Wands are a suit of energy, of passion, of a sort of unbridled, boundless vibrating potential. Think lightning, think tidal waves, think unstoppable forces. Now think about the destructive potential of those things. Think about recklessness, and carelessness, and the need for channels. We have arrived at the Eight of Wands.
The Eight of Wands is an amazing card, simple but powerful. You are that lightning, that tidal wave; your energy and passion in your pursuits is literally a force of nature. And in this instance, specifically, you are channeling that energy into a tool of diamondlike precision, aimed at your goals like a hawk dropping from the sky. Your mind is clear, your focus is pure; there are no distractions, nothing between you and this thing that you will achieve.
The window’s open and the world is yours; go attack
‘Cause when the wind is right and the tide is high
It’s time to fly
Oh if I want it
I’m gonna get it
And I’m just sayin’
I’m just sayin’
–“I’m Just Sayin’“, Karmin
The Eight of Wands is a card of productivity. It means that not only are you in the process of achieving something right now, but that as soon as you have reached that peak you’ll be off once again, racing toward something equally incredible. This is a card that heralds a time of intense work in your life – I won’t lie to you, you will be busy. This is not a card that you’ll see when you’re not ready for it, though. Rather, the Eight of Wands shows up when you are in the throes of your struggle, working toward something that has maybe begun to seem like it is too far away, to renew your energy.
The most important thing to remember when you see this card is that it is essentially a starter’s pistol, a cracking whip, a spur in the side. Except, no, not really, because all of those things are cruel and terrifying, and the Eight of Wands should feel like a blessing. It’s like… it’s like you’re swimming laps, I guess, and you’re almost done, and you feel like you’re just ready to stop moving and drown, like, death would be kinder at this point than continuing to flail through this dumb water, but then! All of a sudden you get this surge of energy, this weird blinding joy and motivation that washes over you, and your muscles don’t ache anymore and your head is clear and filled with light and it’s like this unbelievable knowledge, washing over you, that you can keep swimming and you will keep swimming and when you are done you will have achieved something incredible. The Eight of Wands is like that. It is a balm, a soothing breeze, it is anything and everything that has ever given you a renewed sense of purpose. It is essentially the universe telling you not to give up, because not only will you continue, you will succeed. It is a signal that your time to act is now, right now, and what’s more and what’s better is that it implicitly says that you will be able to take advantage of that. What I mean is that the Eight of Wands doesn’t show up when your cause is hopeless. It’s not ever lying to you. The Eight of Wands is a promise that not only will you succeed if you move, but that you have the ability to move in the first place.
Just when you think I’m at the end
Any second imma catch my second wind
An airplane’s only paper ’til it finds a breeze
But don’t you know that it’s the low that makes the high so sweet?
When they try to break, break, break you
That’s when you get your break, break, breakthrough, yeah
-“Second Wind“, Kelly Clarkson
The Eight of Wands reversed can have several meanings. The most common, and the one you should think of first, is that there are distractions in your life preventing you from getting where you need to go. You have the energy, but the channel is blocked. More accurately, I guess, the channel has a bunch of leaks, and it’s letting all of your focus shoot off in other directions. You know when a pipe has leaks and the overall force of the water eventually gets low enough that it stops moving? That is the reversed Eight of Wands. You have all of this momentum, this passion, but there are too many things that you’re trying to focus on and as a result you’re not being effective. Take this as a sign to draw back a little, and consider how to better control and aim your energies.
The other thing that the Eight of Wands reversed may be telling you is that you’re moving too fast, taking on too much at once or simply hurtling too quickly toward what it is that you want. It is sometimes worth it to evaluate the situation from afar, when you see this card – look at the bigger picture and see what it is you might be missing in your haste. Is this goal what you really want? Is it conducive to longer-term success and happiness? Are you ignoring other parts of your life in your headlong charge toward it?
My dad has told me a lot of things of varying usefulness in the course of my life, but the one that I routinely tell myself, the one that I find most comforting, is this: How do you eat the elephant? One bite at a time. It’s so simple, but it has saved my life more times than I can count. How often are you confronted with something that seems impossible? How often do you feel as though you’re being crushed under the weight of everything you have to do to achieve what you want? The only way forward is one bite at a time. The Eight of Wands reversed is telling you exactly this. Sometimes when you know you have six hundred things to do it is awful to the point of paralysis, and instead of doing anything at all you just freak out and sit on your couch and go I HAVE SIX HUNDRED THINGS TO DOOOO. Trust me, I know. I’ve been there. But the only thing you can do in that situation is to simply take a bite, and I promise you, from personal experience and from the cards themselves, it works. It doesn’t matter where you start, once you start. The task transforms from something monolithic and dreadful to a series of smaller things, and the trick here is to do one thing to completion before starting another. It doesn’t matter if your first bite is “put everything into a stack”. If that is your bite, you take it and you do it and you don’t do anything else until it’s done. Remember your channel, your leaky pipe. The way to fix it is to go inch by inch and stop up the cracks.
Remember: you can do this. The Eight of Wands appears when you are ready for it, and that includes when it appears reversed. It is a signal that you need to act, but more importantly, it is a reminder that you have all the strength you need to do so.