Tarot: Elements

The fantasy piece I’m currently working on is deeply seeped in the elements. Angela Wallace’s Elemental Magic post last week made me realize I never did cover the elements during my Using Tarot in Writing series.

So, let’s call this an addendum to my series :)

You may want to catch up on the earlier installments before continuing with this one.
Part one, Introduction
Part two, Plotting and Brainstorming
Part three, Character Circle
Part four, Character Creation
Part five, The Hero’s Journey
Part six, Creating a World
Part seven, Tarot 101


  • Active
  • Masculine energy
  • Spontaneous, Inspired, Enthusiastic, Outgoing, Passionate, Visionary, Dramatic, Instinctual, and Self-centered
  • Tarot: The spiritual experience, the driving force behind work and passions
  • Suit: Wands (wood burns) in a Tarot deck (Clubs in a regular deck)
  • Court Cards: King = Father
  • Trumps: Emperor, Wheel of Fortune, Strength, Temperance, Tower, Sun, and Judgment
  • Signs: Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius
  • Colors: red and orange
  • Direction: South
  • Fire can bring about new life or destroy the old
  • Fire and Water: Fire can show Water how to be in the moment. At its worse, it’s a hapless situation, Water often dousing Fire.
  • Fire and Earth: Fire can make Earth feel needed. At its worse, Fire can become frustrated with slow-moving Earth.
  • Fire and Air: Fire helps Air from being all talk. These two always astonish each other.
  • Fire and Fire: A fantastic adventure as long as they don’t burn each other out. At its worse, Fire’s temperament will turn into a struggle for dominance.
  • Fire trusts in life’s journey, is often a catalyst, and is able to bring out spontaneity in others. Fire often acts on gut feelings. Fire’s lust for life is contagious, spreading to those around them, but it’s equally important for Fire to have a cheerleader. Fire is often stubborn but if Fire is open to what the other Elements can teach then Fire is as nourishing as sunshine.


  • Passive
  • Feminine energy
  • Intuitive, Emotional, Imaginative, Nurturing, Dreamy, and Secretive
  • Tarot: Emotional affairs, well suited to love and relationships
  • Suit: Cups or Chalices in a Tarot deck (Hearts in a regular deck)
  • Court Cards: Queen = Mother
  • Trumps: High Priestess, Chariot, Hanged Man, Death, and Moon
  • Signs: Cancer, Scorpio, and Pisces
  • Colors: blue
  • Direction: West
  • Water can heal and purify
  • Water and Earth: Water opens Earth to deeper emotions. These two have a satisfying romantic relationship.
  • Water and Fire: Water can add emotion Fire’s passion. At its worse, Fire is like an annoying alarm clock.
  • Water and Air: Water helps Air make deeper emotional connections and Air helps Water put their feelings into words. These two are a strong motivating force.
  • Water and Water: Acutely understanding of each other. At its worse, Water can lose a sense of boundaries, and self.
  • Water is slow to trust, can border on psychic, and is ruled by their intense feelings. Water often pads everyday life with emotional meaning. Water can be quickly shaped by their relationships and needs alone time to stay true to themselves.


  • Active
  • Masculine energy
  • Analytical, Curious, Thinking, Intellectual, Social, and Detached
  • Tarot: Thought and communication (swords and spades “have a point to make”)
  • Suit: Swords (swords cut through the air) in a Tarot deck (Spades in a regular deck)
  • Court Cards: Prince (Knight) = Son
  • Trumps: Fool, Magician, Lovers, Justice, and Star
  • Signs: Gemini, Libra, and Aquarius
  • Colors: yellow and white
  • Direction: East
  • Air is the breath of life, it blows away strife and carries positive thoughts
  • Air and Earth: Air can be liberating for Earth. At its worse, Earth ties Air down.
  • Air and Fire: Air helps Fire be more logical and Fire gives Air a sense of purpose. These two are a dynamic combination.
  • Air and Water: These two bring balance between feelings and thoughts.
  • Air and Air: A meeting of the minds. At its worse, these two can become coolly distant.
  • Air leads with logic, offers clarity from a higher position, and is social. Air is perceptive to cultural trends and attitudes. Air can maintain a balanced mind-body with yoga and meditation will calm the static.


