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Elements & Suits

Thread originally posted on the Aeclectic Tarot Forum on 12 Nov 2001, and now archived in the Forum Library.

Kaz  12 Nov 2001 
This question popped in my head because of the thread about decks swapping air/fire in the tarot decks forum, but it belongs here I guess.

What do the elements mean to you and what suit fits with that?

Fire means to me the spark of life which can grow, fire is the fuel of life.
I see that in Wands, they look like growing.

Air means to me the breath of life, air is how you view life.
I see that in Swords, they have two edges just as a view can have both sides.

These are just my thinkings, I am curious about yours....


nexyjo  12 Nov 2001 
the first thing i realized when comparing decks that use non-traditional correspondances, is that the meanings of the cards stay the same, regardless of the element/suit correspondance. so the whole thing is kinda confusing.

anyway, here's my take.
air - for me, it works with either swords or wands. the relationship to me is close enough where they can be considered interchangable. air relates to the intellect, communication, the mind as it operates in our society. in many wiccan traditions, wands are used to represent air, so that's probibly how some newer tarot decks became involved with that association. since a wand is used to communicate our intent - it's a medium for energy, and not the energy itself, it can be considered a conduit, so i see that as an air quality.

fire - creativity, transformation, passion, energy, action. i see the sword as fire, as it represents change. a sword changes life into death, or in a smaller form, a knife or athame, it can carve a block of wood into art - representing not only change, but also art and passion, along with action.

to me, air is a medium - it vibrates to transfer sound from one place to another. it's the medium through which the fire, or passion, or message, is propogated. fire is the "message", the action, the change, which travels through the medium, or air.

just my take on it...

luv and light,

faunabay  12 Nov 2001 
I'm like you Kaz. I read what others write then make up my own mind. Wands/fire, swords/air seems to make more sense to me.
Wands/batons made out of wood - wood burns. Swords cut and swing through the air.
Then I begin thinking of the opposite meaning and I can make sense of the swords being fire but can't really see the wands as air. Sword cuts - burning like fire. The essense of life or death is pretty fire oriented also.
But I just can't see the wands as air. I understand nexyjo's reference but don't connect with it myself.
So I like to stick with wands/fire swords/air. It's easier for me to grasp. I'd be interested to see if anyone likes the opposite meanings better - and hear their reasoning. I'm always open to new ideas. But for now I'm sticking with what means the most to me personally. 

catlin  13 Nov 2001 

I also stick to the swords: air and wands: fire interpretation.

Swords are sharp, biting, poignand like intellectuals can be.

Wands remind me of consumation (wood nourishes fire) but also of flourishing (especially when the wands are with buds like in the Hanson-Roberts deck). There is even a hint of creativity in them (remember what children can do with some sticks).

There is one book of Hajo Banzhaf, one of the German tarot "popes" which deals only with the relation of tarot and elements but I do not know if this one is translated in English. 

Melvis  13 Nov 2001 
Like Faunabay, I can see the Swords as air or fire. But Swords as air seems to resonate with me more.

Kaz, I like your point about there being two edges to a sword. When I think of Swords and the intellect, the phrase, "biting wit" always comes to mind. ;)

Also, even though there can be action and movement to a sword, the decision to use the sword must be generated by the person's mind.

Wands as fire makes me think of a fire growing and racing across a landscape. I don't see a destructive fire, but rejuvenating fire that leaves newly opened buds of new life behind it.



The Elements & Suits thread was originally posted on 12 Nov 2001 in the Using Tarot Cards board, and is now archived in the Forum Library. Read the active threads in Using Tarot Cards, or read more archived threads.


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