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jean bosco 
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Astrology and Tarot


Hi all,

I have got something going on concerning the astrological attributions of the major arcana. I have read about 20 books of different authors and all of them refer to the GD astro- attributions (some also mention Etteilla, Wirth, Papus but don't refer to them). That already is interesting to me. And even more interesting - none of my books explain WHY they refer their examples, exercises etc. to the GD attributions.
What makes me write this post is that some of the GD attributions to me feel not quite fitting.
That is for example:
The Hierophant=Taurus; To me Saggitarius would fit better. One would need passion and inspiration and the urge to teach to be the Hierophant. I just would not think of Taurus...
Justice=Libra; One would need a clear detached mind, willing to go to details while leaving behind emotions. I think of the need to make clear, down to earth decisions while facing the facts. To me thats much more Virgo than Libra.
The Wheel of Fortune=Jupiter; I often read keywords like: Karma, Cycles, Cause and Effect. Wouldn't that be Saturn?
The Chariot=Cancer; to me that feels almost like a contradiction. leaving home versus the need to connect to family and home (Cancer). Would not for example Aries fit better?

The GD, Papus etc. also didn't know about the outer planets. But we do. So why do we still refer to that attributional system?

Not to be mistaken, I really like all of those books but with this I want to ask you for your take on that. I'm only curious if there is also a newer take than the Golden Dawn astro-attributes...
Jean
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MaineGirl117 
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Just a few thoughts, this conversation could go on forever

Quote:
Originally Posted by jean bosco View Post
Hi all,

IThat is for example:
The Hierophant=Taurus; To me Saggitarius would fit better. One would need passion and inspiration and the urge to teach to be the Hierophant. I just would not think of Taurus...
Taurus is a fixed sign. To me, he's dedicated and his passion is steeped in tradition. Taurus rules wealth and physical comforts - all of which are at the disposal of the Hierophant/Pope. The Hierophant is also considered an Earth sign, while Saggitarius is Fire. Sag's are very carefree and love to travel far distances. They're one of the "party hardy" signs that would contradict the austerity of the Hierophant/Taurus. While Sagittarius rules of the House of Higher Learning (9th), there's a lot to be said about alternative learning or being enrolled in the School of Life.

Quote:
Justice=Libra; One would need a clear detached mind, willing to go to details while leaving behind emotions. I think of the need to make clear, down to earth decisions while facing the facts. To me thats much more Virgo than Libra.
Virgo would rather swamp their opponent in picky little details and piles of paperwork. They are incredibly meticulous and would make good lawyers. Libra's however, DO have an opinion and DO acknowledge their emotional side, however they will almost always make their decisions on what's best for everyone involved.

Quote:
The Wheel of Fortune=Jupiter; I often read keywords like: Karma, Cycles, Cause and Effect. Wouldn't that be Saturn?
Both really. What goes around comes around kind of Karma is what's faced in this life time with Jupiter. Who also brings really wonderful, bountiful things into your life as well. He's the planet of Good Luck. Saturn teaches Karmic life lessons. He'll hold you down and keep you rooted in one stop until you learn something, while Jupiter will say "The answers you seek are on the journey ahead".

Quote:
The Chariot=Cancer; to me that feels almost like a contradiction. leaving home versus the need to connect to family and home (Cancer). Would not for example Aries fit better?
Cancer/Chariot teaches that "Home" is wherever you are. Like the snail or crab, you carry your home with you (ie the shell of your body is the home for the soul). In the traditional Chariot image, the Chariot is stationary and not actually moving.



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jean bosco 
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Awesome! Thanks for your reply. That really makes sense and gives me a better understanding. :-)
Jean
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Zephyros 
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The attributions came before the meanings, and had much to do in their formulation. The letters attributed to the cards come from the Sefer Yetzirah, which attributed letters of the Hebrew alphabet to astrology. This process gives the deck a certain structure and balance, especially when the cards are seen on the Tree of Life. So it isn't quite the question of what fits as a personal preference, but a question of why things are the way that they are, and whether one's perception of a card can be improved.


