Astrological imagery


On page 40 of Louis MacNeice's Astrology, a series of woodcuts appears. It is said to come from a 15th century French text, The Calendar and Compost of Shepherds, itself a translation of a ninth century Arabian astrological textbook.

What is of interest are looking at the images with Tarot sensitised eyes.

Each of the seven planets and twelve signs are depicted (the signs under the planet which rules it), each of the planetary depictions showing a charioteered personage who's chariot is pulled by various animals. VII - Le Chariot, as card, seems to be reflected in both/either the Sun and Mars, but no other.

Virgo is depicted seated, in ways very reminiscent of a Waite or fecund variety as depicted on III - Empress card. Interestingly, but obviously from an astrological perspective of co-rulership, she is adjacent (and faces) two children playing or engaging in wrestling (Gemini), extremely similarly to the lower half of the XVIIII - Sun card depiction (both Virgo and Gemini are ruled by Mercury).

Jupiter looks so Hierophantish - I mean V - Popish, including an upraised hand in the act of blessing an acolyte kneeling at his feet (though the view is side-on).

On page sixty of the same text, a wonderful allegorical woodcut from 15th century Germany shows Saturn. What is of interest here is that death, as well as the farmer's trade, are shown. Though the image is distant from our familiar depiction on XIII, the allegorical themes are severally depicted.
Of course, this and other texts are wonderful for further astrological and pictorial study, but thought these of particular merit in our ongoing study. if only I had access to a scanner...


Last night I started reading Joseph Maxwells book - The Tarot, for the second time (the first time I just couldn't get into it. I know it's probably not the best book about the Marseilles but it's in English which is a big bonus for me! :)

It mentions the Astrological influence on the Majors and particularly arcana's VI, VIII, XI, XII, XIV, XVII, XVIII, XIX and XXI. So I'm quite pleased to find this thread, can anyone shed a bit more light on this theory? He goes on to say that the Moon card is actually the Tropic of Cancer (crayfish) and that the Moon is infact the High Priestess card. There is probably more to come but this is how far I've got in the book.

I know the High Priestess is always depicted with a moon headress in the RWS type decks but I can't see the connection in the marseilles High Priestess

Rusty Neon

Hi Moonbow ... The Tarot de Marseille doesn't have any fixed astrological correspondences, unlike the RWS or Thoth, developed from the symbol set of their respective designers. Every occultist or tarotist, Maxwell included, is free to develop his own astrological correspondences for the TdM cards.

From Carole Sédillot in _Ombres_, speaking on the astrological correspondences for the Popess:

"Incarnation of all the mysteries, the Popess finds her [astrological] correspondence in the qualities and defaults of the Moon. Her understanding flows from what she senses and not from analysis or logic. She knows thanks to her intuition and not by reasoning. These definitions could equally apply to the description of the sign of Cancer, for which the element is water. This sign focusses on the past, on memories and on the memory."

To stir things up, Kléa's correspondences for La Papesse are a bit different from other tarotists':

He assigns the sign of Taureau, the second sign of the Zodiac, since the Papesse card is numbered 2. For the same reason, he assigns that card to the Second House of astrology.

Astronomically speaking, Kléa assigns the Papesse card to the constellation Cassiopea (the seated woman). This certainly fits OK with the card's design.