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Keywords: will, force, control, creativity

The sound of a brass instrument is generated by the column of air vibrating within it in conjunction with the vibration of the player’s lips. Varying the tension in the lips allows the player to select the harmonic at which the instrument’s column of air will vibrate; the length of the horn’s tubing, often manipulated using valves or slides, finally determines its pitch. Unique to brass instruments is the directionality of their sound; while the sound of other instruments tends to spread more or less in all directions, the sound of a horn shoots straight out the bell.

Played soft and low, brass instruments can be mellow and velvety, and express a wide variety of moods -- think trombone section, think Miles. As an instrument family, though, Brass really seems to find its stride when it’s big and hot. There’s an excitement, an anticipation, in just seeing horn players on the stand -- Brass is the fire in the orchestra, and it wants to ignite.

As a suit, Brass is about power and empowerment, motivation and force. It is aligned with the element of Fire, and its action tends to be volatile and short-lived; it both produces and requires enormous energy, and burns out fast. It can be enthusiastic or aggressive, purifying or destructive. Cards in the suit of Brass address issues of will, initiative, autonomy, control, dominance, and responsible action. Within us, Brass is aligned with the Solar Plexus Chakra, and deals with our sense of self and the confidence we project -- and, by extension, with issues of egotism and self-worth.

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