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cybrid's Avatar
Join Date: 29 Feb 2012
Location: CA, USA
Posts: 116
Switched elements in the Celtic Dragon Tarot

Hi everyone!

I'm new to tarot and the Celtic Dragon tarot is my first deck; my mother gave it to me and the cards really resonate in ways that other tarot decks don't. But having said that, I've come to realize that it's a bit of a nonstandard deck, and I was wondering if anyone could shed some light on the differences for a newbie.

Particularly I'm having trouble with the switched elements of wands and swords. Every time I read a description of their meanings online, the cards are assigned their original elements (swords with air and wands with fire). How does having them switched in the cdt affect their meanings? Does it affect them at all?
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Dragon Dame 
Join Date: 17 Jan 2012
Location: Minnesota USA
Posts: 6
Switched Elements

Fortunately for me, I happened to get Ann Moura's Tarot for the Green Witch about a year before I (finally ) got the Celtic Dragon deck. In it somewhere, I remember her saying that if you get a deck that does this, to read it the way you learned the elemental assignments, and you know what? For the most part, it works! I also have and love the Llewellyn Tarot that does this too, but it is even less noticable with that. I do have to say that it is (with the CD deck) noticable with the Ace of Swords and the Ace of Wands, but I still hold to my way that I learned, and find I can use the deck quite successfully. I like this deck a lot, and don't know why I waited like 10 years to get it! I guess I thought it was something it wasn't.
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darkbookworm13's Avatar
Join Date: 16 Jun 2010
Location: ME usa
Posts: 188
Smile Switched elements

I just received my CD deck, and wondered how to read the switched elements as well. I had the intuition that maybe the reason why they switched the elements because Trees (Wands) create the air we breathe, and Metal (Swords) is forged in fire to become the completed sword.

Looking at it like that, I have no issues with understanding why they switched the elements, but have trouble switching gears to read more traditional decks whose elements are Swords = Air, and Wands = Fire.

The best way I can keep things straight is to remember that

Traditional: the wind can cut through you with cold, or carry debris that abrades away objects (sand, water, etc.)... And fire was most likely discovered from a tree that was struck by lightning, and used for warmth and to cook food.

Celtic Dragons deck: Wands (Air) = trees creating the air we breathe. Swords (Fire) = metal being forged into swords.
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strings of life 
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Join Date: 24 Jun 2009
Location: new jersey . usa
Posts: 6,655

I just started working with this deck and while I normally read cards with the traditional Wands/Fire and Swords/Air correspondences, the elemental switch doesn't feel forced and makes sense.

What has helped me: a sword is forged from fire and represents decisive actions and thoughts, and a Wand--as a magical tool, not a baton--involves intuitive and often subconscious actions at play

Also, the symbolism, colors, directions and positions (left and right), are also intentional based on what I have read so far in the companion book, so it's evident that a lot of thought was put into making this deck. When I see the Minor symbol in the cards, I'm able to read the scenes without disruption.
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