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Wands are fire, swords are air...or maybe not...!

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earthair  earthair is offline
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Wands are fire, swords are air...or maybe not...!


Questions for witches/ceremonial magicians and anyone who uses wands/athames/swords...

If you think swords are fire and wands are air, can you / do you want to work with a deck where swords are air and wands are fire?

Which came first for you- a deck which you clicked with, which imprinted the elements a certain way around, and then you matched that to your ritual tools....or did you learn to attribute your tools to a certain element and then seek decks to match that?

Has anyone swapped things around because of things not agreeing?

To people who don't use ritual tools- imagine you have a wand in your hand, and now a sword/athame... instinctively, which element is it? Or do you feel tarot has imprinted a certain way around on you?

Personally I was tarot first, (wands=fire and swords= air) and tools later. And I know some people think Golden Dawn deliberately changed the elements around, but I don't see why
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The Byzantine Tarot (which I purchased in a book fair last year) followed the Swords=Fire/Wands=Air attribution. It surprised me, but did not turn me off. Another new deck I'm interested in, the Modern Spellcaster's Tarot, also follows this equivalence. Perhaps it's becoming a thing.
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In ritual, I use candles for fire, and incense for air. Neither staves/wands or athame/swords are elements for me, but rather gender based power tools.
I'm not sure that helped LOL

As I also have decks which attribute both ways round, I simply read each deck as I see it, and don't think like that at all when I do ritual

Interesting questions, but I try to feel the substance of the moment rather than get wrapped in details, does that make sense when written down?

Blessings
PathWalker
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My natural inclination is for swords to be fire and wands to be air. Since all the decks I have are the other way around, I have gradually gotten used to working with them with the view of wands as fire and swords as air. But my instinctual sense is still the other way around. I would love to see more decks that are the other way around.
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My solitary reading ingrained Wands as Fire and Swords as Air (Golden Dawn tradition, though it was Solitary Witchcraft, not Golden Dawn books I was reading).
My 1st few decks, which I purchased at the same time as my 1st occult books - just happened to have the same arrangement in them. So the ritual tools and the decks matched each other.
And if I have a deck with it swapped around - I'll read it my way round.
(So I await The Modern Spellcaster's Tarot with even more curious anticipation now).


Then my Wiccan group had it this way round too (well specifically Athame as Air. Sword as the 5th element - Spirit) - and I'm just reading now, that Gardinarians have Wands as Air and Swords as Fire... this - in the back of Mary K Greer's book "21 Ways to Read a Tarot Deck"...
Apparently Etteilla (who wrote the 1st book on reading Tarot) had Wands as Earth and Swords as Air, Pentacles as Fire and Cups as Water.
William Blake had Wands as Earth and Swords as Air, Pentacles as Water and Cups as Fire.
And Eudes Picard had Wands as Fire and Swords as Water, Pentacles as Earth and Cups as Air.
Interesting...(history is a bit more complicated than just 2 options).


Instinctively I always thought of Wands as Fire - because an incense stick is set on fire to work, and you light a torch (wand) to light the way (old fashoined-ly Lol.)
Whereas sword blades are cold (cold calculating thought - and coldly cut through the air with swishy/ringing sounds).

The associations that I have changed over time - are elements with the 4 seasons, and elements with days, weeks, months and years.
I learnt them one way (during a "formal" Tarot reading course) and some years ago changed them to an arrangement that makes more sense to me.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by earthair View Post
To people who don't use ritual tools- imagine you have a wand in your hand, and now a sword/athame... instinctively, which element is it? Or do you feel tarot has imprinted a certain way around on you?
To me, a wand is wood, and a sword is steel.

