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I often think of the elements in Tarot connected with the elements in astrology, because it was in my investigation of astrology that I began learning about elements. “The four Elements and their corresponding Signs are Fire (Aries, Leo and Sagittarius), Earth (Taurus, Virgo and Capricorn), 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; Major Aspect: Intelligence; Tools: Incense, Wand. “Air is the element of intellect, study, and book-learning, and therefore of the sciences. It is also the element of youth, creativity, and spontaneity, and of communication and travel.” (2) The Golden Dawn is one belief system to attributed swords to the element of Air, at least for ceremonial magic, along with the color yellow. The Greek philosopher Diogenes Appoloniates from the late 5th 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 be analytical, and skilled with abstraction. (4) Air signs are typically good communicators. Similarly, it makes sense 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 than that. Air is also sometimes linked to spirituality. (5) It connects the Water element (emotions and subconscious) to the Earth Element (physical reality). (6) People who have done manifesting or prosperity work will quickly recognize the commonly-held understanding that desires and emotions (Waterruled/Cups) appear in physical form (Earth/Pentacles) by means of Air (thought/Swords), which leads to action (Fire/Wands). Air can be linked to spring largely because of Plato’s philosophy. From Occult Advances website, emphasis added: “Since fire is dry and warm, it corresponds to summer, water is cold and moist, it corresponds to winter, air is hot and moist just like the spring, whereas autumn is dry and colder than summer...” (7) Following that analogy, if Air is like spring, then we would expect Air energy to bring fresh growth. Air is expansive, after all, and spring is a time when the energy and life that surrounds us expands. The waxing moon 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, abundant in spring, produces the right conditions for new growth to appear. The conditions have to be
right in people before new growth can appear, too. There has to be a fertile ground for new ideas. Thinking is occurring, a weighing of options and beliefs.
Air expands. Air brings conscious thought to an issue, and therefore brings a greater understanding, which enhances spiritual wellbeing. Spirituality at it’s heart seems to be that expansiveness, in many ways. Air changes. As an active and expansive element, Air is not full of stagnant energy. Air catches the cycle in process of the changes, where thoughts are being weighed and reality, defined. The swords can cut through the confusion, the mental underbrush, and free you (like Uranus energy) from that which is not fundamentally yours, that which does not serve. Air is not just intellectualization. Air is not just thinking. While water is more closely associated with feeling, you determine the direction of the feeling by the thinking, much like the wind powers the waves. Like the Tarot’s Fol, Air energy brings with it the faith to begin a journey without knowing the destination, along with the hope of something more, like you get from the Star.
Considering the various associations, I would assume that a Tarot reading packed with Air elemental symbols to indicate a time of considerable change, being driven by a weighing of the facts and/or feelings. There may be struggle involved or not, but the querent would seem likely be in the process of actively working through the status quo to a new place. Perhaps part of the questioner’s life is under revision. But regardless of how you read it, an understanding of some of the associations with the Element of Air will enrich the ability to find the messages the cards have to share. Courtesy Tarot Chick Dixie Vogel; see more at www.afoolsjourney.com. 1. Astrology.Com – About Astrology: The Elements http://www.astrology.com/aboutastrology/interpreting/elements/ 2. Wicca for the Rest of Us – The Elements http://wicca.timerift.net/elements.shtml 3. Wikipedia – The Element of Air http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Air_(classical_element) 4. The Starkeepers – Elements and Astrology http://www.thestarkeepers.com/poems/AirElement.html 5. About.com Holistic Healing – 4 Basic Elements: Air http://healing.about.com/od/air/Four_Basic_Elements_Air.htm 6. Astroddessy.com – The Art of the 4 Elements http://www.astrodyssee.com/gb/element.htm 7. Occult Advances - Elemental Magic: Fire - Water - Earth - Air/Wind: Correspondences Chart http://occult-advances.org/elements.shtml 8. Super Tarot – How to master the Tarot Cards http://www.supertarot.co.uk/lessons/01basic.htm