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Air Major Arcana Cards
There are five air cards in the Major Arcana. Those five cards are:
- The Fool #0 or #22
- The Magician #1
- The Lovers #6
- Justice #11
- The Star #17
There are 22 cards in the Major Arcana. The Fool can count as either number 0 or 22; the Fool is the only card that is unnumbered in all of tarot.
The Minor Arcana is made up of four suits that represent the four elements: wands for fire, pentacles for earth, swords for air, and cups for water.
The Minor Arcana / Elements
Aries, Leo, Sagittarius
Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn
Gemini, Libra, Aquarius
Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces
Red and Orange
Green and Brown
White and Yellow
Blue and Purple
Lizards, Insects, Reptiles
Water Creatures / Fish
Powers of Vitality: Passion, Anger, Growth, Creativity, Motivation, Energy
Material Resources: Money, Wealth, Home, Legacy, Health, Property
Powers of the Mind: Logic, Intelligence, Integrity, Clarity, Reason, Communication
Matters of the Heart: Love, Compassion, Feelings, Relationships, Emotion, Family
Learning More about Tarot
The tarot (first known as trionfi and later as tarocchi or tarock) is a pack of playing cards. The cards were originally used for entertainment purposes and not divination. Granted, divination is often for entertainment.
The cards date back to the mid 15th century in Europe. Cartomancy became popular in the late 18th century. This led to the rise of custom decks for occult purposes.
Tarot cards were not seen as ominous, rebellious, or magical centuries ago. The cards were used openly among people of any background, whether Christian, Jew, or pagan. The cards would be like playing chess or checkers.
Certain faith and logic movements pushed back on the cards. They were denounced as divisive tools or of the devil, and other such nonsense.
The Reasons Tarot Cards Have Stayed Relevant
Tarot cards are made up of common scenarios that most people go through in their lives. The cards have enduring themes.
The cards teach about the elements: fire, earth, air, water, and even ether. In a way, they can be used as a psychological or science learning tool to teach about the world around us. I wouldn't only use them, but they are good for teaching elementary concepts.
Linguistically the cards are full to the brim with symbols. Humans have a higher capacity for language and interpreting symbols than any other known species. We of course will find something like tarot appealing.
The witchy angle would look at the cards and consider how spirits might be trying to send messages. I won't necessarily be delving into that aspect. This hub is to discuss the symbols behind the air cards and what they mean.
Element of Air
Powers of the mind are at the heart of all air or sword based cards. Awakening the mind and knowledge are considered a kind of magic. Many of our oldest stories are about the risks of learning new information, the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden, and the perils of knowing something and losing innocence in the process.
With the element of air, we gain flight. The birds prove mastery over the skies. The winged creatures get to experience something that humans cannot without mechanical assistance.
Air is about using our minds to change outcomes, to create solutions, and to gain insight. The power of the mind is incredible: it's vast, it's ever changing, and it both keeps us tethered to the real world and the possibility of something greater and more abstract than what we can observe with our eyes.
Air is about transformation. It's about speed, efficiency, precision, and creativity. It is most similar to fire. It has the capacity to both nurture and destroy. Air spreads the seeds, air spreads moisture, and air can feel sharp like multiple daggers.
The swords cards are some of the most challenging to read in Tarot. They often seem like they carry a grim message, but no suit is more ordinary or extraordinary than the others.
The swords deal with military themes: picking battles, slain knights, overcoming strife, heartbreak, betrayal, pillaged lands, and transitions for survival. The end game of the suit is to be the highest king: to be Zeus at Mount Olympus. Each of the face cards carry an element:
King = Air
Queen = Water
Knight = Fire
Page = Earth
Air is prized as the type of intelligence that's needed to lead as a king. It's rationale, it's quick, it has great understanding of wars and violence, and it has great ability to lay down the sword and instead fight with the pen. Someone who truly understands the sword knows how to use it for defense. This person knows how to write legislation rather than waste time in bloodshed.
Air is all about thoughts, which is closely related to communication. Those who have mastery of air have a mastery of words. They make for great speakers or writers, those are two qualities needed for a king or a high up politician. How often do we, the people, have disdain for our political leaders and their lack of speaking or writing prowess? (I digress, but it's good food for thought.)
