Legends: Spears and Swords, Elements


Yesterday, after having this deck for almost a year and convenienty "forgetting" that Spears are Air and Swords are Fire...the fact was pointed out to me...I'm still not sure how I managed not to notice this for so long.

Ok, major mental adjustment, no big deal...or so I thought until I did and spread and of course it had swords and wands in it and boggled me. One thing, a good thing, I guess, is needig to re-evaluate my interpretations and DM's, suddenly it doesn't seem so easy to just adopt a meaning. I've always thought myself pretty flexible and open minded and realized just how dogmatic I have become.

How does the different Element/suite arrangement effect your readings? How do you come to grips with it? What do you think of it?

What is so darn strange is...when I was shopping for my first deck I had it down to two, Morgan-Greer and Legends...and last night I remembered I didn't choose Legends at that time, because of the "switch" of the elements. So since I've been reading fairly well with it, have I also been just as fairly wrong?
I feel like I'm suddenly having a "reading" identity crisis.


I've had them come up in a few readings and they read the same, or have they? AHHHH moment :p Looking in the book and going OMG, the meanings seem to be the same as RWS are they not? Hmm, I'm feeling a little lost at sea now! Much thinking has to be done! Thanks for awakening me to the switch WW.
Reading and scribbling with a pencil is in order! But the adder as a page of swords for air fits more than a a hare for air. Hmm gonna quit rambling :p
Its a very subtle change, maybe Anna the creator is trying to fox us, keep us on our toes :p



Well, as you know, I have very little experience reading Tarot with any deck, and have only read Majors with this one. But as Sezo says, the meanings are pretty much RWS, so can we just ignore the elemental assignments Anna-Marie has given us? Its not like there's a right way and a wrong way to use a deck, just whatever works for the reader. And the suits still work as standard suits, Spears are still Spears, Swords are still Swords.

However, I do find this elemental assignment muddling, even just for studying the cards. I was struggling last night trying to connect the Court ranks to elements as well, e.g. "so the King of Spears is not Fire of Fire but Air of Air", etc. As you suggest Sezo, we can treat this an opportunity to learn to be more flexible...

WalesWoman, there's a little typo. in the thread title for the word "Swords" - I wonder if you could correct that for us? :)



sophie-david said:
But as Sezo says, the meanings are pretty much RWS, so can we just ignore the elemental assignments Anna-Marie has given us? Its not like there's a right way and a wrong way to use a deck, just whatever works for the reader. And the suits still work as standard suits, Spears are still Spears, Swords are still Swords.

It works as long as you aren't trying to look at the elements so see what "weighs" a reading...what is missing, what needs further clarification or bears looking at more deeply. Fire is the driving force of creation, Air is the mental motivation for taking action...it's a big difference and now I'm feeling like I don't know what the heck anymore...no big deal. It's not a new condition for me. So what is strange is how Anna-Marie can keep almost the same DM's as RWS...when changing the elements seems to completely change the whole character of these suites. Think about it.

How does this change the meaning of the 3 Spears and 3 Swords? Really if the elements are different from RWS version. How can Air become a creative reproductive force and Fire become a mental state of loss? Sorry, but I just don't get it and feel at a loss of how to resolve it, unless I totally disregard the whole thing about elements...but I was just getting the hang of them. Shoot Darn! So maybe I'm having a tempest in a teapot and it's no big deal...but I just am not understanding why she felt the need to turn this upside down.

I can't read for diddley right now.


Hows my theory?

Having pondered on this issue for a while (dont worry WW, I too balance readings with the elements!), I think I have come up with a theory for that has happened.
Bare with me.
I think, Anna-Marie has studied the cards, their meanings (RW) and the elements. Then, seeing the destructive/creative aspect of fire, has likened it to the cutting away, loss and so the room for more things to grow, to the symbol of the sword. So, we have Swords with Fire.
By default we have Wands with Air - and as far as I can see, with no real change to the DMs. The things I see that characterise Wands, beliefs, charm, the energy to keep projects running etc are still there, but with a slight emphasis on the thought process you go through to come to that.
The worst cards I think in the minors (though there are a few others!) are the 9 and 10 of Swords, although swords are fire, to me these cards in the deck are true to the RW meanings! Looking at the myth of the 10 of wands and the DM it still rings true to the usual RW.
So for my daily readings I will take particular care, but I think I will just read the cards the same, but carefully look at the Spear/Air idea, but I wouldn't go overboard. They seem to fit either way as Fire or Air for me :)




quick PS to that post which has JUST come to me...

