Four calling birds: Four elements. It’s elementary, my dear Watson!

How could I not do at least one post talking about the elements? They are so integral to the way I read tarot, and the Playing Card Oracles, that it’s hard for me to not consider elements. The way elements are present or missing, and the way they interact with each other in readings, can enhance the picture of what is happening in the situation being explored.

That interaction is sometimes called elemental dignities. That’s a highfalutin’ term and a lot of people find the idea off-putting, but really, it’s just the way card “energies” as depicted by elements influence and affect each other.

And some good news: if you’ve always felt intimidated by elemental dignities (EDs), but you’ve learned Lenormand card reading, then you most likely have the skills necessary to learn EDs!

I am not going to teach elemental dignities in one blog post. I will, however, give you a basic example and some links for where to go next.

Let’s start with the tarot. Suppose you want to know whether you are compatible with a job that you just interviewed for, and you turn to the cards. Here are the two cards you drew:

eds-sample-job12 of Wands, Judgement (Lo Scarabeo Tarot)

Looking at the cards with meanings and images, you might think first of “two-ness” or pairing, then decisions and second chances. I’d say this is a chance to reinvent yourself or your career via this job. If we factor in elements, these cards are both fire. Fire on fire —  that can be an explosive combination! So you are compatible with this job. Perhaps a little too compatible, as it could lead to hard work, which in turn could lead to burnout.

Or if we had these cards for the same question:

eds-sample-job29 of Wands, 4 of Cups (Lo Scarabeo Tarot)

Together, these two cards provide a feeling of weariness; we have the gathering strength or standing guard for the 9 of Wands with the word-weariness or ennui of the 4 of Cups. Not exactly encouraging. The elemental interaction is more direct: fire and water, which don’t mix. Think of the fire turning the water to steam, or the water quenching the fire. Either way, this is likely to be an uncomfortable work situation, elementally speaking.

Don’t speak tarot, but enjoy playing cards? Get Ana Cortez’ book. (It’s a great example of typesetting in hardcopy, but you can also download the ebook version at her website.) You’d learn that the following two cards — truth and ideas in her system — enhance and bring out the best in each other, as fire and air.

eds-sample-pco7 of Diamonds, Ace of Clubs (not the Playing Card Oracle deck)

These are basic examples, and if they sound interesting or make you think EDs don’t seem so difficult, then you could look at some online resources to learn more:

Lastly, I mentioned that Lenormand readers who read cards in pairs already have the basic skills needed to learn EDs. It’s true! Look at this combination:


Whip – Star

On its own you would probably look at the Whip in a more negative sense. However, in this pair, it’s likely that the Star will bring out more positive aspects of the Whip. If you were describing your next romantic partner, for example, you might say that he is sexy, fit and optimistic. In contrast, a negative modifier like the Mice case a negative influence on the Whip. This combination would more likely indicate a partner who is argumentative, angry and anxious:


Whip – Mice

If those make sense to you, then you probably wouldn’t have much trouble adapting to elemental interactions, which in my mind aren’t different than these “Lenormand dignities” that you already use.

Have you used EDs? Love ’em? Don’t care for them? Let me know what you think in the comments!