Alchemical Study Group - Ace of Staffs


A burning staff is in the midst of its element, fire. It stands with a living leaf, suggesting the club suit of modern playing cards. At the base of the staff is the mythical animal of fire, the salamander.

The salamander is an interesting creature in world mythology and folklore. Real salamanders are small, lizard-like amphibians that live in moist places. The mythical salamander was, in ancient times, believed to be poisonous and be able survive fire. Pliny said that the salamander "seeks the hottest fire to breed in, but quenches it with the extreme frigidity of its body." In alchemy, the salamander was one symbol of the prima materia. In the alchemical process, it plays the role of helping the substance under transformation give up its secret fire, which will help the philosopher's stone claim its final power, as this alchemical verse describes:

[The Salamander] is caught and pierced
So that it dies and yields up its life with its blood.
But this, too, happens for its good;
For from its blood it wins immortal life,
And then death has no more power over it.

In the Ace of Staffs, a card of beginnings, the salamander signifies primal energies and transformative powers.

Tarot wisdom: You are experiencing the beginning or birth of something that will require a lot of energy, like a new job, a new project or a new relationship. Even though it requires energy, it gives energy back to you in reward.


Great stuff thanks.



I love how all the Aces in this deck also have the symbol from the playing card suit, in this case the leaf in the shape of the club symbol.

This card is just bursting with energy, I feel like I've had a boost of energy just looking at it. I love the idea of beginning something new that will use up energy, but will give energy back in return. Often we start a new project and work and work and end up exhausted, often realising that our heart really wasn't in what we were doing. This card is exciting because it perhaps suggests that the project (or whatever you are starting) is something that will provide it's own reward simply through the experience of doing it. When we do what we love we often do feel very energised by the experience.

So the Salamander can, in transforming, help elicit the secret by beginning work or something we feel connected to, we can be transformed ourselves perhaps?


I really like your interpretation of this card Sapienza.

It's amazing that the little leaf can survive all that fire... but it does.


One of the things I love best about this deck is its inclusion of animals and mythological creatures.

The Ace of Staffs truly conveys the Vigor and Passion of personal favorite versions of the card, like that in the Thoth. It's so Activating and Inspiring...makes me want to get up and go!


A single Staff grows from the hottest fire, for the Salamander seeks the most hot fire to bring forth its offspring. The top of the staff com-busts in a flame illuminating the scene. The Salamander is a new passion or a value judgment that must be made. Without going through the alchemical fire of following these passions and making these value judgments and observing the outcome no discrimination is developed. This ability to determine the way is the fiery crown on the head of VIII-Justice and the crown of the Ace of Staffs.