I was talking with Kathy the other day of seasons in tarot cards. She had to run on a bus, so we didn’t get far with it, but I promised I’ll write it here so she can read it tonight.
Some Wiccans use the classical association with the elements to fix their understanding of the seasons on cards: East – Air – Swords – Spring
South – Fire – Wands – Summer
West – Water – Cups – Autumn
North – Earth – Pentacles – Winter
I live in North and I tend to take the seasons by the same principle, following the elements rather than directions. Next I’ll give you the seasons and my reasoning:
Spring – Water – Cups. The spring time around here is always related with water, lots of it. It always floods the forests and fields and it pretty much goes to the point where you can only think that this is all you can take. Fishing seasons all start during this time, too, so one more reason to relate it with the season. Water is also needed in spring in order to build up anything that lives, so to me water has always been the symbol of spring time and thus also the suit of Cups. If you look at the suit, it has lots of cards in it related with emotional rollercoaster – it has both cards for yearning and parties, fertility and love, so I feel it suits the best with the season when everything goes nuts on hormones.
Summer – Fire – Wands. Summers here are often dry, though also wet, the Sun does its best to dry everything up. Wands are the element of Fire and as Midsummer’s Eve, which here is the biggest fire holiday, is in summer, then so I’ve come to relate Wands with summer. It’s the time of growth, planting, seeding your ideas. It’s the time when your harvest comes from the sources that you don’t seed yourself, like forest and sea. It’s also the time when many use the time for building projects and art. More light means more inspiration that can be put in use. Leasure time that sparks need to travel.
After the two, even I go in two ways of taking this. In the little booklet that came with the Goddess tarot by Kris Waldherr, it was written like so: Staves are pruned by swords for the sake of strength and growth; finally in the suit of pentacles, the tree bears fruit so the cycle may start again.
I agree with this description. Yet at the same time I don’t feel right to put Pentacles to the very end, because the fruiting season ends here as the third season and then comes the winter, which determines if the tree survives until next season or if the seed has what it takes to become a tree next year. So either way it is, I accept both ways.
Autumn – Earth – Pentacles. Why North and thus Pentacles is often related with winter is beyond me – here the winds that bring winter to us come from east. North winds are cold, yes, but the ones that come from east – they can bring down to minus 30 degrees of Celsius. Pentacles to me relate with harvest of crops that you’ve been working yourself, things that relate with household and home, your own power to create and work and results show accordingly. The time for such harvests around here is Autumn – all the fruits, crops, roots that you planted in the spring time. You can literally smell the Earth in air when this season comes and its scent that you won’t forget that easily.
Winter – Air – Swords. When everything goes bare, like it does right before winter, then the only thing left on the fields is wind, the howling air. Especially if the snow comes down and everything goes quiet. The winters here are harsh and you don’t take them lightly. It’s the time when you are left alone in darkness to face what you did throughout the rest of the year. It’s often the time when your earnings and harvests matter how well you’ll survive this season. Time, when you have too much free time in your hands and often nothing better to do than sit and deal with your emotional baggage that you managed to hide behind work. The suit of Swords is all about this – the life lessons that can either cut you too deep or make you the sturdy man that you can be.
I guess the understanding of the seasons really comes from personal experience. I follow here the local four seasons and how I’ve come to sense them. Each and every one of them is important and in its place and I wouldn’t have it any other way.