As a reminder, the suit of wands is driven by masculine energy and usually represents willpower, change, and an impulse to create and make something new. Scholars and academics have connected the suit of wands to the classical element of fire, and most of the cards from that suit embody the symbolic attributes of this element, one way or another.
Four of Wands: Traditional meanings
The four of wands is an extremely positive card that turns the fire from the suit of wands into a blissful urge to party and celebrate for any possible reason. This is a time to take stock and appreciate past achievements and share laughter and joy with other people.
If the reversed meaning of the four of wands should be seen as a warning against premature celebration or pointless arguments, the overall message of this minor arcana is to forget all about the stress of everyday life for a little while and just enjoy life for what it is.
Upright: Celebration, holiday, party, and celebrating achievements.
Reversed: arguments, jumping the gun, and celebrating too soon.
Upright Four of Wands and positive elements
With the suit of Wands, the traditional imagery for the four of wands has them planted into the ground like great staves, with a garland of flowers tying them together. This is meant to symbolize the kind of village celebrations that were often held in spring or summer. In the background, between the four wands, a couple of women are dancing, visibly happy.
In the distance behind them, the shape of a medieval castle can be seen. This is meant to clearly indicate that the celebration depicted on the card is held away from any noble court.
Just like the characters that can be seen on the card, the four of wand meaning calls for a celebration, a happy and carefree moment. It can either be read literally, in which case it might represent some holiday or celebration of any kind, from a birthday party to Thanksgiving. Or it can be read figuratively, and represent the thrill of achievement felt after a successful project.
Regardless, this is a very positive minor arcana card that calls for a celebration and channels the fire element of the suit of wands into an urge to move, dance, laugh, and be happy.
Additionally, as can be guessed from the two dancers on the card, this is not meant to be a lonely and personal celebration, but something to be shared with others.
Reversed Four of Wands and negative elements
When the four of wands is reversed during a tarot reading, it still refers to some kind of celebration or happy event, but usually carries a more sinister undertone. Bold and brazen like the flame, the celebration held by the reversed four of wands was usually started just a little too soon, and last minute plans and changes might sour (or even invalidate) the initial cause for celebration.
As such, this card also symbolizes arguments and overall discord, once the initial thrill of celebration has worn off and the aforementioned complications arise. On a more figurative level, this could also simply refer to a rather serious argument between people who are usually close, either in a romantic or a professional relationship.
Four of Wands and love
The message of joy and celebration conveyed by the four of Wands tarot card can also be found when the card is drawn in a spread for a love reading. In that case, the minor arcana probably refers to a cause for celebration within the relationship, either a wedding anniversary or any possible trigger for an important event for the couple.
If it is found right side up, this celebration should be full of enthusiasm and love, further strengthening the bonds between them. However, if the four of wands minor arcana is drawn reversed in a love tarot reading, it might hint at some painful argument triggered one way or another during the planned celebration. In that case, the tarot reading should hopefully provide some advice to salvage the situation and avoid making things worse.