This card acts as either a trump card or an excuse card. The card can be played to avoid following suit. In the 15th and 16th centuries, Taroch was a synonym for foolishness. The fool is the protagonist of tarot, essentially. (It's in a way the fool's game.)
Upright: Beginnings, innocence, youth, new era, free spirit, spontaneous, unpredictable, adventure seeker, young hero, young adult, new path.
Reversed: Holding back, recklessness, risk taking, gambling, oblivious, lacking wisdom, movement for the sake of movement, restrained, convoluted, no path, bully.
The Fool's Journey
The Fool has unlimited potential. The person has only just begun to realize what is possible. The Fool has many people to meet, obstacles to encounter, and items to find. This person is excited to get into the world and try new things. Their curiosities guide them.
If you play video games, this is often the first character you get who has a low level, no spells, very weak attack power, and has just begun to discover the world. It's like an awakened NPC who realizes there is magic, and they have more potential in the world than their everyday routine. The Fool is more active; they're not just a simulation.
The Fool is someone who is about to leave her hometown to meet with kings and queens, save princesses, fight off dragons, wield swords, come across mystical gems, and climb dangerous peaks. The Fool, with the right guidance, can save the world.
The Fool is the start of the story and the end of it. Often in tarot readings, the Fool stands for the person who has asked for the reading. Since he is ever present, he doesn't need a number like the rest of the cards. The Fool could also be seen as the hero, and the other cards as the hero's journey. There are a lot of questions as to how the Fool will grow.
It is through the element of air that the Fool is awakened. Without air, the Fool would just stay a common villager who doesn't dare to go beyond their fields and stomping grounds. Frodo in the Lord of the Rings would be seen as the Fool who steps outside of the Shire to ultimately stop the plans of evil. He is the only one in his world who has just the right qualities to fully destroy the ring of power.
On the Fool card, a young man stands near a cliff edge. He doesn't seem to have a care in the world. He looks up to the sky and the heavens. His adventure has only just begun; he will join venture into the unknown. He carries a modest bag with him. He likely is only carrying a handful of potions, a small amount of money, and maybe a dagger or a wooden shield. He doesn't have the belongings of a knight or a king.
The young man carries a white rose: symbolizing purity, innocence, new beginnings, and idealism. At his feet: a white dog, representing loyalty, trust, and protection. This is his first companion while out on the road.
In the background of the card are mountains. These represent the challenges and the potential circumstances the Fool will encounter. It will be a long time before he reaches those peaks because he is only in the beginning.
This character, as he ambles into the world, doesn't always know what he is doing or where his journey will take him. He has been sent out and eventually will come across a quest or multiple side adventures.
The Fool has to trust where the universe takes him, how it attracts him to new places and new beginnings. There are people the Fool needs to meet to better understand his planet. He must follow his heart and guts.
New beginnings can be really fun. There are usually lots of fun choices to make. It's exciting to talk to people and learn new things. The air element pushes him to embrace what he doesn't know. He needs to let go of fears, anxieties, and woes to experience more to life.
This card is very carpe diem: seize the day. You don't have everything mapped out. You likely don't even have a map.
You're not sure how anything will work. You just put one foot in front of the other and make progress. All you need are your essential belongings.
The Fool card in a game encourages you to:
- Spontaneously go forward.
- Trust in a little bit of magic.
- Let new ideas be your friends.
- Be open to new companions.
Air signs are all about playing. The Fool doesn't go out into the world to work hard: they go to play. They go out of their way to find quests because it amuses them.
Famous Fictional Fools
- Frodo, The Lord of the Rings
- Luke Skywalker, Star Wars
- Rey Speeder, Star Wars
- Harry Potter
- Link, The Adventures of Zelda
- Chrono, Chrono Trigger
- Terra Branford, Final Fantasy VI
- Alice, Alice in Wonderland
- Belle, Beauty and the Beast
- Ariel, The Little Mermaid
The Magician is an alchemical card. It is the first numbered card of the Major Arcana. The Magician is often the first person the Fool meets. The Magician, with the power of air, is what awakens the Fool to take on the world in new ways. Think of the Doc awakening Marty McFly in the Back to the Future series.
