Ok, obviously I'm not spending as much time blogging as I thought I would, or even wished I was. But I'm doing a lot of other important things and learning a LOT! And clearly I haven't forgotten about blogging. I mean, here I am.
Today's card is the IV of wands. Generally thought of as one of the most positive cards in the deck, the Rider Waite depicts the IV of Wands as a card of celebratory ceremony. It is a special day. Two figures raise their hands triumphantly in the air, bouquets joyously held high. In the foreground is a trellis or a wreathed threshold, symbolizing movement through or onto a new phase. In the background is the castle, denoting home, society, or community, and the townspeople have gathered or assembled and are milling about.
The general environment of this card is one of joy, festivity, communion and a happy home life. There appears to be a celebration going on and it's possible these figures are dancing. The threshold, draped with garlands and ribbons, stands as a point of transition, as the couple seem to either be approaching it or have just passed through it. It is a milestone or the completion of something monumental, and there is a sense of abundance and fertility in the air. Perhaps they celebrate a bountiful harvest, the birth of a baby, or an auspicious union.
Without a doubt this is one of the happiest cards in the deck. But the cards are nothing if not balanced. Just as what's commonly perceived as one of the "worst" cards, Death, is not necessarily a bad card at all, despite its dark and ominous imagery and name - even one of the "best" cards (like the IV of Wands) may not be so rosy. In the tarot, as in life, there is always a capacity for good and bad, dark and light.
The darkness (or warning if you will) found in such a bright card lies in the fact that the figures in the IV of Wands are assembled in front of the castle. While the castle and its townspeople stand as a grounding or unifying element on the surface, there is an "official" sense about this gathering, and it may very well be that they have been mandated to do so. The entire scene wreaks of pomp and circumstance and the whole thing may be a nicely orchestrated and choreographed show! For who really knows what goes on beyond those castle walls?
It must be conceded that this grim reading of the IV of Wands is definitely not the dominant reading of this card, yet it does exist. It's usually safer, easier, happier to take things at face value. But the fact remains that not everything is always as it seems.