Thursday, September 17, 2009
The suit of wands corresponds to the element of fire, so the court of wands consists of fiery personalities who rule the fiery realm of spirit and initiation. The Page usually ferries messages of a spiritual nature; in his role as a student, he might also offer a spiritual lesson. The Knight suggests a spiritual adventure or rescue. The Queen nurtures and protects the spiritual realm, and the King provides spiritual leadership and defence.
The suit of cups corresponds to the element of water, so the court of cups consists of watery personalities who concern themselves with the undercurrents of emotional life. The Page usually bears a message of an emotional nature; in his role as a student, he might also offer a lesson about understanding and controlling one’s emotions. The Knight suggests an emotional adventure or rescue. The Queen nurtures and protects the world of emotions and the King provides leadership and defence in the realm of emotions.
The suit of swords corresponds to the element of air, so the court of swords consists of heady personalities who rule the airy realm of intellect, thought and communication. The Page usually broadcasts messages of a thoughtful nature; in his role as a student, he might also offer a lesson in logic or communication. The Knight suggests an intellectual adventure or rescue. The Queen nurtures and protects the world of ideas, and the King provides intellectual leadership and defence.
The suit of pentacles corresponds to the element of earth, so the court of pentacles consists of grounded personalities who rule the physical world. The Page usually carries messages of a physical nature; in his role as a student, he might also offer a lesson about material reality. The Knight suggests a physical adventure or rescue. The Queen nurtures and protects the physical realm, and the King provides physical leadership and defence.
*** As a side note, the numbers on each card are important too. In the Minor Arcana, aces are viewed as beginnings, while five is about the middle of your journey and tens represent the end of something.
Pages are young and enthusiastic. They are students and messengers, children who must learn the fundamentals of the family rule. During the Renaissance, pages were like ferrying members of the royal court. It was their job to study - and to run errands, like ferrying messages from one person to another. When pages show up in a tarot reading, they typically represent young people, students and messengers.
Knights have outgrown their roles as childlike pages: now they are young adults who must make their own way in the world. Traditionally, when pages grew to the age of knighthood, they were tested: they were expected to embark on a quest, master a challenge, and demonstrate that they were not only strong enough and smart enough to succeed, but that they also could live up to the family’s heritage. Essentially, knights were rescuers and adventurers. When knights show up in a tarot reading, they may suggest that a new quest or adventure is about to begin, or that rescue is on its way.
Queens represent women who have proved themselves; they have faced their daemons and shown themselves to be mature and competent adults. Each queen symbolizes an ideal woman - a perfect wife, mother, or role model. The queens also embody the qualities we associate with femininity: they are compassionate, creative, receptive, empathic, and intuitive. They know how to exert their power behind the scenes, convincing - or cajoling - others to adapt their point of view. All told, the tarot’s queens can tap into their feminine qualities to safeguard, nurture, and protect their realms.
Kings are protectors, providers, and seasoned, experienced leaders, who succeed in he missions and quests they undertook as knights. They are skilled commanders who have proven themselves on the battlefield of life. And they are confident in the knowledge and wisdom they acquired during their quests. Kings are also stereotypical masculine: they are authoritarian, assertive, and alert. They can even be aggressive. They guard their kingdoms with passion and force, and they’re not afraid to make executive decisions. When kings show up in a reading, they may suggest that someone is willing to mount an aggressive defence or even wage war.
* Wands symbolize spiritual experience. Remember that wands correspond to clubs in a playing-card deck, where the three-leaf clover design is sometimes said to represent a holy trinity.
* Cups represents emotional affairs; like hearts in a deck of playing cards, they’re the very pictures of emotion.
* Swords illustrate thought and communication; they correspond to spades, which have a point to make.
* Pentacles embody physical, material, and financial realities; they correspond to diamonds, which are always worth money.
The Fiery Suit of Wands
Wands are the fiery cards of spirit and initiation, which typically refer to the driving forces of work, career, and special interests that inspire passion. In most tarot decks, wands look like freshly cut branches from leafy trees; that’s your cue that wands can be set on fire and burned. You might want to picture each wand as a flaming torch that can be used for light and heat, or enlightenment and inspiration.
Where there’s smoke, there’s fire: the wand cards can indicate that sparks are about to fly, that passions may be enflamed, and that an affair is about to heat up. Wand cards may suggest that someone is carrying a torch or burning with desire. Wand cards might even revel that an old issue will be rekindled, or that someone is playing with fire.
The Watery World of Cups
Cups hold the watery affairs of emotional life, and they’re especially well suited to issues of love and relationships. Obviously, a cup can hold water, the essence of life. For that matter, a cup can hold any liquid that has sentimental significance, such as wine or champagne. The connection to emotion is clear: We use cups to toast each other in celebration, to commune with others during religious ceremonies, and sometimes, we use cups to drown our sorrows. Because cup cards correspond to water, they serve as a reminder that the well of human emotion runs deep. Just as the human body is 75% water, the human psyche is driven by an overwhelming emotional combination of wants, needs, drives, and desires.
