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Interpreting the Air Tarot Cards in the Major Arcana

Andrea has a background in astrology, Myers Briggs, and pop culture with expertise in relationships and dating.

These cards are influenced by the air element.

These cards are influenced by the air element.

Major Arcana Cards Influenced by the Air Element

There are five air cards in the Major Arcana. Those five cards are:

  • The Fool (numbered 0 or 22)
  • The Magician (number 1)
  • The Lovers (number 6)
  • Justice (number 11)
  • The Star (number 17)

There are 22 cards in the Major Arcana. The Fool can count as either 0 or 22 and is the only card in all of Tarot that is not identified by one specific number.

The Minor Arcana is made up of four suits that represent the four elements: wands for fire, pentacles for earth, swords for air, and cups for water.

The Minor Arcana and the Elements

ElementFireEarthAirWater

Zodiac

Aries, Leo, Sagittarius

Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn

Gemini, Libra, Aquarius

Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces

Colors

Red and Orange

Green and Brown

White and Yellow

Blue and Purple

Animals

Lizards, Insects, Reptiles

Mammals

Winged Creatures

Water Creatures / Fish

Minor Arcana

Wands

Pentacles

Swords

Cups

Expression

I am

I do

I think

I feel

Attributes

Powers of Vitality: Passion, Anger, Growth, Creativity, Motivation, Energy

Material Resources: Money, Wealth, Home, Legacy, Health, Property

Powers of the Mind: Logic, Intelligence, Integrity, Clarity, Reason, Communication

Matters of the Heart: Love, Compassion, Feelings, Relationships, Emotion, Family

The Element of Air

Powers of the mind are at the heart of all air- or sword-based cards. Awakening the mind and knowledge are considered a kind of magic. Many of our oldest stories are about the risks of learning new information (e.g., the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden) and the perils of knowing something and losing innocence in the process.

With the element of air, we gain flight. Air is about using our minds to change outcomes, create solutions, and gain insight. The power of the mind is incredible—it's vast and ever-changing. And it has the capacity to keep us both tethered to the real world, while still maintaining the possibility of something greater and more abstract than what we can observe with our eyes.

Air is about transformation, speed, efficiency, precision, and creativity. Of the other elements, it is most similar to fire and it has the capacity to both nurture and destroy. Air spreads seeds and moisture necessary for life, and yet air can also feel sharp like multiple daggers.

The swords cards are some of the most challenging to read in Tarot. They often seem like they carry a grim message, but no suit is more ordinary or extraordinary than the others.

The swords deal with military themes: picking battles, slain knights, overcoming strife, heartbreak, betrayal, pillaged lands, and transitions for survival. The end game of the suit is to be the highest king: to be Zeus at Mount Olympus. Each of the face cards carry an element:

  • King = Air
  • Queen = Water
  • Knight = Fire
  • Page = Earth

Air is prized as having the quality of intelligence that is needed to lead as a king. It is rational, quick, has great understanding of wars and violence, and has the ability to lay down the sword and instead fight with the pen when necessary. Someone who truly understands the sword knows how to use it for defense. This person knows how to write legislation rather than waste time in bloodshed.

Air is all about thought, which is closely related to communication. Those who have mastery of air have a mastery of words. They make for great speakers or writers, which are two qualities needed for a king or politician.

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The Fool card is about new beginnings and represents the hero or protagonist. The Fool is often read as the person asking for a Tarot card reading.

The Fool card is about new beginnings and represents the hero or protagonist. The Fool is often read as the person asking for a Tarot card reading.

The Fool

This card acts as either a trump or excuse card and can be played to avoid following suit. In the 15th and 16th centuries, Taroch was a synonym for foolishness. Essentially, the Fool is the protagonist of Tarot—in a way it is the Fool's game.

Upright: Beginnings, innocence, youth, a new era, free spirit, spontaneity, unpredictability, adventure seeker, young hero, young adult, new path.

Reversed: Holding back, recklessness, risk taking, gambling, oblivious, lacking wisdom, movement for the sake of movement, restrained, convoluted, no path, bully.