  • Passive
  • Feminine energy
  • Practical, Useful, Structure, Productivity, Tangible, Grounded, Sensual, Tactile, and Dependable
  • Tarot: The physical, material, and financial realities
  • Suit: Coins or Pentacles in a Tarot deck (Diamonds in a regular deck)
  • Court Cards: Princess (Page) = Daughter
  • Trumps: Empress, Hierophant, Hermit, Devil, and World
  • Signs: Taurus, Virgo, and Capricorn
  • Colors: green and brown
  • Direction: North
  • Earth is all aspects of life: birth, life, death, and rebirth
  • Earth and Water: Earth can guide Water toward a goal. Water nourishes Earth.
  • Earth and Fire: Earth can guide Fire by a mastery of structure and is energized by Fire. At its worse, Fire can burn them both.
  • Earth and Air: Earth offers practicality to Air. At its worse, Air finds Earth stuffy and talks circles around Earth.
  • Earth and Earth: A world of things to see, touch, hear, and taste. At its worse, these two will fall into the trap of not living for today.
  • Earth is intimately attuned to nature, often falling into the “all work, no play” cycle, and are realists. Earth can stifle inspiration, faith, or purpose. Equally, Earth is balance for the idle dreamer, assessing and organizing the tangible.

All that being said, it is unfair to say one element weakens (or strengthens) another exclusively. There are degrees. In Tarot, what appears to be a weak combination could be the last grain of hope. That friendly pairing could be disastrous.

When you do a spread, no one card is more important than the others. A Water card influencing a Fire card…

Water getting the heat of Fire definitely is not happy, for the most part it just feels disturbed and hates the intruder. It can be, though, that the placid Water just needs a wake-up call to drag its behind out of dreamland, but it still won’t be delighted by the annoyance.

…is different from a Fire card influencing a Water card.

Fire and Water is a hapless combination, they simply do not get along with each other. In some rare instances it could be that the Water provides an emotional base for the imbalanced Fire, but in 99% per cent the Fire simply gets weakened or even extinguished.

Connections within connections. The more I study tarot, the elements, and the zodiac/astrology, the more I find similarities!

Do you think your sign/element is true to your personality?

Note: images and quotes from Raven’s Tarot Site

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71 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Using Tarot in Writing « Raelyn Barclay
  2. Angela Wallace
    Sep 15, 2011 @ 08:18:02

    Thanks for sharing! That’s all fascinating. According to your layout, I’m definitely Earth (whereas in my post I was Water/Earth). Plus I was born under that element. I love this! Thanks for the pingback too. :-)


  3. Angie Cothran
    Sep 15, 2011 @ 08:18:03

    Fire is my sign and YES–it describes me. Luckily I am surrounded by the other signs and married to an Earth sign, so they temper me. Fun post :)


  4. Miho Li
    Sep 15, 2011 @ 16:01:53

    Oh I love this! Definitely a great resource.


  5. Ciara Knight
    Sep 15, 2011 @ 16:32:25

    I’m Earth. I can see some points that apply, for sure. :)


  6. Maria Zannini
    Sep 15, 2011 @ 16:37:36

    So glad you’re doing the tarot posts again.

    I am fire through and through. But I’m married to a water sign. Although ‘experts’ claim fire and water don’t mix, they forget the combination creates steam. :)

    Next month we’ll be married for 36 steamy years. I’m still not tired of him.


    • Raelyn Barclay
      Sep 15, 2011 @ 16:50:05

      Steam is good :) It’s not all doom and gloom for Fire and Water. Happy early Anniversary!

