Tarot Zodiac Correspondences

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The Tarot draws on many different spiritual and esoteric references and traditions – one of themes important ones is Western astrology. Understanding the underlying systems and patterns that the Tarot is built on gives you a significant leg up when it comes to understanding, in depth, each of the Tarot cards in your deck.

When the Rider-Waite Tarot deck was created and put on the market back in 1909 its creators, occultist A.E. Waite and illustrator Pamela Colman Smith, both members of the Golden Dawn, assigned each of the 22 Major Arcana cards either a planet, and element or a zodiac sign. They also associate each of the Minor Arcana suits and cards with a particular element and zodiac sign.

Why specific Tarot cards are linked to specific zodiac signs

Specific Tarot cards are linked to specific star signs according to astrological decans.

Before the existence of clocks and watches, the Ancient Egyptians would measure the passage of time by the movement in the sky of 36 constellations they referred to as decans. When Western astrology eventually made its way to Egypt, it merged with the concept of decans.

The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn fused this understanding of astrology with the Tarot cards. Starting with the first decan of the first fire sign, Aries, and the first Minor Arcana Tarot card from the suit of wands, the Ace of Wands, they went through the entire deck and matched each decan of each star sign to a particular Tarot card.

The Minor Arcana and the star signs

Each Minor Arcana Tarot card is associated with a specific decan of a specific star sign.

2, 3, 4s are linked to the cardinal signs (Aries, Cancer, Libra, Capricorn). 5, 6, 7s are lined to the fixed signs (Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, Aquarius), and 8, 9, 10s are linked to the mutable signs (Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius, Pisces).

The Minor Arcana’s four aces represent the four elements in their purest, most potent and undiluted form. The four aces are essentially the roots of the four elements.

The Ace of Wands is pure fire, and is associated with all of the fire signs. The Ace of Cups is undiluted water, associated with all of the water signs. The Ace of Swords is air in its purest form, associated with the three air zodiac signs, and the Ace of Pentacles is the root of the earth, and is the core of its three signs.

Memorising all of these correspondences in detail can be quite a mouthful. Many Tarot readers keep it simple by simply remembering that:

  • The Minor Arcana cards belonging to the suit of Wands are associated with the fire signs – Aries, Leo and Sagittarius
  • The Minor Arcana cards from the suit of Cups belong to the water element and the water signs -Cancer, Scorpio and Pisces
  • The Minor Arcana cards from the suit of Swords represent the air and its associated elements – Libra, Aquarius and Gemini
  • Finally, the Minor Arcana cards belonging to the suit of Pentacles represent the earth element and the earth signs – Capricorn, Taurus and Virgo

The Court cards and their astrological correspondences

Just like each of the Minor Arcana suits is linked to an element, so is each of the four court cards – this is regardless of the element they already belong to.

Pages, Earth

The Minor Arcana’s four pages are all linked to the earth, regardless of which suit they belong to. In other words, each of the four Pages combines earth with the element of their suit.

The Page of Pentacles is all earth, while the Page of Swords is earth and air. The Page of Cups is earth and water and the Page of Wands is earth and fire.

Knights, Fire

The four Minor Arcana Knights are all associated with fire.

The Knight of Wands is double fire, while the Knight of Cups is fire and water, the Knight of Swords is fire and air and the Knight of Pentacles is fire and earth.

Queens, Water

The Minor Arcana’s four Queens are all embodiments of water.

The Queen of Cups is purely water, while the Queen of Wand is water and fire. The Queen of Swords combines water with air, and the Queen of Pentacles combines water with earth.

Kings, Air

The four Kings of the Minor Arcana are all linked to the air.

The King of Swords layers air on air, the King of Pentacles combines air with earth, the King of Wands is air with fire and the King of Cups is air with water.

Major Arcana Tarot cards and their zodiac sign correspondences

Gaining an overview over the astrological correspondences at play in the Minor Arcana can look like a piece of metaphysical cake next to getting a firm grasp of the astrological correspondences of the Major Arcana.

To make the learning curve a little smoother, here is a rundown of the Major Arcana cards associated with each of the twelve signs of the zodiac.

Aries, the Emperor (IV)

Aries, the cardinal fire sign, is linked to the Emperor card.

The Emperor, seated on his ram-headed throne, oozes power and confidence. His energy is fiery and crackling with life force and positive energy. The Emperor is also not someone you want to butt heads with.

Taurus, the Hierophant (V)

Taurus is linked to the Major Arcana’s Hierophant Tarot card.

Taurus and the Hierophant share their love for structure, stability and prestige. Seated between two solid pillars representing law and order, the Hierophant is the very embodiment of authority, organisation and a desire to uphold tradition.

Gemini, the Lovers (VI)

Gemini is associate with the Major Arcana Lovers Tarot card.

Like the couple in the Lovers card, Gemini is often filled with contradiction, curiosity and a desire to push the envelope.

