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The Combining of Tarot and Astrology

Thread originally posted on the Aeclectic Tarot Forum on 11 May 2003, and now archived in the Forum Library.



theman_ca  11 May 2003 
I was just wondering how people are combining tarot with astrology, what are the common trends, i know theres a link between the two.


So how do they relate and how can u combine them 


Thirteen  11 May 2003 
Quote:
Originally posted by theman_ca
I was just wondering how people are combining tarot with astrology, what are the common trends, i know theres a link between the two.


Well, we're not doing it randomly or even personally, if that's what you're asking. Other people in the past have already done it for us.

See, there are several traditions behind Tarot. The one which dominates relates to a group called The Golden Dawn. Their beliefs and mystical research are behind the Rider-Waite tarot, the most common and cloned deck out there. This Tarot assigned certain zodiac signs to certain cards. So, for example, the Emperor is Aries, the Hierophant is Taurus, the Lovers are Gemini.

There are reasons for these assignments, but there are also dissagreements. Lots of dissagreements, including a disagreement as to whether Zodiac and tarot SHOULD be linked at all. I happen to find it useful, myself, others find it an unnecessary complication. And some decks, liking the connection so much, go even further--like the Thoth deck which assigns zodiac positions to the minor cards, and might say about one cup card: "pisces in Jupiter."

Finally, there are the court cards, which are often given Zodiac designations to help in readings. As the cards often stand for a person in the querent's life, the Zodiac sign might help the reader to know who it is ("I see a woman, she's a Leo..."--and the querent respond, "Oh, heck, my mom!").

The only problem with Zodiac and court cards is that there's a lot of disagreement over which zodiac sign for which court card. The cups get the water signs, that's agreed, but does the Queen get Scorpio, or the Knight? Some decks have it one way, others another way. In the case of the court cards, it really is a matter of personal preference. 


jmd  12 May 2003 
As Thirteen mentioned, there are disagreements as to not only possible associations, but also whether the two even have a one-to-one correlation.

The Golden Dawn made one particular type of correlation which lead to some people associating the Emperor card with Aries. On the continent of Europe, others had previously (and subsequently) made similar correlations which associates, with equal conviction, the Hierophant with Aries... and there are other alternatives still.

Some do not like the associations due to apparent increased complexity. Others, such as myself, find that any defined association limits the card in question.

To play on the Aries a little further, one can certainly see Arian elements in the Magician, the High Priestess, the Empress, ... the Chariot, Justice, the etc.. It is as if astrological considerations may, with reflection, be made of numerous cards.

With regards to the Courts, again some have made very precise astrological correlations, others have made others, and others still more undefined correlations.

Again, personally, and though astrological considerations may assist in one's reflections, these should not bind the intrinsic merits of Tarot - hence my preference for the Marseille deck. 


Rusty Neon  12 May 2003 
Quote:
Originally posted by Thirteen
And some decks, liking the connection so much, go even further--like the Thoth deck which assigns zodiac positions to the minor cards, and might say about one cup card: "pisces in Jupiter."


To clarify a bit ... the astrological correspondences that are shown in the Thoth deck for the small cards (Two to Ten) were devised by the Golden Dawn. (For example, see the Golden Dawn manuscript _Book 'T'_.) However, the Thoth deck was innovative in that those astrological correspondences were actually shown on the cards. 


jmd  12 May 2003 
For anyone interested to see how the GD made this correlation between the pips and astrology, I (perhaps too) succinctly explain it in my second post in the wonderful thread titled;Thanks for mentioning this important aspect, Thirteen and Rusty Neon... 


Khatruman  12 May 2003 
Having a strong bias against astrology, I do not like to combine the two. I see the tarot as more fluid and insightful, as opposed to astrology, which seems to give people permanent personality traits.

I may be wrong in many ways about astology, but I go by what I hear people doing with astrology. It is used so often to classify people by certain traits: "Ohh, he's an Aries, so he must be stubborn...blah blah blah", or worse yet, for people to peg themselves and offer an excuse for why they have certain character flaws, "Well, I am an Aries, so I will probably get into an argument with you." Rather than trying to correct a bad trait and change, the trait is excused as "written in the stars" and unchangeable.

Either case limits people and puts them into classifications. I understand that this is a tempting proposition... isn't it great to simply find out what a person's sign is and know exactly how they are going to be, rather than have to go through the laborious process of actually understanding that person through listening to them, watching their actions, and interacting with them?

Designating an astological sign to a tarot card, I think, does the same thing, it limits it. As some here have already pointed out, the two systems don't match up easily anyway; otherwise, wouldn't they just be the same thing? I mean, to many systems, XVIII The Moon isn't given the Moon as its astrological sign... It's like how the ancients came up with an elaborate system of movements for stars and planets to show that the Earth was the center of the universe. In order for the whole thing to fit, one must devise a lot of complex, convoluted paths.