      Ack…what do you want to see for tarot posts? I hadn’t given thought to further posts at this point but will come up with something if there’s a desire and need for them.

      Thanks for stopping by Maria!


  7. Angela Brown
    Sep 15, 2011 @ 21:21:04

    This is going to a very helpful post for me in the very near future. I will have to bookmark this.

    Also, I am air…and oddly, it seems to be rather on point – wait – did I just make a pun with my element?


  8. Sharon Clare
    Sep 16, 2011 @ 10:30:13

    I am a Gemini, air sign, and I do see myself in this sign. The most accurate description of my sign that I read was in a Native American book. It was right on. Another take on the gemini twins that I related to was that one side of us is the person we are and one side is the person we want to be. I do love change with is consistent to air signs.


    • Raelyn Barclay
      Sep 16, 2011 @ 11:02:26

      My fascination of Native American/Canadian First Nations cultures and beliefs knows no bounds. I wish I had more time to indulge in the study.

      I love that idea that one side is the person they are and the other side is the person they want to be.

      Thanks for stopping by Sharon :)


  9. Arlee Bird
    Sep 16, 2011 @ 11:35:20

    Tarot cards are kind of interesting, but I don’t know much about them. It’s funny because I used to sell Tarot decks at the place where I used to work.

    Tossing It Out


    • Raelyn Barclay
      Sep 16, 2011 @ 13:10:46

      Tarot is very interesting. I don’t use it for divination or anything like that but I love using tarot to brainstorm stories and build up characters.

      Thanks for stopping by Lee :)


  10. Ann Best
    Sep 17, 2011 @ 10:51:56

    How very interesting, Raelyn. I think I’m more fire with some elements of water.

    I definitely see how the tarot could be used, as you say, to brainstorm story ideas and develop characters. I’m going to copy this for future reference. Thanks so much for taking the time to post this wonderful information.

    And thanks for stopping by just now and leaving a comment on my blog.


  11. Liz Fichera
    Sep 18, 2011 @ 09:52:25

    The tarot cards are almost as beautiful as the words they represent!


  12. Nadja Notariani
    Sep 18, 2011 @ 10:13:18

    This is such an interesting post, Raelyn! I started reading it last night, but was too tired to make heads or tails…so I’m back today. I didn’t realize until today that there are certain signs that go with each element…(See what a good night of sleep can do for you? lol)
    I’m earth – and I’m matched with air….hhhmmmmm. Earth describes me in many ways, except for the jokster part of me…
    Is this all from the research you are doing for your novel? Fascinating! ~ Nadja


    • Raelyn Barclay
      Sep 18, 2011 @ 10:27:31

      I didn’t realize how long the post actually was until after the fact. I probably should have broken it down…could have got four posts out this, LOL.

      It started out more general, but yes, it is partly research for my WiP. I’ve used tarot for every aspect of the planning of this fantasy piece (in fact the character circle I linked above is on my MC for this piece).

      Thanks for stopping by Nadja!


  13. Liz
    Sep 18, 2011 @ 13:06:52

    Very fascinating. I love Tarot.


  14. ebarrettwrites
    Sep 18, 2011 @ 14:42:00

    I’m an Aries, but to be honest, the Tarot stuff confuses me. This helps to clarify it, but I think I need a beginner course.


    • Raelyn Barclay
      Sep 18, 2011 @ 16:49:09

      LOL, I’m self-taught. If you want to explore using Tarot in writing start with the Introduction and Tarot 101 links in this post. I will be expanding on Tarot in the near future.

      Thanks for stopping by Elizabeth!


  15. Elliot
    Sep 18, 2011 @ 16:03:22

    Would I be considered not to have masculine energy if I prefer snuggling up with a good book to watching the game?


  16. julie f
    Sep 18, 2011 @ 17:04:05

    What a fascinating series here! I love the tarot, get my cards read about once a quarter and do a little on my own. You’ve done a wonderful job with these posts!


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