Now, for the examples you mentioned. The Hierophant is Taurus, and this has, in great part, to do with what he does and why he is named "Hierophant" at all. This is the office of initiator, the one who pulls back the veil on the rules and inner workings of the world. One achieves initiation through hard work, repetition, steadfastness and perseverance. These fit Taurus exactly, while Sagittarius, on the other hand, implies a powerful but ultimately insustainable burst of energy. This is very good for where it is, but isn't useful for the Hierophant.

Justice as Libra is pretty obvious because of the scales, but it has nothing to do with identifying Librans as people, but with the greater meaning of scales and justice in general. Justice (the card) is the effect of the pendulum swinging back on any action taken. Whatever you do, big or small, Justice will always be there to ensure that every action holds within it the seeds of its own reaction. There is no emotion here, merely cold calculation of cause and effect. Virgo, as an earth sign, would be entirely ill-equipped to deal with this (especially since Virgo's place is far more fitting, at the Hermit). This, incidentally, is one of the most important cards of all the Majors.

Now, Jupiter as Fortune makes a lot of sense, too, when seen from the right point of view. Jupiter is the planet of expansion, of creation, of air, of godliness. Fortune deals in luck, but not necessarily of the random kind. Think of it as a huge lottery machine, where all the elements in the universe are knocking against each other, blending, separating, creating new things. Fortune is the idea of many different elements interacting, and producing what seem like unexpected results, but are actually the machinery of the universe doing its stuff. Saturn, on the other hand is cold, dark, imposes structure, represents time, old age and the inevitability of death. Its solid qualities fit the World much better (this card actually has a double attribution, both Saturn and Earth). Although Fortune may bear a resemblance to Justice, there are subtle but very important difference between them.

Now, as to the Chariot, I really can't explain it without resorting to Kabbalistic jargon, but suffice it to say it follows the same logic as per the previous example.



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Quote:
Originally Posted by jean bosco View Post
Hi all,

I have got something going on concerning the astrological attributions of the major arcana. I have read about 20 books of different authors and all of them refer to the GD astro- attributions (some also mention Etteilla, Wirth, Papus but don't refer to them). That already is interesting to me. And even more interesting - none of my books explain WHY they refer their examples, exercises etc. to the GD attributions.
Books that make flat statements without interpretation or reason are not really helping here. It makes me think, as well, that the author didnt understand their subject fully.
Quote:
Originally Posted by jean bosco View Post

What makes me write this post is that some of the GD attributions to me feel not quite fitting.
That is because what might 'feel fitting' or not, comes from one's limited experience. To me, Aries in Spring is not fitting at all ... Virgo the 'Spring Maiden' is but northerners (northern hemisphere ) might dispute that and relate her to Ceres and the Harvest.

Here is the problem with all these people giving their own personal slant on it. Its not supposed to be a personal slant ... its supposed to be the 'slant' of the collective unconscious ( of humans and 'nature'). Also an individual may not have the skill set, background or education to discern what fits as opposed to their own individual preferences. If something 'fits' and is correctly attributed it should have validity in the whole pattern, not just appear 'better' to the individual.

There are some who think the Moon card should be ruled by the Moon ( a basic example). A good attribution should work, and should be able to be shown how it applies 'across the board', appear in other forms, be demonstrated in nature ... etc.

Its about fields of correspondences , not personal preferences and associative experiences.

