6 of Wands (Original Rider Waite)

February 11, 2010 at 11:45 am (6 of Wands, Original RWS Tarot, Tarot)

6 of Wands - Original Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot

The Rider Waite deck, illustrated by Deco artist Pamela Coleman Smith, is truly one of the iconic decks of the Tarot world.  Nearly all modern decks draw in some elements of Ms. Smith’s artistry and interpretations, even if they model themselves after the Thoth system or older historic decks such as the Marseilles style decks.

It is the deck I first learned with, and the one I mentally go back to when I’m finding a card dense and difficult to interpret.  Interestingly, Ms. Smith approached it as an artist, regarding each illustration as a stage set in a performance piece.  She followed notes given to her by A.E. Waite, but he was admittedly not particularly interested in the minor arcana or Tarot’s use for divination, and he pretty much left her to her own devices on them, offering merely short commentary about what each card means.

As a marketable and usable deck, the RWS deck is undoubtedly a triumph for both its creators and those who use it – and those who use decks that are influenced by them.  The images have themselves entered into the symbolic subconscious of many people who wouldn’t know Tarot from Texas Hold ‘Em – used on album covers, in movies, etc, etc, etc.

Which brings me to the 6 of Wands which shows a triumphal procession with a gentleman seated on a horse that is covered by a gold blanket.  The man wears a laurel wreath symbolizing victory, and another wreath is held high on a staff (wand). Surrounding him is a crowd, also holding wands aloft – each one alive and bearing leaves.

Did the crowd follow this man into battle and share in this victory directly, or are they the welcoming crowd shouting Hooray and sharing in the triumph as those who have benefited from the win?  Depends on the situation in a reading, of course – but what comes to mind for me everytime is that this is about acknowledgement of one’s successes, and knowing that others have your back.  Frequently, it comes up for me in situations where the only thing lacking in an otherwise good relationship is that acknowledgement of the good – of noticing one another’s triumphs and battles waged and won on behalf of one another.  When this comes up in a relationship reading, I want to make sure that the need to be appreciative and to be appreciated is highlighted.  In a career reading, this is not only about success, but about due attention and rewards for that success.

We all need to be noticed and to acknowledge what others have done for us.  Just as the RWS has had a successful part in so many decks and readers through the decades, we all have a history of positive ripple effects left in our wake that deserve attention now and then.


Permalink Leave a Comment