The four Elements provide your Tarot deck with a structure, a kind of glue that keeps all the separate and different components represented within the 78 Tarot cards together and working as a whole. By being aware of Elemental Dignities within your Tarot readings, you will be able to see the whole picture represented by your Tarot spread and symbolising the clients life.
I want to keep this tutorial as practical as possible but there a few things that need to be mentioned. Firstly, using the Elements within a Tarot reading is as much art as it is technique and secondly, don’t be too concerned with trying to work out the effects the Elements are having; much like learning the 78 Tarot cards, keep things simple.
When we learned the 78 Tarot cards, we first learned how to recognise the cards before we looked at applying two keywords. I will be following the same principles with this post. Stage one involves learning to recognise the Elements and stage two involves building upon that with one or two key concepts. With all that said, let’s look at stage one.
In the interest of keeping things simple, all I want you to recognise when you see a card is the Element itself. Here’s how to do that:
- The suit of Wands is Fire
- The suit of Cups is Water
- The suit of Swords is Air
- The suit of Disks is Earth
All 78 Tarot cards are associated with an Element, even the 22 picture cards. In case you are unsure what Element to apply to the picture cards I have provided a list below which should help.
- The Fool is the Element Air (or Spirit)
- The Magus is the Element Air (or Spirit)
- The Priestess is the Element Water
- The Empress is the Element Earth
- The Emperor is the Element Fire
- The Hierophant is the Element Earth
- The Lovers is the Element Air
- The Chariot is the Element Water
- Justice is the Element Air
- The Hermit is the Element Earth
- Fortune is the Element Fire
- Strength is the Element Fire
- The Hanged Man is the Element Water
- Death is the Element Water
- Temperance is the Element Fire
- The Devil is the Element Earth
- The Tower is the Element Fire
- The Star is the Element Air
- The Moon is the Element Water
- The Sun is the Element Fire
- Judgement is the Element Fire
- The World is the Element Earth
That’s all you need to practice for Stage One.
In this stage we will be applying a key concept to each of the Elements. Again, I am only going to mention one or two key concepts for the reasons I stated when we learned the 78 Tarot cards. I want you to avoid learning hundreds of keywords and concepts per card which will ultimately undermine your ability to do a successful and competent reading.
For the Element Fire, apply this concept:
Things are moving and things are changing. Fire represents change.
For the Element Water, apply this concept:
Things are not moving. Things are staying the same.
For the Element Air, apply this concept:
There are problems.
For the Element Earth, apply this concept:
Things are grounded. Things are stable.
Now, when you practice dealing out the cards, follow this structure:
- Start your practice session dealing out one card and instantly naming it and the two keywords you learned in a previous post
- Now, look at the card and try and fix into your mind what the Element associated with it would be
- Repeat this process until you can comfortably name the Elements that are associated with all 78 Tarot cards
- Deal out two cards and name their Elemental associations
- Finally, do a two card reading
- I will be covering how to use the Elements with two cards tomorrow but for the moment I’d like you to try and apply this technique to your two card readings by yourself
Tomorrow, we will look at different ways the Elements can help us read two cards together. We will also be adding to the key concepts that I have suggested for each of the Elements. If you have any questions or suggestions please leave a comment; are the posts too long or two short? Have I explained things clearly enough? I’d love to hear how you guys are getting on with this tutorial.
If you would like some additional information on how to use the four Elements within a Tarot reading then check out the following articles:
- A series of articles that explains how to read the Tarot using the four elements – Pick A Card, Any Card…
- Elemental Dignity Rules.
- Also, you might like to check out a few articles that I have already written on EDs: The Elements.
This post is part of the Beginners Tutorial To Reading Tarot Cards.