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Court Cards as Elements

While these elemental/suit associations also apply to the court cards of these suits, court cards have an added elemental dimension, since each rank is also associated with an element, as follows:
Just like the four suits of the Minor Arcana, the Court cards themselves are also assigned elements:

  • Kings – Fire element
  • Queens – Water element
  • Knights – Air element
  • Pages – Earth element

We can say that each court card can be understood in terms of the interaction of the elemental qualities of its rank and suit. In each case the rank gives form to the substance of the suit.
 

ELEMENT SENSATION QUALITY DOMINANCE
WANDS FIRE HOT ACTIVE DRY
CUPS WATER COLD ACTIVE WET
SWORDS AIR WET PASSIVE HOT
PENTACLES EARTH DRY PASSIVE COLD

 

Elemental Associations of the Suits

As we have seen from the minor arcana, each suit is associated with one of the four elements, usually as follows:

Wands: Fire

Swords: Air

Cups: Water

Pentacles: Earth

 
And further to this, each of the Court Cards are associated with a different element as listed below:

Kings – Fire element

Queens – Water element

Knights – Air element

Pages – Earth element

Therefore using this system, the Queen (Water) of Pentacles (Earth) can be seen as the Water aspect of Earth. The King (Fire) of Cups (Water)  could be thought of as the Fiery aspect of Water, and the Page (Earth) of Swords (Air) as the Earth aspect of Air. There are several ways in which this can be used in your readings. The first step is to assign personality characteristics to each element and combine them to represent various court cards.

Personality Traits Associated with The Elements

Here are some examples of personality traits for each element:
Fire: active, intuitive, spiritual, passionate
Water: emotional, empathetic, romantic, caring
Air: intelligent, rational, logical
Earth: practical, down-to-earth, honest, hard-working
 
When the background element of the suit (Wands = Fire, Cups = Water, Swords = Air, Pentacles = Earth) is combined with the foreground element of the rank (King = Fire, Queen = Water, Knight = Air, Page = Earth), each court card obtains a pair of elements.
The working of the more active foreground element of the individual card against the more passive background element of the suit gives each card its unique identity, so that the court cards represent sixteen distinct human types. It is usual to write the foreground element first and the background element second, mirroring the titles of the cards themselves.
 
WANDS

  • King of Wands – Fire of Fire (Lightning: violent and quick strike)
  • Queen of Wands – Water of Fire (Rainbow: transient refracted image)
  • Knight of Wands – Air of Fire (Sunlight: constant radiant energy)
  • Page of Wands – Earth of Fire (Smoke: ascending heated particles)

 
CUPS

  • King of Cups – Fire of Water (Fountain: rapid welling forth)
  • Queen of Cups – Water of Water (Pond: stagnant reflection)
  • Knight of Cups – Air of Water (Ocean: active decomposition)
  • Page of Cups – Earth of Water (Ice: frozen forms)

 
SWORDS

  • King of Swords – Fire of Air (Wind: swift pressure)
  • Queen of Swords – Water of Air (Vibration: movement)
  • Knight of Swords – Air of Air (clouds, floating shapes)
  • Page of Swords – Earth of Air (dust, solid residue)

 
PENTACLES

  • King of Pentacles – Fire of Earth (Mountain, violent pressure)
  • Queen of Pentacles – Water of Earth (Field: quiet nurturing)
  • Knight of Pentacles – Air of Earth (Plain: steady bearer of life)
  • Page of Pentacles – Earth of Earth (Grove: secret place of growth)

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