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by cigan

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The Cups
This is the suit of emotions, and relationships.  Wate is a tempering force, but can itself run wild.  Emotions are an essential way for our inner self to get our day to day mundane self's attention.  If they run out of control though we move and shift without the temperance of knowledge and can drown the very loves and relationships which our emotions drive us to create.
The Wands
This is the suit of creativity and Intuition.  The wands are the spark that gets things going.  The suit is particularly unstable without the presence of the other suits as fire is prone to run out of control, and creative energy never truly manifests if it does not have a stable fuel source, and water to protect that which is near it.
The Swords
The suit of swords is primarily concerned with thought, and strife.  Air is an unpredicitble element, and so the swords depict many of the painful things in life which if it were not for the unpredictibility of air we would entirely avoid.  There is wisdom in pain, and knowledge in suffering.  The suit is not always negative, and the sharp edge of thought is often required to cut through the tide of raw creative and emotion that comes from water and fire.
The Pentacles
The pentacles are often viewed as a suit of money, but that interpretation vastly limits them.  A better way of looking at it is that they are the physical suit.  Their element is earth, and they represent out bodies, our resources on this plane, and earthy needs, gain, and loss.  While in spiritual pursuits earthly needs are often cast aside, unless you completely devote yourself to the monastic path it isn't until the basic needs of the body are accomodated that the mind can move away from basic survival and pursue other things.  So it is important to remember where this suit fits in relation to the others.
The aces are beginnings.  They represent new ventures, primal as yet unfocused power, ideas, and concept just beginning to take form.  The cards all show a hand reaching out of the clouds holding their suits prime symbol because nothing has truly come to be yet, while they can represent both a positive or negative beginning moving forward, they are at their heart neutral.  The unbridled potential of a new business venture, or a love not yet bound by either partners weaknesses.  This is the heart of the Aces.
The twos are cards of opposites and balance.  These cards represent the temperance of a venture that is truly trying to move foward, or often when inverted represents the stasis of balance.  When balance is too perfectly maintained instead of equillibrium one cannot move forward.  This is most clearly depicted in the blinded woman holding the two of swords, but can be true of all the twos.
This is the card of first victory.  While the one is an idea in it's primal form, and the two is the caution and balance and processing once must move through and occasionally overcome to realize the primal idea the three is the manifestation of the idea.  This is most clearly seen in the tree of life.  Keter was one, nothingness, everything, then realized that it existed, as so the idea of it became separate and then there was two.  The two sat is stasis merely a mirror of eachother, and then the realization of what that division meant was born into Binah.  Binah was 3 and the first truly unique manifestation.  Then the mirroring happened again, and the realization of what that mirror image meant happened again and you have the first 9 spheres of the tree of life.  So 3 was once and again the first true manifestation.  It is not the final victory, and not the stability of several successes, but the first indication that a more lasting manifestation in Malkuth is possible
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