Spears, are thrown, going through the air , links also to the idea of the energy and continuation of projects
Swords, is more face to face combat, needing the rage and heat of battle - so fire. Or, swords (and a possible reason for the sword in the stone myth) were held as magical objects to the Celts, and often the sword makers, blacksmiths etc were seen as the great magicians! Think like a celt now folks (blue paint, dodgy accents and greasy hair ;) ) They take a rock, and from that rock (or stone...) perform all sorts of crazy methods and processed and turn stone into a gorgeous and powerful sword! Course we know that the stone is a metal ore, which is heated, extracted and then shaped and pounded by the smithy, all the while needing fire! If water into wine was a miracle, try stone into a sword, with all sorts of designs embedded into the metal from the twisted and forming of the various bits of metal.
Swords seemed to have lost their luster and preciousness as smithys worked out you can make swords by adding layers of metal strips and bashing and heating them together. No pretty patterns and quicker to produce.
I saw this amazing documentary about it ages ago with my partner and we were both amazed.



Hi WalesWoman

I'm pretty much of a Tarot baby as far as being a reader goes, so I can only comment from my own naïveté. From what I have read, this assignment of the elements is a minority opinion, but by no means exclusive to Anna-Marie.

I am with you in ascribing Fire to Spears (wands), Air to Swords. But I guess its just a difference in the perception of a metaphor, not in meaning. For example, the Spirit of God is often imaged in tongues of flame and in the Anglican Church (Episcopalian) we use red hangings when celebrating days of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit represents creative energy, inspiration, and passion - I see it (her/him) as pretty much identical in attributes to Spears.

But the Hebrew and Greek words for this Spirit actually mean breath or wind. There is also a lot of imagery associated with the spirit as wind, "the Spirit of God hovered over the waters", the "breath of God", etc. Breath brings life and sustains life. The word "inspiration" means to breath in. The more energy we expend, the more we need to breathe. And passion generally brings faster heart rates and stronger respiration. Like fire, the wind can strike with violence and shake us up, it can also propel us forward or push us back.

In the metaphor of the spear itself, it could be a flaming spear, but a more natural image is of a spear airborne towards its target.

On the other hand, analytical, incisive, intellectual and combative Swords can sound like the cutting edge of the wind, the mind soaring high with bold ideas, the cool dispassionate voice of reason. But in these same concepts in fire could be alchemical, burning off the dross to achieve the truth or essence, fire as the great achievement of developing man as in the myth of Prometheus, fire melting metals to transform them into other forms or to temper or alloy them, fire as the destroyer and incubator (isn't it some forms of pine cones that will only open after a forest fire to release their seed?).

The sword itself slices through the air, but can also be a flaming or burning sword.

Imaging the RWS Three of Swords in Fire, we see how the blood red heart is burning in distress and consumed with loss. The Legend Three of Swords has red and yellow flame type images, but focuses on the emotional or watery loss experienced at the well.

In the RWS Three of Wands in Air, we see the airy expanse of the great expanding horizons. The Legend Three of Spears has a nice airy stable, but I don't really pick up much air imagery. But there is no fire image there that I can see. I notice that dogs seem to be associated with Kings in Legend and Anna-Marie has placed Kings in air also.

If you are going to continue to read with this deck, I guess you either have to adapt to Legend's elemental assumptions or ignore them as you have been doing. While not denying that I might learn something new from a different elemental approach, I think I will probably ignore her attributions when reading. I tend to treat these various Tarot issues from the point of view that I am the final arbiter in how I will use the cards. I bought them: they are now mine. }) The operation of my psyche is my sole responsibility and right, and I will not easily surrender the intuitive interpretation of imagery to others - I'm the one who has to live here.


