Well, I went ahead and bit the bullet, so to speak. I opened up a little shop on Etsy for tarot readings. It took quite a lot of back and forth on my part, debating whether I was ready or not. For better or worse, I feel ready, so here goes… Here’s hoping the odds are always in my favor. Meanwhile, I am going to continue with my installments of the cards. Except today I want to talk about the suits and how I see them. I should have probably written this from the beginning, before starting my card by card observations, but before I go any further, what better day than today to talk about the suits. See this, to know know what I am referring to with the card installments.
Before I delve in, I have to say that there are two big influences on these correspondences, or views, of mine. The first is the now-defunct Dawn Jackson’s Hedgewytchery method, and the second is Camelia Elias’s cunning method, more specifically her book Marseilles Tarot: Towards the Art of Reading. I did a review of the book not too long ago, I highly recommend it. What really made the suits sing for me, and tied everything together, was Dawn Jackson’s method. Unfortunately, her method as described on her site is no longer available because her site is no longer around. Her method is for playing cards. Before I get sidetracked, I want to talk about the suits. Also, I must add that I do not associate any astrological nor esoteric, Golden Dawn, correspondences to the suits, nor to the Trumps. This is plain old cartomancy reading style.
Coins: The coins exist in the realm of transactions, money and means. With money we acquire things, we transact, we exchange, we get to places. Money is kept close to you, in your pocket or purse. It is quick, think “Wall Street”, and it is electric. Hence, I view the coins as agile, astute, sharp. Mental prowess, and intellect, belongs to the coins, a quick mind, alert and clever, knows when to make a transaction that benefits. Coins are fire, cold calculated fire. And the season to which it belongs is Spring.
Cups: Cups are the slowest of the suits, and as the image alludes to, it is liquid, water. Herein falls family, friends and love. All things pertaining to the heart, to water, to the soft part of ourselves. It flows like water, and sometimes it takes time to reach its goal, to know what the heart wants. Cups are also celebratory in the sense that one drinks with cups, so I think of friendly gatherings, family reunions, dates, spending time with loved ones. Within the suit of cups one sees the progression of love in all its manifestations. This suit is about feeling. The season to which it belongs to is Summer.
Batons: These are about work and projects. Think of trees, they are cut for wood to make things, things that have been planned, to build houses, furniture, etc. Either to sell or for living, or both. As the wood originates from trees that grow tall and strong and reach the sky, batons are associated with air. These are quicker in movement than both cups and coins. Batons can also be used for defending oneself, but I generally give the suit of swords this task, of defending. These talk about work, work situations, work partners, possible plans, career growth and expansion. With the suit of batons, the way in which we move in the working world and our interactions are displayed. This suit is about doing. The season here is autumn.
Swords: This is the fastest of all the suits, quick and cutting. I think of swords as starting from mineral base, from the earth. We mine the minerals, refine and forge swords with them. With these forged weapons, we defend ourselves as well as conquer outside of ourselves. War. Generally, this suit displays the tribulations we traverse through life, tribulations that help us grow and that refine us further into a better person. This suit is about learning through hardship, pain, loss, and tears. The season here is winter.
I know this is a brief overview of how I see the suits, but this is the foundation. From here onward I read the suits as they interact with each other, and the Trumps.
As we enter the realm of swords, Winter, perhaps we should ask the cards to illustrate in what ways we have grown, for the better, through hardship?
2 thoughts on “Tuning in to the Suits”
Those are some odd elemental associations you have there for the suits. I’m more of a traditionalist myself, with Coins being Earth, Wands Fire, Cups Water, and Swords Air, but to each his (or her) own, I suppose. I wonder why you do it this way, though. Is it from that site you said is no longer around? The book? Or is this just the way it makes sense to you?
Well, these are outside of the traditional esoteric associations, like wands fire and swords air, etc. The esoteric associations just didn’t click with me. And after reading around I found that the traditional, “local” way of understanding the suits in the playing card context made more sense to me. When I sat and thought about it, sword is made of metals that come from earth and we use them to kill or defend ourselves. With batons, which is wood, we build things like houses, furniture, etc. We work with the batons. With coins we interact with others, bargain, exchange for good, mental alacrity and an astute wit belongs to the merchant. And cups well they are always about our watery self. The heart. What is close and dear. This is how playing cards are understand in certain parts, diamonds, spades, hearts, and clubs. These associations are logical to me, not esoteric. Camelia talks a little about this in the book, she didn’t delve too far in but it’s in general the same gist.