It is not really a surprise if you are ready for it, but the Four of Wands is the Tarot’s way of letting you know that there is a surprise on the way and that you are going to be overjoyed by it.
Under a golden sky stands a structure of four large wooden walking sticks, or wands, set in the ground standing and joined at the top by a blossoming garland. This structure is alone, isolated in the foreground. Off in the distance are the city walls and watchtowers of a luxurious fortress. Coming from this secure location are robed celebrants approaching the structure, holding bouquets of flowers. Beyond these celebrants outside the walls of the city, other people can be seen coming and going.
The structure made of wands resembles a chuppah; this is a traditional canopy under which Jewish marriages are consecrated. Here the canopy is replaced by an open-air boundary of greenery and flowers. This symbolizes the non-exclusive nature of the Four of Wands. There is a happiness and contentment to this card that exists beyond one’s ethnic or cultural identity. The city walls indicate that the peace and security provided by the structures in our life have made a pleasant surprise possible. These may be from our own hard work, a run of luck or some good associations with friends and family, but no matter the roots, the tangible experience of joy is upon you when this card appears in your Tarot reading. The pair of celebrants represents the coming excitement. Wands represent creative potential and the blossoming structure they form shows that the time is ripe to receive a reward for the breakthrough you have made or are about to make. The celebrants are those who will be there to share it with you. The people walking about the city walls are a reminder that in joy, as in tragedy, life goes on and things will return to normal at some point. It is unwise to feel entitled to joyous rapture on a regular basis.
Meaning in Past, Present and Future Positions
When your Tarot reading begins, the cards will be dealt into a specific pattern. This is called the “spread.” Each position in the spread represents one of three areas of concern: your past, your present and your future. The placement defines how the card will be interpreted in your reading.
When the Four of Wands is in the past position, you invested effort and commitment wisely and the payoff established the foundation upon which you have since stood. Usually, it is some coming surprises most often foretold by the Four of Wands, but in the past position, you have had that wonderful moment of payout and are still feeling the glow of knowing the great joy that life can bring.
In the present position, the Four of Wands refers to your planning a celebration, birthday or anniversary and yet, a surprise is looming for you. The fact of life remains that we often only see beauty when we are not looking for it. Although a ritual that brings people together to mark an occasion is often meant to be beautiful, it can often consist of just going through the motions. The Four of Wands reveals that you will be surprised how an ordinary get-together will suddenly become one of the most wonderful moments of your life.
It is always good news ahead when the Four of Wands is in the future position of your reading. This is a signal of two things: the first is that the future forecast is coming pretty soon, in the next few months at the latest. Many Tarot readings feature a future forecast that will dominate the next few years or the rest of your life. The Four of Wands is not a card of an indeterminate future. The second thing represented by this card in this position is a joyous moment that you would never have predicted. For most of us, happiness occurs in hindsight; we recall good times and being happy regardless of whether or not we were bored or anxious at that time. There are precious few moments in life when we are truly happy and cognizant of that feeling as it is happening. The Four of Wands will not reveal the specifics of what is about to make you happy, but it does let you know that a surprise is coming. How big of a surprise? Big enough that even though you know it is coming, this surprise will still surprise you!
When your Tarot spread is in front of you, the cards near each other subtly add to and alter the meaning of each other. The presence of a card is not the end of its visit to your reading. It may be impacting the forecast that another card has in store for you.
The Four of Wands is the minor echo of two cards in the Tarot’s Major Arcana: The Empress and Temperance. When The Empress is present, your happy event and the subsequent surprises take on an elegant, classy tone and lead to a financial resolution. When Temperance is present, your appreciation for what you have earned leads to even better self-control. Learn more about the connection that the Four of Wands shares with the other cards numbered four in the Tarot deck.
When The Lovers card is present in a reading with the Four of Wands, your man is going to pop the question, especially if you two are going to a wedding soon and he gets inspired. When The High Priestess is in a reading with the Four of Wands, a man you like may be married or have mother issues he is trying to hide.
When the King of Wands is in a reading with the Four of Wands, your coming surprise has truly been earned and preparation for its arrival allows you to make the most of it. The King of Pentacles indicates that you are going to be reaping a fiscal reward.
When the Three of Swords pairs with the Four of Pentacles, the likelihood exists that a recent heartbreak will actually soon be seen as a blessing in disguise.