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The Moon Card: Assignment of Pisces?

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Question The Moon Card: Assignment of Pisces?


Greetings. I'm posting this question in a few of the history forums in hopes of finding an answer. There's a discussion about the Moon in the Using Tarot Cards forum and there is the usual confusion over the assignment of Pisces to that card. It doesn't make sense to new tarot readers that it should be Pisces rather than the Moon (planet) or Cancer (zodiac sign ruled by the Moon). I was wondering if any one could explain when this assignment was made, by whom and the rational behind it. I have asked in the Rider-Waite forum, and the experts there have no solid information. They suggested that the assignment is likely more Golden Dawn or perhaps even farther back than that.

I'd like to find out what I can about this strange assignment, so that I can explain to tarot newbies why the Moon isn't represented by the moon (as the Sun is represented by the sun), or even by a zodiac sign that has, as its planet, the moon. It's represented by a sign affiliated with Neptune. Any help would be very much appreciated.
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Occultist schools associated the 22 trumps with the 22 Hebrew letters. The French with Aleph as 1, the bateleur; the English school (Golden Dawn) with aleph as the Fool, then following in consecutive order. The RWS, which with its clones is predominant in the English speaking world, follows (arguably) that of the Golden Dawn. The 18th Trump, the Moon, therefore is attributed to the 19th letter, Qoph.

In the Hebrew text the Sepher Yetzirah, the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet are divided into three mother letters, seven double letters, and 12 single letters. The 12 single letters are associated in the same text, in their natural order, with the 12 signs of the zodial, in their natural order. Qoph, the last of the single letters, is associated with the last of the zodiacal signs, Pisces.

Ergo: Moon - Qoph - Pisces.

Such attributions, via correlation with Hebrew letter symbolism, whether of the French or English school, do not in many respects match up with astrological association one might expect, if one should seek a direct correspondence between astrology and the trumps, rather than indirectly through association with Hebrew letter associations.

In either case, a correspondence between astrological symbolism and the trumps (as an overall framing structure, as opposed to individual trumps) is a stretch.

It is somewhat anachronistic to associate Pisces with Neptune in respect of these associations, the traditional associations of classical western astrology are usually thought of as more in keeping, ergo Pisces would be seen as affiliated with its traditional ruler Jupiter, or as the Joy of Saturn, or other such traditional rather than modern affilliation.
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According to Uri Raz, Paul Christian assigns astrological attributions to the majors in his History and Practice of Magic, 1870. There might be more information in that book. I've never read it but someone who has it might know.
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Etteilla in the late 18th century assigned the first 12 trumps (of his own sequence), to the first 12 signs; and the coins with the 7 traditional astrological planets, the head & tail of the dragon, and part of fortune.

There is a wide variety of differing astrological associations that have been made; that of the Moon trump with Pisces is rooted in the Golden Dawn association of said trump with the Hebrew letter Qoph.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kwaw View Post
Ergo: Moon - Qoph - Pisces....It is somewhat anachronistic to associate Pisces with Neptune in respect of these associations, the traditional associations of classical western astrology are usually thought of as more in keeping, ergo Pisces would be seen as affiliated with its traditional ruler Jupiter, or as the Joy of Saturn, or other such traditional rather than modern affilliation.
Got it! And yes, you're quite right about the anachronistic element of associating Pisces to Neptune when Neptune wasn't even discovered till 1846

But trying to explain to beginners that Pisces should be Jupiter would cause even more confusion. Most of those in the Using Tarot Card forum simply want to try and find a connection between Moon and Pisces because books and decks tell them the card is related to that sign. So, we start there and move into heavier questions of whether there should be such an association, and if so, what planets behind the signs later
Quote:
Originally Posted by kwaw View Post
There is a wide variety of differing astrological associations that have been made; that of the Moon trump with Pisces is rooted in the Golden Dawn association of said trump with the Hebrew letter Qoph.
I do understand that the astrological associations with tarot cards vary widely, and that the GD came late to the game and re-arranged things with, often, high-handed disregard for tarot history. That said, the association of Pisces to the Moon does have a lot of newbies scratching their heads. And any info easing that confusion is useful.

This info is very useful, and I thank you for it.
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The GD Philosophus Ritual has a couple of interesting points. In this grade the candidate receives information about the Moon card. First:
"It is to be noted that the symbol of the Sign Pisces is formed of the two lunar crescents of Gedulah [Chesed] and Geburah bound together, and thus shows the lunar nature of the Sign."
I always thought the Pisces glyph represented two fish, but lunar crescents make perfect sense. At least it's easy to see how Mathers, or whoever might see them as crescents. To me this seems like the easiest and most logical explanation.

But it also says:
"Also when the Sun is in the Sign Pisces, the Moon will be well in her increase in Cancer as shown by the Crayfish emblem."
I don't know enough about astrology to fully understand this, but it's apparently another link of Pisces with the moon.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Abrac View Post
But it also says:
"Also when the Sun is in the Sign Pisces, the Moon will be well in her increase in Cancer as shown by the Crayfish emblem."
I don't know enough about astrology to fully understand this, but it's apparently another link of Pisces with the moon.
If the moon is in the waxing stage, and c.120 degrees from the sun, and if the moon was waxing at this stage while traversing cancer (which is indicated by the crayfish emblem, a symbol of cancer), then the sun would be in pisces. By this reasoning the Moon in Cancer would be in beneficial aspect to the Sun in Pisces (trine).
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The Marseille deck probably has no intrinsic astrological attributions. However, if a water sign is to be assigned to the Moon, mutable Pisces certainly makes more sense than either fixed Scorpio (since the Moon is constantly changing apparent shape and has rapid apparent motion compared to the other classical wanderers/planets) or cardinal Cancer (since the Moon oscillates between waxing [progressive] and waning [regressive]).
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