5 min read

four of wands // a structure that sustains

four of wands from the wild unknown tarot (left) and the gay marseilles (right)
four of wands from the wild unknown tarot (left) and the gay marseilles (right)

hello, friends, and welcome to the month of april.

a few reminders before we get into the four of wands: i'll be closing the doors to the 3am.tarot conservatory later this month, so if you're interested in gaining access to my most beloved tarot courses at an incredible rate, and getting a discount on future classes (including my brand new court cards series), snag your seat ASAP! we'd love to have you.

and if you missed yesterday's update, my brand new court cards class is now available for purchase! (the quiz has also been fixed, so if you tried to take it and got an error, try again!) order in the court is a four-week series that utilizes a brand new framework for understanding and embodying these often tricky, frequently misunderstood figures. if you want to feel confident, empowered, and certain every time a court card shows up in your reading, this is for you:

finally, for those of you who could use some structure, focus, or discipline in your creative work, my partner jeanna is running another of her popular show up for the work containers. if you've got a creative goal in mind and are craving dedicated time to reach it, check out her upcoming spring session.

now, to the four of wands. take a breath, stretch and bend, and let's get into it.

we've talked about the ace of wands as a spark for change, the two of wands as a light to lead the way, and the three of wands as a flame to warm the spirit. new fire, resourced fire, visible fire. so what does the four of wands bring to the story? after our creative outpouring has finally made it into the world, where does the four of wands find us?

for many, this is one of the most positive, affirming, and joyful cards in the deck. depictions often include figures tending a fire or hugging joyfully, sharing in a celebration and offering positive feedback. the four of wands, at its core, is often about the stability, comfort, and structure that sustains our most potent and powerful creativity. it's the celebration after the outpouring, the confident knowledge that we have everything we need to perfect this magical thing that we've started.

but what does that mean? what does it look like? how does it feel? and how do we figure out how to do this for ourselves?

four of wands from the gay marseilles
four of wands from the gay marseilles

at the beginning this year, i decided that i needed more organization in my writing practice. i follow multiple wise astrologers and brilliant writers who use the planetary days for both work energetics and spiritual devotion, and i thought the idea sounded so beautiful, so inspired, so nourishing. it felt like just enough structure to help my mercury-ruled self stay on track with my big goals and ongoing tasks, without making me feel confined.

reader, within three weeks i was ready to tear my goddamn hair out.

my creativity has always moved in an independent, energetic flow. (mercury in sagittarius: if you know, you know.) to use jeanna's clever framework, some days i wake up and know it's an output (or creation) day: that i can write and write and write until i'm exhausted, that i can make a handful of IG reels and crank out a newsletter and organize whatever the next class i'm going to teach without losing steam. other days i wake up and know it's input (or nourishment) time: whether my insomnia has kicked my ass or i just know that i'm desperate for reading and research, this is a day to absorb instead of produce.

but putting parameters around that, dedicated certain days for input and output, for newsletters or courses or research, completely tanked my creative drive. not because it's not a great way for organize tasks on a weekly basis — but because for me, it was simply the wrong kind of structure.

as jeanna says, "you can't hack creativity." all we can do is figure out what actually works for us, and do it. and this, to me, is the work of the four of wands.

not just the celebration of the first outpouring, and not just the protection of that initial effort. but that ongoing devotion, ensuring that we have what we need to keep creating, to keep growing, to keep focusing. that recognition of our own unique practical magic, and the ability to steward our magic's evolution.

not just the burning of kindling and the flashes of brilliant heat, but the protective, sustainable structure of an ongoing flame.

interior of a mountain home, with a fire burning merrily in the fireplace
think of a furnace, or a well-built fireplace.

the four of wands isn't just a generalized kind of "structure, resources, and boundaries." it's structure that supports, nourishes, and works for you. it's resourcing that sustains, nurtures, and grounds you. it's boundaries that protect, focus, and empower you.

the structure that is incredibly effective for one person could break another's spirit. the resources that feed someone's creativity may erode someone else's. and the boundaries that offer one person freedom will smother a different person.

much as i loved using planetary days for creative organization in theory, in practice it was a disaster — my creativity needs some structure (sharing work on a general schedule, exploring patterns, working through cards and ideas systematically) but gets blocked by other kinds of structure (scheduling days by the hour, making myself adhere to arbitrary deadlines, and apparently forcing myself to do certain tasks on certain days). and i can either honor my own flow, or i can create unnecessary road blocks for myself and make everything harder than it needs to be.

needless to say, i ditched that plan, and never looked back.

the four of wands might be a card of joyful pride and group celebration — but it's also about knowing ourselves, about respecting our own internal and external limits, about working with who we are. it's about embracing what our personal powers and magics are, rather than wishing we were different or trying to conform to something else.

it's about learning what structures sustain our fire, and making sure that those structures are as solid, clear, and reliable as possible.

four of wands from the wild unknown tarot (left) and the gay marseilles (right)
four of wands from the wild unknown tarot (left) and the gay marseilles (right)

as you consider the four of wands this month, pay attention to your own natural structures, systems, boundaries, limits, rules. where did they come from, and how have they evolved over time? what helps your creativity and passion to thrive and sparkle? how do you support your own fire?

and when you think about what it would take to provide deeper nourishment for the flames that flicker inside of you, what are you inspired to build?

if this kind of practical, embodied insight into the tarot resonates with you, make sure you check out my new course order in the court, which will apply these same techniques to all sixteen court cards. class starts april 9th:

wishing you a safe, creative, and sustainable april, friends.