[In the Tarot] The suits [or the Minor Arcana] represent the four worldly paths to personal mastery through natural human qualities; these can be either weaknesses or strengths, depending on the card, the orientation of the card, and the other cards in a reading. The suits in the Tarot are analogous to the four suits in a playing card deck, but they contain one more card in the court cards, for a total of fourteen cards in each suit.
The suits each demonstrate one of the paths of the seeker, and shows a progression of understanding as the numbers increase, with lessons at each stage or number. Each suit represents a path or tool on the journey of personal evolution, and are seen as representative of the four elements of the Earth. The final fifth suit is the Major Arcana, which represents the path of mastery.
The suits of traditional tarot card decks are analogous to the classical elements, and this is how they are represented in The Tarot of Creativity:
Wands = FIRE
Swords = AIR
Cups = WATER
Pentacles = EARTH
In classical thought, the four elements earth, water, air, and fire frequently occur; sometimes including a fifth element or quintessence (after “quint” meaning “fifth”) called aether in ancient Greece and akasha in India. The concept of the five elements formed a basis of analysis in both Hinduism and Buddhism. In Hinduism, particularly in an esoteric context, the four states-of-matter describe matter, and a fifth element describes that which was beyond the material world. Similar lists existed in ancient China and Japan. In Buddhism the four great elements, to which two others are sometimes added, are not viewed as substances, but as categories of sensory experience.
The ancient Greek belief in five basic elements, these being earth, water, air, fire, and aether, dates from pre-Socratic times and persisted throughout the Middle Ages and into the Renaissance, deeply influencing European thought and culture. These five elements are sometimes associated with the five platonic solids.
Aristotle added a fifth element, aether, as the quintessence, reasoning that whereas fire, earth, air, and water were earthly and corruptible, since no changes had been perceived in the heavenly regions, the stars cannot be made out of any of the four elements but must be made of a different, unchangeable, heavenly substance.
~ Excerpt from The Tarot Key: Unlock the Secrets of Your Soul by Aliyah Marr
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The Tarot Key
Unlock the Secrets of Your Soul
Do it Yourself Tarot
The Fun, Easy Way to Learn to Read the Tarot
The Tarot of Creativity
Deck of 78 Cards