The Four Elements in Tarot

The Four Elements in Tarot
Understanding Tarot Card Meanings and the Four Elements

There are literally hundreds of books on the market that focus on Tarot card meanings. While books such as these can be very helpful, the best approach to learning the various Tarot card meanings is to actually take the time to study the cards. Tarot card meanings are largely based on symbolic imagery. These symbols serve as a means to stimulate our intuition and help us tap into the unconscious parts of ourselves.

The Tarot deck is comprised of 22 major arcana cards, also known as the trumps, and 56 minor arcana cards. Similar to a regular deck of playing cards, the minor arcana is divided equally into four separate suits: wands, cups, swords, and pentacles. Each suit represents a particular energy and is associated to an element. Understanding the characteristics of each suit and their correlating element deepens one’s understanding of the various Tarot card meanings:

Wands: Element is Fire
Fertility, action, movement, spirituality, sexuality, power, career, advancement

Swords: Element is Air
Ideas, concepts, abstract thinking, intellectual pursuits, communication, rational thinking

Cups: Element is Water
Emotions, intuition, love, compassion, kindness, matters of the heart

Pentacles: Element is Earth
Possessions, security, manifestation, physical body, money, abundance, value system

Once you understand the basic concepts associated with each suit and its correlating element, you will intuitively start to understand how the various Tarot card meanings can be associated to the different aspects of your life. 

One method that has proven to be very effective for the beginning Tarot reader is to study one card a day until you are comfortable with all the imagery in your particular Tarot deck. During this process, it’s important that you not only develop your own Tarot card meanings for the cards, but also explore how these meanings and concepts apply to your own life.

© 2010 All Rights Reserved. Images of individual tarot cards are from the Aquatic Tarot Deck created by Andreas Schröter and are used with his permission. They are for example purposes only.


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