Alchemical cards

The court of The Crux Tarot is much different visually than a traditional deck. The first of it’s differences is that the cards aren't even called a court, they are called Alchemical cards. This shifts the emphasis from human characters, gender, and hierarchy, to that of the suits and elements, and the way that the mundane intersects the thematic. In place of traditional titles, the elements rule the cards. This puts the emphasis on the intersection of different elemental energies, instead of gender roles and hierarchy. This makes every Alchemical card more inclusive, and equally valued. A Page can be seen as inherently less skilled or powerful than a King, but all elements are need each other in balance.

Some readers associate Knights with fire and Kings with air, while others associate them with the opposite element. Using an elemental court with no reference to its traditional counterpart allows the cards to not conflict with your personal perspective on the traditional court.

These cards are not titled, so call them whatever you wish. However if you are used to the traditional gendered system, I would encourage you to explore the elemental system presented here.

Interpreting the alchemical cards

The court of The Crux Tarot acts as a bridge between the powerful, almost unreal archetypes of the major arcana, and the mundane and physical minor arcana. Because of this there is no hierarchy, simply comparison of energies.

The court types are named after their elements: Mountains (earth), Flames (fire), Waves (water), and Winds (air). These categories represent the larger than life presence of elements, manifesting as forces beyond our control. The suits in comparison represent what is within our control, what can be held and manipulated.

This opens up the door for many interpretations of the cards. The court elements can represent goals, callings, expectations, intentions, and ideals. The suits can represent offerings, tasks, expressions, commitments, and reactions.

The emphasis of these cards is less on the suit they belong to, and more on the space they hold between suits and something bigger. In this way, they feel less like the ending of the minor arcana, and more their own entity.

These Alchemical cards still follow a traditional grouping: four cards for each suit, each correlating with a different element. This means if you find yourself called to see them through the lens of a traditional people driven court, you absolutely can.

But my vision for the Alchemical cards is about intersection. They are about decisions, embodiment, perspective, and suggestion. While the minor cards can often feel like scenes unfolding around you, the Alchemical cards are about empowering your personal choices, without assigning any gender or hierarchy.



Reversals with the Alchemical cards can be read as any other reversal, but they present an interesting window into "opposite" elements. The elemental triangles at the bottom of each card, when reversed, become a different elemental symbol entirely. This can be read as the inclusion of a second or third element in the card (for instance, the Wave of Cups reversed, as seen above, would include water and fire energy. The Wind of Cups (air and water) would include earth, as the air symbol reversed is the earth symbol.) 

This can be interpreted in a few ways, including

1. The elemental symbol in the reversed perspective represents a blockage or complication on the original energy, OR

2. The elemental symbol in the reversed perspective is an additional energy that compliments the card, or guides the energy in a shadow/subconscious way.


mountain inverted.png

Mountain cards are ruled by earth (passive/rigid), and are closest to a traditional Page.

Mountains represent physical things, worth, the body, the past, ancestry, and grounding. Slow moving and stable, they are a testament to slow and steady ideology, but can act as barriers or road blocks.

MOUNTAIN OF COINS - Earth to earth, connecting with source, deep grounding, far past, standing one’s ground. Closest to the Page of Pentacles.

MOUNTAIN OF WANDS - Water to earth, complete passive energy, dreams meet reality, possibilities meet embodiment, Diviner energy. Closest to the Page of Wands.

MOUNTAIN OF CUPS - Fire to earth, spirit and passion to reality, inspiration creating change in the physical world, Designer energy. Closest to the Page of Cups.

MOUNTAIN OF SWORDS - Air to earth, words to action, thought to reality, strategy to awareness, Preserver energy. Closest to the Page of Swords.

In reverse, the Mountains also may invoke air energy through the reversed elemental symbol.


flame inverted.png

Flame cards are ruled by fire (active/fluid), and are closest to a traditional Knight.

Flames represent passion, education, inspiration, movement, risk-taking, and exploring. The Flames are hot and unpredictable, meaning they can cause serious damage if not handled properly. But they are also the spark of existence, the drive to live, discover, and expand. 

FLAME OF COINS - Earth to fire, body to passion, physical transformation, offering, Designer energy. Closest to the Knight of Pentacles.

FLAME OF WANDS - Fire to fire, exploration, complete transformation, intense passion, spirit, pleasure. Closest to the Knight of Wands.

FLAME OF CUPS - Water to fire, fluidity and flexibility, dreams to movement, creativity to expression, inspiration to creation, Creator energy. Closest to the Knight of Cups.

FLAME OF SWORDS - Air to fire, committed action, words to purpose, thought to passion, decision to transformation, Conjurer energy. Closest to the Knight of Swords.

In reverse, the Flames also may invoke water energy through the reversed elemental symbol.


wave inverted.png

Wave cards are ruled by water (passive/fluid), and are closest to a traditional Queen.

Waves represent emotions, dreams, ideals, holding space, and the creative mind. Waves can be calm and slow, rhythmic and entrancing, but they can also be powerful and disrupting, pulling us down too deep.

WAVE OF COINS - Earth to water, body to dreams, imagining a new reality, value to potential, reality to magic, Diviner energy. Closest to the Queen of Pentacles.

WAVE OF WANDS - Fire to water, passion to heart, experience to feeling, spirit to magic, Creator energy. Closest to the Queen of Wands.

WAVE OF CUPS - Water to water, becoming a vessel, holding space, infinite possibility, emotional healing, future, empathy. Closest to the Queen of Cups.

WAVE OF SWORDS - Air to water, thought to feeling, action to observation, decision to create space, Union energy. Closest to the Queen of Swords.

In reverse, the Waves also may invoke fire energy through the reversed elemental symbol.


wind inverted.png

Wind cards are ruled by air (active/rigid), and are closest to a traditional King.

They represent thought, planning, logic, endings, and structure. Winds can carry you high up into the air, offering a new point of view and refuge from the terrain below. But they can also leave you feeling isolated or fearing a fall.

WIND OF COINS - Earth to air, body to thought, reality to perspective, physical awareness, embodiment to decision, Preserver energy. Closest to the King of Pentacles.

WIND OF WANDS - Fire to air, passion to action, spirit to confidence, expression to articulation, Conjurer energy. Closest to the King of Wands.

WIND OF CUPS - Water to air, dreams to action, potential to truth, creativity to intention, Union energy. Closest to the King of Cups.

WIND OF SWORDS - Air to air, complete action, thought and articulation, connecting to universal truth, confidence and justice. Closest to the King of Swords.

In reverse, the Winds also may invoke earth energy through the reversed elemental symbol.