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The Golden Dawn's astrological correlations to the Major Arcana

Thread originally posted on the Aeclectic Tarot Forum on 01 Sep 2003, and now archived in the Forum Library.

jmd  01 Sep 2003 
As a number of threads have recently been made which discuss what astrological, elemental, or other correlations cards have with astrology, I thought it might be useful to just mention and discuss what the GD's correlations actually are, and how useful these can be... (I prefer to discuss its limitations in other threads - but that's just me :)):
  • 0 - Fool: Air
  • (don't yell at me for giving the Fool a zero... I'm just reporting!)
  • 1 - Magician: Mercury
  • 2 - High Priestess: Moon
  • 3 - Empress: Venus
  • 4 - Emperor: Aries
  • 5 - Hierophant: Taurus
  • 6 - Lovers: Gemini
  • 7 - Chariot: Cancer
  • 8 - Jus... oops
  • (:)), Strength: Leo
  • 9 - Hermit: Virgo
  • 10 - Wheel of Fortune: Jupiter
  • 11 - Justice: Libra
  • 12 - Hanged Man: Water
  • 13 - Death: Scorpio
  • 14 - Temperance: Sagittarius
  • 15 - Devil: Capricorn
  • 16 - Tower: Mars
  • 17 - Star: Aquarius
  • 18 - Moon: Pisces
  • 19 - Sun: Sun
  • 20 - Judgement: Fire
  • 21 - World:
Just again a note that these are not ones I personally use or tend to agree with...

For those who may be interested in something I wrote many years ago, I have attached a .txt extracted version of the relevant part. 

firemaiden  01 Sep 2003 
...oh my gawd! what a fool! he's calling the fool a "zero"

Thank you, jmd! 

Minderwiz  01 Sep 2003 

I think its a good idea to post the correspondances and the reasoning behind them as a reference for debate elsewhere.

Can I just check with you that I understand the process (as I'm quite weak on the Qabbalah. Please correct any errors in my attempted explanation - then we have a clear basis for further discussion elsewhere.

My understanding is that the Golden Dawn's attributions are based on their view of the tree of life (I'm not sure whether these associations pre-existed them or not).

The Astrological associations are both through the ten Sephiroth and the 22 paths joining them. So for example Saturn is associated with Binah and Tiphareth is associated with the Sun. The path that joins them is path 7 (of 22 or 17 overall). This path is also associated with Gemini Air. So we have (to use the definition of "Sorror IDD") - 'Saturn acting through Gemini on Sol'.

Also allocating the Tarot Trumps to the 22 paths between the Sephiroth and starting with the Fool as path 1 (11 overall), The Lovers (VI) is path 17. It therefore corresponds to Gemini and could also take the description of Saturn acting through Gemini on Sol'.

The Astrological and Tarot correspondances are derived from the Tree of Life. If the order of Trumps is changed - such as the transposition of Strength and Justice - so their Astrological correspondance must change. Path 9 (Trump VIII) - is linked to Leo and Path 12 (Trump XI) to Libra. Similarly having the Fool as the last trump (or towards the end of the order) would change the Astrological Correspondance of all the other Trumps - order matters. It is not so much that the Lovers has an association with Gemini per se, but that it is card VI (and the seventh Trump) in terms of the system.

Clearly the GD's Qabbalistic associations could be good or bad, in terms of the essence of Trumps or Planets and Signs, however for current purposes I will accept them as being basically correct and we can discuss them elsewhere if nescessary. 

Teheuti  01 Sep 2003 
Originally posted by Minderwiz

we have (to use the definition of "Sorror IDD") - 'Saturn acting through Gemini on Sol'.

Intriguing idea! How could this be phrased as a normal, worldly description? I'll attempt it:
- "Discipline acting through craftsmanship on self-identity."
Does this work? Of course it is phrased as if you are descending the tree (a one-way street).

How about Justice - "Aggressive action acting through balance on self-identity."

Or the Hermit - "Expansiveness acting through humbleness on self-identity."

Go ahead and substitute other words which may work better. The question is - how is it working?

Another way of looking at these things as to see Gemini as linking Saturn and Sol as a two-way street. Then we would have:
* Craftsmanship being the link between discipline and self-identity.
* Balance as the link between agressiveness and self-identity.
* Humbleness as the link between expansiveness and self-identity.

How about the High Priestess: "Reflection is the link between Oneness (Kether-no assoc) and self-identity." Oooh. God created us in order to see himself as in a mirror. Interesting.

Minderwiz  01 Sep 2003 
The definitions appear to be of the 'one way street' variety, though I am not sure that this is necessarily so - perhaps jmd can help here.

I'm also not sure how the GD would define the nature of the signs - I am presuming here that again that nature in derived from their allocations to the various paths.

One final thought, if they transposed Strength and Justice this implies that the Astrological correspondences predated (for them) the Tarot correspondences. Again I might be reading too much in here. 

jmd  02 Sep 2003 
Teheuti is providing in wonderfully succinct form, and obviously from experience, work done in a similar strand as I wrote in the included attachment to my previous post (by the way, the 'funny' characters were Hebrew letters in the original, but the font transposition for the .txt format lost these).

In the Sefer Yetzirah, the letters are allocated elemental, planetary or zodiacal attributions. Versions of the book have differences in their planetary allocations, and the GD version changes these even more (Bet with Mercury, for example, which is not normally thus connected).

As to their positioning on the so-called paths of the Tree of Life, these are based somewhat, but not exclusively, on the Kircher Tree (another very important influence is the version of the Tree the SRIA uses in its higher grades, and the letter allocations there - note should again be made that Mathers and McKenzie were SRIA members).... 

Diana  02 Sep 2003 
Originally posted by jmd
(don't yell at me for giving the Fool a zero... I'm just reporting!)

I'll yell if I want.......


The The Golden Dawn's astrological correlations to the Major Arcana thread was originally posted on 01 Sep 2003 in the Using Tarot Cards board, and is now archived in the Forum Library. Read the threads in Using Tarot Cards, or read more archived threads.

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