7 min read

six of wands // fiery, transformative love

this card is a blend of dazzling wildfire and passionate care; brilliant, hungry flames dancing atop rich, well-fed embers.
six of wands // fiery, transformative love
six of wands from the goddess of love tarot

hello friends, and welcome to june.

before we get into our first piece on this month's card, a bunch of quick announcements: order in the court is back, you can get a special new tarot reading on grief and hope, and i've been getting amazing feedback on my free-for-everyone podcast. in addition to my latest email prompt series, i'm also working on a brand new intermediate tarot lecture series (more on that in a few days but you can take a peek here) that will also be added to the 3am.tarot conservatory. and i'm plotting some new archetype studies and journaling resources that i'll share more on soon. lots going on over here!

nyc locals, mark june 25th on your calendar — i'm doing another event with the wonderful astoria bookshop! i'll be pulling cards at the release party for local author and illustrator cat willett to celebrate her gorgeous new book, women of tarot. come through, it's free!

lastly, i've got a new special offer for paid subscribers that i'll be sharing later this week, so if you've been thinking about signing up for one of my paid tiers, today is a great day to do so. everything that i do, make, and share is possible because of financial support from readers like you, and i'm grateful to be in reciprocal community with so many incredible folks. as ever, thank you for reading, listening, engaging, and sharing. as my partner says, you keep the lights on.

now, let's get into our card of the month: the six of wands.

in her stunning debut memoir, love is a burning thing, nina st. pierre writes of her lifelong study of fire: its ability to sustain, to destroy, to transform, to bind and to sever. her story tangles with her mothers', a tale of ashes and desire and consumption, of surrendering to the hunger of the flames whether we mean to or not.

an exploration of how love itself can be both illuminating and ruinous; how sometimes flames are easy to spot and other times embers lie low, biding their time, emerging only when fed.

family, love, responsibility: our nuclear-family-obsessed nation would have us believe that these concepts are simple, easy, and universal. but for many of us, nothing is more complicated than the emotions that come up when we think about the ties that bind against our will, about whether or not blood is really thicker than water, about the ways that some families tend to flames and others simply smother them.

how are our own expectations of duty, love, and reciprocity limited by what we did or did not receive in our childhood?

what kind of commitment does it take to self, to vision, to faith, in order to harness our authenticity into the kind of life and world that we truly want?

and how do we discover deeper truths about who we are and what we are capable of through communal fires, through shared imagination, through glorious and courageous expressions of devotion to something that is bigger than all of us?

six of wands from the queer tarot
six of wands from the queer tarot

the six of wands is often considered a card of triumph, pride, overcoming a significant and arduous milestone. after the conflict and friction of the five, the six of wands is a moment of resolution and awareness, of owning how far we've come. and for me, this is also a card of looking to those who have been by our side and giving them a tired, fierce grin of appreciation; recognizing that we have not envisioned or created or accomplished these things on our own.

the number six in tarot always points us back to the lovers: connections and community, comfort and pleasure, stability and reciprocity. but six is also the number of the devil: rebelliousness, restriction, blind spots, temptation, wildness.

these are archetypes of power and choice. of authenticity. of forging a path that we actually want to follow, alongside those who are eager to walk it with us. and when paired with the element of fire, of passion, of desire, of enthusiasm, of creativity, of vibrant and empowered vision, we find the six of wands: a card of purpose-driven pride, of collective devotion. of stepping fully into our most brilliant and visionary selves, burning new paths into the ground, lighting beacons that will provide hope and joy for the many.

the six of wands might seem like a solitary card — but all i can see when i look at these cards are many wands held up with dignity, forming a path for all to triumphantly walk through. all i see is the many hands, hearts, and visions that it takes for real change to happen.

this card is not a single torch held aloft by one trembling victor. no, it's a bonfire: joyful, wild, pleasure-fueled; sustained by the many, needed by all. the spark that started deep within us has caught and grown and evolved, becoming something that cannot be maintained or contained by only one person.

