The Four Suits

The four suits of the minor arcana represent four traits or personality sets. Although people usually have an overriding personality trait it is rare for someone to be just one but usually have attributes relating to two or even three suits.

The king and queen of each suit are males/females belonging to that suit. In a spread, for example a king of wands does not mean a man who has all, and only the traits of the wands suit but a man who is predominately practical and motivated. Likewise, a queen of swords may not necessarily be unemotional but would be organised and logical.

Below is a table looking at the suits and the corresponding keywords, traits and desired careers.

Energy, action, adventure, adrenaline, risk taker, heroics
Emotional, creative, compassionate, caring, artisticControl, power, rational thought, logic, authority, command, influence, intellect
Business, finance, commitment, study, security, caution, homemaker, risk-averse, safe
Armed services, police, fire officer, pilot, trades, sport, any physical occupation ideally with an element of riskCaring professions such as teachers, social workers, doctors, nurses, the arts or non-profit sectorEngineering, law, politics, management, anything that is intellect based and can command a level of respect and authorityPublic service, finance, business owners, sales, anything that can provide a good level of income and security
Wands/Pentacles and Cups/Swords are considered opposites. A pentacles person does not understand the need for action, risk and adventure, whilst a Wands person does not long for comfort and security. Similarly, a cups person does not want power and control whilst a swords person cannot comprehend emotions.
Example Situation
My short example shows the different behaviour patterns displayed by people from the different suits.

One day along a residential street a house catches fire, the lady who lives there escapes the fire in a state of distress, her four neighbours come running to help. The wands neighbour runs into the burning house oblivious of any risk to check there is no one else inside. The cups neighbour comforts the distraught lady. The swords neighbour takes charge and calls the fire brigade and the lady's relatives, whilst the pentacles neighbour offers to lend money and provide a place to stay.

In my little scenario all four people would be helping but all acting in different ways according to the traits of their overriding suit. A swords person would want to take charge but would not understand how to provide emotional support. A wands person would see the opportunity to play the hero and a pentacles person would be focused on providing practical support. Whilst in reality very few people would follow that singular archetypal behaviour, it does demonstrate how different personalities would be focused on different aspects in any situation.
Updated: 13/11/2023