Traditionally, the three of wands indicates “exploring the unknown, having foresight and demonstrating leadership.” Many decks, including the classical Rider-Waite, depict a figure looking out into the distance, staff in hand, ready to begin their journey. Over the last year or two I have come to understand this card as “Inheriting the Dream;” the dream of a world in balance, a sustainable world, a just world, a world of peace. In this card, we have learned from those who came before us about the lineage of peace and justice, and we are now ready to add our heart and soul in full commitment to the manifestation of that dream.
In just a few days, I am headed to my home state, Michigan, to gather with some of my loved ones from across the country for an annual retreat. We are a part of a group called “In Sacred Balance” that is dedicated to...you guessed it: sacred balance...in our own lives, and on the planet. We will do ritual, make magic, sing and dance and love each other and, most of all, we will reaffirm our dedication to The Dream.
This week also brings us the Jewish High Holidays and the Fall Equinox. These holidays acknowledge turning points in the year, and the cycle of life, opportunities for reflection and inward contemplation. What have we learned this year? What will we go into the dark reaches of the soul for? Where will the path lead from here? There has been a great deal of pain that has surfaced this year in the collective reality: violence against black and brown people and violence against the earth are everywhere you look. And those are just two examples that are close to my heart. I’m sure you have others.
When you get the three of wands in a reading, it asks you to sign your name on the dotted line, committing to take your place in the beautiful, hopeful, tradition of visionaries. I use the Motherpeace deck by feminist scholar and teacher, Vicki Noble, for many of my readings. In her image, the three of wands shows a mother bringing her children to add their handprints to the cave paintings of their people. Rock and cave paintings from prehistoric times exist in scattered locations throughout the world, and were sacred sites for the peoples who tended them. New generations added their own touches, including handprints like these from Cueva de los Manos cave in Patagonia, Argentina.
Imagine adding your handprint to the artwork of generations upon generations of your people. It evokes a feeling of dedication, of continuity and commitment. And it’s joyful! All those hands in layers of color saying “YES, I TOO WILL CARRY THE TORCH.”
What torch will you carry this year? What dream of hope do you
inherit? I know that I will be saying “yes” to another year of advocating for peace and justice. I hope you will too, and that I’ll see you on the path.
3 of Wands from The Wild Unknown Tarot