Tarot - The Elements

There are four basic Elements: Fire, Water, Air, and Earth.

These four primary Elements are regarded as realms, kingdoms, or divisions of Nature. They are the basic modes of existence and action – the building blocks of everything in the universe. All that exists or has the potential to exist contains one or more of these energies.

The name of God is symbolized by the Hebrew letters Yod Heh. Each of these four letters is assigned to one of the four Elements of Nature: Yod-Fire, Heh-Water, Vav-Air, and Heh final-Earth. These letters portray the balance inherent to the Kabbalistic system, for Yod-Fire and Vav-Air are masculine, positive energies, while Heh-Water and Heh Final-Earth are feminine and negative potencies. It indicates that the Divine is a unified whole which contains within itself all opposites in balanced disposition. Legend has it that the proper understanding and pronunciation of this Supreme Name of God are the Keys to divine power.

The early philosophers taught that the four elements were present in the physiology of the human body; Fire corresponded to body heat, Water to the various bodily fluids, Air to the gases, and Earth to bones and flesh. Further, the four Elements of the ancients are assigned the dual combination of two of the four qualities of heat, cold, dryness, and moisture. They are:

Heat and Dryness FIRE
Cold and Moisture WATER
Heat and Moisture AIR
Qualities NAME
Cold and Dryness EARTH

As we have already seen that each of the four suits corresponds to one of the elements. The four elements have their own distinct qualities, personalities or areas of influence, which are reflected in the corresponding suits. So let’s take a closer look at the elements individually.


Qualities of Fire: active, masculine, spontaneous, quick, initiating, initializing, vitalizing, and energetic.

Fire is regarded as the highest most spiritual of the elements. This Element is seen as the great Father energy-the “seed” force of the universe. It is an Element with two purposes

a) It is an expression of spiritual energy and the determination of the Spirit.
b) It purifies, burns, and destroys the old so that the new may emerge. Thus it is a symbol of transformation and regeneration.

Its action is quick and unpredictable. To pass through Fire is symbolic of transcending the human condition. The direction assigned to Fire is south.

It represents that which is hot, energetic, self motivating, enthusiastic, up reaching competitive. It is the lightest of all elements, reaching up the highest. In temperament it is the intuition inspiration, optimistic positive. In action it is visionary, enthusiastic, forceful aggressive, when badly featured it may easily become extravagant proud, lacking sympathy having no concern for the wellbeing of others. Fire becomes reduced less powerful, when associated with water. They are strengthened in association with air.

The most physical expression of Fire is the visible, active phase of combustion manifesting in heat and light. The Element of Fire was seen by the Alchemists as an Element which operates at the center of all things, as well as the “agent of transmutation” because all things are derived from and return to Fire.


Qualities of Water: passive, feminine, receptive, sustaining, subconscious, creative, fluidic, and generative.

This element is symbolic of the fluid, deep, unknowable, renewing power of the emotions. Life giving water washes, dissolves, cleanses, reflects promotes growth.

Water represents feelings, the family, all maters to do with love affection. It is reflective, sensitive fluid in thought. It represents the psychic senses. Tending towards being withdrawn, when well featured seen there is an ability to be methodical progressive. Conversely, when poorly featured, it becomes confused lacking in direction. There is over sensitivity leading to fear an inability to cops with the rigors of life.

Water is a liquid compound of hydrogen and oxygen molecules. In an esoteric sense, the concept of water implies all liquid materials. Water is seen as a symbol of the unfathomable and mysterious well of Wisdom contained within the subconscious mind. Water symbolizes the infinite realm of possibilities, which precede all form and all creation. It is limitless and immortal-the Waters of Creation. Submersion in Water alludes to a return to the pre-formed state. Like the Element of Fire. Water also symbolizes the ideas of transfiguration and regeneration. The direction assigned to Water is west.


Qualities of Air: active, masculine, intellectual, ethereal, abstract, and communication.

The element relates to the mind, thinking communication – language both written spoken. This is the domain of the intellect, reason clarity of thought, giving rise to inquisitiveness idealism. There is a love of the precision of mathematics, logic rules the imagination. The negative aspects of this element lead to daydreams, dogmatism, emotional isolation instability.

Air vast unseen surrounds everything on earth, upon it all life depends. It is subtle, gives warmth draughts, bubbles up, connects all things, is changeable like the wind. The physical expression of Air is that of a mixture of gases which forms the atmosphere of the Earth. Symbolically, Air is related to the creative breath of Life, and, therefore, speech. Light, flight, and weightlessness, as well as scent and smell are all related to the Element of Air. Air is a volatile Element which is considered to be the offspring of the Parental Elements of Fire and Water (thus creating steam).

Reconciler between the rival Elements of Fire (male) and Water (female) – balancing and equilibrating these two parental opposites. Air also alludes to the human intellect and thought processes, which are quick, changeable, and abstract. The direction assigned to Air is east.


Qualities of Earth: passive, feminine, solid, materialization, physical, stable, slow-moving, and grounded.

Earth is the Daughter of Fire and Water, just as Air is the Son. This Element encompasses all activities of productivity, fertility, growth, and regeneration. Earth is the fourth and final Element and the result of the actions of the other three. In a technical sense, earth is the dry land surface of the planet, made up of solid organic and inorganic particles. Earth represents the physical, materialized universe in which we live. It is the tangible world around us that we can touch and feel. The direction assigned to Earth is north.

Earth is the source of all life, female passive. It relates to materialism, physical pleasures comforts. There is a suggestion of common sense, conservatism combined with reliability practicality. It is commitment the ability to work steadily towards a goal. Earth is the element of finance, stability security. In excess this element may promote inaction, unadventurous action and stagnation.

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