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Rachx  Rachx is offline
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Elements for Majors


Hi there,

I am having trouble assigning elements to the Majors that haven't got Liber T assignations. I know some Majors carry elements and in some cases two- for example Empress is both earth and water. How do I read this in a spread though? Do I use earth as one take and then read again using water ? This is what I do at the moment. Or do I choose one element over the other? What do you do?

Is it because there are no astrological assignations to some of the Majors and that the elements come from planetary influences ?

And....what do we do about the cards not assigned elements - like Chariot for example? Currently, I just go with the fact that because it's a major that hasn't been assigned, it will be friendly towards all suits! It is a bit dissatisfying however so I wondered how others dealt with this or if there was an assignation of elements to all of the Majors on here somewhere that I haven't found yet...
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I've been re-reading Elizabeth's Hazel's Tarot Decoded. She considers the planetary Major Arcana cards to be "free agents" that - while they have elemental associations through essential dignity (that is, sign rulership), she doesn't use it in interpretation, preferring to look at the divinatory meaning of a trump card as it interacts with its neighbors. I see her point but I think it overly complicates the picture for the purpose of the strengthening and weakening analysis. Besides, I can see no good reason why the Sun card (astrological Sun) shouldn't be Fire and the High Priestess (astrological Moon) shouldn't be Water.

For the twelve zodiacal trumps, I use the element of the associated sign (for example, the Chariot would be Cancer and therefore Water). I use the traditional rulerships to assign elements to the seven planetary trumps. For those planets that rule two signs, I select the sign and element that most typify the nature of the card (for the Empress, it would be Taurus and Earth; for the Tower, Aries and Fire; the Magician as Mercury is decidedly more Airy than Earthy; the World as Saturn is more of the nature of Earth than Air; the Wheel of Fortune seems to partake more of the capricious nature of Fire than of contemplative Water). There are also the planetary "humours" to consider: choleric (Fire, hot and dry), sanguine (Air, cool and dry); phlegmatic (Water, cool and moist) and melancholic (Earth, cold and dry). For the three primary elemental trumps, the Fool, the Hanged Man and Judgement, I use Air, Water and Fire respectively. I don't use the three modern planets in this system, so I'm not bothered about where to assign them.

That said, when the Golden Dawn starts talking about tweaking the dignity of the cards "according to their nature" and "for good or evil," it does become necessary to take divinatory meanings into consideration to some extent.

I'm attaching the table I use that captures the above considerations. Note that I'm working within the Golden Dawn system here and not trying to reinvent it. I did that in another thread, where I moved the sign and planet correspondences around.
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File Type: pdf Trump Card Elemental Assignments.pdf (28.1 KB, 26 views)
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Rachx  Rachx is offline
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Thanks Barley that's brill - I am going to us that for a while and see how it goes for me. I've been a bit frustrated with them behaving as free agents because as you say moon is so obviously water and sun, fire, so it has felt as though I have been missing a trick somewhere it was actually your Parsifal bow spread that really made me frustrated with Majors - not the spread but the Majors - the spread seems pretty good so far and I want to squeeze every drop out of a reading! Thanks again for your help xxx
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rachx View Post
Thanks Barley that's brill - I am going to us that for a while and see how it goes for me. I've been a bit frustrated with them behaving as free agents because as you say moon is so obviously water and sun, fire, so it has felt as though I have been missing a trick somewhere it was actually your Parsifal bow spread that really made me frustrated with Majors - not the spread but the Majors - the spread seems pretty good so far and I want to squeeze every drop out of a reading! Thanks again for your help xxx
Thanks, that's valuable feedback. I've mostly used the spread in public readings that are only 20 minutes long, so I haven't had enough time to stretch out into Elemental Dignities with it in a really structured way.
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Will let you know in that case
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Barleywine, you have done it again and put perfectly into words what I only felt was the "right" elementary association. I've been using the majors for years with the elements you assign to them, and thanks to you, now I know WHY :-)

(I love Hazel's book though, just finished it).
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nemia View Post
Barleywine, you have done it again and put perfectly into words what I only felt was the "right" elementary association. I've been using the majors for years with the elements you assign to them, and thanks to you, now I know WHY :-)

(I love Hazel's book though, just finished it).
I also love Hazel's book and am using it along with Liber Theta and Regardie's Liber T stuff for much of the background material for a presentation on Elemental Dignities that I'm giving next week. I think her approach to the planetary trump cards takes the analysis to another level, but I really prefer to keep everything on a level playing field. In truth, though, there may be something to the idea that a trump card emphatically "is what it is," and may not be much affected by the niceties of having "friendly" or "unfriendly" neighbors. I do like the notion of a mini "force field" or "power profile" (my own terms, not Hazel's) that emerges from the combination of three cards according to their elemental natures, so will continue to assign elements to the planetary trumps.
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Elements for Majors


Yes, and I think that if the trump is reversed they affect/will be affected more by the cards surrounding - so if surrounded by unfriendly elements and reversed - well that could really spell trouble!
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rachx View Post
Yes, and I think that if the trump is reversed they affect/will be affected more by the cards surrounding - so if surrounded by unfriendly elements and reversed - well that could really spell trouble!
That's an interesting thought. As far as I can tell, the concept of "ill-dignity" didn't take reversal into consideration, which is why many people see EDs as an alternative to reversals. But I prefer to use all of the tools in my interpretive toolbox, so reversal can work either for or against the elemental "signature" of a combination, "for good or evil." It can get complex (and subtle) very quickly, and I love it!
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