The King of Wands is the final card in the Minor Arcana suit of Wands and, as such, represents the maturation of the Wands themes—passion, growth, and creativity—in the form of archetypally masculine energy. Symbolically, this can be understood as representing the qualities of active creation, leadership, and the establishment of order.
King of Wands Keywords
success, social responsibility, competency, wisdom, creative maturation
self-doubt, comparison, imposter syndrome, arrogance
Description of the King of Wands Tarot Card
The King of Wands is the masculine counterpart to fellow court card the Queen of Wands. It represents success, competency, and wisdom around the task of bringing one’s creative or soul essence into material form. Whereas the Queen represents mastery on a more internal or relational level, the King represents external success and accomplishment.
Like the Queen of Wands, The King sits on a throne decorated with dancing lions, the animal of Leo, an astrological zodiac sign associated with pride, self-expression, and big-heartedness. The King’s cape and throne are decorated with salamanders, an animal prized by ancient alchemists for their ability to withstand intense heat, symbolizing alchemical transformation.
The salamanders are pictured with their tails in their mouths, suggesting we’ve reached a stage of completion or maturity, and they stand in contrast to the salamanders pictured on the Page and Knight of Wands cards, which do not form a closed circle. A small salamander guards the King at his feet and appears as a symbol of protective friendship, echoing the black cat at the feet of the Queen.
In the Rider Waite Smith tarot deck, the King’s red robe symbolizes his passion, while his yellow crown symbolizes his optimism, success, and accomplishment in the world. He holds his wand as a symbol of his ability to shape his ambitions into reality, and the desert in the background represents his field of influence.
King of Wands Upright Meaning
In the upright position of a tarot card reading, the King of Wands speaks to your ability to successfully shape your dreams, ambitions, and creative visions into tangible forms in the material world. Like the ancient alchemists referenced on this card, you have learned to translate the base material of your desires into metaphorical gold—value in the world.
When the King of Wands appears upright, you are being invited to reflect on the hard work you’ve put in over time and the lessons you’ve learned along the way in order to reach this stage of development. You can take pride in all that you’ve learned and accomplished thus far and recognize the ways that you’ve matured through this process.
The upright King of Wands speaks to a natural ability for leadership and the need to prioritize structures, systems, and organizations that benefit the greater good. This card is an encouragement to trust in your inner wisdom, competency, and ability to earn the trust and respect of others.
Love and Relationships (Upright Meaning)
In the upright position of a love tarot reading, the King of Wands suggests that your life experiences have shaped you into a mature, socially conscious, and responsible person who is capable of sustaining a relationship based on trust, respect, and passion. Reflect on the lessons you’ve learned in previous relationships to stand firm in your truth of what you now know you want and need within a relationship.
The upright King of Wands can also speak to a relationship based on mutual respect and a commitment to honesty. There is respect for each person’s autonomy and sovereignty within the relationship, which empowers each of you to approach the relationship from a whole and grounded place.
Love/relationships upright keywords
Career/finance upright keywords
maturity, standing firm in your truth, respect, honesty
stamina, determination, leadership, legacy
Career and Finance (Upright Meaning)
The upright King of Wands represents the culmination of a project which you’ve built slowly and steadily over time. You have learned many valuable lessons through the trials of bringing this vision to life and around the stamina and determination it takes to channel your creative energy toward useful and sustainable ends. You can take pride as you reflect on your ability to show up for these challenges and to successfully execute your goals.
The King of Wands upright is a sign that you are embracing your role as a natural-born leader and are learning to delegate work to others in order to help you actualize your vision. You’ve gained the maturity necessary to lead others successfully and sustain the energy it takes to bring your dream to life. It speaks to entrepreneurial endeavors, long-term sustainable success, and building your legacy with the help of others.
King of Wands Reversed Meaning
The King of Wands reversed can indicate that you have big creative goals but are doubting your ability to bring them into existence. You could be struggling to assume a position of leadership because you doubt that you have the skills, stamina, or natural talent to shepherd your vision into reality. You could also be struggling with feelings of imposter syndrome — even if you’re not a beginner in your particular trade.
This card signals that you may be on the brink of assuming a larger role or stepping into a new opportunity that requires you to expand your sense of self, and this is dredging up feelings of self-doubt. Recall your previous experiences of overcoming obstacles in order to draw on your inner resources. It suggests that when you call on your confidence, courage, and determination, you empower new strategies that are better aligned with your true desires.
The reversed King of Wands can also signal an authority figure who has become entitled, arrogant, or domineering. It suggests an egotistical and warped attitude towards power, either because power has inflated their sense of self or because they have abandoned the necessary leadership skills to guide others with a true sense of purpose. There may be a need to examine if one’s goals are overly motivated by a desire for power and influence.
Love and Relationships (Reversed Meaning)
The King of Wands reversed can speak to a fear of owning your authority and your true desires within the context of a romantic relationship. This card asks if you are shying away from claiming an authentic need out of a fear of disrupting the peace. It encourages you to take charge of your love life by stating your needs and confidently giving voice to your deepest truths.
The reversed King of Wands can also speak to someone with a wounded or fragile ego who takes things exceedingly personally or is emotionally unpredictable. This person can be prone to anger and aggression, resulting in an unstable and volatile dynamic in relationships.
Love/relationships reversed keywords
Career/finance reversed keywords
fear of stating true needs, a need to be more assertive, emotionally unpredictable, a volatile dynamic
self-doubt, uncomfortable with assuming a leadership position, warped relationship to power, achievement at all costs
Career and Finance (Reversed Meaning)
The King of Wands reversed signals that you may be doubting yourself and your ability to assume a position of leadership or take responsibility for bringing a project to life. You may be uncomfortable with having others look to you for guidance as you struggle with feelings of imposter syndrome or comparison. This card is a reminder to look within to remember your true talents and not let fear undermine you.
This card can also appear when you’re pursuing goals that are out of alignment with your true purpose or that are overly motivated by a desire for power or influence. You may be laser-focused on achieving your end goal with little regard for how you get there. This card asks you to reflect on your true motivations and ensure that your desire for achievement doesn’t overshadow the process of getting there.