The Fool's Journey

The Fool has unlimited potential and has only just begun to realize what is possible. The Fool has many people to meet, obstacles to encounter, and items to find. This person is excited to get into the world and try new things. Their curiosities guide them. For example, if you play video games, this is often the first character you get—they have a low level, no spells, very weak attack power, and have just begun to discover the world.

The Fool is someone who is about to leave their hometown to meet with kings and queens, save princesses, fight off dragons, wield swords, come across mystical gems, and climb dangerous peaks. The Fool, with the right guidance, can save the world.

Essentially, the Fool is both the start and the end of the story. In Tarot readings, the Fool often stands for the person who has asked for the reading. Since the Fool is ever present, it doesn't need a number like the rest of the cards. The Fool can also be seen as the hero, and the other cards as the hero's journey. There are a lot of questions as to how the Fool will grow.

It is through the element of air that the Fool is awakened. Without air, the Fool would just stay a common villager who doesn't dare to go beyond their fields and stomping grounds. Frodo in the Lord of the Rings would be seen as the Fool who steps outside of the Shire to ultimately stop the plans of evil. He is the only one in his world who has just the right qualities to fully destroy the ring of power.

Card Description

On the Fool card, a young man stands near a cliff edge. He doesn't seem to have a care in the world. He looks up to the sky and the heavens. His adventure has only just begun and he will soon venture into the unknown. The Fool carries a modest bag, which likely holds only a handful of potions, a small amount of money, and maybe a dagger or a wooden shield. He doesn't have the belongings of a knight or a king.

The young man carries a white rose that symbolizes purity, innocence, new beginnings, and idealism. At his feet there is a white dog that represents loyalty, trust, and protection. This is his first companion while out on the road.

In the background of the card are mountains. These represent the challenges and the potential circumstances the Fool will encounter. It will be a long time before he reaches those peaks because he is only in the beginning.

This character, as he ambles into the world, doesn't always know what he is doing or where his journey will take him. He has been sent out and will eventually come across a quest or multiple side adventures. The Fool has to trust where the universe takes him and how it attracts him to new places and new beginnings. For example, there are people the Fool needs to meet to better understand his planet. In order to encounter these people, he must follow his heart and guts.

New beginnings can be really fun. There are usually lots of fun choices to make and it is exciting to talk to people and learn new things. The air element pushes the Fool to embrace what he doesn't know. He needs to let go of his fears, anxieties, and woes to fully experience life.

This card is very carpe diem—seize the day—in its energy. You don't have everything mapped out. In fact, you likely don't even have a map. You're not sure how anything will work, but you just put one foot in front of the other and make progress. All you need are your essential belongings.

The Fool card in a game encourages you to:

  • Spontaneously go forward.
  • Trust in a little bit of magic.
  • Let new ideas be your friends.
  • Be open to new companions.

Air signs are all about playing. The Fool doesn't go out into the world to work hard—they go to play. They go out of their way to find quests because it amuses them.

Famous Fictional Fools

  • Frodo, The Lord of the Rings
  • Luke Skywalker, Star Wars
  • Rey Speeder, Star Wars
  • Harry Potter
  • Link, The Adventures of Zelda
  • Chrono, Chrono Trigger
  • Terra Branford, Final Fantasy VI
  • Alice, Alice in Wonderland
  • Belle, Beauty and the Beast
  • Ariel, The Little Mermaid
The Magician card seeks to give clarity to the Fool. This card awakens people to their journey.

The Magician card seeks to give clarity to the Fool. This card awakens people to their journey.

The Magician

The Magician is an alchemical card and is the first numbered card of the Major Arcana. The Magician is often the first person the Fool meets. The Magician, with the power of air, is what awakens the Fool to take on the world in new ways. Think of Doc awakening Marty McFly in the Back to the Future series.

The Magician uses their powers to enlighten people with knowledge. The Magician could be a wizard, witch, scientist, teacher, preacher, or soothsayer. All magicians have a mastery of words and they're not afraid to experiment.

