Thanks to LittleRedTarot for this course! This week I’m focusing on the suits, and the elements they represent.
Ace of Swords
Depicting an ouroboros wrapped around the hilt of a sword, against a dark background with two streaks of lightning striking. Swords connect with air, and with the mind and mental clarity; this strongly suggests a strike of inspiration, a new idea, a ‘lightbulb moment’. The light in the darkness also suggests a sudden new clear-sightedness, a flash of clarity to illuminate something previously confusing or shrouded. The sword held aloft is reminiscent of ‘fighting the good fight’, inspiring others, taking on battles for justice; perhaps it suggests a new cause or a call to action is presenting itself.
The ouroboros also gently suggests eternal renewal, the cyclical nature of things, that all beginnings are endings and vice versa; a reminder that no matter how illuminating this inspiration may be, you may follow the same cycle in future and will need (and have) another moment of inspiration to lead you out of as-yet-unforeseen problems! The ouroboros also connects this card, curiously, to the Wands suit, which uses snakes in this deck – making it clear that new intellectual inspiration relies on plans and creativity to drive it onwards.
Ace of Cups
A simple cup drawn against a subtlely-coloured snakeskin background; that snakeskin links (again) to the snakes of Wands, remembering that the energy of the Aces requires your input, it won’t just happen to you – your planning and creativity is needed. Cups I always find to be the simplest of the suits to understand; these are pure emotion, often love (in all its forms – romance, friendship, empathy, compassion, protection, desire, loss), and also reflect the emotional or spiritual side of ourselves – expressed through religion, art, spirituality, creativity.
The new beginnings of the Ace of Cups are gently muted here, as befits the start of an emotional journey – this isn’t yet fulfilment, or love, or whatever it is leading you towards. It can suggest a new emotional connection, a friend or a lover, the start of something beautiful and significant coming over the horizon, like the yellow light of the sun rising against the blue of the night sky. Cups being the suit most closely connected with water, the colours in this card also make it reminiscent of the fresh start after rain; the blue-grey clouds are fading away, the bright sun is slowly returning, and everything is damp and fresh and new.
Ace of Pentacles
This is the tiny seed at the heart of the enormous tree, that red-hot spark of life at the root. Pentacles are the suit of material tangible concrete things – sometimes money, but often home, work, craft, things we can do or touch with our hands. The Ace of Pentacles is the prosperous card of new ventures – perhaps a new job, even a dramatic career change; perhaps a new era for your domestic affairs. Just as the tiny seed quickly puts down deep secure roots, this is the moment to root yourself firmly in the earth, in reality, in preparation for what is to come. The many rings of the tree here are a reminder that this is no flash in the pan; what you are embarking on has the potential to be long-running, substantial, significant, and to branch out in new directions.
Ace of Wands
As befits the suit most closely connected with fire, this card – the most brightly-coloured of the Aces – has red-hot energy firing off in every direction, radiating from a flowering wand at the centre. This is a card of inspiration, of excitement, inviting you to reach out and take hold of the power that’s right in front of you; more visceral than the intellectual inspiration of the Ace of Swords, but more planned and creative than the emotional journey begun with the Ace of Cups. The enormous energy of this card has even forced the carefully carved and constrained wand (pictured) to burst into bloom; this is unstoppable creativity and enthusiasm, the kind that makes you fired up, burning to get on with it. Like the fertile abundance of spring, this card can feel like anything is possible, like you’re seeing a whole new world. Be bold, be courageous, be expansive.