Cancer, the Chariot (VII)

Cancer is linked to the Chariot Tarot card.

Like the victorious warrior riding his golden chariot in the Chariot card, Cancer protects what he or she loves and believes in.

Leo, Strength (VII)

Leo is associated with the Strength Tarot card.

Coincidentally, the Strength card features a lion being tamed by a woman in a white dress and crowned with flowers. Strength, like the energy of leo, is all about strength, harnessed and channeled well.

Virgo, the Hermit (IX)

Virgo is associated with Hermit Tarot card.

Just like the Hermit, Virgo is on an eternal quest for knowledge, perfection, and ever more refined understanding.

Libra, Justice (XI)

Libra is connected to the Justice Major Arcana card.

Like Justice, Libra weights thing up carefully and is driven by a desire for higher justice.

Scorpio, Death (XII)

Scorpio is linked to probably the most feared and misunderstood Tarot card of them all – Death.

Like Death, the intense energy of Scorpio is all about reinvention, death and rebirth.

Sagittarius, Temperance (XIV)

Sagittarius is associated with the Temperance Tarot card.

Like the angelic being pouring water from two cups in the Temperance card, Sagittarius is bursting with creativity and is gifted with a refund sense of intuition.

Capricorn, the Devil (XV)

Capricorn is linked to the much reviled Devil card.

Like the Devil, Capricorn is stubborn and persistent beyond belief.

Aquarius, the Star (XVII)

Aquarius is linked to the Star Tarot card.

Like the Star, Aquarius is a true visionary, never short on inspiration or adventurousness.

Pisces, the Moon (XVIII)

Pisces is connected to the Moon Tarot card.

Like the Moon, the energy of Pisces is gentle, mysterious and quietly powerful.

How to use astrological correspondences in a Tarot reading

When doing Tarot readings, having an awareness of the astrological correspondences in each card has a number of upsides. For example, if multiple cards associated with the same zodiac sign appear in the reading, they might refer to a specific person in the querent’s life who is born under that particular astrological sign.

Knowing the astrological associations of the cards in front of you can also help answer those otherwise very tricky Tarot reading questions that have to do with timing of specific events.

The Tarot cards for each zodiac sign

To sum it all up, here is a full list of the Tarot cards associated with each of the 12 zodiac signs.

Aries Tarot cards

  • The Emperor (IV)
  • Queen of Wands
  • Knight of Pentacles
  • Two of Wands
  • Three of Wands
  • Four of Wands

Taurus Tarot cards

  • The Hierophant (V)
  • Knight of Pentacles
  • King of Swords
  • Five of Pentacles
  • Six of Pentacles
  • Seven of Pentacles

Gemini Tarot cards

  • The Lovers (VI)
  • Knight of Swords
  • Queen of Cups
  • Eight of Swords
  • Nine of Swords
  • Ten of Swords

Cancer Tarot cards

  • The Chariot (VII)
  • Queen of Cups
  • Knight of Wands
  • Two of Cups
  • Three of Cups
  • Four of Cups

Leo Tarot cards

  • Strength (VII)
  • Knight of Wands
  • King of Pentacles
  • Five of Wands
  • Six of Wands
  • Seven of Wands

Virgo Tarot cards

  • The Hermit (IX)
  • King of Pentacles
  • Queen of Swords
  • Eight of Pentacles
  • Nine of Pentacles
  • Ten of Pentacles

Libra Tarot cards

  • Justice (XI)
  • Queen of Swords
  • Knight of Cups
  • Two of Swords
  • Three of Swords
  • Four of Swords

Scorpio Tarot cards

  • Death (XII)
  • Knight of Cups
  • King of Wands
  • Five of Cups
  • Six of Cups
  • Seven of Cups

Sagittarius Tarot cards

  • Temperance (XIV)
  • King of Wands
  • Queen of Pentacles
  • Eight of Wands
  • Nine of Wands
  • Ten of Wands

Capricorn Tarot cards

  • The Devil (XV)
  • Queen of Pentacles
  • Knight of Swords
  • Two of Pentacles
  • Three of Pentacles
  • Four of Pentacles

Aquarius Tarot cards

  • The Star (XVII)
  • Knight of Swords
  • King of Cups
  • Five of Swords
  • Six of Swords
  • Seven of Swords

Pisces Tarot cards

  • The Moon (XVIII)
  • King of Cups
  • Queen of Wands
  • Eight of Cups
  • Nine of Cups
  • Ten of Cups

Lucius Nothing

Lucius has been slinging tarot cards professionally since 2014. He’s taken the tarot to places most wouldn’t think of: His best-known patrons include Torture Garden, The Dark Circus Party, Handel & Hendrix, A Curious Invitation and The Candlelight Club, where he has been resident tarot reader for the past half-decade. His writing on divination, magic and creativity has been published in Sabbat Magazine and on Medium.

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