I don't do rituals anymore, so I hope I can answer here. I never paid much attention to whether a card is supposed to be associated with earth, air, fire, or water while reading tarot. I tune into the feelings I get when I look at the cards. If the actual representation of a suit catches my eye and stands out to me, then I will see what thoughts and impressions it brings up, but not based on elements. For a wand, for example, I might look at whether the wand is rough and leafy or smoothly carved, how it is being held or used by the characters in the card, etc., and see if it brings up anything for me. But most of the time, I am not seeking that kind of information, I just look at the pictures and read what I see. I focus on the imagery and what it stimulates in my intuition, not elements nor any other associations that others have dictated should be considered. Bah! As noted above by someone else, those associations have changed many times according to who wrote the book, lol, and are therefore arbitrary.

I am sure an intuitive approach would work in rituals, too - just focus on the item itself and what it brings up for you without worrying about whether you're going against the grain of what others have established as important.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by geoxena View Post
...I am sure an intuitive approach would work in rituals, too - just focus on the item itself and what it brings up for you without worrying about whether you're going against the grain of what others have established as important.
This works for solitary ritual - but in groups, some sort of agreed structure is generally better.
Otherwise one doesn't quite get the group focus and co-hesion (because then everyone's doing their own thing of course - lol).
Furthermore there is also that lovely idea that if a format has been used ad infinitum before you - it has
gathered power by joining the "collective unconscious" - therefore, one is "taping into a larger mana stream".
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earthair  earthair is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tanga View Post
My solitary reading ingrained Wands as Fire and Swords as Air (Golden Dawn tradition, though it was Solitary Witchcraft, not Golden Dawn books I was reading).
My 1st few decks, which I purchased at the same time as my 1st occult books - just happened to have the same arrangement in them. So the ritual tools and the decks matched each other.
And if I have a deck with it swapped around - I'll read it my way round.
(So I await The Modern Spellcaster's Tarot with even more curious anticipation now).


Then my Wiccan group had it this way round too (well specifically Athame as Air. Sword as the 5th element - Spirit) - and I'm just reading now, that Gardinarians have Wands as Air and Swords as Fire... this - in the back of Mary K Greer's book "21 Ways to Read a Tarot Deck"...
Apparently Etteilla (who wrote the 1st book on reading Tarot) had Wands as Earth and Swords as Air, Pentacles as Fire and Cups as Water.
William Blake had Wands as Earth and Swords as Air, Pentacles as Water and Cups as Fire.
And Eudes Picard had Wands as Fire and Swords as Water, Pentacles as Earth and Cups as Air.
Interesting...(history is a bit more complicated than just 2 options).
I've never heard on anyone cast a circle with a cup, so I guess nobody has thought "right, I must seek out a deck where cups are air!" or maybe they have ... maybe in a feminist group where they got fed up of the masculine shaped tools having all the fun.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tanga View Post
Instinctively I always thought of Wands as Fire - because an incense stick is set on fire to work, and you light a torch (wand) to light the way (old fashoined-ly Lol.)
Whereas sword blades are cold (cold calculating thought - and coldly cut through the air with swishy/ringing sounds).

The associations that I have changed over time - are elements with the 4 seasons, and elements with days, weeks, months and years.
I learnt them one way (during a "formal" Tarot reading course) and some years ago changed them to an arrangement that makes more sense to me.
The male/female combination of sword in cup always makes me wince a bit- far better to have a wand in a cup, as water makes wands/saplings grow And there are also decks where the Ace of Cups is a sword in cup
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it depends on the reader of course


I find even as if the creator switches the elemental intention , the decks can still be read as wands as fire, swords as air, unless the imagery is changed so much that ten of wands actually looks like ten of swords, etc.
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Your title says it all, Holmes. "it depends on the reader of course" I don't worry too much about elements in my readings but the deck I use (the World Tree tarot) does switch some around, especially pentacles are air not earth. And swords are earth. At one point the designer ask me about how I saw the Knight of Pentacles and I said, "he stand 4 square. Very planted in the Earth." She said, she didn't see pentacles as earth and went her own way in designing it. So I would say, use whatever works for you. If a deck, as Holmes mentions REALLY makes something of the change of elements, that is probably not a deck you would like anyway.

barb
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