Upright: Power, inspiration, magical awakening, manifestation, alchemy, resourcefulness, knowledge, anointing, revelation, charisma, open-mindedness.

Reversed: Poor planning, untapped talent, manipulation, judgmental, rigid, entanglement, distortion, illusion, mirage, petrified, mundane, failed breakthrough.

The Magician is associated with the planet Mercury, which is the planet of communication, intelligence, messages, and travel. The Magician serves as a type of messenger that meets with the Fool and creates an awakening, encouraging the Fool to take on new beginnings. This card is a call to the wild. For example, it would point to Neo's revelation that he is in the Matrix.

Card Description

In the card, the Magician stands with one arm stretched upwards to the heaven and the other reaching down to the earth. They represent the connection between the supernatural and mortal realms. The Magician uses their role to push people and events into action and to turn energy into matter.

The Magician wears a white robe, symbolizing purity and holiness; their cloak is red, representing courage, power, creativity, and knowledge. Red stands out when put next to white.

On the table in front of the Magician lie the four symbols of the Tarot, signaling that they have all the tools needed to get the job done. Meanwhile, an infinity symbol hangs over their head, representing the eternal nature of their job, the connection to the spiritual, and the cyclical nature of it all.

Around the Magician's waste is a snake belt. The snake bites its own tail, representing the mortal realm and the brokenness of the mortal life.

Flowers are also in the picture and signify that the Magician's mental power is active, if not fertile. They are ready to awaken the world—perhaps even the universe. The Magician is all about the tools, resources, and energy necessary to make dreams come true. This person often acts as a mentor or catalyst for the Fool because they have the sage wisdom and experience that the Fool is lacking. The Magician can work with the mind to set you forward. In fact, for some, the Magician could represent a therapist.

The Magician plants seeds in people's minds and helps to nurture others. The air element is about clarity, and the Magician wants to give you clarity or direction in your life.

The Magician card comes with the following messages:

  • You need a soul connection with your goals. Ego, money, and status are not enough.
  • It is time to focus if you want to make your dreams a reality.
  • The Magician gives to the Fool two important resources: planning and methodology. With the Magician, the Fool's eyes open.

Famous Fictional Magicians

The Magician often works closely with the Fool. Sometimes the Magician will disappear for several episodes in the Fool's life, but they will return when needed.

  • Gandalf, The Lord of the Rings
  • Yoda, Star Wars
  • Xavier, X-Men
  • Dumbledore, Harry Potter
  • Navi, The Adventures of Zelda
  • Mufasa, The Lion King
  • Dr. Emmett Brown, Back to the Future
  • The White Rabbit, Alice in Wonderland
  • Hermes of Greek Mythology
  • Rick, Rick and Morty
The Lovers card is about two Fools coming together and sharing their journey. They are like two protagonists with similar goals. They have a divine connection that cannot be ignored.

The Lovers card is about two Fools coming together and sharing their journey. They are like two protagonists with similar goals. They have a divine connection that cannot be ignored.

The Lovers

The Lovers are two Fools who have united in romantic feelings. The Lovers have experienced a kind of knowledge that has changed them, and they are no longer how they were as single people. The air has awakened them—like Cupid's arrow— and they are now influenced by elements of logic, intelligence, intuition, and clarity.

Upright: Love, harmony, relationship, alignment, choices, meeting of souls, combining paths, combining new beginnings together, magic, magnetism.

Reversed: Self-love, imbalance, disharmony, untangling paths, not moving forward, false soulmate, lust, illusion, illogical, contrary, division, affair, mismatch.

The Lovers card is represented by Libra. The autumn sign is guided by the planet Venus, the planet of love. Libra is also represented by the scales. Libra's goal in life is to harmonize with others, to bring about justice, and to bring warmth into the picture.

Libra is an incredibly kind astrological sign. They're the least aggressive of the yang-related energies (Aries, Leo, Sagittarius, Gemini, Libra, and Aquarius). Libra seeks to bring two people together who are equals: they're matched in wit, they have similar virtues, and they have similar goals. Libra does what it can to figure out how two people can balance each other.