The Magician uses his powers to enlighten people with knowledge. The Magician could be a wizard, witch, scientist, teacher, preacher, or soothsayer. All magicians have a mastery of words. They're not afraid to experiment.
Upright: Power, inspiration, magical awakening, manifestation, alchemy, resourcefulness, knowledge, anointing, revelation, charisma, open mindedness.
Reversed: Poor planning, untapped talent, manipulation, judgmental, rigid, entanglement, distortion, illusion, mirage, petrified, mundane, failed breakthrough.
The Magician associates with the planet Mercury, the planet of communication, intelligence, messages, and travel. Hermes is seen as the messenger between gods and the mortals. It is this type of messenger that meets with the Fool that creates an awakening. The Magician encourages the Fool to take on new beginnings. It is a call to the wild. It's Neo's revealation that he is in the matrix.
The Magician in the card stands with one arm stretched upwards to the heavens. His other hand points down to the earth. He represents the connection between the supernatural and mortal realms. He uses his role to push people and events into action. The Magician helps turn energy into matter.
The man wears a white robe, symbolizing purity and holiness; his cloak is red, representing courage, power, creativity, and knowledge. Red stands out when put next to white.
On the table in front of the Magician: the four symbols of the Tarot. He has all the tools he needs to get his job done. An infinity symbol hangs over his head, representing the eternal nature of his job, the connection to the spiritual, and the cyclical nature of it all.
Around his waist: a snake belt. The snake bites its own tail, representing the mortal realm and brokenness of the mortal life.
Flowers are in the picture. The Magician's mental power is active, if not fertile. He is ready to awaken the world, perhaps the universe. The Magician is all about the tools, resources, and energy necessary to make dreams come true. This person has the sage wisdom and experience that the Fool doesn't. This person often acts as a mentor or catalyst for the Fool. He works with the mind to set you forward. The Magician could also represent a therapist.
The Magician plants seeds in people's minds. She helps nurture others. She looks for apprentices. The air element is about clarity: the Magician wants to give you clarity on your life. She wants to help give you direction.
The Magician card comes with the following messages:
- You need a soul connection for your goals. Ego, money, and status are not enough.
- The Magician encourages you to focus to make your dreams a reality.
- The Magician gives to the Fool two important resources: planning and methodology. With the Magician, the Fool's eyes open.
Famous Fictional Magicians
The Magician often works closely with the Fool. Sometimes the Magician will disappear for several episodes in the Fool's life. Then the Magician will return when needed.
- Gandalf, The Lord of the Rings
- Yoda, Star Wars
- Xavier, X-Men
- Dumbledore, Harry Potter
- Navi, The Adventures of Zelda
- Mufasa, The Lion King
- Dr. Emmett Brown, Back to the Future
- The White Rabbit, Alice in Wonderland
- Hermes of Greek Mythology
- Rick, Rick and Morty
The Two of Cups card is very similar. It is about romantic pairings, but comes from the water element.
The Lovers card is in the air deck. The Lovers have taken a kind of knowledge that changes them. As a unit of two, they're not like how they were as single people. The Lovers are two Fools that have united in romantic feelings. They are carried by elements of logic, intelligence, intuition, and clarity. The air has awakened them, like Cupid's arrow.
Upright: Love, harmony, relationship, alignment, choices, meeting of souls, combining paths, combining new beginnings together, magic, drawn like magnets.
Reversed: Self-love, imbalance, disharmony, untangling paths, not moving forward, false soul mate, lust, illusion, illogical, contrary, division, affair, mismatch.
The Lovers card is represented by Libra. The autumn sign is guided by the planet Venus, the planet of love. Libra is also represented by the scales. Libra's goal in life is to harmonize with others, to bring about justice, and to bring warmth into the picture.
Libra is an incredibly kind astrological sign. They're the least aggressive of the yang related energies (Aries, Leo, Sagittarius, Gemini, Libra, and Aquarius). Libra seeks to bring two people together who are equals: they're matched in wit, they have similar virtues, and they have similar goals. Libra does what it can to figure out how two people can balance each other.
