The laurel wreath has been made famous by the Ancient Greeks and the Romans, and the god Apollo. Apollo was the god of triumph, accomplishment, and status – everything that the Romans truly respected. Apollo wore a laurel wreath on his head in most depictions, and thus is became customary to honor returning warriors and those of stature a laurel wreath, that they could be recognized for their achievements. This recognition is at the heart of the Six of Wands.
On the Six of Wands card we see a large white horse, covered in a celebratory yellow garb. On that horse is a man, staring out over a crowd. The crowd is cheering this man in celebration of a recent victory – they hoist of their wands/staffs in recognition. The man wears a wreath on his head and on his own wand/staff – a sign that he is indeed the successful one. You can easily imagine this man parading into town after a huge victory in battle.
The main focus of this card is on success and winning. The man on the horse evidently deserves the praise he is getting – he has conquered something mighty, whether it be another kingdom through war, or a neighboring kingdom through peaceful negotiation. Whatever the reason, the man is being celebrated for his triumphs. When you see this card, you know that it is time you receive some well-deserved praise for your hard work. This praise, while it can be public, can also be a private thing – self-praise is just as important as praise from others!
Another big factor of this card is acknowledgment – being able to recognize your own successes, and the successes of others. It can be hard to look at triumph objectively, as we always want to do more, go bigger, and attain more as soon as we've reached a milestone. This card is saying that it's time to stop and acknowledge all that you have done thus far.
Lastly, this card speaks of pride – the feeling of being proud in yourself and in others. Pride is something we are often taught to be afraid of in our modern society, so we often don't let ourselves experience enough of it... even when we accomplish great things. It's one thing to be humble, but it's another to never recognize your own achievements. This card could be telling you to let yourself feel some pride for what you've done thus far. This card also potentially speaks of arrogance – pride taken a few steps too far. Be sure to keep your pride in check and in balance, and all will go well.
Here are a few questions to ask yourself when drawing then Six of Wands. How do you feel about success? When was the last time you patted yourself on the back? Do you feel as if you deserve acknowledgment? Are you afraid of becoming arrogant? How can you balance your self-esteem and pride in your life?
The Six of Wands shares a triumphant, successful nature with several other cards in the tarot deck – the Chariot is one of them. The Chariot is all about the forces that we bring together in our lives, in order to peacefully dwell in the same space... something that is obviously notable, and something that the chariot driver has pride in. The Nine of Cups also displays the joy that comes from great success – the cups that he is surrounded by may or may not have been hard one, but he feels pride in them all the same.