to other people and circumstances beyond your control

6. In relationships it may mean that your long-term goals are difficult to fulfil as your ambitions may not be compatible with each other, or geographically there may be an incompatibility with long distance relationship not working out and causing tensions.





(x) Three of Wands in a Sample Reading

see accompanying video : coming soon



(xi) Recommended Videos on the Three of Wands

Tarot Living 


Three of Wands Rider Waite Tarot Tutorial

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