Sunday, April 1, 2012

Consideration of The Suits

No, not the guys that work for the government- as we know, there are four suits in the Tarot deck, and each has a corresponding element. These elements are reflected in much of Pagan practice, and appear as four symbols commonly used on the altar. Though the cardinal directions they are assigned to may vary, their energy remains the same. Raven Grimassi, co-creator of the Well Worn Path and Hidden Path oracle decks (a little different from a Tarot deck, though the principle of using symbols as a means of divination and insight remains the same) explained their purpose as each one represents a tool of the individual, and as such, can also represent a weapon and symbolic means of defense. Here are the assignments and characteristics he outlines:
The Pentacle represents a shield- Grimassi ties it to valor; personal strength, bravery and fortitude, and notes that when no one can take away your valor, that is, uproot your strength and make you falter, nothing can pierce your shield.
The Wand represents a lance- this is tied to willpower and purpose. When no one can take that purpose and will away from you, no one can pass your lance unchallenged; no one can approach you unrecognized.
The Sword represents, obviously, a blade- this is tied again to intellect, reason and understanding. When no one can take from you your level head and reason, you can't be led astray. Likewise, the rational mind can be used to pare away illusion from truth, and when truth is known, you can't be deceived by illusion.
Finally the Cup represents a helmet- being tied to the element of Water, it represents clear sight of a spiritual nature. When no one can take away your vision, you will always see the divine reflected in the world around you, and in other people you meet.
There is a similar analogy in the Christian Bible, in one of the letters written by Paul that comprise the New Testament, in a letter to the newly growing church in Ephesus, located in Asia Minor. It deals with a Christian perspective, and as such is a little different. However, the basic idea, I believe, is the same. It points to the fact that these aspects of each person can be used as tools, ultimately to work our will in the world. From this (well, the Pagan perspective, anyway) I came up with a short affirmation, perhaps you'll find it useful:

Spirit of Air, be my sword
Let me think with unclouded mind,
and separate truth from illusion.

Spirit of Fire, be my lance
Let my will be strong and true
that I may accomplish my true purpose.

Spirit of Water, be my helmet
Let my sight be clear and true
That I may see the reflection of divine light all around me.

Spirit of Earth, be my shield
And support me in all virtue
That I may stand, firm and rooted in truth.

It may seem trite, but I find taking the words to heart helps a bit. Happy reading, everyone!

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