Welcome to the Tarot Blog Hop
This post is part of the Tarot Blog Hop, in which tarot writers from around the world join together to discuss a particular topic. Our blog hop wrangler for this round, Arwen of Tarot by Arwen, proposed we discuss timing and tarot. She specifically suggested exploring the relationship between the tarot suits and the seasons, one of my favorite topics. I’ll share with you five ways to match the four seasons to the tarot suits. I included a handy chart to summarize the results! The links below and at the end of the post will let you hop through all the participating blogs to find out what other bloggers have to say on the topic.
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Ways to Use the Seasons
One useful way to tell time with tarot is to match the four seasons to the tarot suits. When used in a timing question, this technique can let you identify roughly what time of year the event in question will happen. Moreover, this technique is useful for understanding the season of any part of life. For instance, is this particular relationship just getting started, in the spring of its life? The summer season lets us know it is strong and growing with ease and enjoyment. Or has it already reached its fall season, starting to decline? If a relationship shows up as being in winter, you know you’re not getting that return phone call!
But how do the tarot suits match to the seasons? Lots of different ways! Let’s look at some of the most common and also explore why.
Five Ways to Match the Four Seasons to the Tarot Suits
- Cardinal Signs. The start of the season matches the element of the tarot suit. Fiery Aries starts spring. the Suit of Wands. Watery Cancer is Cups for summer. Cardinal air sign Libra is Swords and the start of fall. Earthy Capricorn starts winter and matches the suit of Pentacles.
- Sun’s Cycle. The four seasons equate to the sun’s daily cycle. Dawn is spring, symbolized by airy Swords. Noon is the summer heat of Wands. Sunset is fall, correlating to water and the Suit of Cups. Midnight matches winter, the stockpile of tarot Pentacles. Based on Neo-Pagan ritual symbolism.
- Fixed Signs. Astrology’s fixed signs correspond to the middle, or fullest expression, of each season. Taurus/earth/Pentacles is the growth of spring. Leo/fire/Wands is the slow, hot, summer. Scorpio/water/Cups is fall when we connect with ancestors. Aquarius/air/Swords is the depth of winter.
- Natural Symbolism. The agricultural cycle of growth and harvest defines the seasons and the suits. This straightforward symbolism conjures spring showers and hot summers. Pentacles represent the fruit of harvest, while the cold blades of swords signify reaping crops and the death of the year.
- Swapped Suits. Seasonal weather inspires the elemental associations. But as in the Modern Spellcaster’s Tarot, the elemental attributions of Swords and Wands are swapped. Snowmelt in spring overflows rivers, earthy Pentacles grow green in summer, fall leaves blow in the breeze with the airy Suit of Wands, and the fiery Swords are the only defense against a fierce and freezing winter. Based on natural symbolism combined with the swapped attributions of suit to element.
Handy Chart of the Four Seasons to the Tarot Suits
How Do You Match the Four Seasons to the Tarot Suits?
You can probably find as many methods for assigning the tarot suits to the seasons as you can find readers. What permutations do you use to match the four seasons to the tarot suits? Please tell us how it makes the most sense to you in the comments!
Seasons follow one another just as one blog leads to the next in the Blog Hop! Use the navigation links to hop to the next blog and learn more timing tips! And don’t miss my blog Completely Joyous, where I share a Tarot Timing Information Chart that assigns a specific time frame to every card in the deck. Never be confused with timing questions again!
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18 thoughts on “Match the Four Seasons to the Tarot Suits”
Neo-Pagan, that’s me. I love your charts. So much effort and so much good. WRITE A BOOK.
<3 <3 <3 When I have time... ;-)
The charts are beautiful…I will be reading over those and perhaps using them. Also useful for teaching classes. Thank you!
I echo that, a book by Joy is required!!
I’ve come across these associations and their variants through books and decks. I’ve always found myself coming back to the original ones that I fell into when I started this journey and at some point, let them go and trusted the cards instead.
I do love and enjoy learning about them but I rarely find any need to use them any more, the cards always seem to have the right answer for the right person at the right time 🙂
What a great chart! I lean toward the natural symbolism, myself.
Thank you! Yes, the natural symbolism is a good one. I use the Cardinal Signs myself, but every time I learn a new way of doing it, I think, ooooh, that’s cool!
Ah! It helps to see them all lined up in your handy chart. I first learned to match the suits to seasons by use of the Victorian Fairy Tarot and was so confused when someone told me I was wrong! Of course I was using the right system for that deck: Wands=Spring, Cups=Summer, Pentacles=Autumn, Swords=Winter. I was hopeful that one of your systems would match it, but just seeing there are so many different ways to do it makes me feel better about it not matching what I was told was the “right” one.
