Mastering the 5 Elements: Balancing Fire, Water, Air, Earth, and Aether through Tarot


Jun 28, 2023

Mastering the 5 Elements: Balancing Fire, Water, Air, Earth, and Aether through Tarot

Table of Contents

The tapestry of life is a vibrant interplay of five essential elements: Fire, Water, Air, Earth, and Aether. They're not merely forces of nature; they are integral to our existence, our psyche, and our spiritual journey. 

In tarot, these elements provide a fascinating framework to understand ourselves and the world. Join me on a captivating exploration of these elements in tarot, their symbolism, the importance of their balance, and the rituals to achieve this equilibrium.

Balancing the 4 Elements Helps You Tap into Aether (Spirit)

The elements Fire, Water, Air, and Earth correspond to key aspects of our existence: Fire embodies our passion and drive; Water reflects our emotions and intuition; Air signifies our thoughts and ideas; and Earth represents our physical reality and grounding. 

Just as the natural world thrives on the balance of these elements, we as individuals also seek equilibrium amongst these aspects to achieve holistic well-being.

Let's consider an example: a person with an abundance of Fire energy might be ambitious and full of creative ideas, yet without the grounding Earth energy, they may struggle to implement these ideas practically. 

Similarly, someone with strong Water energy may be deeply intuitive and empathetic, but without the intellectual balance of Air, they may become overwhelmed by their emotions.

Balancing these elements within ourselves doesn't mean suppressing one to favor another, but rather recognizing and honoring all aspects of our being. It's about acknowledging our fiery passions, fluid emotions, airy intellect, and earthly practicality, and integrating them harmoniously in our daily lives. 

This integration and balance allows us to navigate life's challenges more effectively and authentically express ourselves.

As we learn to balance these four elements, we deepen our connection to the fifth element: Aether, or Spirit. 

Aether is the fifth element, representing our spiritual essence and connection to the divine or universe. In tarot, this element is associated with the Major Arcana, which signifies our life's major events and spiritual lessons.

Fire: The Spark of Spirit

Fire in Tarot: Fire, represented by the suit of Wands, symbolizes passion, will, ambition, and transformation. 

The symbols of Fire:
  1. Wand or Staff: The central symbol of this suit is a wand or staff, shows power and authority. It represents the will to act, initiative, and the spark that ignites creativity.
  2. Buds/Leaves: Many Wands cards feature budding wands or wands adorned with leaves symbolizing potential, growth, and the fruitful possibilities that passion and action can bring about.
  3. Lions: In some decks, lions appear on certain Wands cards, symbolizing courage, strength, and the fierce, unyielding nature of Fire.
  4. Desert/Landscape: The background in Wands cards often features vast landscapes or deserts, symbolizing the challenges and the rugged journey of life where one's passion and creativity are tested.
  5. Flames: Flames or fire often appear on Wands cards, symbolizing transformation, purification, and the energetic spirit of Fire.
  6. Castle or Tower: Some Wands cards depict castles or towers in the distance, symbolizing the long-term goals or the achievements that one is passionately working towards.
Balancing the Fire Element:

A balance of Fire within us leads to courage, motivation, and a zest for life. An excess may manifest as anger or impulsiveness, and a deficiency can lead to a lack of motivation or vitality.

To balance the Fire element, engage in activities that fuel your passion. Create a sacred space with candles to represent Fire. Visualize the flame consuming any excess anger or fear and reigniting your spirit.

Water: The Flow of Emotions

The Water element is associated with the suit of Cups. It symbolizes emotions, relationships, feelings, intuition, and the subconscious. Water is fluid, adaptable, and a source of deep, intuitive wisdom.

The symbols linked to the Water element in the suit of Cups vary across different Tarot decks, but some common ones include:

  1. Cup or Chalice: The cup or chalice is the central symbol of this suit, representing emotional receptivity and the container for our feelings. It can symbolize both an open heart, ready to receive love, and emotional fulfillment.
  2. Water: Naturally, water is a primary symbol in this suit. It may appear as a river, ocean, or rainfall in the artwork. It stands for the flow of emotions, intuition, and the unconscious mind.
  3. Fish: In certain decks, fish appear as a symbol in Cups cards. They are symbolic of abundance and fertility, the depth of emotions, and the wisdom that resides in the unconscious.
  4. Lotus or Water Lily: These water flowers often appear in Cups cards, symbolizing spiritual awakening, purity, and the ability to flourish in the midst of emotional waters.
  5. Birds: In some decks, birds like swans or doves appear in Cups cards, symbolizing peace, love, and higher perspective aspects that are closely tied to emotional maturity and understanding.
  6. Fruit: Cups or chalices in the cards might be shown filled or surrounded by fruits, symbolizing abundance, nourishment, and the fruitful aspect of engaging with our emotions.

By understanding these symbols and their correlation with the Water element, you can deepen your comprehension of your tarot readings, gaining richer insights into your emotional landscape and relationships.

Balancing Water Element:

A harmonized Water element helps us connect deeply with our emotions and those of others. Too much can lead to moodiness or over-sensitivity, while too little can make us aloof or detached.

To harmonize the Water element, incorporate water in your daily routine by taking a mindful bath or visiting a body of water. Visualize the water washing away any excess emotional turmoil and replenishing your emotional well-being.

Air: The Winds of Intellect

In tarot, the Air element is primarily associated with the suit of Swords. Air symbolizes intellect, communication, thoughts, and ideas. It's about our mental processes, the way we think, and how we communicate these thoughts.

