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The Suit of Staves

Many of you may be more familiar with the name of Wands for this suit. Wands had long had an association with negative dark power, mainly due to fictional literary tales. In the modern age the “wand” of dark power has completed a metamorphosis into the softer and more acceptable “stave.” Whether you call it a wand, stave or walking stick, it is still aligned with the element of fire.

There is some debate in the Cartomancy world whether wands are the forerunners of clubs or diamonds. Either way, the earlier affiliations of the suit to the forceful powers of Sun still apply whatever you feel is correct. Aligned with Freya, the Norse goddess of creativity, beauty and fertility the wands are a potent symbol in your spread. The Staves speak to your personal capability of creativity, action, passion, energy and spirit.

If your spread is filled with a predominant number of staves, it is a call that change is on the way. Use your creativity to look at the situation and, if necessary, the Stave is a very effective tool for helping to clear a path!

In general when Staves appear in your spread they represent the creative spark, the fire of progressive energy, the internal life force that animates the husks of a body. The Staves also remind us that through growth we can develop a strong sense of our own potential and creativity. The Staves talk of movement in our cycle of life’s continuing renewal.

Thought to impart the energy of the Sun (fire energy), Staves are aligned with Lions, the animals of the Sun. Considered the suit of the laborer, if Staves appear in abundance in your spread you can be sure that toil (either physical or mental) is on the way.

The process of change is assigned to Staves. If you have ever seen the destructive yet regenerative force of a wildfire you can understand the amount of change that Staves can represent. A wildfire can roar through, spitting flames hundreds of feet in the air in a voracious run as it skips across the crowns of the trees turning fuels to ash in an instant. Then, after the short span of a single year (a turning of the wheel), new growth has already begun. Trees that have no other way to reproduce than the heat release the seeds from tight cones spread their young and small growth begins to appear. Fireweed is named for its ability to capitalize on the rich earth and abundant sunshine that is left in the wake of a devastating fire. Life forces it way through, always reaching toward the sun – the fire energy that guides all our lives.

Paracelsus (1493-1541) hypothesized that the Salamander was a being who lived within the element of fire. Although we know that to be an incorrect hypothesis now, the association of the salamander to the suit of wands still remains.

By studying the suit of Staves we can prepare ourselves for the changes life is bringing to us. There’s one thing for sure about life…it will change. Whether the drastic and dramatic change of national disaster, or the intimate change of internal thought processes, with Staves appearing in your spread the changing energy of Fire is coming your way.

Minor Arcana


Ruled by the element of Water


Ruled by the element of Air

(also known as Spades)


Ruled by the element of Fire

(also known as Wands)


Ruled by the element of Earth

(also known as Pentacles)

Tarot Readings