Three of Wands Explained - Upright & Reversed Meanings
Last Updated: January 18, 2023
The Three of Wands is the third card in the suit of Wands (also known as the suit of Rods or Staffs) and one of the fifty-six suit cards from the minor arcana. In divinatory tarot, the Suit of Wands is associated with the element of fire and traditionally signifies creativity, inspiration, ambition, determination and willpower. Each card of this suit represents aspects of our lives such as career, travel and spirituality.
Divination practices such as cartomancy can help us make decisions, offer guidance, and help us tune into our intuition when we are at a crossroads in our lives. Understanding the meanings of each tarot card can help you sharpen your interpretative skills so you can get the most out of your readings.
The Three of Wands is a card that’s here to acknowledge all of your hard work paying off! You did it! Bask in your success, bask in your adventure, and bask in the reward of seeing your plans successfully come to fruition as you progress forward! This is the card of experiencing all that life has to offer, throwing yourself at the opportunity after opportunity and seeing that daring attitude pay off wonderfully. Who dares wins.
In this article, we will discuss the meanings of the Three of Wands in various tarot reading contexts as well as the different symbols and nuances that can be found within this court card.
Pictorial Symbolism in the Rider-Waite-Smith tarot deck
The artworks from the Rider-Waite-Smith tarot deck contain deeper esoteric meanings that tarotists love to decipher.
The Three of Wands presents us with an individual looking out at the vast open space ahead of themselves – stood between 3 wands standing tall. The figure holds firmly onto the furthest wand to the right, symbolising their commitment to their focus and their plans. They are grounded and sure about what they desire to do.
The individual looks onward, surveying everything that they can see in front of themselves, both the calm sea and the distant jagged mountains, this provides a great advantage to see great opportunities but also things that will bring challenges. Having such a great vantage of seeing clearly means any approaching challenges or obstacles can be planned for so that upon their arrival they can be dealt with effectively.
The Three of Wands key correspondences
Travel, success, self-confidence, good outcomes, happy with decisions, enjoying life, adventure, experiences
Being stuck, inability to move forward, clinging to the past, returning home, failure, being unhappy with decisions and outcomes.
|Yes or No|
Aries, Sun in Aries, March 31st to April 10th
What does the upright Three of Wands mean in the Tarot?
Freedom, adventure, and success await you, my dear! You are beautifully broadening your own horizon by taking action on plans you previously set up, you took the leap of faith and you are finding it to have been completely and utterly worth it. This is a great time!
Embrace the reward of your choices and actions paying off, but never lose sight of any upcoming obstacles that may be on your horizon. Your best bet is to always be prepared, then they can’t knock you off your feet!
So, you can indeed allow yourself to briefly get lost in this feeling, but still, be mindful of any approaching challenge(s). Allow yourself to keep pushing beyond your comfort zone, spiritually, and sexually, in your creative endeavours and with travel; this is only here to serve you for the better, to help you grow and to help you learn.
So many things are coming your way, it’s best to be open to them.
When pulled in the upright position, the Three of Wands is associated with travel, success, self-confidence, good outcomes, happiness with decisions, enjoying life, adventure, and experiences.
What does the upright Three of Wands mean in a love reading
If you’re in a relationship, the appearance of this Three of Wands is a good omen indeed! You and your partner seem incredibly happy together, you’ve been moving forward successfully together, and things are looking grand.
You’ve been making plans together, potentially for travel or even for moving abroad, but all in all, things should be going wonderfully for the 2 of you together right now. Adventurous sex can be a theme for the Three of Wands, and bringing in elements of spirituality here is beneficial for you both.
If you’re single, then this 3 is acknowledging how much you’re enjoying the single life! Bask in your own personal freedom, honey! It’s absolutely okay to be in love with your life as a single person, and this 3 is also indicating that you’re looking at what life has to offer, taking up all the experiences you can: Good on you!
In either a relationship or single context, this card can also represent meeting someone abroad – so this could very much result in a long-distance romance if anything blossoms on that holiday/travel plan(s) of yours!
What does the upright Three of Wands mean in a career reading?
You are looking to take rather daring opportunities with regard to your career, and this could also mean working abroad in your current job or taking on a completely new position overseas.
There’s a big sense of adventure and expansion surrounding your work life currently, so welcome in those new opportunities with open arms – and jump at the chances you are given!
Progression is a key thing within your career or business right now, anyhow, as the ideas you’ve had and the decisions you’ve made are finally paying off.
What does the upright Three of Wands mean in a health reading?
If you’ve been suffering with your health lately, the appearance of this card is a good omen in the sense it shows all of those concerns and worries coming to an end as you progress. You’ll be able to move on from this soon.
