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Elemental Tarot - tarot decks

Playing Cards
Playing Cards -> Tarot decks

Price: US $14.46

ProductID: alt917

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About this item
  • The Elemental Tarot fits a system of astrological combinations to the 78 cards of the Tarot, so knowledge of astrology
  • would be helpful when reading with this deck.

Name Elemental Tarot
Creators Caroline Smith, John Astrop
Publisher St Martins Press 2001
Deck Type Tarot Deck
Cards 78
Major Arcana 22
Minor Arcana 56
Deck Tradition Astrological
Minor Arcana Style Unique Scenes Without Suit Symbols
Water, Earth, Air, Fire Court Cards
The Fool is 0
Strength is 8
Justice is 11
Card Size 3.50 x 5.17 in. = 8.89cm x 13.14cm
Card Language English
Card Back Unknown


The Elemental Tarot is so named for its use of the four elements, earth, air, fire, water, and then the fifth, holistic Universe element represented by the Major Arcana. For the Minor Arcana, the element earth refers to pentacles, air to swords, fire to wands, and water to cups. The symbols for the elements are at the very bottom of every card. The holistic Element for the Major Arcana is represented by an oval, Water by a half moon turned on its side to take the form of a cup or bowl, Earth by a square, Air by a circle and Fire by a triangle. The cards are also color coded according to each element.

The deck itself is unusual in several ways. Ms. Smith for example includes symbolic references as reminders of each card’s meaning. For the Major Arcana, the name and number of each card appears at the top, with an associated key word at the bottom. On the sides, there are two lines in fairly poetic language, which also relate to the meaning of each card. Some of these are quite cryptic, and a creative mind would most thrive on deciphering them.

Another interesting thing about the Major Arcana is the fact that, while some retain their traditional titles, such as The Sun, The Star and The Fool, others have been renamed to more clearly, according to their creator, suggest their meaning. Instead of the Magician, for example, Card no. 1 is called the Trickster, Card 5 is the Pope instead of High Priest, and Card 21 Aeon instead of the World. These “new” names appear to be more in connection with the modern world and current values, although this is a matter of opinion. Ms. Smith has replaced some archaic terms with more modern ones.

The Minor Arcana are equally interesting. Each card features astrological and mythical Egyptian symbols in the right and left margins. At the top of the card is a word suggesting the meaning of the particular card, while an associated god or goddess name appears at the bottom. The Court cards are renamed to Daughter (page), Son (knight), Mother (Queen), and Father (King) of each suite. This suggests a family rather than the royal relationship of the traditional Tarot.

In general, the artwork of these cards is very abstract, but also in some cases very graphic, especially the Lovers (or Choice, as Ms. Smith names it). I would therefore not recommend it for very young Tarot users or for the “sensitive” viewer who is easily upset by graphic nudity. Nevertheless, the cards are beautifully illustrated: devotees of abstract art are most likely to find the images appealing.

One of the drawbacks of this deck could be the many interpretive elements on each card. This, while intended to clarify, could lead to confusion. Together with the fact that the card titles have changed, such potential confusion makes the deck unsuitable for beginners. I would however highly recommend it to art lovers and the more adventurous Tarot user. The cards are very colorful, and each is striking in its own way.

As for myself, despite my fondness for the deck, I seldom use it. I keep it mostly for sentimental and collector’s reasons. It is difficult to say why. Perhaps the abstract nature of the images do not particularly appeal to me, or perhaps the astrological elements confuse rather than clarify matters for me. This however in no way changes how I feel. The Elemental Tarot is, after all, my first deck.

Combine shipping is possible.

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