The Three of Wands shows an adventurer on the precipice of a cliff overlooking the vast and mysterious seas. He wears the same headband as the Magician, and also grips a wand, indicating that he is the visionary or mastermind who has set things in motion. Most often this card symbolizes accomplishment, fruition or a period of completion.
The man stands with a certain pride and sense of contentment, as though admiring the results of his hard labor, or watching the operations he has set in motion now function all by themselves without his instruction or intervention. The card signifies material or career success, like the two of Wands, but also peaceful, serene contentment, as distinct from figure in the two of wands, who feels somewhat walled-in by his own success. The man in the Three of Wands stands calmly observing; he is not gripped with immediate hunger for new experience and the next adventure, but is happy to rest and enjoy the sense of pride and well-being that his accomplishment has brought about.
The Wands here are planted deeply in the ground, which signifies a union of Fire and Earth (correlating to the Pentacles suit)— that is, adventurousness, love of conquest and expansion bolstered by practicality, discipline, cautiousness and a need for security. This card thus symbolizes retaining a firm foundation— or continuing to honor a previous commitment— even while expanding into new ventures.
The ships that sail the sea beneath the traveler’s gaze may be carrying his goods or services to different lands, or making explorations and conducting research according to his direction, yet he remains confidently standing on the shore, “holding down the fort” while others advance his progress on his behalf, and he is not tortured or jealous of their adventure, but proud of his self-control and effective leadership. The water of the sea in the image on the card represents the asset of relationships and teamwork in a project or undertaking, as well as “the great unknown” into which a fiery temperament loves to venture and explore.
The Three of Wands card is connected to Mercury in Leo, as the confidence in the future and breadth of vision. Three of Wands is also in the harmonious aspect with Saturn, as a reliable basis.
Card meanings upright:
The Three of Wands card can mean that you are a writer or have a writing job, and may soon be living a new and exciting opportunity through a reward, promotion, or chance to succeed.
Card meanings reversed:
When the Three of Wands card is reversed, it may indicate that rewards or payoffs in your life are being delayed. You may be dealing with disappointment, arrogance, conceit or find that you are unable to cope with demands being put upon you.