Why not explore tarot for tarot's sake? Must it correlate with astrology? 


Rusty Neon  12 May 2003 
Even if one doesn't accept astrology, one can still find astrological language or concepts enjoyable to employ in tarot. It's up to the individual person to decide if and when to employ astrological language. Other esoteric systems (such as palmistry, geomancy and some schools of physiognomy) have also borrowed and intregated the language or concepts of astrology. 


isthmus nekoi  12 May 2003 
just to further complicate things.... The older systems don't include the outer planets Uranus, Neptune and Pluto, b/c they weren't discovered until the 20th century (I think) and therefore are absent in many older systems astrology was encorporated into (ie alchemy). Vertigo is the only deck I know that uses them, I personally find them helpful, adds a new dimension to the deck. Also, if say.... Jupiter/Wheel of Fortune comes up, I can relate the card back to 1) where Jupiter is currently transiting and what it's doing 2) Jupiter's position in my natal chart and what it does there.

Khatruman, I agree that astrology can be used rigidly, but I believe that that kind of use belies a general lack of understanding of... well, the way things work, especially when ppl use the stars as excuses for avoiding responsibility over themselves.
I liken the natal chart to genetics. This is what you are born with. But what you do w/it is what's important. For example, if someone is born w/a low IQ, there is no changing those genes. But it doesn't mean the person can't be successful, or can't be happy in life, doesn't mean that the person should just give up on anything academic, or blame their genes when things go wrong etc. It doesn't mean anything except the simple fact that that person has a low IQ. Period.

I also agree snap judgments are too be avoided. Judgments based on genetics would be equally as bad as judgments based on astrology. We should not be defined by our genes, nor by our natal charts :) 


Khatruman  12 May 2003 
Quote:
Originally posted by isthmus nekoi
Khatruman, I agree that astrology can be used rigidly, but I believe that that kind of use belies a general lack of understanding of... well, the way things work, especially when ppl use the stars as excuses for avoiding responsibility over themselves.
Excellent point, which can be widened into anything people are born with. Unfortunately in our educational system, the practice of "classifying" learning disorders has fallen into this. A child who is classified has been given a crutch, to use a metaphor, and many times this crutch is too heavily leaned upon. I have seen too many students flash the classified card to get out of trying. I am not saying that the classifications are invalid. It's just that they are interpreted to mean that the classified person can't do something. Rather, the classification should be saying that there will be more effort needed to gain a certain skill.

My son was classified early with PDD NOS. To tell you the truth, I can't remember what exactly PDD was, but the NOS meant "Not Otherwise Specified", which basically meant they really weren't sure but about it gave letters to something that didn't have a rigid classification. And, of course, the educational system MUST classify everything. In effect, it meant that he was delayed in his speech development. He had many ear infections and much fluid in his ears at the breakthrough speech stage. He probably heard people like he was under water. This classification got him special treatment in preschool. So my wife and I used this to give him additional schooling during his preschool year. He went to "special ed" class in the morning and a regular preschool in the afternoon.

He learned more in the regular school than he did in the special program. He also had fewer behavior problems. The afternoon program had children who were over 6 months older than he. The morning, coddling session bored him. The afternoon challenged him. He is now in kindergarten. He is reading at an extraordinary level. He is incredibly social and a complete chatterbox and, at last evaluation, he is estimated to be de-classified before second grade. Thank God, I think, that he will be de-classified before he has a chance to realize he's classified.

I see the value in seeing what "charts" one is "born into" but I also see too much danger of limitation. Maybe not being aware we have certain "limitations" will help us go beyond these lines in the sand?

Incidentally, how is it that Uranus, Neptune and Pluto didn't affect people when they were undiscovered, but now seem to have a profound affect on our "charts"? 


isthmus nekoi  13 May 2003 
Hi Khatruman,

I totally agree that categories should not be used to pin ppl down... esp when it comes to grey areas such as say, physical and mental abilities. It's good for generals, but in the end you have to return to the complexity of the individual. The worst part is when those classifications become rigid, then it is very very very problematic often leading to prejudices, ignorance...

Quote:
Rather, the classification should be saying that there will be more effort needed to gain a certain skill.


Mm, yes! The benifits I see from the natal chart is that you can zero in on the areas that may have difficulties in expression. Limitations will always be there, that's a part of being human - it's how you deal w/the limitations that makes the difference.

