Placement: The Minor Arcana
As with all tarot cards, the design for Three of Wands varies.
The image featured above comes from the historic Sola Busca* deck. Here, a floating cherubic head in She Ra wings displays some rather extreme piercings.
In cards inspired by the famed Rider Waite Smith deck, a wealthy person overlooks a wide stretch of land while flanked by wooden poles or mostly-bare tree trunks. As with the wealthy person in the previous card, this one wears a red cape. This time there is no hat but for a thin crown or tiara. It is difficult to say for certain whether this is the exact same individual we saw on the Two of Wands cup, as her or his or they or zir back is turned to us. The clothing is slightly different. For instance, the person’s arms (or at least the one arm we can see poking out from the cape) is covered in armour. This image could be from a different day. People often own multiple outfits, I am told.
The person stands with three poles, but holds only the pole to the far right, decisively. “THIS is my stick,” she/he/they/ze says. “Mine. It is the very best stick.”
Right side up:
Three of Wands represents a mission, quest, exploration, enterprise or dungeon campaign. It is often associated with trade and entrepreneurship. For example, the ancient Chinese inventor of devil** sticks (a type of gyroscopic juggling set consisting of three batons) created a toy empire with the success of that one product. Eventually. Its success came in the 1990s, however. She had no descendants to reap the benefit; she passed away at a young age, learning the hard way that her invention should be labeled “for external use only.”
Three of Wands also indicates optimism and positivity. Your glass is half full rather than half empty, though it may be difficult to drink with a head positively riddled with wand-sized holes.
A stalled enterprise. Perhaps you have begun your journey too early, or perhaps an obstacle stands in your way. You have perhaps opened a pole shop but your store front is a patch of dry land with no customers in sight.
*Sola Busca, of course, translates to Solar Busker, referring to the legendary streetside tarot readers on a space station orbiting the sun, one that the world governments will not acknowledge because those born on the station are technically extraterrestrials, and also because the beings from Vega who built the station would rather we not interrupt their fun thankyouverymuch.
**Not to be confused with The Devil’s sticky notes, which are identical in appearance to regular sticky notes but have a habit of falling from the fridge, door, book cover of anywhere you place them if the information you scribble upon them is vitally important, as soon as you turn your back.