May 2019 Tarot Card Astrology: Four of Wands
Venus moves through the last decan of Aries, the portion of the sign that she rules, for about ten days from late May 6, 2019 to the early morning hours of May 15, 2019. This starry alignment is attributed to the Four of Wands tarot card, and exploring these symbols helps us expand our understanding of the card. This tarot card indicates celebration, parties, and formal ceremonies. But applying the Four of Wands: Venus in Aries symbolism takes us into unexplored territory, where we discover the light of compassion willingly guiding us into the fray of battle. Please visit all the articles in this series on tarot card astrology.
Four of Wands: Venus in Aries
- The Four of Wands is titled “The Lord of Perfected Work” and it symbolizes celebration, weddings, finding a place of welcome and sanctuary, developing or building up from the foundation, and the hearthfire.
- Venus is the goddess of love and beauty. She appreciates everything that is pleasing to the senses and that brings comfort and ease. The Goddess of Love brings people together in harmony. She represents what we value, how we relate to friends and loved ones, and how we define our aesthetic. Venus rules Taurus and Libra, and is exalted in Pisces.
- Aries is a Cardinal fire sign ruled by the planet Mars. The sign of the Ram values freedom, inspiring leadership, a just-do-it attitude, and jumping in with both feet (and sometimes leaping without looking). Aries keywords include courageous, initiating, pioneering, charismatic, enterprising, and independent. Its symbol is the ram, and its glyph looks like a ram’s head with curved horns, or a plowed furrow.
- Four of Wands: Venus ruling the third decan of Aries
- The calendar dates, when the Sun passes through this decan each year, are approximately April 11-20.
- Venus will pass through the third decan of Aries from Monday, May 6, 2019 at 10 p.m. to Wednesday, May 15, 2019 at 3:45 a.m.
- Best times for ritual work: Venus passes through a series of difficult relationships to several challenging planets during this time. As a result, there is no time that is an appropriate time for important ritual work. However, if you’d like to spend some time with her, I’d wait until Wednesday or Thursday, May 8-9. The best time is Thursday, May 9, the day of Jupiter during the hour of Venus from 9:20-10:30 a.m., when she’s applying to a trine with Jupiter. After that trine becomes complete a few minutes before 11 a.m., she’s back into a challenging aspect to Pluto.
Venus in Aries
Venus is loving, kind, relaxed, and generous. Aries is excited, energetic, independent, and wants to do it their way, by themselves. One of the two signs Venus rules is Libra, which is 180 degrees opposite Aries — when a planet is in the sign that is opposed in every way from their home base, they are said to be in their detriment. Venus doesn’t particularly like being in Aries. She’s a fashionista in an Ironman competition. And while real people can easily express opposing sides to themselves, planets become skewed or distorted when not acting like themselves. So Venus in Aries, instead of feeling energized and adventurous, becomes domineering, loud, and brash. She finds herself wearing too-bright colors that clash with her natural tone. Instead of graciously hosting, she’s tossed out for the night and goes on the prowl.
Image of the Four of Wands
The tarot image by Pamela Colman Smith shows four tall, wooden staffs in the foreground. A garland of vines, fruit, and flowers is swagged between the back two. The front two wands are separated enough to frame an opening through which we can see two women draped in a neo-classical style, with wreaths on their heads, holding up bouquets and waving to us. We feel welcomed into the party. Behind the women to the left is a group of revelers, while the background is dominated by the flat, cliff-like facade of a gray stone castle with red-capped rooftops and turrets.
More than welcomed to the party, we feel like we belong. Not only are these women rushing to meet us, one waves two bouquets. It seems that they have been awaiting our arrival and are bringing us the accouterment we need to join in with an assigned role. We are here for business as well as pleasure. The attribution of the Suit of Wands to business and enterprise supports that interpretation.
The arrangement of the four staffs and garland is reminiscent of the chuppah, the canopy under which Jewish wedding ceremonies are performed. The Four of Wands is accordingly one of the cards for marriage.
