The Astrology & Tarot Link: A Beginner’s Guide


An Astrologer’s Guide To Reading Tarot

How to use Tarot to better understand your birth chart.

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If, on your daily Tarot pull, you’ve started to notice some familiar characters from your astrology chart, you’re definitely onto something. For centuries, the studies of Tarot, astrology, numerology, and Kabbalah have corresponded, interlinked, and informed one another. Essentially: everything is connected. So how do you begin to make sense of the synchronicities between your star chart and your spread? Which cards correspond to your birth sign and even your birthday? Stick with us, because it’s about to get trippy.

Astrology was practiced in the ziggurats of ancient Babylon, and in the millennia since has found bespoke meaning in the lexicons of nearly every culture on the planet: just about everyone — from ancient Arabians to the Aztecs — has had an association with the Scorpion and the Lion, regardless of faith or geography.

Tarot, meanwhile, is an evolution of the no-less-ancient art of divination. Cartomancy, or fortune telling with cards, emerged in Europe around the 16th century, soon after the debut of playing cards. As the Tarot evolved, many of its symbols formed clear correspondences with astrology — i.e. the sun, moon, and even the lion of the Strength card. But the link was cemented in the 19th century, by the fabulous occult society known as the Secret Order of the Golden Dawn.

The Golden Dawn envisioned a new understanding of the Tarot, as pioneering member MacGregor Mathers created a system of correspondences accounting for every planet, sign, and card. From the work of this hardcore esoteric order emerged, in the 20th century, four game-changing decks: Robert Wang and Dr. Israel Regardie’s Golden Dawn Tarot; the ubiquitous Smith-Rider Waite Tarot by Pamela Coleman-Smith, under the advice of A.E. Waite; Lady Frieda Harris and Aleister Crowley’s Thoth Tarot; and Godfrey Dawson’s Hermetic Tarot.

These three decks make clear the symbolic correspondences between stars and cards: Coleman-Smith even reversed the order of Strength and Justice so that they would correspond to Leo and Libra, respectively. The Hermetic Tarot is your best bet for getting the connection, as it literally spells out each card’s cosmic placement: if you pull the II of Cups, you’re in for the “Lord of Love,” corresponding to Venus in Cancer.

The very best way to learn these connections, beyond daily practice with these decks, is through further reading. Rachel Pollack’s Tarot Wisdom and 78 Degrees of Wisdom lay it all out clearly, and T. Susan Chang’s 36 Secrets helps you get in the weeds with the minor arcana.

The cards for your birth sign

Before you go deep, you should get to know the core players. To start, which card corresponds with your sun, moon, and ascendant? Every sign has its own emissary among the major arcana. By knowing the cards a little better, you can better understand the subtleties of your sign.

ARIES: The Emperor. “Son of the morning.” Captain, commander, initiator, and architect.

TAURUS: The Hierophant. “Magus of the Eternal Gods.” Embodied command, divinity incarnate, authorship, and authority.

GEMINI: The Lovers. “Children of the Voice Divine.” Union of opposites, others, and internal parts; duality, dialogue, and reflection.

CANCER: The Chariot. “Lord of the Triumph of Light.” Supported momentum, sustained direction, and balanced propulsion.

LEO: Strength/Fortitude. “Daughter of the Flaming Sword.” Talent unleashed, instincts honed, and inner power channeled.

VIRGO: The Hermit. “Magus of the Voice of Light.” Interiority, distance, boundaries, and perspective.

LIBRA: Justice. “Daughter of the Lord of Truth.” Harmony, objectivity, and goodness; a higher order, hierarchy, and system from which to adhere.

SCORPIO: Death. “Child of the Great Transformers.” Metamorphosis, sacrifice, reinvention, and awakening.

SAGITTARIUS: Temperance. “Daughter of the Reconcilers.” A higher faith, a balance between extremes, and a return to wisdom.

CAPRICORN: The Devil. “Lord of the Gates of Matter.” The other side of control, surrender to baser desires, authority, and submission.

AQUARIUS: The Star. “Daughter of the Firmament.” The embrace of a greater ethos, connection, and higher calling.

PISCES: The Moon. “Ruler of Flux and Reflux.” Instinct, intuition, empathy, history, and source.

The card for your birthday

Now we’re really getting into it. Here’s how this works: Each decan, or ten-degree range of a sign, is assigned a ruling planet. Every suit of the minor arcana (think swords, cups, wands and pentacles) is ascribed to a different element, and then to a sign. Using a chart like this one at Beau Life, you can calculate which card represents your birth sign. So, if you were born on February 1, you are in Aquarius’s second decan, ruled by Mercury, which corresponds to the six of swords. Voila!

Again, this is really in the weeds. You’d best serve yourself by reading Chang’s 36 Secrets, or checking out one of decan master Austin Coppock’s recorded courses on the topic, so that you can start perceiving the links and not feeling like you’re adding more memorization to your plate.

Remember: Tarot and astrology are not to be mastered, or ever even fully understood. But by opening yourself up to synchronicities, correspondences, and connections — not just among the planets, cards, and archetypes, but with everything — you will begin to see the world in the field of magic and meaning. Don’t get bogged down on the details. Just keep your eyes open.

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