The Origin: Passion, Action, and Creativity
The Ace of Wands. It corresponds to the element of fire, and the Sefirot Kether. Kether is the eternal spirit, perfection, unity, purity, force, emanation, and the seed. In terms of the Naples Arrangement, Kether is the point; the first manifestation of the idea of position in nothing. As the first emanation and appearance of the suit of Wands – and the element of Fire – the Ace of Wands represents the unified ideal of the suit of Wands in its most spiritual, pure, and abstract form.
So then, the Aces of Wands can be said to represent the pure idea of the suit of Wands. What, then, is this pure idea?
Wands represent fire. Fire, in turn, represents passion, action, and aggression. It is in many ways the opposite of Cups (Water), representing one half of one of the two dualities that define the four suits (Action/Passivity, Abstraction/Practicality). The Ace of Wands is the beginning of the path that the suit of Wands will take down the Sefirot, and is untainted by the influences of the Sefirot below Kether.
The Rider-Waite illustration shows a hand coming forth from a cloud – emerging from the realm of the eternal spirit (Kether) to give the bearer the Wand – this symbolizes the pure, untamed nature of the Ace, and its origins as outside of the world (not to mention the idea of the ace as the origin of the suit). The Thoth illustration of the card shows a very red, yellow, and orange (the colors of fire) wand, with zig-zagging, lightning-like emanations coming from it, representing the force, power, and otherworldly origins of this card. The presence only of these fiery hues also represents the card’s purity.
Now, the abstract is all well and good, but practically, what words best represent this card? If it comes up in a reading, what does it mean to me? Of course its meaning depends on its position in the spread, but generally, this card to me means Passion, Action, and Creativity. It represents the most powerful and pure form of extreme passion, the active manipulation of one’s surroundings, and the burst of energy associated with the first forays into the act of creation (Creative Force). There is nothing negative about this (or indeed, any of the aces), as they represent perfection. To a lesser extent, this card also symbolizes courage, confidence, and enthusiasm, though these qualities appear at the “lower” end of the card, nearer to the influence of the other Sefirot.
When used as practical advice, the Ace of Wands office is encouraging the querent to exemplify the qualities of the suit of Wands – encouraging them to be active, creative, and passionate – or to look at how these qualities are affecting their life, and possible acknowledge their presence if they are there already.
A reversed Ace of Wands (I read reversed cards as “blocking” the flow of energy of the card, so that the energy may be there, but will be lessened, hidden, or distorted somehow) could indicate a need to scale back the qualities of the suit of Wands, or that the energy of this suit is struggling to express itself but somehow finds itself blocked – or that the pure energy of the Ace of Wands has become twisted somehow, and that one should see if they can correct the twist.
The Sefirot of Kether also has an elemental association with fire, which makes the Ace of Wands the origin of fire of fire, which earns it a special place in the Tree of Life and the Tarot. To me, the Ace of Wands is also the ultimate origin; it most purely represents the Sefirot of Kether, the divine spirit and perfect emanation. The card itself represents the divine spirit and energy, and can be said to be behind Afflatus Divine, the passion of the act of sex, and the dominating will of God. The Ace of Wands, then, is truly the start of the Tarot, and the origin of the rest of the cards, containing more energy than the others, that allow it to give birth to the Tree of Life.