Although tarot and astrology are separate disciplines, occultists have drawn symbolic connections between the two systems. We can use this combined symbolism to suggest themes for contemplation and meditation. As the sun traverses each sign of the zodiac, we can attune ourselves symbolically to this solar cycle by reflecting on the Major Arcana cards associated with the current sign. We can refine this process by also considering the minor cards in each tarot suit that reflect the elemental nature (earth, air, water, fire) of the sign. Following the tradition of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, this article reviews each zodiac sign in succession, beginning with January of 2001. Tarot correspondences are listed for each sign. Spend time during the time periods in parentheses meditating on the cards associated with that part of the zodiac.
Capricorn: The Devil
Capricorn, the Celestial Goat, is a cardinal earth sign. The sign begins when the sun appears to stand still in the sky at the Winter Solstice, as it reaches its lowest declination. The element of earth is associated with the suit of Disks or Pentacles, which symbolize finances, material reality, and the care of our bodies. In ancient Rome, the Saturnalia or festival of Saturn, god of agriculture, took place from December 17th to 24th and marked a period of gift-giving, misrule, and disregard of the usual restraints of society. This is the time of year that we make our New Year's resolutions to confront and overcome our personal demons. Can you identify the chains that bind you and inhibit your development? The World card suggests that you focus on the end of the journey if you wish to set clear goals and be able to recognize the obstacles that are blocking your progress.
Aquarius: The Star
Aquarius, the Water Bearer, is a fixed air sign that stabilizes the earthy actions initiated under Capricorn. Air is the element linked to the suit of Swords, which symbolizes intellectual activity, communication, decision-making, right judgment, justice, and strife. The message here is that you should be willing to undertake a journey to pursue your ideals and follow your star—to have the courage to take risks and initiate something new. The Star brings hope and inspiration. The Fool enables you to take a new look at your life and to approach the future from a fresh, clean perspective.
Pisces: The Moon
Pisces, the Fish, is a mutable water sign that marks the transition from winter to spring. Water is the element associated with the suit of Cups, which symbolizes love, caring, and emotions. The Moon trump suggests a need to look within, to clarify nebulous thinking, and to try to see things more clearly. You are likely to be creative, intuitive, and imaginative just now. There is great potential for emotional and spiritual transformation. The Moon suggests that you make an inventory of the emotional baggage from your past, and the Hanged Man offers the possibility of turning your inner life around as you progress on the path of spiritual development.
Aries: The Emperor
Aries, the Ram, is a cardinal fire sign that signals the start of spring at the Vernal Equinox, when the day is divided equally between hours of light and darkness. Fire is the element associated with the suit of Rods or Wands, which symbolizes enterprise, new growth, career, and ambition. Now is the time to take stock of the way you exercise power and authority in the world. Have your material ambitions blinded you so that you have lost your ability to see with the eyes of an innocent child? Have you built your structures upon a solid foundation, or will your Towers come tumbling down?
Taurus: The Hierophant
Taurus, the lunar Bull, is a fixed earth sign that stabilizes the fiery actions initiated under Aries. The Hierophant is the keeper, teacher, and disseminator of tradition and orthodox wisdom. His purpose is to create solid foundations for life and learning. But anyone in this role must avoid becoming too pontifical and dogmatic, and instead must display the creativity and fertility of the Empress who seeks to care for, nourish, and sustain future generations.
Gemini: The Lovers
Cancer: The Chariot
Cancer, the celestial Crab, is a cardinal water sign. The sign begins at the Summer Solstice, when the Sun appears to stand still in the sky as it reaches its highest declination. The Chariot suggests a need to stay centered and to balance opposing forces if we wish to make progress. The High Priestess advises us to access our inner voice through prayer, meditation, and the pursuit of knowledge.
"Fortune, good night, smile once more; turn thy wheel."
From Llewellyn's 2001 Tarot Calendar. For more Llewellyn tarot books and decks, click here.
Anthony Louis (Conn.) is a physician and psychiatrist. Astrology has been his avocation for more than 30 years. He has lectured internationally on horary astrology and has published numerous articles in magazines such as ...