this card is a blend of dazzling wildfire and passionate care; brilliant, hungry flames dancing atop rich, well-fed embers.

in her latest brilliant work first love, a love letter to friendships and chosen families, lilly dancyger tugs on the threads of mothering and motherhood, on the ways that we care for one another, on the magic of being nurtured by those who have been rejected themselves. the reciprocity that comes from knowing that we take care of us. the love that flows when we build strong fires together instead of struggling with our own personal flame.

my own family has never wanted the person i am — they preferred the mask i taught myself to wear. growing up, they were mostly focused on teaching me to conform, to submit, to be small and quiet and obedient. adventure, curiosity, and desire were rejected in favor of following the rules, falling in line, muting myself.

but my most dearly beloved, my true family, my nearest and dearest: they are the ones that remind me to dance and sing around my own visionary fires, and allow me the privilege of helping to tend theirs. they are the ones who want me to be myself, rather than only acknowledging the parts of me that they're comfortable with. they are the ones who still take COVID precautions, who show up generously and without strings in times of need, who want me to shine as brightly as possible while making sure i don't burn out completely.

this kind of fiery, authentic, generous and choice-driven love is transformative. it's so much bigger, brighter, bolder, than what i received growing up or settled for in early adulthood, and has helped me clarify the kinds of love that i want to offer. there's no weight of expectation, no burden of proof, no demands of conformity: it's a love that is chosen again and again, that is offered freely, that makes each of us stronger and braver by virtue of participating in it.

creations forged in the heat of love's fire carry a different kind of magic.

when we're talking about the six of wands, we're not talking about people who feel entitled to your attention, or demand your compassion without extending their own. instead we're talking about the people who walk through fire with you, shoulder to shoulder. the people who share their kindling, rather than throwing water on your carefully constructed flames.

we're talking about the creative, communal fires that burn dependably, reliably; the ones that thrive thanks to many hands, that don't die out the moment we need to rest.

this phrase, blood is thicker than water, is a misnomer. it's often used to make the claim that our natal families, our blood relations, should be prioritized over all other relationships.

but the full saying is the blood of the covenant is thicker than the water of the womb.

we make our own families. we forge them in fire, emerge reborn, and walk a path of our own creation together. we burn bright, tend each others' embers, delight in each others' flames. and together, we build something bigger than any of us could sustain alone: something with the power to catch and spread, to inspire and transform. a wildfire tempered by love.

six of wands from the goddess of love tarot
six of wands from the goddess of love tarot

on the heels of a necessary pivot, the six of wands is the gasping, triumphant, unified cry after a particularly difficult obstacle; the collective care that truly sustains the many; the celebration and acknowledgement of all that has been created and all that is still finding its form.

this is students returning to their destroyed encampments to rebuild, protestors smiling quietly even as they’re arrested, displaced families reaching for moments of joy and connection in spite of ongoing fear and violence and loss. this is songs being sung amongst the ashes, mutual aid finding new shapes and unexpected avenues, sparks catching even when it seems like there's nothing left to burn.

this is purpose, blazing bright and true for all to see. this is feeding our fires in tandem, combining them into a roaring wall of flame, ensuring that everyone has a place to dance or sleep or laugh or cry or celebrate or dream of a different, freer tomorrow.

the six of wands asks: who do you want to fight next to, create next to, transform yourself next to? who celebrates your victories, grieves your struggles, shows up for you when the embers are low? who lights your way when you've lost it? who offers you both comfort and inspiration, safety and excitement? who loves all of the wildness in you? who dreams of a more beautiful world, one beyond the small imaginations of those who currently wield power?

and as we move into june, into pride month, i'm asking you: who is in your blood? what flames run through your veins, sustaining and inspiring and empowering you? who is your fire family? and how are you allowing that brilliant, creative magic and support to transform you into the version of self that you were always meant to be?

wishing you a safe, fiery, triumphant june, friends.