LOL...like I said a tempest in a teapot. I'm certainly not going to stop reading with this deck...I just realized how resistant I am to change. If I had learned Tarot in the beginning with this deck, I'd probably think that Wands/Fire, Swords/Air was just plain ridiculous...LOL

But yes, fire tempers steel, burns out the impurtities and strengthens metal...and spears do fly through air...especially those 8's. That does help make this more meaningful. I know when I first even heard of elements, that I thought it a bit odd that fire and wood were together, guess my thoughts were too much fire and the wood is nothing but ash. So yeah, I just need some time to adjust and see things from another perspective...exercise my mental muscles for some greater flexibility.

Wait 'till next year when I have to decide if I'm having an 8 ...Strength or Justice year. Not to change the subject too much, but I'm having to get used to that difference too, since 8 is Justice in the Sacred Rose I just got last month. So far neither card has come up in any readings. Giving me a bit of a break I guess.

Thanks for doing some thinking for me and being so thought provoking. Sometimes...I'm blaming the Moon for the past few brain dead days...something like this hits me like a brick wall and I slammed right into this one. Excuse me while I go looking for Isolt of white hands and get some Tylenol.

Edited to add: I realized I made a typo, but unfortunately editing doesn't seem to edit the title of a thread, only the headings in it. But thanks for the heads up, David.


This was my second deck ever and the first deck that I was totally aware that there were elements tied to the suits. I found AT and learned that traditionally the wands/swords thing was the other way around. Upon getting other decks that are 'traditional'...I had little trouble with the switch.
Try re-reading the first page of the suits in the book.
Generally, for Legends, I look at the suits like this-
Pentacles - physical
Cups - emotional
Wands - spiritual
Swords - mental

When you put spiritual in there- it's a force unseen- like air.
the mental of swords is seen in the actions of a person, the fire that fuels thier passions and dictates thier actions.

Wands is Air (for reasons explained above) This is the suit of spring, when there is new growth (there's that creative or the traditional) spears being made of wood, need air to grow. Wands is still connected to the mind and thinking, but nore along the lines of instictive and intuitive- Spiritual

Swords is fire and if you look at the knight, you will see the fire. Fire is destructive, as is the sword (and other things mentioned above) the fire to temper the sword still hold that creative expression. But to temper that sword properly takes skill. Skill involves knowledge (mind) of the proper actions to make such a sword. Think about what the mind is doing while making a sword, constant observation and thinking about where the hammer whil strike next, how long the metal has to sit in the fire, keeping track of that time.....the mind is going full speed, and the actions as well.


I have to agree with Sophie-David on this that I'm the final decider in how I use the cards. I've been ignoring her suit changes as much as possible, since I couldn't make sense of them the way she has them.

I think when you make the change from wands to spears, the connection of wood to fire gets lost. The magic is that in the wood, there is fire. And in us, there is fire -- we are warm blooded. So the vital energy is fiery.

I have a few other decks that deviate from the usual associations, including the Nigel Jackson, the Haindl, and the Celtic Wisdom. The Jackson is like the Legends, the Haindl seems to simply have chosen the suits and correlations geographically (this suit will be India and that's East, this suit is Egypt, and that's South, etc.). The Celtic Wisdom is using a system that goes back to ancient texts on the division of Ireland. So it's not a magical, elemental system, so much as an historical one, so far as I can tell.

I find the suits a real problem in the Jackson and Haindl. I'm just learning the Celtic Wisdom, and it does mess with my internal spiritual geography to put the suits in different places than I'm used to, but I will give it a try, picturing the geography as Ireland.

I think flexibility is good, but so is tradition. It grounds me to have this geography of correspondences and directions. ( Although, lately I've been switching the water to East and air to the West, since where I live the ocean is to the East. This doesn't seem to mess things up as radically as changing the elements with the suits, though.)