Gemini is also represented in this card. Gemini is all about dualism, mirroring others, and finding a soul mate. Both Gemini and Libra are drawn to relationships; they're not the most single of signs. Libra tries to balance energies; Gemini tries to mimic others.
The Lovers card is about a divine union. They've been blessed from a power that comes from the heavens. The couple stands together in a magical landscape, perhaps the Garden of Eden. Behind the woman: a snake winds up a tree. The serpent and apple tree represent the temptation of sensual pleasures, which will have to be balanced out with divine purposes. If they're not careful to balance this out, the pair will be ruined by their own hubris.
Twelve flames are in the picture, which represent the 12 houses of the zodiac. The flames represent time and eternity. This coupling is meaningful, they have something special to them, and they are meant to be. They're twin flames.
The Lovers Card Isn't Always about Romance
This card doesn't always represent a romantic pairing. It could also represent a friend or close relative where there is love, compassion, and respect. The card is about open and honest communication, the tenets of the air element.
You can communicate honestly with those who care about you. The Lovers card also represents clarity on love matters and beliefs. When two Fools come together, compromise will be necessary, there is even more potential, and all the bonuses you have will be multiplied. It will be a marrying of dual forces. This new arrangement will help support both of the Fools. It will be better than traveling alone.
Wisdom from Libra and Gemini
Look to Gemini and Libra for more answers. These two signs have a high understanding of coupling, dualism, and harmony. Gemini stands for spring, he is youthful, energetic, and carefree. Gemini loves to play. He is the mutable sign of spring. He is vastly different from the other spring signs, Aries and Taurus.
Libra stands for autumn, she is quirky, eclectic, and dreamy. She believes in world togetherness. She believes in the power of couples. Love is her message to the world. She is the cardinal sign of fall.
Gemini is ruled by Mercury and communication. Libra is ruled by Venus and love. Learning more about these two signs can help you uncover some of the mysteries in the Lovers card.
Lovers are often two main characters. They're often two protagonists. They'll have a clear thread together in their story.
- Romeo & Juliet, Shakespeare
- Adam & Eve, The Bible
- Hermione & Ron, Harry Potter
- Celes & Locke, Final Fantasy VI
- Peter Parker & Mary Jane Watson, Spider-Man
- Cosette & Marius, Les Miserables
- Han Solo & Princess Leia, Star Wars
- Fitzwilliam Darcy (Mr. Darcy) & Elizabeth Bennet, Pride and Prejudice
- Daphne & Simon, Bridgerton
- Tinney & Des, The Republic of Doyle
The Justice card: Libra's desire for equality manifested. The Justice card belongs to air because it's about legislation, creating law and order, using words to interpret and dissect evidence.
It's also the branch of government for the people. Justice and mercy often go hand in hand, but in tarot, there is only Justice.
Upright: Fairness, truth, cause and effect, law, equality, court dealings, judge presiding, order, organized words, appeal, honesty, testimony, harmony, consequence.
Reversed: Unfairness, lack of accountability, dishonesty, bullying, lack of support, imbalanced, improper punishment, lack of clarity, divisive, corruption, too bureaucratic.
The Justice sits in front of a purple veil. The color stands for majesty and compassion. You cannot have justice without compassion. The veil is between two pillars, which symbolize sound and stable judgment. This card isn't about hastiness or impulsive decisions. The evidence, the issues, and the story are all processed with diligence.
The Justice, a woman, holds a sword in her right hand. She is logical, careful, and poised to uphold the truth. Her decision is final. The double-edged sword blade is about action and consequences, cause and effect.
The Justice card encourages you to act from your Higher Self, for the greater good of others. The card is a warning: there will be Justice committed against those who break their pact of civil co-existence with others.
This card is a powerful air one. It shows how with age and with understanding, we can eventually learn to organize our chaotic reality. We have the power to take complex situations and judge them for fairness.
It is through the Justice card that minorities are given the credit they deserve, marriages become more equal, and children are seen as people.