The symbols associated with the Air element within the suit of Swords can vary between different tarot decks, but some common ones include:

  1. Sword: The central symbol of this suit, the sword, symbolizes the mind's power and our capacity for discernment. It can represent both the ability to make clear, rational decisions and the potential for conflict that this incisive mental energy can bring about.
  2. Clouds: Often, clouds are featured in the background of Swords cards. These can represent our thoughts - sometimes clear, other times cloudy and obscuring our vision.
  3. Birds: Birds, especially birds of prey like eagles or hawks, are frequently seen in Swords cards. These creatures of the air symbolize the higher mind, perspective, and freedom of thought.
  4. Wind: Sometimes the presence of wind is suggested in the artwork, indicating the invisible but powerful force of our thoughts, ideas, and decisions.
  5. Mountains: Many Swords cards feature mountains in the background, symbolizing challenges, obstacles, and the sometimes difficult terrain of our mental landscape.
  6. Crown: Some cards depict a crown, often as part of the sword's hilt, symbolizing authority, mastery, and the ruling power of the intellect.
Harmonizing the Air Element:

A balanced Air element encourages clarity of thought, effective communication, and objectivity. Too much can lead to overthinking, and too little may cause a lack of focus or clarity.

To balance the Air element, spend time in open spaces, breathe deeply, or practice mindfulness. Visualize the wind carrying away any cognitive clutter and bringing clarity and peace.

Earth: The Foundation of Life

In the Tarot, the Earth element is closely connected with the suit of Pentacles (or Coins, in some decks). This element symbolizes material aspects of life, including physical health, work, finances, and the tangible, practical elements of our existence.

The symbols linked to the Earth element in the suit of Pentacles vary across different Tarot decks, but some common ones include:

  1. Pentacle or Coin: The Pentacle or Coin is the primary symbol of this suit, representing material wealth, resources, and the fruits of our labor. It symbolizes the material world and physical manifestations.
  2. Garden or Fields: Many Pentacles cards feature lush gardens or cultivated fields, symbolizing growth, abundance, and the rewards of diligent work.
  3. Mountains: In some decks, mountains can be found in the background of Pentacles cards. These symbolize the challenges and hard work often required to achieve our material goals.
  4. Castles or Buildings: These symbols represent the security and stability that comes from our material efforts, like a safe home or a successful business.
  5. Animals: Some Pentacles cards feature domestic animals, such as dogs or horses, representing loyalty, service, and the practical aspects of life that support our physical wellbeing.
  6. Trees: Often, trees are depicted in these cards, symbolizing growth, stability, and the cyclical nature of life and material wealth.
Balancing the Earth Element:

When Earth is in balance, we feel grounded, stable, and connected to nature. Excess Earth can lead to stubbornness or materialism, while a deficiency can cause instability or flightiness.

To balance the Earth element, spend time in nature, garden, or do grounding exercises. Visualize any instability being absorbed by the earth, leaving you grounded and centered.

Aether: The Unseen Energy

The Aether (or Ether) element in tarot isn't associated with a specific suit like Fire (Wands), Water (Cups), Air (Swords), and Earth (Pentacles). Instead, it's represented more abstractly throughout the tarot and is often associated with the Major Arcana, as these cards deal with higher wisdom, spiritual matters, and overarching life themes.

Aether is thought of as the fifth element, the "spirit" or "essence" that permeates all things. It symbolizes our connection to the divine, spiritual understanding, and the cycles of life and transformation.

Here are some symbols and cards that could be associated with the Aether element in the Tarot:

  1. The World: As the final Major Arcana card, The World embodies completion, unity, and a deep connection with the divine. It encapsulates a sense of wholeness and understanding, akin to the spiritual essence of Aether.
  2. The Wheel of Fortune: This card represents the cycles of life and fate, mirroring the Aether's association with cosmic patterns and destiny.
  3. Infinity Symbol: Found in The Magician and Strength cards, this symbol represents the infinite nature of energy and the universe, aligning with the boundless aspect of Aether.
  4. Celestial Bodies: The Sun, Moon, and Star cards also hold a connection with the Aether element. These celestial bodies are representative of universal energy and cosmic wisdom, and they are often thought to exist within the realm of the Aether.
  5. High Priestess and The Hermit: Both these cards symbolize deep inner knowledge and connection with the higher self, aligning with the spiritual qualities of the Aether.
Balancing the Aether Element:

A balanced Aether element helps us connect with our higher self and universal wisdom. An excess can lead to a disconnection from reality, and a deficiency can cause a feeling of disconnect from our spiritual path.

To harmonize the Aether, establish a daily meditation practice or engage in activities that foster a connection with the divine. Visualize a light connecting you with the cosmos, aligning you with your higher purpose.


The elements: Fire, Water, Air, Earth, and Aether are not just part of tarot; they're the fundamental building blocks of life and consciousness. 

They dance within us and around us. Recognizing, understanding, and balancing these elements is a beautiful, transformative journey towards self-discovery and harmony.

Embrace this life long journey of harmonizing the elementals and acknowledge their energy. And, as you do, remember, within you lies a universe, waiting to unfold and connect to the Divine. 


Kenner, C. (2008). Tarot for Writers. Llewellyn Publications.

Pollack, R. (2014). The New Tarot Handbook: Master the Meanings of the Cards. Llewellyn Worldwide.

Amberjay, P. (2018). Tarot and the Path of Initiation. Holisticshop.

Fenton, S. (2005). The Key to the Tarot. Foulsham & Co. Ltd.

Huggens, K. (2010). Tarot 101: Mastering the Art of Reading the Cards. Weiser Books.



Lisa is a Reiki Master, Certified Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP) Practitioner, and trained in the Bengston Energy Healing Method. Lisa is also a Certified Life coach and currently in her second year of graduate school for a Master of Social Work to become a Licensed Clinical Social Worker.

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