If, however, you are still in the midst of receiving help for any sickness and/or injury, this also being one of the minor arcana’s travel cards can signify that you may perhaps be travelling abroad for the treatment you require.
The Three of Wands as feelings/emotions
If you are asking the tarot how someone feels about you, pulling the Three of Wands suggests that this is someone that feels oh so proud of you, and you can very much always count on them being by your side to support you and wave your “number 1 fan” flag!
They appreciate you for your bold and daring attitude right now, to the point you may even be charming them with it! You’re a big inspiration to this individual and they feel committed in their plans to further the bond and connection you two have.
This person sees a great future with you, as they will typically be the type of person to plan, so trust in that they have thought this through thoroughly. They want to build something beautiful with you – whatever that connection and/or relationship may be. This card also has vibes of wanderlust, so take it as a sign to start planning a fab trip for yourself!
The Three of Wands as a person
As a personality archetype, the Explorer of the Three of Wands represents someone that is a grand optimist! Life is great, life is wonderful, life is beautiful, and they make all the plans they can with a smile on their face as they take in all that life has to offer!
Their drive pushes them to go after opportunity after opportunity, to look somewhere new, but this also does mean that they can be quite the competitive soul – not something all people appreciate!
So, their bold nature won’t be appreciated by everybody, and just be careful that you don’t step in their way when they’re racing along the path towards something. Their goals and dreams = incredibly important to them. You really don’t want to get trampled on along the way.
The Three of Wands as advice
When asking for advice, the presence of the Three of Wands is suggesting that it’s time to expand your own personal horizon.
Look beyond what you currently see in front of you, and be grateful for how far you’ve come, and for everything behind you, but it’s time to plan for your next move. And yes, you’re allowed to think big – some risks are worth taking.
What is the zodiac or astrological sign associated with the Three of Wands?
The astrological element associated with the Three of Wands is fire, which is associated with the signs Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius.
These signs are known for their bold and adventurous nature, which aligns with the themes of the Three of Wands, such as travel, success, and exploration.
Is the Three of Wands a yes or no card?
Yes, yes, and more yes! This card is all about progressive success, expansion, and being happy with the decisions made! This is overall an incredibly positive card so long as effective planning is put into place before the venture begins! So long you play it smart and have all of your corners covered before diving into whatever new venture you have in mind, you’ll be fine!
You’ll be pleased with the outcome(s) you’ll bring yourself – don’t just leave it up to fate, or life, however. You must still put in the work and effort. Whilst this card remains positive, it isn’t here to say that life will hand you things on a plate. Plan, plan, more planning, plan, then…action. Go for it, honey. Trust in yourself, your intuition, and the work you’ve done.
Below are some of my interpretations, as an experienced tarot practitioner, based on different types of questions:
Question: “Will I get the job?”
Card interpretation: With this card representing expansion, and broadening your own horizons, the idea of a new job coming your way makes a lot of sense. This Three is known to be linked with personal opportunities for growth and new adventure, something will be coming your way soon! Whether this means something within your current job (if you’re waiting to hear news on a promotion) or if you’ve been applying for work elsewhere from your current place, or as a new job entirely if you’re unemployed. You may find travel to be a part of the job!
Question: “Is this new person in my life good for me?”
Card interpretation: This is someone who sets their eyes on the prize and launches themselves at it, they do not waiver, they know what they want and they are going after it. On one hand, this will be someone great to learn from especially when it comes to personal drive and motivation – you’ll find no one more motivated than this person! But this doesn’t mean that you can avoid being hurt in the crossfire of them going after what they want. Whilst they may indeed end up being a good friend, it isn’t wise to stand between them and their dreams, you’ll just get bulldozed over. They are incredibly passionate individuals, and this passion can sometimes get heated, it can cause them to be cocky, and completely over-confident. This doesn’t make them a bad person, but just be aware of potential clashes when it comes to their emotional fire – but know they aren’t here to purposefully hurt you.
Question: “Will I achieve my current goals?”
Card interpretation: It’s looking likely, yes! You’ve taken the time to plan efficiently and effectively, and you’re now watching all of those plans come to fruition with the results and outcomes you were after. You’re on the right path to end up where you want to be – you should be proud. By the end of this, you’ll be feeling a great sense of accomplishment and it will be fully deserved. You didn’t leave this path up to chance, you took a hold of it and chartered the course thoroughly.
Question: “Should I start my own business?”
Card interpretation: If you’re interested in starting your own business, then you need to look at doing something that reaches beyond your current comfort zones. You can’t just look to stick to your safest and most well-known areas and expect wonderous results, unfortunately. It’s time to spread those wings and take a leap of faith. You need to get out there and explore, learn, and find new things, and new opportunities, as this will lead you to a better and more successful business venture – even with potential connections abroad. So yes, whilst this card does favour you starting a new business, you may need to do some plotting and planning surrounding the exact action you need to take because it’s time to stop standing still and expand your personal knowledge, beliefs, and outlook.