As an example;

Quote:
Originally Posted by jean bosco View Post
Justice=Libra; One would need a clear detached mind, willing to go to details while leaving behind emotions. I think of the need to make clear, down to earth decisions while facing the facts. To me thats much more Virgo than Libra.
The idea of a just society started about 8000 bc .... by the time it developed more fully in Egypt it became deified as the Neter Maat. On the Greek /Egyptian Dendra Zodiac we can see her attributed to the section of Libra and her form continues today in that of Lady Justice. That is a lot of history, meaning, embedding and association there ... much more than a modern persons idea of what Libra or Virgo ... or even Justice is.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jean bosco View Post
The GD, Papus etc. also didn't know about the outer planets. But we do. So why do we still refer to that attributional system?
Because they aren't in that system. However some have added them into THAT system. It doesnt bother me as the outer planets fulfill a different function, in a different system (of my own) I use them as transpersonal modifiers ... and they are rather essential there, but for me, not in tarot.
Quote:
Originally Posted by jean bosco View Post
Not to be mistaken, I really like all of those books but with this I want to ask you for your take on that. I'm only curious if there is also a newer take than the Golden Dawn astro-attributes...
Jean
For an extended explanation of the 'why' of a lot of these attributions see;

http://www.koyotetheblind.com/librar...0(revised).pdf

the easiest part to start with is probably colour , go to page 93 ( ) of the pdf .... p. 75 Column XV ... the next dozen pages outline some associations and why they are used ... the whole appendix of the PDF is worth reading to to get an idea on how these associations came about in the first place.

Of course, you could make your own, but they might not be relevant to the 'wider picture' and hence restrict your skills of 'outside observation'.



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Zephyros 
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Thank you ravenest, that was very interesting. I also read my own post over and found a few mistakes, but I'll let them stand for posterity.



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There is some VERY important info in your post - especially this;

"Justice as Libra is pretty obvious because of the scales, but it has nothing to do with identifying Librans as people..."

A card is an archetype ... it is given a 'personality' as a way of helping comprehension (like an inspiration can appear as an angel or a psychological imbalance as a demon)... so is a 'star sign'. If one tries to match a perceived astrological trait of a person one knows with a card ... and then think the card is not well attributed because of that .....



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Zephyros 
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Well, the idea that the astrology in Tarot is different from what actual astrologers use is somewhat difficult to grasp, but quite freeing. <Planet> in <Sign> could mean what it does in a chart, but it is far easier to look at it more simply, as two (or more) ideas affecting each other. You don't have to know when and why Sun in Aries falls, but it is enough to know that the Sun brings out the best qualities of any sign (in Tarot, at least), and that the decan is a mini-reading in itself of the Sun affecting the Emperor.

Sure, more advanced astrologers do (and have!) scoffed at my "decans as Trumps" habit, or using the mythologies of the different attributions to divine their meanings, but in my opinion that was what the GD was after. They could have made it far more inaccessible, but the fact that the attributions can be used in multiple ways are a testament to how well they work. Going to the extremes of giving actual personalities (clingy Cancer!) is detrimental, in my opinion, and leads to inaccurate understanding of a card.

This is also why I love the Courts so much. Looking at just one aspect is impossible. They do have complex personalities which can be understood only when fully taking into consideration all three decans.



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jean bosco 
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closrapexa and ravenest thanks so much!

You made it clear that this needs a far more in depth study. It already made me question some of the books when on every 2nd page one reads "Now the next exercise will spare you years of learning...". I think learning always takes time - there is no shortcut.

Quote:
Originally Posted by closrapexa View Post
The attributions came before the meanings, and had much to do in their formulation. The letters attributed to the cards come from the Sefer Yetzirah, which attributed letters of the Hebrew alphabet to astrology. This process gives the deck a certain structure and balance, especially when the cards are seen on the Tree of Life. So it isn't quite the question of what fits as a personal preference, but a question of why things are the way that they are, and whether one's perception of a card can be improved.
Yes, I'm lacking that background. Thanks for the link. Do you know when/where they put the Tarot Trumps into the system of the Qabbalah?



Quote:
Originally Posted by ravenest View Post

That is because what might 'feel fitting' or not, comes from one's limited experience. To me, Aries in Spring is not fitting at all ... Virgo the 'Spring Maiden' is but northerners (northern hemisphere ) might dispute that and relate her to Ceres and the Harvest.

Here is the problem with all these people giving their own personal slant on it. Its not supposed to be a personal slant ... its supposed to be the 'slant' of the collective unconscious ( of humans and 'nature'). Also an individual may not have the skill set, background or education to discern what fits as opposed to their own individual preferences. [...]
Its about fields of correspondences , not personal preferences and associative experiences.

