Tarot and the Air Element
I often think of the elements in Tarot connected with the elements inastrology, because it was in my investigation of astrology that I beganlearning about elements.“The four Elements and their corresponding Signs are Fire(Aries, Leo and Sagittarius), Earth (Taurus, Virgo andCapricorn), Air (Gemini, Libra and Aquarius) and Water(Cancer, Scorpio, and Pisces).” (1)Some of the associations for Air, from “Wicca for the Rest of Us” –Direction: East; Time: Sunrise; Season: Spring; Moon: Waxing; MajorAspect: Intelligence; Tools: Incense, Wand.“Air is the element of intellect, study, and book-learning, andtherefore of the sciences. It is also the element of youth,creativity, and spontaneity, and of communication andtravel.” (2)The Golden Dawn is one belief system to attributed swords to the element of Air, at least for ceremonialmagic, along with the color yellow. The Greek philosopher Diogenes Appoloniates from the late 5
century BCE, linked the element of Air with intelligence and the soul. (3)As Air is connected with intellect, people with lots of Air signs in their astrological charts will beanalytical, and skilled with abstraction. (4) Air signs are typically good communicators. Similarly, it makessense to expect a tarot reading with a large number of Air-related cards to indicate a certain degree of intellectualization, or perhaps the need for that sort of rational energy. Except there is more too it thanthat.Air is also sometimes linked to spirituality. (5) It connects the Water element (emotions andsubconscious) to the Earth Element (physical reality). (6) People who have done manifesting or prosperitywork will quickly recognize the commonly-held understanding that desires and emotions (Water-ruled/Cups) appear in physical form (Earth/Pentacles) by means of Air (thought/Swords), which leads toaction (Fire/Wands).Air can be linked to spring largely because of Plato’s philosophy. From Occult Advances website, emphasisadded:“Since fire is dry and warm, it corresponds to summer, water is cold and moist, it corresponds towinter,
air is hot and moist just like the spring
, whereas autumn is dry and colder thansummer...” (7)Following that analogy, if Air is like spring, then we would expect Air energy to bring fresh growth. Air isexpansive, after all, and spring is a time when the energy and life that surrounds us expands. The waxingmoon association strengthens the connection of Air to expansiveness.In addition to the suit of swords, major Air cards in the tarot include the Fool (Uranus), the Lovers(Gemini), Justice (Libra), and the Star (Aquarius). (8) Looking at the properties of these cards together,along with the other Air connections in various traditions, gives a nice overview the element of Air:
Air is thinking, fair, able to see all sides of the issue, unconventional perhaps, but hopeful
,like the astrological signs associated with Air (and the major Arcana cards as well).
Air carries with it the seeds, the beginning, of new growth.
Moisture and warmness, abundantin spring, produces the right conditions for new growth to appear. The conditions have to be