From the Tarot of the Old Path--the Four of Rods...
In the Four of Rods, we see a family scene, a child standing between his parents, and each family member is dressed in the colors reminiscent of fire, which represents the force of the True Will. The woman/mother is dressed in a medieval court dress with ermine trim, which signifies comfort and wealth, as does the well fortified family home shown off in the distance. She holds a besom/broom, the first of the four Rods, which symbolizes homemaking, sweeping things clear/clean, the union of male and female which gives birth to life, and the ancient power of Witchcraft. The father stands on the other side of the child, holding a two-pronged pitchfork, the second Rod, which is a symbol of industry, tilling the earth and bringing forth bounty, the two prongs symbolizing the Horned God, and the symbol of a male Witch. Between the parents stands the child, the two ash rods held by the child linking his father and mother to him, and sprouting leaves, which are not only symbolic of New Life, as is the child himself, but being Ash, also symbolize taking one's Power and creating through the force of the Will. Behind the woman's skirt is seen the head and shoulders of a tri-colored collie dog, symbolizing, in the language of animals, faithfulness to his family and they to each other.
The imagery of the card suggests the foundation of the family spirit (the number 4), wealth and prosperity (the elegant dress and well-appointed home) faithfulness and harmony (the collie, the facial expressions and closeness of the portrait), and personal empowerment (the tools, the fiery colors, and the individual meaning of each of the Rods). Altogether, a very powerful message for the beginning of the year--take your Power, but do it in harmony and love with your family, your community, your Craft, and your True Will. Go forth and prosper!
Blessings on this day,
Aisling the Bard