When Etteilla gathered his meanings for the tarot cards in the streets of 18th century Paris, he found that the common delineation of the Two of Wands was one of sorrow, sadness, dark thoughts, displeasure, and unexpected events. The Golden Dawn changed Etteilla’s attributions for the Two of Wands to one of dominion, boldness and mastery.
Recently a teacher shared with me a reading in which Etteilla’s meaning of the Two of Wands seemed more appropriate. This teacher was working part-time but was offered a regular job teaching kindergarten, a grade he had not previously taught. The job offer included training which would take place in a different city. He did a 3-card spread to ask how his first day in the kindergarten would go and got:
Emperor – 6 of Cups – Moon
The Emperor made sense, since as teacher he would be the ‘ruler’ of his classroom. The children he would teach were shown by the happy kids in the Six of Cups. The Moon was puzzling but suggested that something was not as it seemed with the job offer.
He drew a clarification card for the Moon and got the Two of Wands, which left him still a bit puzzled. When he arrived at the job on the first day of work, he was told that the promised teacher training in the other city had been postponed or perhaps cancelled. This was sad news because he was looking forward to improving his skills to teach a grade he had not taught before. So here the Two of Wands seemed to imply unexpected sad news or sorrow, as Etteilla had suggested. A.E. Waite borrowed from Etteilla when he delineated the Two of Wands as “the sadness of Alexander amidst the grandeur of this world’s wealth.”