I suppose the knowing/not knowing limitations depends on a person's mentality and where they are in life. I imagine that not knowing means never being afraid of failing, thereby giving an individual greater potential to challenge their limitations... personally, knowing my limitations grants me with greater self insight and therefore, I feel more secure in what I'm doing, it can give focus and at times, motivation.
It's a tough call. My cousin actually has some sort of mild mental problem, but b/c her parents are ashamed that she isn't 'normal', they won't bring her in for a diagnosis, or if they have, no one is allowed to talk about it. My cousin knows she's different, but there's such pressure for her to downplay her problem, and we all talk as if nothing's amiss - it's quite... I don't want her to have to deal w/being treated by others like a medical case instead of a human being... but at the same time, she is quite miserable in this situation b/c I don't think she's receiving the help she needs... I wish her parents would just let everyone openly deal w/the problem, even if that entails 'categorizing' her.
On the other hand, I see where you're coming from w/not knowing: too much limitation is harsh on children, esp since they haven't the experience that comes w/age to help them deal.

I'm sorry your experience w/special ed classes wasn't helpful for your son, but glad the situation sounds like it's improving :)Strange coincidence, I was just thinking about a student I recently required w/the same diagnosis! My training is in piano so I've just begun research, but yes, PDD strikes me a very vague, blanket term. Luckily, I give private lessons, so I can devote all my attention to understanding my new student and w/his mother's help, begin developing an appropriate pedegogical method.

Quote:
Incidentally, how is it that Uranus, Neptune and Pluto didn't affect people when they were undiscovered, but now seem to have a profound affect on our "charts"?


That's a good question, one I've asked myself... so I'm afraid I don't have a good answer lol... I've read that once a planet is discovered, it's found b/c the energy is becoming more conscious in society or something along those lines. ie. Uranus is discovered and that's when we get hi-tech communications like electricity, radio etc. To be honest, this didn't sound convincing enough for me, but I cannot deny the influence of the outer planets on many a chart I've looked at! 


Thirteen  13 May 2003 
Quote:
Originally posted by Khatruman Incidentally, how is it that Uranus, Neptune and Pluto didn't affect people when they were undiscovered, but now seem to have a profound affect on our "charts"?


Assuming that Astrology is right and true (and we will remember that Astrology is by no means scientifically proven)--what you're asking is rather like asking why evolution didn't affect people when they were reading the bible, but now that everyone knows about evolution, it does.

Astrology, assuming it is right and true, is not a subatomic partical whose movements are affected by the observer. Or at least, it shouldn't be. Hence, the simple answer would be, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto DID affect people when they were undiscovered. Their discovery completed the charts, very like a newly discovered element on the elemental chart.

So folk using Mars instead of Pluto in people's charts prior to Pluto's discovery were less precise and correct than they might have been had they known of Pluto. They were missing an element, a part of the chart. It existed, and it had an affect, but they didn't know about it and had to work just with what they had.

That, at least, is the only way it would make sense to me. 


Moongold  13 May 2003 
Quote:
Originally posted by Khatruman
Incidentally, how is it that Uranus, Neptune and Pluto didn't affect people when they were undiscovered, but now seem to have a profound affect on our "charts"?


How did people manage illnesses before the discovery of whatever medical discipline you use? How did we manage before the discovery of electricity? And the telephone?

Astrology, as Isthmus commented, gives people a way of understanding their lives. I think there is a greater body of knowledge underpinning astrology than there is of some famous contemporary religions :) 


isthmus nekoi  14 May 2003 
Mm, yes, those are better explanations. Astrology has also changed in other ways... largely b/c of computers. Now that very complex, precise calculations can be made accurately and quickly, there are a lot of things we can do w/charts now that ppl didn't do before, esp in terms of harmonics and aspects. We can be so much more precise and efficient w/computers. Also, as social attitudes change, so does astrology to reflect that. Astrological interpretation these days gets very psychological. It's a system in constant development... 


Moongold  14 May 2003 
Quote:
Originally posted by Khatruman
I see the value in seeing what "charts" one is "born into" but I also see too much danger of limitation. Maybe not being aware we have certain "limitations" will help us go beyond these lines in the sand?


I think this is a really good point. If not carefully explained one's chart could become a self-fulfilling prophesy. I have seen something similar happen with religion. Some of us grow up believing that we are essentially "sinners" and thus have a negative perspective on life and human nature from the very beginning.

Although much of astrology is not scientifically proven, there is much richness to its history, scope and practice. I've been really surprised in my study here with possible new ways of understanding my life retrospectively. They make sense in a way that nothing else has. There's a huge amount still to learn, and there is a lot of nonsense around.

Tarot and astrology complement one another I think but I still do see Tarot quite independently. In line with what you are saying, Khatruman, some people here don't pull tarot cards everyday because they simply prefer to see what the day brings. 


The The Combining of Tarot and Astrology thread was originally posted on 11 May 2003 in the Using Tarot Cards board, and is now archived in the Forum Library. Read the active threads in Using Tarot Cards, or read more archived threads.

 


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