A Historical Underpinning of Astrological Tarot Correspondences
The Tarot was linked with Astrology first through the Golden Dawn, an esoteric order whose most prominent members included Aleister Crowley (who authored the Thoth deck) and Arthur Edward Waite (of the Rider-Waite deck), both of whom were instrumental in establishing the traditions in tarot that we have today. While in the most intuitive sense, the tarot can be seen as a story that follows the blank slate of the fool, there are also additional systems and frameworks that tarot lies within, and these can be used to give additional depth into a reading. Astrology happens to be one of them.
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How to Use Astrology and Tarot Together
Originally, these Tarot and Astrology correspondences were based on the Thoth deck that Crowley had created as his magnum opus of sorts, but I think these are general enough to be applied to all decks.
I personally tend to learn and understand things better when having a larger framework to draw from - we don’t truly know something unless see the logic that governs the whole. Think of these associations as something that helps ground you in the larger system of magic, similar to elementals. It’s like having a map; we see in this map the beauty of this larger whole, and it is is harmonious, balanced, and there is a place for everything. Life tends to be a little messier than that, but knowing where in the puzzle each card goes helps us understand also the larger context of what each card means, and where its place is in the universe. I also find it helpful to not just understanding individual cards, but rather, their relationships to one another - whether they strengthen or weaken each other. As above, so below - the stars reflect the cards too, to borrow a little thought from the Magician.
There’s a lot to be added here, as the entire system that connects tarot and astrology is actually quite complex, and can’t exactly be explained using a single post. Today, we’re going to focus on the most recognizable symbols within astrology, the zodiac signs.
Astrology Tarot Correspondences
Aries — The Emperor (March 21 - April 19)
The astrological tarot correspondent of Aries is the Emperor, who embodies ambition, achievement and power. They are best at defining a vision and a plan in order to create what they desire, and help others achieve theirs as well. It is their role to create structure and establish boundaries for themselves and the world that surrounds them.
Taurus — The Hierophant (April 20 - May 20)
Taurus and the Hierophant are both connected to a greater collective wisdom, and have the ability to help foster communities with their love for family and tradition. With their resilience and quiet strength, they end up becoming great teachers, on whom many look to for guidance. It is through their work, that a greater sense of communal security and identity are preserved.
Gemini — Lovers (May 21 - June 20)
Gemini’s astrological correspondent is the Lovers card, as the two of them focus greatly on the power of communication and what it can create between not only two bodies, but between all humans. This card also depicts the union of opposites, and the possibilities when what dual-natured entities create a greater whole.
Cancer — The Chariot (June 21 - July 21)
Like the Charioteer, Cancer’s focus is on setting the course and plotting the next destination. Their interior lives are filled with conflicting emotions, passions and instincts and like the Chariot, they must learn how to direct it. They must steer a careful line between their opposing natures, represented by the two horses / sphinxes, and the crab’s soft interior and its hard shell.
Leo — Strength (July 22 - August 22)
The astrological equivalent of Leo in the tarot is the Strength card, and here it is where we see raw power flowing through spirituality. They both have learned to transform their aggressive and wild natures into love and compassion. Through this ability, they have learned confidence, and self-belief. Within them is the sacred union between beast and spirit.
Virgo — The Hermit (August 23 - September 22)
Virgo’s astrological correspondent is the Hermit, whose solitary journey into his depths is one that is undertaken to explore what is neglected and to find authentic purpose in a world that can focus too much on the superficial. To the mountaintop he travels, on the search for time to introspect and discover his true voice, and at that mountaintop is where he will lead others.
Libra — Justice (September 23 - October 22)
Poise and balance are indicated by Justice, and its astrological correspondent, Libra. Both are seekers of truth and equilibrium in complex situations, and seek deep understanding before making decisions and taking action. Their roles are to eliminate illusions, and obtain a clear vision of themselves and their worlds with acceptance.
Scorpio — Death (October 23 - November 22)
Dynamic and transformative, both Scorpio and their astrological equivalent, Death, embodies the concept of constant change. Finding the nexus of that change and learning to accept, let go, and release themselves to it is where we will find these two symbols. It is through this constant transformation, this infinite cycle of death and rebirth where Scorpio finds their true freedom and individuality.
Sagittarius — Temperance (November 23 - December 21)
Sagittarius and its astrological correspondent, Temperance, are both seekers - seekers of improvement, of growth, of development. Like the angel in the card, they are both guardians of humanity, and are equipped with callings from greater forces. Where Sagittarius will find their peaks will be through learning to blend the flows of energy to find a center, for the true meaning of Temperance is to find perfection through refinement through integration.
Capricorn — The Devil (December 22 - January 19)
To feel chained and bonded to the earthly is the unrealized Capricorn, as depicted in the Devil card. In there too is the relationship of humanity to their shadow, for Capricorn learns that their chains are supported only through the fears and illusions that they let dominate them. For when these bonds that they carry are removed, their true selves are playful and sensual creatures who embody strength and stability.
Aquarius — The Star (January 20 - February 18)
The astrological correspondent of Aquarius is the Star, two lights that give guidance when the nights are dark. They tell the story of one that travels back to their own truth, which is strange and beautiful. It is through Aquarius’ humanitarian efforts that they bring hope of another dawn on earth.
Pisces — The Moon (February 19 - March 20)
Like Pisces’s tarot correspondent, the Moon is a representative of evolution - a union between primal forces and spiritual understanding. It is under the light of the moon where dreams and fantasies take place, and where unconscious wisdom can come forth.
Astrology Tarot Associations Full Infographic