Rider-Waite – Three of Wands description
A calm, stately personage, with his back turned, looking from a cliff’s edge at ships passing over the sea. Three staves are planted in the ground, and he leans slightly on one of them.
3 of Wands Keywords
He symbolizes established strength, enterprise, effort, trade, commerce, discovery; those are his ships, bearing his merchandise, which are sailing over the sea. The card also signifies able co-operation in business, as if the successful merchant prince were looking from his side towards yours with the view to help you.
Additional Meanings: A very good card; collaboration will favour enterprise.
Reversed 3 of Wands Keywords
The end of troubles, suspension or cessation of adversity, toil and disappointment.
Le Trois de Baton – Enterprises
Enterprise, Begin, Start. Usurp, Seize. Daring, Brashness, Boldness. Carelessness, Adventurous, Audacious, Temerity, Bold. Undertaking, Muddled. Disconcerted. Paralyzed, Effort, Test, Temptation.
Reserved: Interruption in: Misfortunes, Troubles, Pain, and Toil. End,
Cessation, Discontinuation, Respite, Rest, Influence, Intermediary, Intermittency.
Paul Foster-Case: Established Strength
The radiant triangle encloses a lamp, symbol of Understanding, represented by the number 3 in Qabalah. The three wands form a fire triangle, and suggest the enclosure of power in form.
2nd decanate of Aries, March 31st to April 9th, ruled by the Sun.
Mental energy, leadership, ambition, determination are among the meanings. It is also a card of the realization of hope, of success after struggle.
Courage, persistence, pride, nobility.
Conceit, arrogance, insolence.
Enterprise, effort, essay, trade, commerce, discovery, usurpation, daring, temerity and also imprudence, interruption, cessation and ‘the end of troubles,’ discontinuative.
The rather contradictory descriptions of this card’s significance are well explained by its zodiacal position: Air on the Third house, which doubles the influence of ‘air’ and of the mercurial vibrations and effects. This card has the accent of the suit of wands. It must consequently denote: communication, reflection and all that comes from these. This needs little explanation.
Communication, instruction, reflexion, message, writing, postage and letters, superficial knowledge, airiness, passing impressions, discontinuance, interruption, change, perhaps a certain amount of geniality, imprudence also; neglect or want of proper attention; as to ‘temerity’ I should say only in so far as this means an easy manner of overcoming obstacles, quick insight; effort, essay, trade are correct. Mercury being the God of merchants, and thieves, this card may relate to commerce, theft and loss. “The end of troubles” is indeed well said, because this card gives the key for their solution and shows the way of escape.
The Three of Wands is accordingly the Lord of Virtue. The idea of will and dominion has become interpreted in Character.