[...]

For an extended explanation of the 'why' of a lot of these attributions see;

http://www.koyotetheblind.com/librar...0(revised).pdf

the easiest part to start with is probably colour , go to page 93 ( ) of the pdf .... p. 75 Column XV ... the next dozen pages outline some associations and why they are used ... the whole appendix of the PDF is worth reading to to get an idea on how these associations came about in the first place.
Yes, there's so many opinions/"personal slants" around and it's nearly impossible to discern what to take in and what to leave behind as a beginner.
Some also say "well it's all made up, originally there was no connection at all to qabbalah/astrology and tarot,... ". But I think that the tarot would not have survived all those centuries when there wasn't something real meaningful to it.
Thanks for the book! I will definitely read it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by closrapexa View Post
Well, the idea that the astrology in Tarot is different from what actual astrologers use is somewhat difficult to grasp, but quite freeing. <Planet> in <Sign> could mean what it does in a chart, but it is far easier to look at it more simply, as two (or more) ideas affecting each other. You don't have to know when and why Sun in Aries falls, but it is enough to know that the Sun brings out the best qualities of any sign (in Tarot, at least), and that the decan is a mini-reading in itself of the Sun affecting the Emperor.
Yes, that makes sense that there are differences. Thanks for that hint. I just would have liked it the easy way I guess. ;-)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jean bosco View Post
That is for example:
The Hierophant=Taurus; To me Saggitarius would fit better. One would need passion and inspiration and the urge to teach to be the Hierophant. I just would not think of Taurus...
Taurus as Hierophant was already nicely explained in this thread, so I won't repeat things – but the grounding, stability and patience that a true teacher needs is not really a feature of adventurer-Sagittarius. Sag is more interested in discovering knowledge than teach – and as fire, he is very much involved in his own centre and his own individual quest.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jean bosco View Post
Justice=Libra; One would need a clear detached mind, willing to go to details while leaving behind emotions. I think of the need to make clear, down to earth decisions while facing the facts. To me thats much more Virgo than Libra.
Justice fits Libra perfectly – and Librans are very detached and rational. Libra is the only sign in the zodiac represented by an object and it is the peak of civilized approach, of finesse, and harmonic resolutions. Librans are very much morally oriented (hence relation to the law) – their challenge is a 'correct choice' – when you decide for the option that really suits you, but also consider others involved and possible moral implications (think love triangles). If people are incapable of making correct choices, they end up in courts which are there to regulate sometimes very brutal and primitive human behaviour and impose civilized rules. That is why Justice-Law fits perfectly since Law is there to mend the issues in a dignified manner and resolve disputes with a delicate, refined approach, and not succumb to the rule of 'an eye for an eye'

You always need to consider the signs in their polarities – Libra is opposite to Aries, hence it is 'peace against war', it is human, refined approach versus the crude and raw battle of Aries. Also, Venus, modern ruler of Libra, was a lover of Mars, the ruler of Aries – hence they deeply correlate.

One more aspect – Libra-Aries axis is the axis of ME-OTHER. Me&You. In Aries Sun is dignified, in Libra it is in 'fall' –Libra marks the first 'descent' of the Sun, where the Sun (as the centre of the ego consciousness) is not alone any more, but needs to consider the other as well. If Aries is the sign of 'I', Libra is the sign of 'you' – this means entering relationships and also having great desire to be reflected in others, hence with the tendency to be narcissistic (but that's another story).

