All begins and ends with the Earth. Pentacles represent earth, as does the symbol of the spade, a tool used to work the Earth. Associations include dark, north, night, winter, material resources, money.
Swords relate to the East, Air, Spring and the Intellect. They represent new beginnings, and the suit generally relates to current affairs as well. Clubs, a tool used in weaponry is used to symbolize Swords in my suit.
Wands are used to channel energy, and so relate to the bones of out body, our blood vessels, living branches of trees, and diamonds and crystals, which can hold and channel energies. Additional associations are Fire, South, Summer, and Passion, or Creative/Sexual Energy.
Cups relate to Water, Emotions, West, and Fall. They are a vessel or container, like the heart, and therefore relate to matters of the heart. Like water, which surrenders to the shape of the container holding it, Cups reminds us to surrender rather than to struggle.
The 22 cards of the Major Arcana represent different archetypes. An archetype, as defined by Carl Jung, is a mental construct for a human instinct. Archetypes vary from culture to culture. The 22 Archtypes of the Major Arcana are primarily Western Civilization Archetypes. These cards are powerful forces that have life-changing impact, where as the Minor Arcana (Pentacles, Swords, Wands, and Cups) tend to be more work-a-day, relating to the mundane, day in and day out activities that have few far-reaching consequences.