In the temporal scheme of all things tarot, the card suits and numbers work reasonably well together to create a model for estimating the timing of future events. Although it is deeply flawed (for example, no reply to a job application is likely to take “years;” the more practical answer is probably “never”), the rule-of-thumb that Wands indicate “days,” Swords “weeks,” Cups “months” – some people swap the last two – and Pentacles “years” (but why not “quarters?”) is well-entrenched in the collective mindset. The smaller the number on the card, the sooner in temporal units the event will transpire within the designated range (one day, two weeks, three months, four years, and so forth).
Court and trump cards don’t have a place in this design, unless it can be argued that youthful Pages are the swiftest and mature Kings the most delayed of their suit. But that’s a debate for another time. Right now I want to talk about the use of trump cards as timing indicators.
Many people exclude trumps from the determination altogether, arguing that they operate in their own time and space, and they won’t manifest until they are good and ready or the time is otherwise ripe for the querent. My opinion is that all trump cards have an elemental association and a number, and many have a visual cue (like the court cards) suggesting their relative mobility (sitting, standing, mounted or otherwise static or dynamic). This combination of factors can be put together to arrive at a ballpark target for the coming turn of events.
I set myself the goal of creating a visual “story-board” of trump card celerity, from slowest (Earth, upper left) to fastest (Fire, lower right). This is a working model, so don’t bet the farm on it.