Suit: Suit of Wands
Card Type: Minor Arcana
In this article Knight of Wands Symbols, I refer to the Knight of Wands card from the Rider Waite Tarot deck, also known as the Waite-Smith, or Rider-Waite-Smith, or Rider tarot deck. In the Thoth Tarot deck this card is called The Prince of Wands.
The symbolism found on this card is primarily drawn from mythology, alchemy, religious and esoteric text.
Knight of Wands: Key Symbols
Armor, gloves, yellow cloak, salamanders, red horse, pyramids, desert
“He is shewn as if upon a journey, armed with a short wand, and although mailed is not on a warlike errand.”A.E.Waite
The Original Rider Waite Pictorial Key to The Tarot
Imagery of the Knight of Wands: Hidden symbol meanings, metaphors, allegory stories and legend.
Complete A-Z List: Tarot Card Symbols
What is The Symbolism of The Knight’s Armor?
Armor represents a form of defense in Tarot, it is the second skin of the warrior in the face of struggle. At a deeper level, armor symbolizes expanding consciousness and courage.
The Knight holds a wand in his hand which is sprouting five leaves, this must be the same wand which belonged to the Page of Wands. The Knight of Wands does resemble his predecessor, perhaps just a little older, wiser and thicker-skinned.
All Knights in Tarot are considered the purest form of the element they represent. This is why a flame blazes from the arm of the Knight of Wands. This Knight is fire energy in all its bright glory. He is not as youthful and naive as the Page, nor as weathered as the King and Queen. He is at his peak.
The Knight of Wands symbolizes all that is known about the element Fire in alchemy and magic – transformative, passionate and action-orientated.
Gauntlet Gloves Symbol
The Knight is wearing gauntlet gloves, which were worn traditionally to protect the hand and wrists of a combatant. Perhaps the artist Pamela Colman Smith intended the glove to represent a ‘thicker skin’, meaning our rider has become tougher for facing adversity.
The glove may also be a reference to ‘throwing down the gauntlet’. In times gone by, a Knight would issue a challenge to someone by throwing down their glove. The symbolism here, is that our horseman is ever-ready for a new challenge.
If you notice, like the Knight of Pentacles, the Knight of Wands has two gloved hands. In comparison, the Knight of Swords has one gloved hand and the Knight of Cups wears no gloves at all. The key message here is sensitivity, the fewer the gloves, the more tactile and sensitive the rider. That said, there is a time for sensitivity, and there is a time for action.
Red Feather Symbolism
Like his predecessor, the Page of Wands, this Knight also has a red plume feather on his head. These plumes, also known as panaches, were common in 16th century tournament wear. The feathers indicated the color of the family name, status and wealth.
However, this Knight’s feather is more of an elaborate orange plume, which looks like a flame.
Fire flames symbolize transformation, and red feathers are a sign of motivation, vitality and passion. See also, what it means when you find a red feather.
Yellow Cloak Meaning
The Knight of Wands is wearing a yellow cloak over his armor. Traditionally, the color yellow in Tarot is linked to Mercury, the God of Communication. In color therapy, yellow represents spiritual awakening and the ability to think quickly.
Why Are There Salamanders on The Knight of Wands Tunic?
The Knight of Wands has salamanders, a type of lizard, emblazoned on his yellow tunic. The salamander was a favorite symbol of alchemists and was used to represent the element Fire. Notice that the salamander’s tails do not touch their mouth in this picture, indicating actions not yet complete.
Compare this to the salamanders in the King of Wands cloak which are shown with their tails in their mouth. This closed circle represents maturity and completion.
Compare also to the salamanders on the cloak of the Page of Wands, which appear haphazardly in every direction, indicating plans in an early stage and lack of experience.
⭐Salamanders also appears here: Page of Wands, King of Wands
Why is The Knight of Wands Riding a Red Horse?
In Tarot, horses are a symbol of forward momentum. The arrival of a Knight on a horse, means there is movement and transformation in your life.
The horse in the Knight of Wands card, is no ordinary horse. It is a solar horse, whose quality is fire and flames. A fire horse imbues his rider with the virtues of the element Fire. That is, passion, bravery and optimism. Fire is arguably the most powerful of the four elements Fire, Water, Earth, and Air, and when we tap into its energy, we bring about a sense of transformation within ourselves.
⭐Horses appear in 6 other Tarot cards: Knight of Swords, Knight of Pentacles, Knight of Cups, The Chariot, Death and The Sun
What is The Meaning of The Pyramids in This Card?
In the background, we see three mountains which resemble the famous Pyramids at Giza, these appear to be the very same pyramids from the Page of Wands.
Pyramids are believed by some, to be imbued with mythical powers. This is why some occultists meditate inside pyramid-like structures to obtain extrasensory powers like pyrokinesis (the ability to control fire by using one’s mind), thoughtography (burning an image into something with your mind) psychokinesis (control of objects using the mind) and forms of divination like prophecy and selenomancy.
⭐Three Pyramids also appear here: Page of Wands and Queen of Wands
What is The Symbolism of The Desert?
Note that all of the court card imagery in the Wands Suit are set in a desert with an arid climate.
This is another reference to the power of Fire, as the desert is scorched earth transformed to sand by the heat of the sun.
Symbolically, the desert is a wide open landscape, largely free from humans, vegetation, trees and rivers. The desert as such represents clarity of thought, a landscape void of distraction. The desert is a place of isolation, fasting, prophetic visions and encounters with God. Jesus spent 40 days and nights fasting in the Judaean desert, a time which clarified his great mission to deliver the message of God’s mercy.
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Karina, author of Tarot in 5 Minutes.
The Ultimate Guide to Knight of Wands Symbols