What does the reversed Three of Wands mean in the Tarot?
With this being one of the travel cards, on one hand, it could simply mean moving back to your home country, or wherever you deemed to be home in the first place, from being abroad for some time.
But it can also represent restriction, being unable to progress with plans, and being unhappy with how things are going. You aren’t where you wanted to be, and the outcome of the plans you set out hasn’t resulted in what you had originally thought or wanted.
Did you potentially miss some details at the start that could have impacted the route you took? Your self-confidence has no doubt taken a hit because of this.
When pulled in the reversed position, the Three of Wands is linked with Being stuck, inability to move forward, clinging to the past, returning home, failure, and being unhappy with decisions and outcomes.
What does the reversed Three of Wands mean in a love reading?
If you’re in a relationship, then the presence of this reversed card isn’t the best of omens to receive, unfortunately. It shows that things aren’t that great between you and your partner right now.
There’s a great amount of dissatisfaction and feelings of disappointment based on the direction your romance has gone. If there’s no positive progress between the two of you to make things better, and one or the other may be feeling like they can’t fully spread their wings to venture out into the world as the other is holding them back – whether this is you or your partner.
Someone may want to get out there, beyond their own comfort zone, but the other isn’t necessarily allowing this to happen. Someone wanting to explore vs someone wanting to keep their head buried in their comfort zone, no harmony will be found here.
If you’re single, then the reversed Three is here to point out that you’re holding yourself back from being able to enjoy the life of a single person. What from the past are you holding onto? Where has all this self-doubt come from? What’s got such a hold on you that it’s guiding how you currently navigate your (lack of) ability to move forward?
What does the inverted Three of Wands mean in a career reading?
Are you feeling a real sense of being let down by the chances and opportunities being presented to you right now in your current job? Perhaps you expected more, and are being delivered next to nothing, or nothing that suits you, at the very least.
Have plans or opportunities been cancelled, perhaps things that would have seen you working abroad either permanently or temporarily? Or did you stand in your own way and panic, and choose the safer option of staying put, and now actively regret not taking that leap of faith?
One thing’s certain, right now in your career, you feel stuck. You feel you have nowhere to go, and you don’t really know how to get out of this rut.
What does the upside-down Three of Wands mean in a health reading?
You may be putting too many expectations on your own body in which the speed at it can heal itself, and this is leaving you feeling miffed and annoyed at how ‘slow’ things are going in comparison to how fast you thought this process would go.
You need to stop with the personal pressure and expectations on your body, you will heal when the time is right. You cannot rush your body into being better any faster than the pace it’s already working at. You can help yourself, sure, by watching how healthy your habits are, but stop feeling let down by your own body. You must gain patience here. You’re only annoying yourself, otherwise!
But with this being one of the travel cards, it can also be a warning that you cannot take foreign travel lightly. What are the known rules and regulations surrounding being properly vaccinated against diseases they have present there?
Research where you’re going properly, speak to your doctor and obtain the correct help necessary before travelling. But remain cautious whilst you are there! Being vaccinated isn’t always going to be enough, so don’t get careless and reckless with things that could have a negative impact on your health whilst you’re overseas.
In conclusion, the Three of Wands tarot card is a powerful symbol of travel, success, self-confidence, good outcomes, happiness with decisions, enjoying life, adventure, and experiences. When this card appears in your reading, it is often a sign that you are ready to take on new challenges and opportunities, and that your hard work and determination will pay off in the near future. It can also indicate that you are ready to explore new horizons and broaden your horizons.
Despite its association with mysticism and occultism, the tarot has grown to become much more than a simple “fortune-telling” tool. For many tarot practitioners, it is a complex system made of symbolic imagery and psychological considerations (Jungian archetypes for example) that can be used for self-exploration, meditation, and personal transformation.
The 56 lesser arcana cards relate to the day-to-day events of our lives, the more mundane aspects of our existence. Even though that part of the tarot is about the “smaller picture”, it symbolizes the constant choices we make that shape our lives, our characters, and ultimately our destinies.
Have you ever had a reading where the 3 Of Wands appeared? What was the outcome? What does that card mean to you personally? How do you interpret this card in your own tarot practice?
Share your thoughts and experiences with me in the comments below. Additionally, If you want to know more about the different tarot cards, feel free to check out my complete list of all 78 tarot cards and their meanings.
Written by Amy
Outside the weird and wonderful world of my craft, I like to cosplay and fully dive into the fantasy genre across all forms, from books to video games and everything in between.