Eden Gray's Tree of Life Trump Assignments


I just re-read Eden Gray's A Complete Guide to the Tarot and remembered what it was that disturbed me about it. She - probably under the influence of her astrological collaborator, Mary Beckwith Cohen - decided to throw out all of the Golden Dawn astrological correspondences and Tree of Life path assignments and make her own model using just the ten sphiroth. She didn't use paths 11 through 32 at all, just picked ten Major Arcana to assign to the sephiroth (with marginally convincing results) and then took the rest of the trumps and arranged them in an oval around the ToL glyph with no apparent rhyme or reason to the structure.

I can see some logic to assigning the Fool to Kether, the Emperor to Chesed, the Tower to Geburah, the Empress to Netzach and the Magician to Hod. But why on Earth assign the Hanged Man to Tiphareth when the Sun's own "death and rebirth" cycle (and all the "sacrificed god" religions that inspired) is perfectly serviceable? Or Death to Binah, when Justice seems more suitable, with its Libra association that is the sign of Saturn's exaltation? The High Priestess at Yesod and the Wheel of Fortune at Malkuth make slightly more sense, but I'm still not thrilled with them. Why not the Moon at Yesod and the World at Malkuth? The zodiacal oval with the "also-ran" Trumps on it seems similarly illogical; I can't find any internal harmony at all in that arrangement.

While playing with this idea, I took all of the Major Arcana cards and laid them out in Gray's model, then moved everything around unil I felt about 95% satisfied with the result. This left me with the following:

Kether - Fool- Elemental Air
Chokmah - Zodiac - Wheel of Fortune - Jupiter
Binah - Saturn - Justice
Chesed - Jupiter - Emperor - Aries
Geburah - Mars - Tower - also Mars
Tiphareth - Sun - also Sun
Netzach - Venus - Empress - also Venus
Hod - Mercury - Magician - also Mercury
Yesod - Moon - also Moon - Pisces
Malkuth - Earth - World - Saturn

Regarding the zodiacal oval, I tried to create a consistent pattern by aligning cards with opposite astrological sign associations or common rulerships acoss the "form" and "force" pillars wherever possible; failing that, I placed cards adjacent to sephiroth/card combinations of an astrologically sympathetic nature. The result isn't perfect because I had to put some negative cards on the "force" pillar to complete the pattern, but the outliers are the more potent examples of their type so it seems to work.

On the left ("form") side, starting at the top to the left of Kether and running counter-clockwise down, I had:

Hanged Man - Elemental Water
The High Priestess - Moon
The Hierophant - Taurus
The Devil - Capricorn
The Hermit - Virgo (adjacent to Hod - Magician -Mercury, cross-aligned to Lovers - Gemini)
Star - Aquarius

On the right ("force") side, starting at the top to the right of Kether and running clockwise down, I had:

Judgement - Elemental Fire
Temperance - Sagittarius (cross-aligned with the High Priestess)
Death - Scorpio (cross-aligned with Hierophant - Taurus)
Chariot - Cancer (cross-aligned with Devil - Capricorn)
Lovers - Gemini (adjacent to Netzach - Empress - Venus, cross-aligned to Hermit - Virgo)
Strength - Leo (cross-aligned with the Star - Aquarius)

I have attached scans of both Eden Gray's model and the one I created for your information and comment.

ETA: I just realized I can turn this arrangement into an "augmented Tree of Life" spread for doing life-readings. The ten sephiroth could show the "inner way" (or maybe the "path of least resistance") while the surrounding oval suggests the "outer way" (learning on one hand, doing on the other, along with external influences). Will post that in Tarot Spreads when done.


  • Eden Gray Model.jpg
    Eden Gray Model.jpg
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  • Tree and Zodiacal Oval.jpg
    Tree and Zodiacal Oval.jpg
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