The Element of Air in Tarot

Element of AirThe Element of Air

Minor Arcana:

The Suit of Swords

Court Card:

Princes (Knights, Pages, Sons)

Major Arcana:

The Fool, The Magician, The Lovers, Adjustment, The Star





The element of Air is the pure mind, the thought and the intellect, synthesis and analysis, the proceeding of the amorphous spirit of Fire and the unconscious emotion of Water into definitions and concepts. Air is both structure and conscious realization, both formation and abstraction.

Air is best described with Descartes 'Cogito ergo sum' - I think, therefore I am' and in a further step, 'Dubito, ergo cogito, ergo sum' - I doubt,therefore I think, therefore I am'.
Air does not exist beyond its own thinking, the very processes of its ever busy mind ARE its existance. If the thinking ever stops Air ceases to exist. At the same time, Air is movement, free flow, unrestricted freedom. Just try and stop your mind from thinking, realizing, formulating, reacting - you'll find it will never work.

So Air is no artificial instrument - it is rather a basical principle of all existance. As long as there is life there is thought, without thought, the being would not even be aware of its own existance. Both the Spirit of Fire and the Emotion of Water need the thought to emulate the mere instinct to a conscious realization.

Air in its substance is all around us, it manifests in the breathe that is the ultimate precondition for life, it is the carrier for all sound, it is the wind culminating from the heating of the poles and the rotation of the earth. Air can be a gentle breeze and a ferocious, destructive storm.

The old Greek connected Air even with the Aether, as 'aer' meaning the lower atmosphere and 'aether' the distant upper atmosphere above the clouds.

Some people wondered why from all elements Air was connected with the Sword. In my opinion it is quite obvious. A sword is a weapon - and a sophisticated weapon as that. For a long time, producing good swords was an art, much effort was put in the forging of the blade which had to be perfect in material and balance. And all that work went into the construction of a thing used for killing.
Killing in general is not a specific to Air - when in a fit of rage someones grabs a club and strikes it is more a matter of Fire. Yet, the art of killing, the mindset behind a war, the planning of a battle - all this requires a mind making up the reasoning for this.

Dependency of the Elements

Elemental Dignities - Pairs - Triads - Layouts - Elemental Dignities in Court Cards - Exceptions - Major Arcana
Fire - Water - Air - Earth - Dependencies

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