Understanding the Tarot suit Elements is one of the keys to being able to read the Tarot successfully. If you have a grasp of the Elements and the fundamentals of Numerology, you can pretty much read the Tarot even without the images. Each of the four Minor Arcana suits are related to one of Elements:
Wands – Fire (sexuality, creativity)
Cups – Water (emotions, intuition)
Swords – Air (communication, problem resolution)
Pentacles – Earth (money, work, physical health)
The Suit of Cups in Love Tarot Readings
In a love and relationship reading, you usually look for Cups cards to see if there is an emotional connection. One of the first things I notice when looking at a spread is a complete absence of Cups and then I take that to be a sign that while the Seeker may think this is about love, it is more about projection.
Of course, the quality connection is also determined by which of the Cups cards are present. Ideally, you want to see the Ace of Cups, 2 of Cups, 6 of Cups, 9 of Cups and 10 of Cups.
The Ace of Cups is for new love but can also indicate a heart opening that leads to commitment or a renewal of interest in making the relationship blossom.
2 of Cups is the ideal relationship card. If it’s upright and not badly aspected/ill-dignified, it usually indicates reciprocity as well as depth of feeling.
6 of Cups can denote a soul mate relationship.
9 of Cups usually represents joy in relationship but can also signify wishful thinking (depending on surrounding cards).
10 of Cups is the happy family card and should be present in a reading where the Seeker wants to know if they one they are with is willing to commit and start a family.
You may have noted that I didn’t include the 3 of Cups among the Minors I like to see in a love and relationship reading. That’s because it more often than not seems to address a situation where one or both parties are cheating. On the upside, of course, it can also indicate a celebration of love such as an engagement party or a wedding. It really does depend on surrounding cards though.
As for the Cups Court cards, while they can indicate individuals, the Knight of Cups can also signify a highly romantic connection. The Queen of Cups is the partner you simply cannot lie to – she knows what you are thinking anyway. The Page of Cups can signify the very early days of falling in love, as well as crushing on someone from afar… The King of Cups is often seen as the ideal partner by many, as this King is the most caring and emotionally mature/available of all the courtiers. The best way to draw this type of lover into our lives is obviously by being such a lover.
The more problematic Cups cards are 4 of Cups (boredom/apathy), 5 of Cups (regret, emotional disappointment), 7 of Cups (addiction/illusion) and 8 of Cups – you or your lover is fixin’ to leave.
The Suit of Wands in Love Tarot Readings
When there is an abundance of Wands in a relationship Tarot reading, it can indicate a lot of energy but it can also show a clash of strong wills. The two main Wands cards I like to see in a love Taro reading are the Ace of Wands and the 4 of Wands.
The Ace of Wands is a sign of a healthy libido and the 4 of Wands shows intent to settle down and start a family, especially together with the aforementioned 10 of Cups.
Three neutral Wands cards that can be for good or bad are the 2 of Wands, 6 of Wands and 8 of Wands. The 2 of Wands can signify either a healthy, dynamic relationship or a relationship where lovers are also competing against each other in some way. The 6 of Wands can be a sign of either magnanimity and generosity or one party being utterly selfish. The 8 of Wands is often about messages going back and forth – surrounding cards tell you more about the nature of those messages.
However, most of the other Wands can be problematic in the relationship.
3 of Wands can indicate triangulation – especially with the 3 of Cups and/or the Devil.
5 of Wands is usually a sign of conflict, either internal or between partners. Either way it is never a good sign for the relationship.
7 of Wands can also indicate conflict and one person needing to stand their ground.
9 of Wands shows that one of the parties is feeling defensive.
10 of Wands can mean that the relationship is at breaking point or over – With the 10 of Swords, it is definitely over.
The Wands courtiers aren’t usually known to want to settle down until they have satisfied their lust for freedom and adventure but the King and Queen can make loyal partners. The Knight of Wands is the Player card.
The Suit of Swords in Love Tarot Readings
Most people don’t like to see Swords show up in their readings period. In love Tarot readings they are usually even less welcome. Swords deal with the intellect, problems and problem resolution. Many problems are just literally in our minds though, so it can be very helpful when Swords cards show up to let us know that is the case.
The two main ‘It’s just in your head’ cards are the 8 of Swords and 9 of Swords. The 8 of Swords signifies an overactive mind and indecision because of either wanting to keep all options open or not seeing any of them as totally viable (though one or more probably are). The 9 of Swords is about high anxiety levels and a tendency to catastrophise.
The Swords cards people least of all want to see in relationship Tarot readings are the 3, 5, 7 and 10 of Swords.
3 of Swords is usually the end of a relationship and the pain that comes with that.
5 of Swords is about a really big rift and harsh words/arguments.
7 of Swords can involve deceit, the nature of which is shown by surrounding cards.
10 of Swords also usually speaks of the end of the relationship.
The more positive Swords cards are the Ace of Swords and the 6 of Swords. The Ace of Swords can show significant improvement in communication and the 6 of Swords is a card of friendship as well as leaving past troubles behind.
4 of Swords usually doesn’t mean good news for the relationship. It could be fizzling out completely or it could be time for a break. One or both parties have stopped caring about making it work… The spark could have gone out of the relationship. You could easily see the energy of this card kick in for sleep-deprived parents with young children, for instance. This couple needs to find a way of regenerating and getting their spark back!
As for the Swords courtiers, they are both some of the most entertaining because of their excellent communication skills but they can also be the most argumentative and emotionally distant/aloof.
The Suit of Pentacles in Love Tarot Readings
When you see an abundance of Pentacles in a relationship Tarot reading, you know that work and money issues are impacting heavily on the overall health of the relationship. Alternatively, health issues could be an area of concern. However, conception is also often shown through the Pentacles. Both the Ace and the 3 of Pentacles speak of fertility and possible pregnancy. The Ace of Cups together with the 3 of Pentacles is often an indication that the Seeker may be pregnant.
The main card indicating that health problems are causing an issue would be the 5 of Pentacles.
2 of Pentacles can indicate that stress at work is part of the problem the couple is experiencing.
I often see the 4 of Pentacles show up when one person in the relationship is stonewalling the other.
The 6 of Pentacles can indicate inequality and one party being a taker while the other is the giver.
7 of Pentacles is almost never a good sign for the relationship. It shows delays and blockages. However, sometimes it just indicates that we need to be patient and the situation will resolve itself. Nobody likes to be told to be patient though 😛
8 of Pentacles is often an indication of a person who is very dedicated to their work.
9 of Pentacles shows a person who is self-sufficient and who has such high standards in love that they simply will not ‘settle.’
The happiest of all cards in the Suit of Pentacles for the Seeker in love is usually the 10 of Pentacles. It is a card that indicates long-term, settling down and enjoying grandchildren together.
The Pentacle Court cards are usually known as dependable partners. They often have a pragmatic approach to live and love. They care for their partners in practical ways.
I hope you find this guide of the four suit Elements in love useful. I will cover the Major Arcana in a separate article.