What principles are represented in the 4 Suits of Tarot cards?
The Court and Number Tarot cards correspond to four Suits. These are: Wands, Cups, Swords and Pentacles. Wands correspond to the element of Fire, Cups – to the element of Water, Swords – to the element of Air, Pentacles – to the element of Earth.
The fiery principle corresponds to a motivational impulse, stimulus, desire. It is expressed in expansion, manifestation of their will and resistance to pressure from the external environment. This is often the brightness, expressiveness of the demonstration. In addition, it shows the focus on one’s desires (this is most noticeable in the Court cards). This Suit has to do with social processes and group dynamics. The world of the Suit of Wands is perceived as a material stimulus: an object of desire, a rival subject, or a temporarily suppressive environment.
According to similar principles and properties of the Suit of Wands, the Major Arcana will be related in the following way:
“The Chariot” and “Strength” – as expansion and resistance to the environment;
“The Fool” – as an optimistic openness to the diversity of the world;
“The Magician” – as a manifestation of his will and demonstrativeness; as well as
“The Sun” – as self-centeredness.
In the old days, this Suit of Wands correlated with the noble class. Now it describes well the social life and the existence of a public person.
The water principle of the Suit here corresponds to emotions and feelings, as more prolonged, permanent or deeper experiences. This is an intuitive-sensory perception of the world through their experiences and sensations. Cups are often related to love, romantic relationships, and also to friendship emotionally close relationships, to creativity and fantasies. The world perceived through the Cups is far from reality. These are pleasant or, conversely, frightening fantasies, full of experiences.
According to similar principles and properties of the Suit of Cups, the Major Arcana will be related in the following way:
“Temperance” – as a purely introverted experience;
“The Moon” – as a wandering in the unconscious;
“Devil” – as a trap of illusions;
“The High Priestess” – in part, it will be close to the feminine principles of this Tarot card as an intuitive perception of the world (she can live close to the Cups, but also to the Swords);
“The Empress” – as her private, accepting, empathic hypostasis.
The Suit of Cups has used to show the perception of the world of clergy or women, and now it represents creative people and idle housewives.
The principle of the element of Air in this case is expressed as an intellectual beginning, cognitive development, consciousness and awareness. It is also the expression of rules, instructions and order. As a result, the Suit of Swords becomes a reflection of the worldview itself, of a person’s ideas about the world, existing according to certain rules and in accordance with some order that he understands.
According to similar principles and properties of the Suit of Swords, the Major Arcana will be related in the following way:
“Justice” – as there are functions of both assessment and verdict, definition;
“The Emperor” and “The Hierophant” – as definite sums of instructions and ordered systems (it will be related to the masculine or patriarchal part of these cards);
“The Hermit” – as a search for internal rules;
“The Star” is also close to this Suit, with its idealism and principles.
The Suit of Swords was associated with the knightly estate, now it is also the usual Suit of the military, the rest of the “people in uniform” belonging to functional subcultures, and, in addition, to lawyers and principled officials (the corrupt ones will already belong to the Pentacles, therefore they are more often found in them combination of these two Suits).
The principle of the elements of the Earth is reflected here as finding, processing, spending or accumulating resources. It is the only Suit that can be related to immediate, experiential experience and unconditional reality. Its positions cannot be motivated differently (as in the Wands) or overestimated (as in the Cups or Swords). It is a given, purely material and insensitive to ideas and relationships. A characteristic attitude towards life, transmitted through the Suit of Pentacles, will be a purely earthly, realistic and practical outlook on life.
According to similar principles and properties of the Suit of Pentacles, the Major Arcana will be related in the following way:
“The Empress” – in her generative, earthly hypostasis;
“Death” – with its final given of the finale;
“Tower” with its certainty.
The Suit of Pentacles was associated with the peasant class under the old order.