When all I had was the Waite-Smith deck, I used to interpret the Eight of Wands very literally. I saw the ends of eight Wands as they fly through the air. So I though: Aha! It’s about endings. Kinda understandable I guess. But check out this gorgeous image by Becy Ericsen in The Artist’s Inner Vision Tarot
A very different idea. Almost contrary to my original ideas, this card stands for something more like beginnings. Creativity and movement swept across a huge canvas. The Wands signify fire, passion, action. Not that endings aren’t a natural part of these characteristics, but when the Eight turns up in readings it points to a surplus of all that wonderful energy. It shows us choices. Energy shooting out in all directions. Like the Wands in the Waite-Smith, we are hurtling along at a massive speed – nothing can stop us as we conquer all that we encounter, striking off the projects on our ‘to-do’ list with a massice big TICK, not pausing to check out the results, cus whoosh, it’s on to the next. That’s kinda how we’re feeling when we’re under the sway of this energy…but the card calls out a cute little message as we hurry on. It asks us to get a little focus. Where are we headed? Are we organised? Are we aware? Maybe so! And, of course, maybe not.
First and foremost, it’s an optimistic card – I don’t mean to sound like it’s all like ‘hold your horses’, because it’s not! The Eight of Wands celebrates our energy, loves that free-flying feeling, enjoys the sense of immortality that comes from driving onwards and upwards. Right-side-up, it’s all totally good! It could also mean that the pace is about to pick up in a certain area of our lives. In the Shadowscapes deck, the card depicts a woman blowing fairy-seeds out into the air – who knows where they will land, carried on the wind. But it’s also about knowing where all that energy is going. If the card is reversed, it’s asking us to take a moment to check this out. Don’t waste all that wonderful fire – send it somewhere good. Draw back your bow, squint up your eye, and shoot it into straight into the heart of something you love.
PS Traditional interpretations seem to say that the reversed Eight of Wands shows that something is slowing down, lacking in energy, or needing a kick. I feel there are other cards for this message.