Astro Flash Cards: Tarot Astrology At-a-Glance

I think this one is TheNewAkkount’s fault: in the course of a conversation about getting into astrology, I mentioned that sometimes I use tarot cards to quickly understand planetary placements in the sky. The method is simple: just put together the planet(s) in a sign with the sign, and pull cards for each one. This method obviously uses the Golden Dawn’s attributions, and so your mileage may vary, given that not everyone finds those attributions to be, shall we say, bullet proof? Additionally, once the cards are lying in front of you, you also have to remember that the card meanings aren’t exactly the same as the planetary meanings. It is still helpful though, it’s just not going to immediately teach you everything you need to know about astrology! I wonder if the Sefer Raziel angel knows somebody who does astrology instead?

Method

Here’s a slightly more complicated description of how to do this. Every card in the major arcana (or trumps, whichever you prefer), has been mapped to one of a set of things; they’re associated either with a planet, a sign, or an element. Judgment, Fool, and Hanged Man are associated with Fire, Air, and Water, respectively, and therefore are Sir Not Appearing in This Film. Earth is trickier, but it’s generally associated with The World – but that card is also associated with Saturn, so it still makes it in. For your convenience, I’ll provide a list at the bottom.

So as I’m writing, Mercury and Venus are in the sign of Capricorn (Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto aren’t in the traditional tarot associations, so don’t worry about them right now either). So that means we pull The Magician, The Empress, and The Devil and put them next to each other. If you want, you can put the Devil above or below the others, to indicate that’s the sign, while the other two are planets.

Now you’ve got a tarot reading. What would you say if you got these three cards in a majors-only reading? Remembering that the Devil card is sort of the “room” that the other cards are inside, we would say pretty easily that the magician and empress are “trapped,” chained up in some way. So the powers of will and love are going to struggle, and it might take extra effort to do the things they want to do.

The Devil is also known as “the lord of the gates of matter,” so you could also read it as relating to material things. Maybe now isn’t the best time to start a new spiritual practice, but it could be a good time to count up (magician) all the things you have stored (Empress) for the winter – money, supplies, toilet paper, whatever.

Limitations

That’s just about as far as this technique can go. Or rather, as Emily in the Hermetic Agora pointed out, you can also use the minors to break out the decans, but if the preceding clause of this sentence didn’t make sense to you don’t worry about it. It’s a great way to visualize things. You get to make a kind of low rent memory palace for the planets and signs. You can even make a huge circle in the floor of all the signs, put all the planets down, and visualize aspects! But it’s not perfect, you’re not really doing astrology, you’re just using a quick and dirty method to begin looking at information. So, for instance, the houses aren’t here at all. It matters whether Capricorn is the querent’s first house or fifth. And if Mercury in Capricorn is trining the querent’s natal Mercury placement in Virgo, well, you’ll need two decks!

This technique produces a set of flashy flash cards, is what I’m telling you. If you already have a tarot deck around, and particularly if you feel comfortable with that tarot deck, this method can add a lot to your astrological learning! It’s a way “in” to the astrology, so to speak.

Planetary assignments in tarot

  • Saturn: The World (20)
  • Jupiter: The Wheel of Fortune (10)
  • Mars: The Tower (16)
  • Sun: The Sun (19)
  • Venus: The Empress: (3)
  • Mercury: The Magician (1)
  • Moon: The High Priestess (2)*

Sign assignments in tarot

  • Aries: The Emperor (4)
  • Taurus: The Hierophant (5)
  • Gemini: The Lovers (6)
  • Cancer: The Chariot (7)
  • Leo: Strength (8 or 11)**
  • Virgo: The Hermit (9)
  • Libra: Justice (11 or 8)
  • Scorpio: Death (13)
  • Sagittarius: Temperance (14)
  • Capricorn: The Devil (15)
  • Aquarius: The Star (17)
  • Pisces: The Moon (18)

*Yes it’s a little confusing, I know.

**Let’s not have that fight now.

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