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6 of Wands
by Firemaiden

Card Meaning
Artistic Media
Artist's Bio


Metamorphosed at long last, a great butterfly takes flight, triumphing over the language of discouragement and impossibility, which, though smeared and painted over, can be deciphered beneath her transparent wings.


The caterpillar which becomes a butterfly is beloved by poets and philosophers as a metaphor for the soul learning to transcend muddy groveling misery, and taking flight on wings of spirit.

With its four wings and two antennae, the butterfly also illustrates the harmony of the number six. Deep ultramarine blue is the colour of calm and harmony as well, while the background churning with the colours of flames and sunset symbolizes the old order which has consumed itself and is being left behind.

While this card is subtitled 'Victory' in many decks, and is depicted by Pamela Coleman Smith as a heroic knight on his noble white steed returning in triumph to be celebrated by an adoring crowd, an exploration of the different aspects of the card suggests that it is not mere victory in battle, but specifically a virtuous, even a spiritual victory. Aleister Crowley writes of balance, harmony, beauty, and stabilization. For Crowley, a 'marriage' has taken place between the 'closed forces of the four' and the 'revolutionary ardour' of the five, resulting in a 'son', which is the 'sun' .Thus this 'son' is the dawning of a new 'sun', a new era in this regard, the six of wands may be seen as the break (at long last, after much struggle) with the old self limiting patterns of the past.

Card Meaning

Release of old self-limiting ideas; dreams 'taking off', the soul taking wing, a life changing breakthrough.

Artistic Media

Gouache over aquarelle and watercolour pencil on paper.

Artist's Bio

Firemaiden, 42 is an aspiring opera singer and lives in Berlin.

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