The Suits & The Elements in Tarot

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The Minor Arcana is divided in 4 different suits. Every suit is connected to an element in nature, with different characteristics. Therefore, every suit expresses an area of our life:

  • CUPS / WATER This suit is all about relationships and feelings.
  • WANDS / FIRE This suit is all about work and the effort that we put into it.
  • PENTACLES / EARTH This suit is all about the physical and the material and is the result of our work.
  • SWORDS / AIR This suit is all about communication and thinking.

Cups/Water

The suit of cups is a representation of:

  • Feelings of happiness, joy, love, friendship - but also of sadness, boredom, remorse and regret.
  • Fantasies and imagination, wonders and hopes.
  • Relationships and how we relate to one another, but also how we affect one another.
  • Our relationships to groups of people and our reputation.
  • Family life in general and our relationships with friends and with other people in general.
  • The institutions in society that are represented by this suit are the media, the psychology, the psychiatry, the school system, the arts and also political life.

The Court Cards in the suit of Cups are an expression of how we are as persons in relationships: naive as the Page of Cups, learning or seeking alliances or partners as the Knight of Cups, understanding and nice as the Queen of Cups, or with the power to affect others in the good or the bad way as the King of Cups.

Wands/Fire

The suit of wands is a representation of:

  • Our ambitions, aspirations, creative power, inner strength and force that we use to make our life happen - but also stress, despair, frustration and work overload.
  • Our work life and how well we manage to use our inner strength and our inner resources to succed in work life and in business.
  • How well we manage to reach out goals in life, to go forth even when we meet competition and overcome obstacles.
  • The suit is about movement and expansion.
  • The institutions in society that are represented by this suit is the business sector and all sectors that involve projects, plans for the future.

The court cards in the suit often represent how well persons succeed in life and also how we behave in life. We can behave immature without thinking about the consequences like the Page of Wands, we might have a great need to succeed in life no matter the costs like the Knight of Wands, we might use our appearance and personality as the Queen of Wands, and eventually we've made it in the big way, like the King of Wands.

Pentacles/Earth

The suit of pentacles is a representation of:

  • The material world, like money, pleasures, seeking fun and buying things that we like and enjoy and medicine, and also our physical health.
  • The suit is all about having and not having, but also about generosity and chances to restart when we fail.
  • The work we actually do with our hands and also the know-how. While personality, struggle and inner determination is more important for the wand suit, the actual work and knowledge is here, in the suit of pentacles. In the pentacles suit we see and feel the results.
  • This suit is about building up material security. With it comes a good health and also a sense of stability.
  • The institutions in society represented by this suit is the banking system, the medical institutions, the police, city planning and building companies.

The court cards of the pentacle suit represent persons that know or not know how to deal with the material world. The Page of Pentacles might want easy money, not caring how he spends it, but the Knight of Pentacles might try to prove himself and really work hard, while the Queen of Pentacles might have learned how to make money, but she is too proud and spends too much. The King of Pentacles on the other hand has money, resources, planning ability, thinks about the future and he can also have some power in society.

Swords/Air

The suit of swords is a representation of:

  • Our ability to communicate in words and body language, and to think, to use knowledge and to not let us be affected by sentiments only.
  • It is the suit that has worst cards, because it is other people through their words and manipulative actions that hurt us the most. The suit is about betrayal, about sadness and mental stress, gossip, criminality, but also for the secret police and the juridical law.
  • It is also the suit of wars, strategic planning and cunning.

The personalities that we meet in the court cards are cold, bitter, angry of some reason or other. But they have different abilities to deal with it or to use it. They can appear pure evil and have a bad manner like the Page of Swords, they can use verbal quarrelling and gossip like the Knight of Swords, they can live alone and fight alone in life using their objectivity like the Queen of Swords, or they can be truly cunning and manipulative and act from the shadows like the King of Swords.

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