Title of the Four of Wands: Perfected Work
The card’s title, “Lord of Perfected Work,” has a curious ring to it. Bringing something to a perfect conclusion certainly can fit the idea of a wedding. But the word “work” returns us to the idea of attending this gathering for business, not pleasure. Perhaps the take-charge Aries energy reminds us that all happy endings are not accidental but the result of the initiative and spirit of the person who embarks on the task.
However, to truly understand the import of the title, we need to turn to another esoteric philosophy that informs the tarot: qabalah. In qabalah the Suit of Wands is an expression of the energy of the highest of the four qabalistic worlds, Atziluth. Atziluth means “emanation” and indicates the level closest to Divinity. At this highest level, things arise from nothing.
The Four of Wands is Chesed in Atziluth. Chesed means “mercy,” and also connotes love, grace, and kindness. Chesed, the fourth sephirah, indicates that in the development of something, it has crossed down from the degrees of spiritual perfection and has entered the first step toward material existence. In this sense, something that is ideal and perfect as conceived by our highest intention takes its first step outward into the development process that will eventually end in a final product. It is complete at the spiritual level, but only just getting started at the material level.
Perfected Work is not about completion at all. Rather, it is the perfect plan, the whole and complete, but idealized, vision for something.
Looking back to our wedding symbolism, this now makes sense. The wedding is the conclusion of the spiritual work of two matching halves finding each other and coming together. But it is only the beginning of their lives in the too-often inhospitable level of real life. In fact, this understanding supports the Venus in Aries attribution. Venus strives to bring things together. Aries is at the beginning, still figuring out who he is. Venus wants the comfort and pleasure of the partnership. Aries is still searching for self-understanding. Venus prematurely brings self-centric Aries towards the vision of its opposite, itself in partnership. She plants seeds that Aries doesn’t necessarily have the time or inclination to tend, but which must grow nonetheless.
The Astrology of the Four of Wands
Aries is ruled by Mars, the warrior. Venus in Aries is the lover who has wandered onto the battlefield in search of her partner. She is the demure socialite at the frat party. Venus in Aries has two choices — she can preserve her modesty and rush quickly past the catcalls to arrive in the next sign, Taurus, her comfortable, safe, and protected home, or she can stop for a spell and toss back a few with the boys. Well, when in Rome throw a toga party, our card seems to say.
The third part of the sign is the mutable decan, the portion that transitions out of the Aries energy and into the next sign, Taurus. Venus is in detriment in Aries, but she rules Taurus, so this transition is an appropriate one for her to be in charge of. The too fast fiery Aries energy speeds her up, even though she is normally calm and relaxed. She is rushing to get home. The most accidents happen less than a mile from where you live. Venus in Aries is precarious. She is blaring, glaring, smearing, careering home after a too-late night on the town. All she wants is to get home where she can be herself, cozy, clean, and fresh.
However, Venus, even in Aries, can’t forget her elegance. Out of her element, she nevertheless brings her refinement and grace to this raucous environment. The number four is about solidity, secure foundations, and achieving manifestation. When Venus finds her rulership, she insists that everything is in order, and the foundations are laid before she will let anyone proceed. Fours can express commitment, something Venus values. Aries might carry Venus off into the wild, but she can turn it into a home. Venus takes Aries by the hand and encourages him to settle down.
Mythology of the Four of Wands
The particulars of Venus’s specific transit through the third decan of Aries this month spurred my choice of story for the Four of Wands: Venus in Aries. In fact, this is a history, not a fiction. The life of Florence Nightengale, renowned leader of nurses during the Crimean War, pioneer of working standards for women, and advocate for the rights of prostitutes is a perfect example of the Venus in Aries energy.
