In spiritual apprenticeships, one of the things that a novice might commonly hear a teacher say is “whatever you thin you know now, whatever you think it is now…fine. But, wait until a year from now, when you come back to this position with a full cycle of experience, because what you’ll know then will be totally different than what you currently think you know.”

We come to understand who we are by studying each Element suit separately.

The Air or Sword Cards
Swords are connected to the East, the element of Air, the masculine energy, the season of Spring, the color yellow and white (predominantly yellow), the dawn, and the mental body. This suit will teach little self, i.e. the ego, how to deal with the mental body, about mind, about attitude, about point of view.

‘I think therefore I am,’ Descartes was known to say, which is about all we know of the mind, i.e. that as long as the mind is consciously thinking, we exist. When the mind no longer consciously thinks, we do not exist. So the air cards immediately communicate a fact to us, that if you are brain dead, you're not here. Your physical body can be here, your heart can be pumping, all of your other organs can be working, but if your brain is dead, you're gone.

Traditionally the swords show frustration, paranoia, fears and sorrows in life amplified in seven out of ten cards in this suit. These cards communicate something to us that we rarely stop to think about which is that when we over intellectualize we create drama. When we get so stuck in the mind that all we do is think or analyze every little detail, then we're going to get deeper and deeper into the melodrama that our minds create.

However, the process of thinking, and the intellect, is a great mode of operation because out of that process we've had wonderful advancements within our history. Through the mind, through conceptualizing, through theory, and through research, we dig and dig and dig, and try to pull things into our awareness so that we can prove or disprove, which makes the suit of the mind a very important aspect of life.

Through the mind cards of the tarot we learn to understand the mental body, how we think, that thoughts dictate attitude, attitudes dictate action, actions dictate life. Even though the mental body might be considered a non-active energy, it's very much an action, or a force, because it's a mechanization.

In the body are located twin flames, a female flame and a male flame. The male flame is considered the intellect, the mental body. So when referring to our masculine energy, we’re basically referring to the intellect, to the mental body, to rational mind, the conscious mind. Yet, in this there is a paradox because whenever the mental body or intellect is being referred to the subconscious mind is also being referred to. Subconscious and conscious is part of the mind, which is part of the mental body, which is of the masculine gender. We can't get into the subconscious mind unless we are willing to marry our male flame with our twin female flame.

When we've got the subconscious and we're working with the subconscious then our twin flames are working together.

The Fire or Wand Cards
Fire, ego, will-power, masculine supported by feminine, red, mid-day, south, Wands, and Ego versus Spirit.

Wands teach us how to deal with the ego, personal will, and power. In a very general perspective, Wands pertain to power, because they deal with ego, also with the aspects of life that might be political or commerce oriented, i.e. livelihood, career, work, the face that we show the outside world, conflict, success or failure, winning or losing, the games of life. The emphasis is placed on whether or not we are balanced within our power, or whether we give it away, or exert it over others.

The Water or Cup Cards
The water cards and the cups are a metaphor for the all-embracing, all-surrounding essence of love. Love like water takes the shape of the vessel that contains it. It is infinitely flexible, however, it can never be squeezed or compressed or coerced and any attempt to do so might mean that the tighter you try to hold on, especially in your hand, it only makes it disappear. So we have to hold the water, we have to hold the love gently so it remains with its life giving virtue.

The Cups teach the lesson of psychic return, the nostalgic or inner pilgrimage. Jung said that emotional progress toward maturity depends in part on a symbolic return to the children's land, to reactivate hidden memories. The lesson of Cups is about getting in touch with the fundamental passage or matters of the fundamental passage of the heart, the mystery of love, which is self-love. This passage or journey must start with self-love, if one doesn’t love self, how can they expect anybody else to truly love them back, and how can they expect to be able to love another individual?

There remains within the heart the faded memory of all love experiences we’ve had; each love relationship teaches us, to know and identify love more and more perfectly; to learn from our mistakes, to recognize the type of person who is worthy of our love, to know the qualities we require and deserve in relationship. In learning these things about self, wrong choices are eliminated, as are bad relationships, and such a pattern is then broken.

The Earth or Pentacle Cards
Pentacles are placed in the north. They represent Earth, the Feminine supported by Masculine, the physical body, winter, green, and midnight.

First of all, in a very general way, the Pentacles pertain to physical matter: property, or possessions, money, real estate, inheritances or gifts, our ability to have balance in the give and take process—understanding the giving and receiving of the natural law. Which means that understanding the natural law is to know that there is an increase in wealth and that it may not be in physical or material, but spiritual ways—it all depends on where are values are placed.

In traditional esoteric schools, we talk about the beauty way, existing and living in the beauty way. When you find the beauty in life, when you really move with the give and take, the ebb and the flow of life, then you create abundance around you and it's the abundance that serves you in a very balanced way. It doesn't create imbalance. Which is what the whole suit is all about, balance. Pentacles teach us that we don't have to be spiritual by giving anything up. Pentacles are perhaps the most powerful Element suit because they're the culmination of all the suits.

In summary, when we think in terms of the individual lessons in life, we can think in terms of always starting with our attitude in any given situation, getting clear on what our attitude is regarding every situation, then focusing on what our will power or desire might be, what's going on with our ego? What is it we think we deserve?

When little self engages and takes charge it's because ego thinks it deserves something it’s not getting. When this happens the emotions flare. Next we then want to evaluate our emotional state, what we are dealing with, how we are reacting, because remember emotions are a reaction. And then we must look at our physical state, at the balance or the culmination of mind, ego, and emotions, and how they have combined or integrated in our physical lives.

Swords, Wands and Cups deal with internal processes, while Pentacles represents those internal processes in the physical realm. Pentacles represent how well the lessons of Swords, Wands and Cups have been assimilated. Pentacles, as the holism of life, reveals the connection we have with Sacred Self, which reflects our ability to find Spirit, to connect with Spirit, and become a spiritual being in the physical world, in a balanced and harmonious way.

Author's Bio: 

Official Tarot Guide of Kisma entered the world of tarot at the age of 8, began formal studies at 16, and performed her first professional reading at 22. With over 40 years of tarot experience she is the creator of the Faery Wicca Tarot, and a world-wide acclaimed psychic and tarot master.

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