Last time here on Queering the Tarot we looked at the Five and Seven of wands, AKA the negative cards in this suit. Today, then, we get to jump into two of my personal favorite cards in the deck: the Six and Eight of Wands. The most common keywords for the six are progress, victory, and triumph. When I hear the words victory and triumph though, I don’t just think of the success or “win” that comes in them. These words bring battle, rough terrain, and hard-fought success to my mind, and that’s important to note for this card. This isn’t just a good thing happening—it’s something you’ve fought long and hard for finally turning in your favor. It’s triumph over adversity, specifically. The eight is associate with progress too, although much more speedily. It’s not that you HAVEN’T been working tirelessy for the “win” that comes in the eight, it’s that there’s no steady or slow growth. Thing’s aren’t going in your favor, or they’ve stagnated, and then all of a sudden, BOOM. Quick action, quick decisions on your part, and quick changes to the energy surrounding a situation bring this triumph.
Given how we’ve set the queerness of the wands to be fairly connected to the passion for social justice many queer people share, we’ll start with the obvious to queer these two cards. Social justice is HARD—fighting for our own rights and sticking up for marginalized groups we’re allies to seems overwhelming and insurmountable so, so often. These cards bring welcome news to our activist lives, with the six promising a rough campaign or project ends up succeeding. The eight most often brings a fresh burst of energy to an ongoing battle, allowing you to push through the last bit of work on your end and that to cause the tide to turn. In short, both promise victories over oppression, particularly if you’ve been fighting for a specific piece of liberation or legislation.
However, many believe that social justice and the key to equality or liberation (depending on your goals) starts with the deeply personal. As such, I have seen the Six of Wands’ queering show up when someone’s transphobic or otherwise bigoted relative realizes they’ve been wrong to isolate a queer seeker or continue to push a harmful political or personal agenda on them. A joyful, earnest conversation or show of support is hard, and the seeker is able to quickly forgive and forget. I have seen the Eight do the opposite—seekers who get this card ARE promised a sudden burst of passionate advocacy from others, but this is likely when they, the seeker, decide to move on beyond those who have hurt them or shut them out and stumbled into a queer chosen family almost by accident. Finding “your” people always amounts to a flurry of sudden emotion and activity, and this is often what this Eight of Wands indicates.
When we talk about the deeply personal though, we don’t only talk about how the oppression marginalized people face shows up in close interpersonal relationships. It’s most important to look at how it shows up within ourselves. We hear about internalized misogyny and internalized homophobia all the time, and I know for a fact that other “isms” and hatred get turned within too. This is something LGBTQ+ seekers deal with so often that we almost dismiss that part of our story and our struggle, the part where everything is going right but we still feel “wrong” or fight who we are. The number one way I see the Six of Wands show up is when an LGBTQ+ querent has finally begun accepting and embracing their queerness, not just going through the motions of living it. And, as with stumbling into a queer squad of our own, this can often happen quickly, following a series of chance encounters with supportive people or life itself quickly doing a 180 and showering us with generosity. This is when the Eight of Wands shows up. The Eight would also show up in instances where we’re still working to truly embrace our full selves too, perhaps suggesting we follow our gut into a series of quick happenings that would allow us to discover new things about ourselves, and fall in love with ourselves all over again.
In the mundane, the Six and Eight of Wands don’t necessarily warrant queering—victory or action and quick changes in our jobs, relationships, diets, etc. is still just that. When we look at these cards through a queer lens though, we see something else entirely: victory against societal “ick,” activity and gain in our personal lives, and eventually, triumph over those parts of ourselves that actually don’t want us to triumph.
Be sure to check out the full Queering the Tarot series.