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Reading Wands as air and Swords as fire

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Reading Wands as air and Swords as fire


I'm starting to work with the Modern Spellcaster's Tarot and I'm finding the Sword and Wand suits to be difficult. I'm used to RWS so the Swords being fire and Wands being air is throwing me off a little bit. The images seem to remain fairly consistent to the RWS, but I'm not sure how these switched elements should change how I perceive cards in these suits. How does the flipping of the elements affect the reading of these suits, if at all? Thanks.
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Question Why Switch?


I have a deck with Wands/Air and Swords/Fire and it's quite clear in the imagery—which is not typical RWS—that these are the assignments. So I'm not looking at the usual 6/Swords image (the ship with swords) and reading it as someone leaving troubled passions/energy toward quieter passions (passion/energy = fire). I'm seeing, instead, a card image featuring sword tips coming together and a bolt of lightning striking them from the sky; as if they've become a lightning rod. Thus, the "fire" meaning of the swords is clear: opposing passions finding a way to come together and so channel great, uniting energy.

This being the case, I haven't that much trouble switching the suit elements when using that deck. The images make sure I remember that with this deck, Swords are Fire (passion/energy) and Wands are Air (communication/intellect). But if this wasn't the case, I don't know that I'd bother. If the image was the same for the RWS 6/Swords for example (a ship crossing water with swords), then I'd see no compelling reason to read it as elementally fire. I'd just stick to seeing the swords as elementally air as always, and the 6/Swords meaning as I usually see it—argument, disagreement, mental troubles finding their way toward harmony.

Which is all to say, if the images are not all that different from the usual RWS...why switch the suit elements from what you're used to? One of the most important rules of Tarot, I think, is that you don't always have to agree with the book that comes with your deck, or read the cards as the deck creator wants you to read them. You are the reader. And you must always do what works best for you.
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Here are some keyword suggestions.

Swords are forged in fire, so the fire reading makes the cards a bit more physical and constructive than with air. Yet, a swordsmith is a rare and unique profession today, so they require no less deep strategy, study, experience, logic and intellect than if they were still air symbols.

The most expressive natural aspect of airy wands are trees. Swaying trees are a visible sign of the presence of air, and they continually grow upward and outward. Trees are sources of air for us. Wands also function as hollow tubes to channel and focus air, as musical instruments, smoking items, etc. Arrows, spears, and long projectile weapons are arguably even more representative of air than fire, such as 8 of Wands.

The Kundalini serpent and human spine are often used as example of spiritual energy flowing and circling up and down into the body and out of it. Wands focus and control air in ways that swords don't.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aeric View Post
Swords are forged in fire, so the fire reading makes the cards a bit more physical and constructive than with air. Yet, a swordsmith is a rare and unique profession today, so they require no less deep strategy, study, experience, logic and intellect than if they were still air symbols.
Heh. I always had trouble with this because it always got me thinking too literally about sword making I mean, if all it took to be fire was to be forged in fire...wouldn't everything the smith made be "fire"?--like coins for Pents, or the goblet in Water?

Which isn't at all your point I get that. You're offering good way to help someone view Swords as fire. And you're absolutely right. The "forged in fire" keyword can be good for that. But thinking on my own experience "switching" to accommodate a deck...Beancrew49 isn't trying to make up their mind whether Swords = fire or air. But rather they are comfortable with Swords = Air. This new deck (the book that comes with the deck?) wants them to switch that. I'm wondering if they should if it's only the book, not the card imagery, making the switch.

My thought is that, like with me, Beancrew49's instincts might be resistant to "forged in fire" keywords if the deck images are the same as usual. Having used decks with swords/wands elementally switch, I can say that it's not so big a deal if the images help. But if they're RWS clones...it's very difficult.
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I have the Modern Spellcaster's Tarot, and I just ignore the flipping, and read it the way I do any other deck. I can't be bothered doing the mental gymnastics to do that, and it really isn't necessary as long as you're consistent. Having grown up with the Thoth (not literally, just in tarot terms), I never had scenic pips anyway, so the pictures don't make much difference to me.
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Thank you to everyone who posted in this thread. I tried to apply what you were saying, Aeric, while reading the deck, but I just couldn't compute. I think once you learn the fundamentals of something it's hard to switch. I mean, it was okay for the minor arcana, but the court cards were giving me a headache. So I took the advice of Thirteen and Barelywine and decided to just read it the way I know how. I set the intent into my deck that Wands are now fire and Swords are now air and it has made such a different. Whereas before I was on the verge of getting rid of the deck, I can now read it intuitively. Granted, some of the "air" images have fire on them, but this is something that can be overlooked. I'm just happy that the court cards (a hard enough aspect of Tarot to read as it is) doesn't cause me a headache anymore. Thanks guys!
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beancrew49 View Post
I'm starting to work with the Modern Spellcaster's Tarot and I'm finding the Sword and Wand suits to be difficult. I'm used to RWS so the Swords being fire and Wands being air is throwing me off a little bit.
I have a number of decks that do this, including one I love dearly. And I can't easily reassign it in my mind, becauses every sword has tongues of flame playing along the blade. It doesn't bother me too much: when I'm reading with a given deck, I'm in its unique reality. Try this: instead of even noticing the card titles, just work purely from the images. Then nothing will bother you.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nisaba View Post
I have a number of decks that do this, including one I love dearly. And I can't easily reassign it in my mind, becauses every sword has tongues of flame playing along the blade. It doesn't bother me too much: when I'm reading with a given deck, I'm in its unique reality. Try this: instead of even noticing the card titles, just work purely from the images. Then nothing will bother you.
This is another practical way to deal with it, but it seems you would have to scrap a whole boat-load of useful correspondences. Since I have an uneasy relationship with scenic pips anyway (see above), I don't let the fiery swords faze me. As we like to say, "to each his own."
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Barleywine View Post
This is another practical way to deal with it, but it seems you would have to scrap a whole boat-load of useful correspondences.
Well no, because they seem to bubble up in your mind when needed, regardless.

Quote:
Since I have an uneasy relationship with scenic pips anyway (see above), I don't let the fiery swords faze me. As we like to say, "to each his own."
After twenty-five or so years using scenic pips, I taught myself to use unillustrated ones earlier this century, and I've never looked back. You're not trapped into a single narrow interpretation by the artist, your intuition is much more free to roam where it needs to.

But I still find that with decks where elements have been shifted, I'm easier with that than I am with decks where the elemental correspondences are the same but the names and signal-objects of the suits have been changed (say, Loaves for Pentacles, Lightning for Wands, Scrolls for Swords etc).

Chalices for Cups and Staves for Wands don't matter - they are essentially the same thing, but more serious suit-changes throw me far more. And yet I still use those decks too.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beancrew49 View Post
I'm starting to work with the Modern Spellcaster's Tarot and I'm finding the Sword and Wand suits to be difficult. I'm used to RWS so the Swords being fire and Wands being air is throwing me off a little bit. The images seem to remain fairly consistent to the RWS, but I'm not sure how these switched elements should change how I perceive cards in these suits. How does the flipping of the elements affect the reading of these suits, if at all? Thanks.
I've never had a deck where those elements were switched. I don't think I personally like it.

To me Swords as fire, sounds like fiery angry thoughts. And Wands as Air, sounds like creating something out of thin air. Maybe it's just habit and what you're used to though.

Where Swords are Air touches me. It reminds me that thoughts are energy that can travel (through air) and affect things. And Wands are Fire reminds me that it is best we create by following our inner passions, and what feels right and true to us.

I prefer the way I am used to. I think if I had that deck I would just use it my traditional way and keep Swords as Air and Wands are Fire.

Babs
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