Don’t let the water metaphor slip through your fingers. Cup cards may indicate that emotions are welling up under the surface, or that still waters run deep. When cups are in play, a situation may be fluid, or on the rocks.
The Airy Suit of Swords
Because a sword moves through the air, the sword cards deal with the airy, heady realm of the intellect. They depict the way we think and communicate our ideas to others. The cards in the suit of swords should be near and dear to any serious writer. After all, swords cut through confusion, and they get straight to the point. They can pierce the veil of obscurity and pin down any concepts that seem unclear. The sword cards also demonstrate that language should be handled as a precision instrument. More often than not, the imagery of the sword cards demonstrate how words can be used as weapons of war. The sword cards also seem to depict the troubles we encounter when our ideas come into conflict with others, as well as the problems we impose on ourselves through negative thinking.
The imagery of the sword cards may suggest someone with a piercing glance, a rapacious wit, a sharp tongue, or a cutting remark. Elementally, swords could represent someone with his or her head in the clouds, an airhead, airy-faerie ideals, or someone who needs to come back to earth.
The Earthly Realm of Pentacles
Pentacle cards embody the tangible realities of physical and material life - the fundamental nature of earthly existence. They often represent money or property, as well as the treasures we hold dear on an emotional and spiritual level. In most tarot decks, pentacles look like coins with star-shaped designs. That pattern is symbolic of humanity’s physical nature: when you stand with your arms extended and your feet apart, someone could trace the shape of a five-pointed star around your body, with one point on the top of your head, and the other four points on your outstretched hands and feet.
The suit of pentacles deals with issues that are serious and real - like real estate. The pentacle cards often refer to people who are earthy and grounded. The cards might even hint at grave concerns that haunt those of us on the physical plane. The pentacle cards also embody the dimensions of time and space; in readings, the pentacle cards may strongly imply that time really is money what should be well spent.
0 - The Fool - The happy wanderer who sees the world through the eyes of a child. The Fool represents each of us - naïve travelers through life, off on a grand adventure, out to learn whatever experience the tarot can teach us.
1 - The Magician - The skilled and cunning master of all he surveys. He represents an individual in control of life’s tools and techniques, like those on the table in front of him. Typically, they include a cup, a sword, pentacle, and wand - the four symbols of the Minor Arcana.
2 - The High Priestess - The enigmatic keeper of spiritual secrets. Secretive and guarded, she knows the secrets life holds - but she shares them only with the wise.
3 - The Empress - The archetypal mother who nurtures and protects all of her creation, including humankind.
4 - The Emperor - The authorities protector and provider who rules the known world. A father figure, he brings order out of chaos so that civilization can prosper.
5 - The Hierophant - A symbol of traditional authority and influence. He’s the head of a hierarchy, determined to maintain his religious and cultural traditions.
6 - The Lovers - They embody the twin principles of opposition and attraction. While an appearance by this couple could encourage any hopeless romantic, the card also signifies a choice to be made between two equally strong desires.
7 - The Chariot - A vehicle for forward motion and change. The young charioteer is in command of his physical and emotional drives, even when they seem to oppose each other.
8 - Strength - The lovely lady with the heart of a lion. She gently holds the jaws of a powerful wild cat, patiently controlling a force that could otherwise eat her alive.
9 - The Hermit - A recluse, far removed from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. He reflects on spiritual concerns, and carries the light of wisdom as a beacon for others to follow.
10 - The Wheel of Fortune - The spinning wheel of destiny and fate. Because nothing is certain but change itself, the Wheel of Fortune reminds us all that what goes up must also come down.
11 - Justice - Both the giver and enforcer of laws. As the ultimate arbiter, she holds a two-edged sword - a reminder that fairness cuts both ways.
12 - The Hanged Man - He sacrifices his comfort and passions for a time, knowing that better things will occur as a result. He is the visionary who sacrifices one life to be rewarded with another.
13 - Death - The card of transition. Like the Grim Reaper, who clears away all that cannot survive, the card depicts the turning of a page, the completion of one chapter of life, and the exciting start of a new story..
14 - Temperance - The archangel of balance. With dexterity and grace, Temperance demonstrates that moderation can serve as a bridge to wholeness.
15 - The Devil - The dark and shadowy side of our existence. With tongue firmly in cheek, he demonstrates how a selfish devotion to material possessions and ill-conceived passions can tie us down and keep us from true happiness.
16 - The Tower - A forceful clearing of pent-up energy that strikes like lightening. It’s a bolt from the blue, and it can shake any overbuilt structure to its foundation.
17 - The Star - A shining light in the darkness. Like the Goddess of the night, she’s the blithe spirit who offers hope, inspiration, and guidance.
18 - The Moon - The ever-changing mirror of the sun, and a symbol of the unconscious mind. From its perch in the night sky, the moon represents secrets and mysteries that may not be understood - or even recognized.
19 - The Sun - A symbol of consciousness and action. It’s the center of the universe, and the source of heat, illumination, and life on earth.
20 - Judgement - This reveals all, heralds the dawn of a new world, and stands as a reminder of the power of forgiveness.
21 - The World - It depicts the never-ending, spiral dance of life. It’s a card of completion and success - as well as the chance to start another round.