Friday, July 30, 2010

Elemental Dignities

Rider-Waite Tarot
Let's see what happens when we use Elemental Dignities in the latest Tarot Tuesday reading.

I've looked into the process and come to a vague understand of how this works. I'm still a little confused, but bear with me. As I learn, you can learn with me.

I had a friend go over a spread and it all made sense, but on my own it didn't seem so clear anymore. Like everything in life, practice is the key.

First you will need to know:

Fire and Air are friendly and active
Water and Earth are friendly and passive
Fire and Water are enemies, they weaken each other
Air and Earth are enemies, they weaken each other
Fire and Earth strengthen each other but are neutral
Water and Air strengthen each other but are neutral

Elemental Dignities are usually read in triplets. The middle card is known as the Principal card an the cards flanking it are called Moderators. The point in this process is to find the strongest card, therefore identifying where the focus of the reading should be.

Elemental Properties can be found here.

In Tarot Tuesday's reading, the cards pulled were: 13 Death (water), 9 of Wands (fire), and 8 of Pentacles (earth).

First, let's look at the relationship of the first two cards: water and fire are enemies, they weaken each other.

Second, the relationship between the last two cards: fire and earth strengthen each other but are neutral.

Third, the relationship between the first and last card: water and earth are friendly and passive.

In this case one flanking card strengthens the central card, while the other weakens it. The central card remains strong, but modified by the enemy.

When using this in a reading, it does not change the cards' meanings. It only changes the ultimate focus.

So looking back at the reading, we find that the central card (9 of Wands) is the focus but it is now modified by the enemy flanking card (13 Death).

What does all this mean? The process of standing up will be a part of a transformation period. Therefore: This appears not to be a recovery process as thought of before, but a transformation period.

Any thoughts or opinions are welcomed. As I said before, I'm not sure about how to do this. I'm winging it. Let me know what you think. Was this helpful?


Phine said...

Hi, Cher Green,

I read your tuesday reading and some thoughts came to my mind...
What caught my eye was the falling line of the figures shown in the cards: The first card (trump XIII Death) shows a 'man' riding a horse, who in the second card alights from his horse and is now standing on his own feet (Wands 9 – ok, reversed isn´t right on his feet...). Finally he sits down in the last card (Coins 8) to do some exercises and / or to refine his skills.
The movement becomes slower and slower – from riding to standing to sitting.

The numerical order of this sequence is declining (13-9-8). Declining orders suggest some kind of stepping back to me. It´s like calling out "Stop! You´re not allowed to pass here, go back until you reach the point where you missed / forgot / refused / ignored to do something." Or perhaps there is an external obstacle rejecting the querent.

I got the impression as if your going to make a big change (trump XIII Death shows this experience), but you have to go back a few steps and redo something – perhaps in a 'better way' (Coins 8) even if you you´re hesitating in doing so (Wands 9 rx), more willingly to proceed the way and let a cycle come to its end (9).

Looking at the elements (I love ED´s!):
Fire (Wands 9) means action. But it´s passive neighbours hinder the fire to burn as water (XIII Death) and Earth (Coins) form some mud, simply absorbing the fires heat or possibly even extinguishing it. It´s not the time for some progressive action...
Fire + Water + Earth = that makes a fango pack in my imagination, or a compost pile, a warm place to incubate new life (compost) or to relax the muscles after and before physical efforts (fango).
In this triplet the earth card is the strongest card as it has no enemies but is strengthened by water and supported by fire. There is something to work on before going ahead, perhaps it´s a sort of balance to create (coins could suggest a monetary or jobwise subject to adjust, but it could have something to do with values as well, even self-esteem).

I hope there´s some input for you – otherwise ignore my interpretation, please ;-) .


Cher Green said...

Phine, Thank you. It's always good to see a reading from another's point of view. Your take on these cards and the ED's was helpful.

I especially like your outlook on going from riding, to standing, to sitting. "Maybe I need to learn to sit and study before I can ride the horse."

Thanks for stopping by. I look forward to further input from you.

Douglas said...

Hi Cher,

Excellent use of Elemental Dignities!

I agree with your assessment. The Death card weakens the 9 of Wands, but the 8 of Disks gives some strength back to it - death hasn't robbed it.

My interpretation of your three card reading would be this:

Death: The complete ending of something. Does the 8 of Disks give us a clue as to what that might be?

9 of Wands: Putting on a brave face, but at times, feeling overwhelmed (Death still has its influence - the 9 of Wands isn't 100% strong).

8 of Disks - the only card to shun the limelight. Are other people aware of your situation?

Are you in the process of ending a period of study - or a career decision resulting in something similar? The emphasis of this reading is on an ending - whether voluntary or not!

Regardless, the 9 of Wands still has a degree of power behind it. Enough to see this through.

Cher Green said...


Thanks for stopping by. I appreciate knowing that I did indeed use the elemental dignities correctly.

Your interpretation gave the reading a new look for me. Ending period? Not that I know of.