The Absence of Fire

This is part five of a series of postings about adding zero cards to the minor arcana. The first post can be found here.

Zero of Wands and the Fool

As with the Zero of Swords, the Fool is the archetype for the Zero of Wands. The Fool can only leave on his epic voyage of discovery and learning by letting go of the attachments that could hinder him.  He must be clear of prejudicing thoughts (swords), emotions (cups) and the connections and commitments that he may have had (wands). Preconceptions and prejudices will interfere with his experiences, thus limiting his growth.

Fire versus Water; Cups versus Wands:

Wands are about fire and passion. They are about what we do. Fire and Water are both dynamic forces, both ever changing but in opposite directions and opposite pathways. They are both parts of the alchemical process; tools of change. Coins and Swords are the ingredients, while Wands (and Cups) represent the process. I’ll go back and re-examine Cups as agents of change later. For now, let’s focus on Wands.

Fire-driven alchemical processes:

Wands are a force for change, from their most restful (i.e. the Four of Wands) to the slow steady grind of the nine and ten or wands. There is no alchemy without the energy to drive the reactions.

The Zero of Wands reminds us of that you may not be ready or capable of change.

Pull out your SUN card(s). Consider how the energies of the SUN are a force for change. Now turn the cards over and imagine existence without the influence of the Sun. Not it’s inverted meaning, or the shadow of the Sun’s impact. Consider its’ utter absence of its power. That result is the Zero of Wands.


So what do you DO when the Zero of Wands shows up in a reading? It depends on where in the reading it appears. Most locations within a spread break down into who, what, where, when, why (and why not) as well as how and how many.

When asking “Who” and the zero is the answer, consider who has no passionate attachment to the question at hand. Who is a neutral player or unbiased observer?

When answering questions of “What” or involving questions/locations about actions to take/be performed: Consider that no passion is required or even allowed. The necessary action at hand should be viewed as dispassionately as possible. Emotional attachment ist verboten and should be avoided.

“Where”? Well, the zero cards here are very Zen when it comes to questions of where: Both nowhere and everywhere at once. They represent ‘the center,’ which is the soul of the querent or question at hand.

When asking about “when”: The zero of Wands can be both immediate in its impact and infinite in its patience. The zero is immediately present and unchanging.

In a location about motivation, purpose or influence (“why” questions), ask: “where has the fire gone?” The absence of fire means that there is no passion about the role played. Another source of motivation exists and should be considered (i.e. draw another card!) if needed. When dealing with the motivations of others, ask: “What’s their stake in the situation? Why are they involved? What might awaken the fire within them to get them involved?”

As for how many? … Again, it’s a zero card!

You must bring the fire needed to make things change; you are the torchbearer, the light-bringer.

Finally: a word about reversed card meanings. Not that I personally use reverse meanings, but for those that do: Reversed, the Zero of Wands could mean that the absence of inner fire is what the problem is; total ennui. Nothing left but ashes. The situation cannot be changed; what IS has already been forged by soul-fire and is now inert. However, inert does not mean useless! Inert elements slow and regulate other changes and that may be a good thing! They introduce stability and strength by their being unyielding and unchanging.

Well, that’s all four Minor Arcana!


6 thoughts on “The Absence of Fire”

  1. You really make it seem so easy with your presentation but I find this matter to be really something that I think I would never understand. It seems too complicated and extremely broad for me. I’m looking forward for your next post, I will try to get the hang of it!

  2. This is the right blog for anyone who wants to find out about this topic. You realize so much its almost hard to argue with you (not that I actually would want…HaHa). You definitely put a new spin on a topic thats been written about for years. Great stuff, just great!

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