Justice doesn't play favorites. It discerns for not just truth but reality. It doesn't get caught up in fake news, gossip, and rumors. It doesn't sit idle from a throne, it doesn't fall prey to corruption, but instead with a sword it cuts through the weeds. Justice gets rid of the naysayers and liars that attempt to ruin society.
The Justice card is in response to the Lovers. Justice sees how the Lovers become addicted to the forbidden fruit. The Justice kicks the Lovers out of the garden and forces them to work hard — they were becoming idle playthings. They were in the honeymoon stage for too long.
The Justice has the ability to turn the Lovers back into Fools, so they'll return to their quests. The Fool doesn't get to take a vacation forever. That would be elitist and damaging.
Famous Fictional Justice Characters
- Judge Gen, The Good Place
- Professor McGonagall, Harry Potter
- Inspector Javert, Les Miserables
- Atticus Finch, To Kill a Mockingbird
- Elphaba, Wicked
- Elisa Maza, Gargoyles
- Jean Grey, X-Men
- Lisa Simpson, The Simpsons
- Thor, Marvel
- Black Panther, Marvel
The final air card and the highest numbered air card: the Star. This card is dedicated to Aquarius. The fixed air sign is ruled by Saturn, she is the center of winter, and she is the most idiosyncratic sign of the zodiac.
This sign appears to be born of the ether. It rebels against conventions. The Star is about divine intervention, galactic connection, and immense creativity. The Star is a blast of positive energy.
Upright: Hope, faith, purpose, renewal, spirit, wisdom, epiphany, transcendence, beautiful mind, elegance, the supernatural, advanced technology, eclectic.
Reversed: Rejecting faith, despair, self-trust, denial, disconnection, poor reasoning, abandoning all hope, bound to chains, bound to earth, too practical.
The Star card: a woman kneels at the edge of a fountain. She holds two containers: one represents the conscious, the other the subconscious. She pours water onto the ground to help flora grow.
Through the woman's faith, intelligence, and intuition she nourishes the planet. Green flora follows her. The woman ensures that life continues and thrives. She doesn't let the world die. She has the knowledge of immortality.
The woman places a foot on the ground: representing her common sense and logical ways. Her other foot is in the water: she listens to her inner voice and understands the flow of things around her.
The woman is dazzling and represented by the stars above her. She is enlightened and knows how to pass on her expertise to others. She is the Magician that lives in the supernatural. The Star visits the Fool late in the game when all his other tricks and tactics don't work well enough to go beyond his obstacles.
The Fool needs the Star to awaken him, so he can have a major breakthrough. He needs her divine message if he wants to help the world overcome its crisis.
The Fool turns to the Star during his most tumultuous time in life. He may have encountered great loss, his belongings were taken, his land stolen, his wife and children dead. He doesn't know how to move forward. This is the point where he would be the most accepting of divine intervention, divine love, and the supernatural.
It's when we are at our lowest, when we are deep in suffering that we cry out. (We don't cry out when we're happy and our bellies are full.)
When the Star comes into play, it causes significant growth, massive change, and blessings. Not everyone is prepared for the Star, nor the card that comes before it: the Tower.
The Star is magic. It is the creativity behind dreams. It is the technological energy we all consume. The Star is like a departed loved one coming to visit you, whether in waking life or a dream. They have a message they want to give you to help you.
The Star is an explosion of air energy. It is meant to transform you and to nourish you. It is the force that can bring the dead back to life. It is knowledge that is just out of reach. The Star is a master from the future.
- The Star requests for people to have generous spirits.
- It asks you to give and share your wealth to others, so they can live and be transformed just like you.
- It also asks you to bless others as you have been blessed.
Famous Fictional Stars
- Galadriel, The Lord of the Rings
- Zelda, The Adventures of Zelda
- Childlike Empress, The Neverending Story
- Schala, Chrono Trigger
- Haku, Spirited Away
- Genie, Aladdin
- Aerith Gainsborough, Final Fantasy VII
- Angel, Buffy the Vampire Slayer
- Eleven, Stranger Things
- Luna Lovegood, Harry Potter
This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.
© 2021 Andrea Lawrence