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The Four Suits in a Historical Context

The Four Suits in a Historical context of Power Struggle

In medieval times the four suits of the Tarot (Wands, Swords, Cups and Pentacles) represented the four main classes of people who lived in medieval europe at that time. After the thirty years war, the nobility had won control of the power structure and the Church was no longer in control. In post colonial times however, the big business have overturn the ruling class and dictates in many ways policy that politicians follow.
The court cards can also be thought of as levels or strata of social hierarchy. The staves or wands are traditional associated with rulership and authority, the clergy are often associated with chalices and can be seen using chalices in ceremony in churches. The military class can be easily associated with the suite of swords  and the suite of Pentacles, with its images of coins is often attributed to the merchant or ‘working class’.

Medieval Europe

Post 30 Year War

Colonial Era

Modern Day

Tallest buildings

Cathedrals and churches Royal palaces
and castles
City Hall and government buildings Corporate head offices, office towers

Ruling Class

Church (cups) Royal nobility (wands) Political, Nobility (wands) Corporations (pentacles)

Guiding Class

Royal nobility (wands) Church (cups) Church (cups) Political nobility (wands)


Knights and military (swords) Professional military (swords) Professional military (swords) Defense’ force military (swords)

Common People

Workers/craftspeople (pentacles) Commercial (pentacles) Commercial (pentacles) Spiritual/emotional reactive People (cups)


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