Yes, that one confused me when it first came out. I admit I didn’t buy it because of that. Have you ever worked with the Ellen Cannon Reed Witches Tarot? She assigns the seasons to the hierarchy of the courts — I believe Queens are spring, Princes are summer, Princesses are fall, and Kings are winter. The art is perfectly clear, but whenever I would try to remember the card images I would get it all tangled up because I was trying to organize it by suit.
i used to have a deity associated with each season and the element i associated with them is what i associated with the season as well. so with that, mine were:
spring, brighid, fire
summer, elen of the ways, earth
autumn, lugh, air
winter, gwyn ap nudd, water
this order was also influenced by the zodiac signs elements (aries/fire, taurus/earth, gemini/air, cancer/water, and so on in that order as well)
im still figuring out my path and beliefs in paganism and witchcraft, and im not sure what to think anymore. the natural symbolism here really seems to vibe with me.
another thing im trying to grasp is whether or not i prefer the switched elements for the wand and the sword/athame. my favourite tarot (the wild unknown) doesn’t have the switched elements, but switching them sounds better in my head. aagh, so conflicted!
“You can probably find as many methods for assigning the tarot suits to the seasons as you can find readers.” Exactly!
LOL. Every time I learn a new way I think, That’s clever! Glad you liked the chart. 🙂
Eventually I get why! Thank you for these explanations! Personally, as many people in France, I always used:
– wands: Spring (the sap getting up the trees)
– cups: Summer (the refreshing water of lakes/beaches in hot weather)
– pentacles: Autumn (harvest)
– swords: Winter (cold, sharp and quiet)
I questionned this method for the cups and wands a few days ago reading that someone was switching them because of the fires of Beltane. It became clear that it made much more sense this way to me but I didn’t know the different “schools” of thinking. I’m glad I now have the answer and can decide consciously what to choose ? I can’t remember why I had chosen this option years ago. Probably because, as here it’s the most common way to do it, I got used to it. Doesn’t really make any more sense to me now, actually ? I definitely am part of the “natural symbolism” team.
Keep up this very nice blog please! ??
Thanks, Etoile! Thank you for sharing the way these correspondences are made in France! There is a entire school of French esotericism that goes back centuries. It influenced the English way, but at the same time they deviated from it. It’s nice to have both to contrast!
Your article is glorious!
In speaking of the correspondence of tarot suits, seasons and astrological signs, I cannot locate the signs of Pisces, Sagittarius, Gemini, and Virgo in this article. Could you please email me back with how these four fit into your exquisite explanations?
Blessings to you
Thanks, LaDonna! No, the mutable signs aren’t assigned. It has to do with determining how important the sign is to the season. Because the mutable signs mark the end of the season, they just aren’t as relevant in defining the seasonal quality.
The cardinal signs (Aries, Cancer, Libra, Capricorn) mark the start of the season, while the fixed signs (Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, Aquarius) mark the middle of the season or the height of its energy. The mutable signs (Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius, Pisces), meanwhile, mark the end of each season, when the weather is transitioning out of one season and into the next. As an example, right now we’re at the end of Taurus (fixed sign, the fullness of spring) and about to move into Gemini (mutable sign, as spring transitions into summer). So the mutable signs don’t symbolize a clear season, but instead the change from one to another.
This also shows up on the Pagan wheel of the year, which outlines eight seasonal holidays. The quarter days are the solstices and equinoxes, which each mark the start of one of the cardinal signs. The cross-quarter celebrations match the fixed signs (Beltaine/May 1/Taurus, Lughnasadh/Aug 1/Leo, Samhain/Oct 31/Scorpio, and Imbolc/Feb 1/Aquarius). The mutable signs are not assigned to any holidays.
You can also compare it to the angular, succedent, and cadent houses in astrology, where the cadent houses, which many astrologers correlate to the mutable signs, are said to fall away and therefore have the weakest power.
However, although the four suits don’t directly correlate to the four seasons, there are several ways of assigning cards to the mutable signs. The 8, 9, and 10 of each suit match the mutable signs (8, 9, and 10 Swords are Gemini; 8, 9, and 10 of Coins are Virgo; 8, 9, and 10 of Wands are Sagittarius; and 8, 9, and 10 of Cups are Pisces). The 2,3 and 4 match the cardinal signs while the 5, 6, and 7 of each suit connect to the fixed signs.
Also, in the court cards, the Knights (and this is true for the RWS knights or the Thoth knights, rank doesn’t matter) are the mutable signs. The Queens are the cardinal signs, and the RWS Kings or Thoth Princes are the fixed signs. As usual, there are different philosophies on making this correlations, so some readers do it differently.
In the Major Arcana, the mutable signs are the Lovers for Gemini, The Hermit for Virgo, Temperance for Sagittarius, and The Moon for Pisces.
I have more info and some nice charts that address this info from somewhat different angles in my posts Tarot Timing Information Chart and Sun, Moon, Ascendant: The Astrological Chart As Cosmic Egg.