by Arthur Edward Waite, originally published 1910.
The figure leans upon his staff and has an expectant look, as if awaiting an enemy. Behind are eight other staves—erect, in orderly disposition, like a palisade.
The card signifies strength in opposition. If attacked, the person will meet an onslaught boldly; and his build shews, that he may prove a formidable antagonist. With this main significance there are all its possible adjuncts—delay, suspension, adjournment.
Obstacles, adversity, calamity.
by S. L. MacGregor Mathers, originally published 1888.
Order, Discipline, Good Arrangement, Disposition.
Obstacles, Crosses, Delay, Displeasure.
by A. E. Thierens, originally published 1930.
Obstacle, delay, suspense, adversity, slowness, contrariety, calamity, misfortune, renvoy, trouble.
The element of Air on the Ninth house, which is opposite to that in which the particular accent of the suit of wands lies: Gemini, the third. This opposition evidently has been the chief motive for the qualifications given in respect of this card in the past.
There is a good deal in it, but not everything. Of course, if the third house is the typical expression of the ‘message,’ the Sagittarian is the type of the man “who is always in the opposition,” but he is more. He is also … himself. This card seems to be queerly veiled. It is at least strange to find only malific expressions of the co-ordination of the element Air and the principle of mind with the house of Sagittarius, the thinker. This looks as if the patrons of the Tarot system did not think it wise to tell much about this sign of the prophets to the fortune-telling gypsies. How this may be does not concern us any further.
Evidently the card must have to do with prophecy, fortune-telling, teaching, conducting, guiding and the persons of guides, teachers, masters; it must give the notion of travelling and far-reaching schemes, the faculty of speaking foreign languages and of writing, but it is true, that the persons indicated by this card find their “strength in opposition”—as W. has it—and very often therefore are in search of some convenient opponent or opposing force.
It means intellectual chasing, sport, hunting, journalism and the raising of spirits, that are not easily to be got rid of afterwards. The latter fact accounts for all that has been said about obstacles, etc.
Teaching, instruction, guidance, teachers, masters, guides. Planning, travelling, sport; journalism, editors and journalists, public lecturers, orators; prophecy and predicting.
On the other hand there may be unruliness, waywardness and unpractical idealism. It is certain that, where this card appears, much controversy, contradiction, antagonism, mental strife, etc., will be aroused, sometimes more than would appear necessary.
There is also in it extension of thought, spreading of news, rumours, preaching, excitement of the people and revolution.