Are you an astrologer hoping to add the Tarot to your bag of tricks? An intermediate Tarot reader wanting to deepen your contact with the cards? Or maybe you are still just learning about Tarot and (possibly) can’t imagine adding yet another layer of meaning to the richness of the cards. Wherever you’re at with Tarot, your reading can benefit from understanding the astrological correspondences to the Tarot.
Why Use the Astrological Correspondences?
We all have cards in the deck—especially in the Minors—that don’t stimulate our intuition in the way that we’d like. This can look like drawing a blank every time the Six of Cups shows up, for example, or freezing every time you draw the Ten of Swords. The reason that we don’t resonate with the card may or may not be important (that’s the topic of another article!), but navigating those “blank spots” is. When you understand the planet and sign associated with the card—especially if you are already knowledgeable about basic astrology—you can jump start your intuition and create a seamless reading.
The second thing that knowing the astro stuff gives you is a whole other layer of meaning to weave in in relationship to the question you or your client has.
The easiest way to illustrate this is through an example. So say I’m doing a three-card spread for my friend (as always, this is based on a real reading, with some details changed). Let’s say the question is about concern for her boyfriend’s consumption of recreational drugs. I’ll choose to do a Past, Present, Future spread, which will tell us about the fears and motivations that may be playing into her boyfriend’s alcohol and cannabis habit.
The first card represents the Past, and is the Three of Swords, reversed. This shows that there’s an inner, unexpressed sorrow that he’s dealing with—and using the drugs to self-medicate. Now, knowing that this card corresponds to Saturn in Libra takes me deeper into the meaning. Perhaps his heartache is linked to a relationship (Libra) and is a result of the boyfriend’s rigid ideas about relating, unlearned lessons from past difficulty, or fear (unintegrated Saturn).
The second card looks at the Present, and is the Ten of Wands. So, even though the heartache is in the past he’s still somehow burdened by the events and hasn’t been able to put the experience behind him. Perhaps the relationship had somehow limited him, or perhaps he felt a weight of responsibility there that had contributed to the break-up. Saturn in Sagittarius is suggestive of these possibilities, and that in some way the freedom of he and the other person had been constrained. His beliefs could have been challenged too, and he may be suffering now from some dissonance that is affecting his current relationship and which contributes to the need to numb out.
The final card, in the Future position, is the Nine of Coins. The Venus in Virgo correspondence really helped me here. Venus in the sign of Virgo implies a solo investigation into healing and a coming into right relationship with one’s own wisdom. It suggests creating harmony and health through discernment, finding balance, and natural healing methods. I asked my friend if her boyfriend had ever tried quitting his habits. She told me he had, but only the “boot camp” style cessation programs that focused more on a “warrior” type mentality to sobriety. While this might work for some, the Venus in Virgo/Nine of Coins suggested that a gentler approach based on accessing his own wisdom would be more effective. Natural therapies, such as herbs (as opposed to the Herb), spiritually based practices—even a solo vision-quest—might be more effective. And he definitely needed help accessing and healing the unresolved heartbreak that he was hiding.
Can you see how the astrology helped here?
So, it took my friend a while to tell her boyfriend about the reading. But when she did, he was visibly affected by it. He admitted that he had never really recovered from the death of a good friend in high school that he felt responsible for—the heartbreak—and that it had made him question the meaning of life, his worth, and had filled him with guilt. He agreed to start a 12 step program and, fingers crossed, so far it’s working.
The Origin of the Astrological Correspondences
In the 1880s—pretty recently—we have the first really recorded system of correspondence between the Zodiac and the Tarot. A secret group of scholars, the Order of the Golden Dawn, studied astrology, Tarot, Egyptian spirituality and magic, Kabbala, and alchemy, and made significant additions to the “modern” Tarot. These additions included a system of astrological correspondence. Alester Crowley and Arthur E. Waite (of the Thoth and Rider-Waite decks, respectively) were notable members that Tarot enthusiasts will know of.
The cards were associated with an element, according to their suit, a planet (up to Saturn), and/or a sign. The Ace was the root of all the powers of that element, and the Court Cards embodied the “earthy part of water”–Page of Cups; or the “fiery part of fire”–King of Wands. Earth corresponds to Pages, Air to to Knights, Water to Queens, and Fire to Kings. The numbered Minors are as follows.
The Astrological Correspondences for the Minor Arcana
|Two||Venus in Cancer||Moon in Libra
|Mars in Aries||Jupiter in Capricorn|
|Three||Mercury in Cancer||Saturn in Libra||Sun in Aries||Mars in Capricorn|
|Four||Moon in Cancer||Jupiter in Libra||Venus in Aries||Sun in Capricorn|
|Five||Mars in Scorpio||Venus in Aquarius||Saturn in Leo||Mercury in Taurus|
|Six||Sun in Scorpio||Mercury in Aquarius||Jupiter in Leo||Moon in
|Seven||Venus in Scorpio||Moon in Aquarius||Mars in Leo||Saturn in Taurus|
|Eight||Saturn in Pisces||Jupiter in Gemini||Mercury in Sagittarius||Sun in Virgo|
|Nine||Jupiter in Pisces||Mars in Gemini||Moon in Sagittarius||Venus in Virgo|
|Ten||Mars in Pisces||Sun & Moon in Gemini
|Saturn in Sagittarius||Mercury in Virgo|
Astrological Correspondences for the Major Arcana
I encourage you to play around with using the correspondences. It can add a layer of depth and confidence to your readings and can sometimes unlock the real key to the question or issue at hand.