Elements of Self

When it comes to the Tarot, a lot of people are quite baffled by the court cards. The other cards seem a little more direct in their references. The usual method of interpreting the court cards, is to relate them to somebody in the life of the querent (the person getting the reading). With Insight Divination, the court cards are seen as aspects of the querent themselves. Although, there is a quote by W.S. Burroughs that goes something like, “You can learn the most about a person by how you act in their presence.” In these wry words a valuable lesson is lurking that combines both approaches.

To understand the workings of anything, it’s best to break things down into their basic elements, and in the case of the Tarot, that means the 4 elements- Fire, Water, Air and Earth. In my last article, I talked about the elements in relation to the suits:

Fire- Wands Passion/Will

Water- Cups Emotion

Air- Swords Intellect/Judgement

Earth- Pentacles/Coins Material world

Now, with the court cards, we have another set of correspondences to these elements:

Fire- Knights

Water- Queens

Air- Kings

Earth- Pages (sometimes referred to as Princess’)

With these two sets of correspondences, we can now make a 4×4 “grid” of the “elements of self”. Note that there is a specific order that I’ve used, starting with the most active element, fire, following through to the most stable, earth. This isn’t absolute, but, keeping things consistent can go a long way to help in understanding. Now, I would encourage you to lay out this grid and use it as a tool for study and reflection. Try to find parts of yourself that relate to each of the court cards. By looking at them in grid formation, it can allow you to see how each figure sits in each of the elements, and you can see the “full court” of each element. As an example from my own reflection, take the King of Swords, or “air of air”, this refers to the part of me that can over intellectualize things, but has keen insight into systems of logic, mathematics in particular. Your own reflection will differ from mine, each person has their own particular mix and variation, but keep in mind, the elements are all present, in some form or another, within everyone. Also remember, there are no “bad” cards, or good ones for that matter, each has a balance of strengths and weaknesses, and by understanding those strengths and weaknesses you may find it easier to move through life’s challenges.

Now, for my example, I picked a “male” figure, but the genders in the Tarot are symbolic and are not exclusive to either of the physical genders. It may be better to think in terms of masculine and feminine qualities, which, like the elements, are present in everybody, just in different variances. The other thing to point out is that I’ve used the elements as they are traditionally used in association with the Tarot, they are not absolutes, there are many variations in the interpretation of the elements, the important thing is to allow your intuition to guide you to that which resonates most deeply with your own spiritual path.

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