Newsletter of The Tarot School
ISSN: 1529-0565 
Vol. 13 #5 / February 14, 2021
Tarot Tips Bonus

The Four Elements

Brad asks…

In most of the books I have read about the
Tarot, the suits are presented in this order:
Wands, Cups, Swords, and Pentacles
(bearing in mind, of course, that suit names
may vary). This is so typical that when I
see a different order I'm always mildly

So I'm wondering if suit order has any
actual significance. Is it based on
metaphysical, mystical, or occult concepts?
Or, on a more mundane level, does it just
reflect the rules of a card game? Is it a
convention with no inherent meaning?


There is method to the madness, Brad.
The short answer to your question is that the
suit order you mention comes from Qabalah.
But let me take this opportunity to explain
how it works...

The suit order of Wands, Cups, Swords and
Pentacles comes from the order of the
letters in the unpronounceable name of God.
In Hebrew, its original language, it is
written as four consonants, Y-H-V-H
(Yod-Heh-Vav-Heh). In English, with the
addition of some vowels, this group of four
letters has become the biblical Jehovah. In
the world of western magic, it is known as
the Tetragrammaton, the four-letter divine
name understood to be the symbolic root of
creation itself. It is also the root of the
esoteric language of Tarot.

There is a creation myth which says that the
Divine created the universe by breathing
each of these four letters in order -- a
breath of Fire (Yod), a breath of Water
(Heh), a breath of Air (Vav), and a breath
of Earth (Heh). With each breath, one of the
four Qabalistic Worlds came into being, each
one an ingredient in the recipe for creation.
The Four Worlds are described in the four
suits of Tarot, symbolized by the four Aces.

Here is a brief reference chart of some of
the Four Worlds associations to help you
see the connections:

• Breath of Fire (Yod)
• World of Emanation
• Suit of Wands
• Family Member = Father
• Energy / Strength
• Will / Intention
• Spirit
• Intuition

• Breath of Water (Heh)
• World of Creation
• Suit of Cups
• Family Member = Mother
• Shape / Proportion
• Meaning / Belief
• Heart
• Feelings

• Breath of Air (Vav)
• World of Formation
• Suit of Swords
• Family Member = Son
• Measure / Definition
• Order / System
• Mind
• Thought

• Breath of Earth (Heh)
• World of Manifestation
• Suit of Pentacles
• Family Member = Daughter
• Substance / Inertia
• Uniqueness / Freedom
• Body
• Sensation

If you enjoy learning about these types of
connections and associations, there's lots
to know. We've found it extremely useful in
our reading practice and fun, too. One way
you can learn more is through our audio
course, Pain-Free Qabalah for Tarot Readers.

You'll find the details here:
Pain-Free Qabalah for Tarot Readers mp3s

Bright blessings,
Ruth Ann 
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