If you take a look at Greek myths for example, they were extremely raw and crude – the gods (planets in astrology) were constantly quarrelling, bickering, fighting, they were revengeful and aggressive, making all kinds of ploys…and constantly interfering into human lives. Libra is therefore also the Athena, the Goddess of Justice who tried to appease the disputes and raise above vindicitveness and aggressiveness. Hence Libra represents the civilized aspect. And, again, Law is there to ensure people abide certain rules and not just go on killing each other

Libra is many times faced with conflictual situations and also love triangles, so that the 'decision' challenge comes out. Who or what will you chose? Such choices can present a real agony in a person's life. But we only grow with decisions – and each decision means that we cut off something.
So Libra is about a turning-point – to chose an adult relationship and leave the origin family behind. It is an aware decision, hence it pertains to the air element. Air cuts, decides, detaches – and this is needed when we make important choices. The word 'decision' comes from the Latin '-cide' which means to kill and also to cut. When you decide for something, you also let go of something. You need to cut something away. Hence Libra relates to deep issues of what is right/wrong, implications of the choices we make, and the right relationships that we enter. And this is not about instinctual reactions, it is about wise considerations and insight.

And yes, Virgo and Libra, as Scorpio in fact do have a lot in common, their mythology is very interlaced, if only to mention the myth of the abduction of Persephone for instance. It relates to Virgo, Libra and Scorpio, and Libra in fact is a rather new invention, in the past it was part of the Scorpio (known as Scorpio claws).


Quote:
Originally Posted by jean bosco View Post
The Wheel of Fortune=Jupiter; I often read keywords like: Karma, Cycles, Cause and Effect. Wouldn't that be Saturn?
Yes, this indeeds fits Saturn more. However, Jupiter it is about 'destiny' and new opportunities that life brings. Jupiter-Saturn are a pair, they are Son and Father, both paternal figures, in fact.
Jupiter is the new order, new life, since he dethroned his father Saturn and broke the imposing, unyileding structure of rigid rules. So the Wheel does start spinning in a different direction, bringing more freedom and expansion. Wheel as Jupiter is 'a new kingdom', the son that overthrows the father (old system).

Quote:
Originally Posted by jean bosco View Post
The Chariot=Cancer; to me that feels almost like a contradiction. leaving home versus the need to connect to family and home (Cancer). Would not for example Aries fit better?
Cancer has the challenge to create his own home, his own roots. Cancer is a cardinal sign, a sign of moving forward. All the seasons being in cardinal signs (Aries, Cancer, Librs, Capricorn) – hence, cardinal signs are about beginnings, drive and focus. Cancer has a great drive to create its own family and can fiercely protect it.
As I wrote in one of my previous posts: »the ruler of Cancer is Moon, the mother archetype - which in fact has many faces, one of them also the devouring, dark mother, and the female goddesses of destruction.
And mothers are a great force. Mothers are not just pure sweetness and tenderness, they can be overwhelming, extremely powerful and even dictatorial. The 'dictate of the mother' is something very real and 'mothers' are many times the driving force of the whole family.

Imagine the power and decisiveness the mother has to have to bring the child into the world, push it out of her womb - where she may almost die in the process. And then she is ready to go to the end of the world for her offspring.«
The maternal archetype is very much related to destructiveness – and to move away from mother (and the original family) can be a life challenge.

One more thing, very important: Cancer is not just about home, it is about the challenge to grow up emotionally, as it is the first water sign that we meet in zodiac. It is a personal water sign, learning how to deal with personal internal conflicting emotions – and Chariot is many times about having control over inner impulses that can be very destructive and pulling you in many directions (as horses). Emotions can be very black-and-white, very conflicting, so the Charioteer needs to have a full reign.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jean bosco View Post
The GD, Papus etc. also didn't know about the outer planets. But we do. So why do we still refer to that attributional system?
Traditions die hard There are so many astrologers who don't even take into account the outer planets – but they should be taken into account, profoundly, since they reflect the growth and expansion, as well as deepening of human consciousness.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jean bosco View Post
Not to be mistaken, I really like all of those books but with this I want to ask you for your take on that. I'm only curious if there is also a newer take than the Golden Dawn astro-attributes...

Jean
Just go on and create your own system New and evolving approaches are always welcome, they contribute to the growth. However, the human mind likes established structures (is very Saturnian) So we need to find a mix between the old and the new, grow roots in the old, but by all means allow new awareness and insight.
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