The teachings found in the Element Cards, the minor arcana-Ace to 10 only-focus on the lessons experienced in mundane or every day life. These lessons are presented as a "spirit walk." As the spirit walk begins, we are standing at the foot of Tarot Holy Mountain. Each face or side of the mountain is connected to an aspect of ancestral wisdom and spiritual evolution.
We begin our spirit walk by climbing Tarot Holy Mountain one step at a time, learning to explore the four elements of our lives: mind, ego, emotions, and body. In the east we enter the landscape of the mind and meet the first holy element: air, represented by the Sword of Illumination. The suit of swords represents the Mind, the attitudes we hold in life. Emphasis is placed on learning to balance this masculine energy by centering it and begin "feeling" with the mind. The ancestral wisdom of air reminds us that life experiences, whether of a supportive or problematic nature, happen in pairs; if we can experience happiness, somewhere in our lives we will experience sadness; love-hate, success-failure, birth-death, gain-loss. By understanding this basic nature of life, we learn how not to "lose" our "heads" to any given situation, but remain calm and centered.
The second face of Tarot Holy Mountain is the lesson of fire/wands. Here we enter the landscape of ego- will power. Wands represents willpower/ego or little self, placing emphasis on the masks we wear and how we use our power. This suit teaches us the ancestral wisdom to be aware of our control issues, learning how to find balance between ego and Sacred Self, warning against using excessive control, as well as warning against surrendering personal power.
On the west-face of Tarot Holy Mountain we enter the landscape of the heart, connecting with the lesson of water/cups, which represents the emotional body. This feminine element is directed toward the heart center and relationships. The ancestral wisdom taught here is to learn to "think" with the heart, to achieve emotional balance, and move into sacred relationship with self-first before others.
Lastly, the fourth side of Tarot Holy Mountain is the suit of earth, the landscape of instinct-the body, containing the coin, or "Faery gold". The suit of pentacles embraces the lessons of the three other Elements by merging them in the ancestral wisdom of cycles. Here we learn the natural law of giving and receiving, moving into a mode of abundance, one based on nature rather than extreme materialism. Through the natural laws of this physical realm, issues surrounding prosperity and poverty consciousness are explored, and respect toward nature and our natural resources emphasized. We are reminded to get back in touch with the primal land.
To understand Tarot Holy Mountain better, let us look at it as if it were a wheel, one that is connected to the seasonal year. Using the compass or a circle divided into four parts, each part is connected to one of the cardinal directions: east-south-north-west. Each Element suit has a place on this wheel, in connection to a cardinal point of energy. In the East we have the element suit of air/swords; in the South we have fire/wands; the West is water/cups, and in the North is found earth/pentacles. Using correspondences with Tarot is very helpful because they give additional material to draw from when giving a reading.
For example: if you wanted to know what season an event might take place, the Ace of each suit could be used to determine the season, i.e. Swords would be spring, Wands-summer, Cups-autumn, and Pentacles -winter.
A predominance of fire/wands cards in a reading could give an indication as to something happening around mid-day, with air/swords cards indicating early morning, water/cups cards indicating evening, and earth/pentacles cards indicating nighttime. Correspondences add depth to a reading. They become food for the mind. They prompt deeper psychic attunement.
The system of Tarot is ideally a system designed for self-transformation. As already reviewed each side of Tarot Holy Mountain pertains to our basic life. We learn the lessons of each Element suit and deal with what's learned from our perspective of life, from "being there." In essence each suit represents an aspect of human relationship, whether with self, others, the planet, or Spirit.
The air/swords is a suit that has gotten a bum rap because it is presented as the more negative cards of the lesser secrets. This suit contains messages of danger, warnings, frustration, sorrow, depression, death, accidents, hostile forces, and setbacks. Yet, the swords contain a very important teaching, which is why they are the first suit of the Tarot. While they are what we might call our "wake up call," when an air card comes up it's because we're saying to ourselves, snap out of it. One is reminded that there is choice. One can either choose to experience the negative aspect of the card or look at options and make changes, thereby moving into a different direction.
The fire/wands deal with the basic understanding of power-willpower, ego-politics, aspects of commerce. The wands represent conflicts, personality conflicts, successes and failures, winning or losing. Basically the wands represent the games of life, the face we show to the world, the mask we wear, our pretenses, attitudes that we sometimes use to cover-up our own sense of insecurity or fear.
The suit of water/cups deals with the heart, emotions, about love and good feelings. Yet, sometimes cups will also highlight imbalance within our emotions, where we're sinking, where we're wallowing in self-pity. They also deal with relationship with self, relationships with other people, all the way from familiar relationships through romance through work relationships-children, romance, sex, love, marriage, and so on.
Earth/pentacles move into the physical, the possession aspect of life, money, inheritances, real estate, gifts, giving and receiving cycle, as well as our stinginess, and our sharing ability. Understanding whether we function in abundance or scarcity consciousness.
Learning to Spirit Walk with the Tarot promises great insight into WHO you really are.
Kisma K. Stepanich-Reidling 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. For more information visit: http://www.faeryfaith.org/marketplace/tarot