Currently, in the early morning sky, you can see Venus hovering over the eastern horizon. As she moves into the decan of her rulership, she enters a series of challenges that question her right to be there. Astrologically, Venus is square to Saturn and Pluto, meaning that these planets are causing friction with her. Venus is trine to Jupiter, a generous relationship to a beneficial planet. Venus is also moving towards a friendly sextile with the feisty and aggressive Mars. To me, this story unfolds as a nurse running across the battlefield towards an injured soldier.
First, Saturn, the planet of limitations and boundaries, says, “Halt! Who goes there?” to her. After proving her credentials to him, she moves forward towards an ultimate sextile with Mars the Warrior, currently in Gemini. Venus’s qualities are very different from those of Mars, but these opposites attract.
In the midst of this difficult trek, she passes through the generous and supportive light of the merciful and authoritarian Jupiter, who sheds his grace on her from afar, in his home sign of Sagittarius. However, even this one positive relationship is undermined, because Jupiter is preoccupied. Jupiter is forming an opposition to Mars, the general putting a rebellious soldier in place. Meanwhile, the fickle Moon rushes to the side of Mars, emotionally supportive of the soldier instead of his commanding officer. Her coddling might ease Mars’s pain, but just as easily it could backfire. Whenever she meets up with Mars, emotions boil over, creating a bigger mess.
Venus, our Lady with the Lamp on this battlefield setting, is still pushing towards Mars, the hero. But now Pluto enters, forming a difficult aspect with her, similar to Saturn the guard. Pluto, lord of the underworld, shows all those who are dying due to dedication to this work. Venus cannot just walk past them, even though she knows she cannot heal them. But she can stop momentarily to comfort them.
And then onward she rushes, to complete her sextile to Mars in the last degree of their respective signs, just before 8 a.m. on the morning of Mars’s day, Tuesday, May 14. Venus in Aries is a difficult placement. But Venus in the third decan of Aries gives a thrilling sense of purpose to the high society gal who is willing to get her hands dirty for a cause.
Ritual for Four of Wands: Venus in Third Decan of Aries
If you would like to work with Venus, I’ve outlined a general ritual and a candle magic ritual, the latter utilizing a color breathing meditation. I’ll provide the correspondences for you and let you develop your own ritual based on our previous examples.
Statement of Intention for Four of Wands: Venus in Aries
Use the following suggested magical intentions in your planetary workings for the Four of Wands: Venus in Aries or let these inspire your own unique affirmations or petitions.
- May I find camaraderie in the celebration of my accomplishments
- Let me perfect my vision so that it may produce fruit
- Help me find beauty and peace amidst the conflicts and cravings of life
- May the partnership I have committed to be a stable foundation for ongoing fulfillment
- Grant me the initiative and spirit to embark on the tasks that will lead to a happy ending
- May the thrill of purpose inspire me to pioneer new advancements
- Guide me with the light of compassion into the fray of battle
- Orphic Hymn to Aphrodite; or choose from any of the Homeric Hymns here, here, or here.
- Color: green
- Number: 7
- Incense: Rose, sandalwood, vanilla, benzoin
- Stones and Metals: jade, emerald, malachite, peridot, aventurine, rose quartz, copper
- Symbols: Rose, mirror, comb
- Beverage: Rose tea, red wine. I usually use rose buds for tea, or a rose green tea blend, but I also like a lot of the Celestial Seasonings fruit blends, especially Raspberry Zinger, but also their apple, peach, or tangerine teas.
- Food and Flavors: Apples, strawberries, oranges, cherries, figs, cardamom, vanilla, honey. I like to use the Cardamom Coffee Cake recipe from The Moosewood Cookbook, which if you don’t have, you can find reproduced online here. Also consult this article on Venus-ruled herbs.
Upcoming Tarot Card Astrology
Mercury also moves into the decan he rules, the first third of Taurus, tomorrow. Read my Meditations on the Five of Pentacles: Mercury in Taurus. June will see the Sun in the third decan of Gemini, the Ten of Swords, as well as Mercury in the second decan of Cancer, the tarot’s Three of Cups.