Reflection: Eight of Wands

When I found out that the eight of Wands was my card for February, I was elated.

After all, it carries the traditional definitions of action, things becoming easier after difficulty, and things seeming just to flow. I had grappled with the Queen of Pentacles and the intention of “Clarity” throughout January which had revealed, with searing awareness, how imperative it was to care and fortify myself before others or to put my energy into situations. it became clear that it was time for me to leave my current job and start a new chapter. simultaneously, i found out that i would be attending grad school this fall! this was amongst a whirlwind of developing projects and beginning to see further possibilities for this blog and work i do in-person. so when I saw the 8 of Wands with its seeming promises of action, inspiration, and ease, I thought, “Sign me up!”

What I didn’t realize was actually how resistant I would be to the flow of the eight of Wands. the resulting experience, even with its sometimes painful intensity, completely transformed my impression of what kind of energy the eight of wands can bring into our lives.

Eight of Wands

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In the Rider Waite Smith deck, the Eight of Wands is represented by eight staffs flying through the air. In the Wooden Tarot, its represented by eight crystals in similar motion. In the Fountain Tarot, beams of light seem to either center on a focal point or extend outward (a bit of a Rorschach in terms of your interpretation, huh). When I first considered this card, the initial elements I noticed were the action and swiftness of the staffs flying through the air. when i considered the fountain tarot’s representation, i loved the focus it depicted—especially as i had been feeling uncertain and unrooted in what was the next step after i left my current job. as someone who fills their life to the brim with projects (admittedly, sometimes to my detriment) this promise of an action-packed saga came as a great relief to me! In retrospect, what I notice now is how each of these elements are all moving quickly while remaining in alignment. it was this component of the 8 of wands that took me by surprise and was brought into my life with an element of searing awareness.

you see, this month has genuinely been one of the hardest months i have experienced in awhile. on one hand, i experienced some incredible firsts including launching our podcast, open magic, and unexpectedly reading tarot professionally for the first time! each of these certainly felt like a classic eight of wands moment, creativity and inspiration bursting forth, feeling that flow. but each of these moments appeared as sparks of joy in the murkiness i felt like i was wading through rather than being a focal point of my orbit.

finishing out my position over the past month has left me completely burnt out and exhausted. some days i’ve just had a hard time keeping track of a conversation or what i said 10 minutes ago. when i faced the job market again, this burnout and sense that i haven’t completed anything over the past year left me with an identity crisis over what jobs to even look for. this was only complicated by feeling myself emotionally pinball between anger and sadness as i processed grief over becoming estranged from my family, which took place last summer.

as i faced this stagnation, friction, and despair over what to do next or who i am, i kept thinking about the eight of wands. and to be honest, i was pissed. where was the flow i had been promised? where was the ease? because this all seemed pretty damn hard to me. it’s interesting because—in moonlighting as a cycle instructor—when i ask students to turn their resistance high and find slow deliberateness in their work, i ask them what comes up. how do they feel stuck? what are they unable to run away from? this was exactly what i was facing. where i thought it would be able to run, it was all coming to a head. all of the frustration i hadn’t processed or any inadequacy or question over myself hit me head on. i was frustrated over how hard it was for me to own the label of an “astrologer” or how tenuous i had been about revealing any skills related to tarot reading. i was pissed at my mom for not loving me the way i am and not having a family to turn to in my distress. i was pissed that insurance benefits come with jobs, over having to buy a new laptop, and i was mad over not knowing what the hell i was doing next.

where i finally reached a breakthrough, and started to truly understand what lesson this card presents, was when i was up at midnight and had finally completed a summary statement for my resume. i had spent all day rewriting my resume in a roiling, feverish haze. have you ever felt what it is like to wrestle yourself? every sentence i tried to write, every bullet point i laid out, felt torturous because it emphasized that no matter what i accomplished, i could still feel this way. empty, lost, angry, unwanted. as the day rolled on and i languished, i thought about the eight of wands again and my intention for february—what had started as “vision” and morphed into “envision.” when i felt that question appear again, with distress and pain, why isn’t this easier?! i realized how much expectation i had placed on this card’s energy to make my life easier and how unwilling i was to face these difficult emotions myself. i had to acknowledge that where i had been demanding ease and flow, i was really demanding escape. there had always been a flow, but i had been demanding a river to rise just so i could swim in the opposite direction because claiming who i was with confidence also meant swimming through these excruciating emotions contained within myself.

but i wanted to move forward, and with a deep breathe i plunged into my vulnerability and wrote my summary statement: “Human decoder ring here to translate the most complicated subjects into actionable and understandable reading for the everyday person. Expert on providing innovative, critical opinions on topics of wellness, magical living, and the ideals that shape our lives.” i almost cried after writing this because i felt like i had been standing on a diving board for days, too scared to jump, and now i had taken the plunge.

KEYWORDS FOR EIGHT OF WANDS

through this process, i now know that the eight of wands brings to us actioned alignment.

this was the piece that i was missing when i first saw this card. i had only seen the action forward, but now when i see the card each element is moving forward, synchronous with one another. anything that slows you down, holds you back, keeps you stuck, is brought to your attention with painful intensity to be sheared away.

similarly, i think it is a symbol for burnout, the exhaustion that comes from treading water and not submitting to the ebb and flow that comes with life. it is only when you find purposeful synthesis and intentionally unburden yourself of what cannot flow with you that you can move forward with the focused intensity that the eight of wands grants.

questions from the eight of wands

if you are wanting to contemplate the energy of this card or see it appear in a reading and feel stuck with it, here are some questions to consider: 

  • What am I resisting?

  • What is detrimental to me, but I’m afraid of releasing?

  • In a dream world, what do I want for myself? How have I already put the work towards this vision?

In many ways, the questions brought up by the Eight of Wands makes me think of working through the obfuscation that Neptune can sometimes bring and what we must sort through to access the power to imagine and envision that it brings. A journaling exercise for it is available here! 

I would love to hear your experience with your card for the month or your interpretation of this energy! Feel free to reach out via Instagram or writing me a note!

Until next time,

Bri