The singular passion
Abides its object and consumes desire
In the circling shadow of its appetite.
-Allen Tate (1899-1979), U.S. poet.
What sets your mind, your heart, your desire aflame? What sparks your curiosity? What can keep you up late at night because you want to work on it, finish it, immerse yourself in it? When is the last time you had a flash of inspiration in the shower? Seems like a good place for those, the shower. I think it's the white noise and soothing warmth of the water that allows the mind to receive those flickers of ideas that, acted upon, become our next endeavor. The Ace of Wands is like that. A flash, a spark, an idea that flares up in the conscience like a small torch. Grab it and use it, else, like a matchstick, it consumes itself and is gone.
All work, both great and small, starts with an idea. Did you ever wonder how someone thought to do something we now find ordinary, but which, at the time was someone's flash of inspiration in the shower? Take wristwatches for example. Sometime in the mid 1800's, Patek Philippe, in the shower, no doubt, thought to string a watch to a bracelet for women. As new ideas often get rolly-eyed responses, so did Philippe's "wristlet." In fact, no self-respecting man would be caught dead wearing one. It was a bauble, a trinket, a woman's adornment, not even expected to keep correct time. That is, until the late 1800's and into World War I when soldiers found fumbling for their pocketwatches with their hands full of grenades cumbersome and began strapping the pocketwatches to their own wrists. Nobody called them sissies for it, so when they went back home and continued wearing their "trench watches," civilian men, probably wanting to get in on the masculine, soldier cache with the ladies, began wearing watches on their wrists, too. So there you have it. Patek Philippe's Ace of Wands moment. Bet you didn't know that.
Don't you hate it when you get this brilliant idea for something, say, a widget of some sort and you think, "Wow, I should make that and sell it and make a million bucks!" But you don't. Then a year later you see it advertised by Ronco for $19.95 on late night TV and somebody is making a million bucks off YOUR idea! Rats. Well, that's because they got that Ace of Wands in the shower, too, and instead of just feeding the dog and going to work, they actually did something about it. That's the fleeting nature of this Ace of fire. You have to act on it, or it's just another brilliant idea that gets snuffed out before it gets a chance. The seeming foolishness of some creative geniuses is well represented by the Vacchetta As di Bastoni. (That's Italian for "Ace of Wands") A jester's marotte, with its tongue sticking out for gosh sakes, bells everywhere. New ideas are often subjected to ridicule and mocking. This alone could quench the fire unless you are willing to play the Fool.
This Ace is about passion, the will to act, the desire to start something. Start something? Oh yeah, that, too. It can often indicate a flash of anger, a fight. It's quite dramatic, too, with china being thrown and everything. It's the skirt swooshing exit with the slamming of the door. It's not a simmering, seething hatred, though. Oh no. It's over almost as soon as it started. All's well in an hour or so when ruffled feathers are smoothed or after someone takes a nap.
Wands, being fire and passion, also represent sexual desire. In many tarot decks the wands totally look phallic. The classic Rider Waite deck is a perfect example. Don't believe me? Look. Ok, so most penises aren't sprouting leaves, but still. And being the good feminist that I am, I must point out that, in tarot, two suits are considered "masculine" and two suits are "feminine." While swords and wands may be considered phallic, cups and pentacles are vaginal or womb-like. Considering both sperm and egg are still needed for healthy procreation, that balance is represented in tarot. The Ace of Wands represents the more aggressive sexuality historically associated with the phallus. Ok, so to get more direct, the Ace of Wands basically means you're horney. Well, someone is. That can be quite the motivating drive sometimes. Still, while it represents that initial sexual attraction, with attending physical response, ahem, it's not the firmest foundation for a lasting relationship. (It's not for nothing that the Knight of Wands gets his "player" reputation.)
Passion comes in various forms, but its common characteristic is a burning desire. The fire of the Ace of Wands brings energy to create, to bring something from nothing. Without this inspiration, there would be no energy to do the necessary work of creation. The Ace is just a spark, so if you haven't gathered wood for the fire, go get it. This Ace will even tell you where to find it. Now go! Ok, you're in the shower. I'll wait for you to dry off and get dressed.
Vacchetta Tarot by Giovanni Vacchetta Published by Il Meneghello © 2001
Thoth Tarot copyright US Games Inc.
Universal Waite copyright U.S. Games, Inc. All Rights reserved