The tarot cards can be considered archetypes the same way the zodiac signs can. In the tarot deck, there are 78 archetypes, in the astrological wheel, 12 signs. According to Jung, archetypes are like archaic images that derive from the collective unconscious. All of us, since an indigenous in the Amazon Forest, a farmer in the Great American West, a business woman in London, a student in South Africa or a medicine man in Tibet, can go through common life passages and emotions throughout life. An archetype summarises these as if they were the key to a universal interpretation of living.
Considering that the tarot cards are archetypes and so are the zodiac personas, what are the possible relations between these two systems of meaning? What advice can the tarot cards give to the astrological signs? Let’s look at the major arcana of the 1909 Rider-Waite-Smith deck with me and find out what they can reveal. Have in mind that the relations I am presenting here are one of the possible interpretations of tarot and astrology – other authors can present them in different ways.
Remember to read your sun, moon and ascendent:
Aries – The Magician Goes To The Emperor Land
Because Aries is the beginning of time itself, the archetype that connects to this sign is the Magician. He has all of the tools to sparkle creation. In his desk work the four tarot suits – pentacles, cups, swords and wands – are laid up so that he can use them to start the journey of life. Probably he observes in the horizon the mountains that are in the background of the Emperor card, which represent the planet Mars, exploding in yellow, orange and red. If Aries is the bellicose action of going after what one wants, and the Emperor quite knows what he wants to maintain his reign in order, the Magician observes his royal friend to get inspired: with his magic wand he is determined to give direction for what he creates, knowing that he has the power of manifestation. That way, the Magician makes the wheel of life to spin with a focused purpose. He is a powerful man that receives the infinite universal energy right through his head up to his hands. If imbalanced, these archetypes could be in the edge of authoritarianism and violence. They could burst new creations and beginnings without knowing why they are doing that, being guided by pure ambition.
Taurus – The Empress Lets Herself Go By The Devil
Passion, seduction, nourishment and pleasure bloom in the Empress archetype and Taurus personalities. The Empress is the Goddess mother that knows how to enjoy creatively the life in all of its wholenesses. She is associated with the planet Venus whose symbol can be seen in the heart by her side. At her garden she delights herself in luxury and beauty, nurturing her body and her soul while sitting solidly in her throne. She is robust, rich, abundant, prosperous and knows how to take care of herself and the others. When she meets the Devil, he shows her how to deal with practical matters. But all of the pleasures that she seeks could become an obsession, taking her to live a mundane life of addictions. That is when the imbalance of Taurus comes up: the pleasures that were supposed to be their strength become the weakness that chains their spirit to the matter.
Gemini – The Lovers Fall Over The Tower
The Lovers card presents us the duality of the opposites symbolised by a man and a woman in a state of togetherness. Just like the Gemini sign, they are more than one. The lovers, ruled by the planet Mercury, know how to communicate perfectly among themselves, yet they can attract one another as they can repel. In their conversations, they are trying to choose the system of beliefs that is most true to their hearts. The quest makes them look at the Tree of Knowledge behind her to find the answer. But there could be a moment that they choose to build a Tower to protect their feelings and disagreements, binding them from the truth. When the lightning comes, and it will come, the knowledge that has always been there but had never been seen is finally revealed. The lovers fall from the Tower. There is nothing left apart from destroying the structures that prison their mind.
Cancer – The Chariot Under The Moonlight
The Chariot shows us a strong and determined conductor that rides through the journey of life, mature enough to understand that she will only get there if she controls whatever is inside of her. The Cancer energy is soulful, affective, loving, persuasive and also has the ability to control the ride as their counterpart archetype, the Chariot. Therefore, they have an internal power to guide family, life, projects, defending what is theirs. But when they get under the moonlight, things can get a bit emotional. The Moon that rules Cancer sign is their strength and weakness: it is what makes them love all beings, but also what makes them get lost in the unconscious waters of the emotions. As bewitched by the moon power, they could dramatize life and get attached by what is being left behind, finding difficulty in moving forward throughout the ride.
Leo – The Sun Strength Can Burn
Leo is represented by the tarot card Strength in which a semi-goddess woman tames with her heart energy the ultimate beast that is in her psyche, the lion. Her strength, however, is not physical: it is shown by the fearless patience and beauty of her expression. The sign of Leo, as an instinctive force, is like the Lion that she holds by the mouth. If not tamed, it becomes the egocentric beast ready to eat us all. Under The Sun, this woman embraces the energy that emanates pure light, with no shame of the inner child that lives in her. She shines, oh how she shines! But if she shines too much, she could forget the fact that she is, in the end, the lion tamer, and her brightness could burn everyone apart from the savage nature of her ego.
Virgo – The Hermit Meets The Temperance
The Hermit is the wise woman or man that moves away from the city to the Sacred Mountains to find their essence and they are related to the Virgo personalities. Their discipline in searching for answers to the matters of the soul through the path that the great healers had been, shows them that solitude is a friend. It is what gives them clairvoyance about what is good, and what is bad. When their essence lightens up, it proves that being alone is not exactly being lonely. They know that it is in the path of the solitude that Temperance emerges, the angel that harmonizes health in all of its layers. With a foot in the waters, the other on the earth, receiving the sun on their skin and the wind from the sacred land whispering in their ears, they become one of the great masters of healing.
Libra – The Justice Speaks For Itself
The Justice wields her sword with a resolution, looking at us directly in the eyes, perhaps judging if we are capable of understanding the depths of her intellect. She puts all of the facts onto the balance to find the ultimate truths in the matters of life like the Libra sign does, measuring their words and acts to benefit everyone. All dressed in red, the Justice has an analytic way of thinking to get to diplomatic resolutions and to emanate a lot of seduction. Maybe there are days that she spends hours in the Garden of the Empress, allowing the nature of her beauty unfold itself. When imbalanced, the Justice doesn’t take responsibility for her actions, losing herself in her own measuring trap. Incapable of deciding, she forgets the colour of her clothes – red carries the power of courage and attraction – the same ones that reveal that she has the quality of the most perfect and balanced decision.
Scorpios – Between The Day Of The Dead And Of The Judgment
The Scorpios sign can be represented by the life/death/life cycle because their personalities are capable of provoking what can look like death but that it is only trying to liberate space for rebirth. Therefore, the tarot card related to this sign is Death, an intense one, that can bring a lot of pain. Scorpio need to listen to the call from the depths of their soul, the one that will make them go down to then go up, and in to then out. The call will come on the Judgement Day, proving them that the end brings only transformations. The brightness that comes with this awaken can make them feel like gods and goddess, looking at the impermanent cycles of life. And there they finally realise that the end is never an end because there is no end or beginning. It is all about transmutation.
Sagittarius – The Hierophant Travels The World
After searching for knowledge, Sagittarius can become great professors. Once apprentices, now masters. The tarot card The Hierophant symbolises the wisdom achieved by the spiritual leader that has lived a lot to get where he or she is. They can be conservative, but not that much, if they are willing to understand that the role of “spiritual guru” that they play is only there to give society meaning. Their true nature is when they respect the diversity of points of view that make human culture. And they will only get that when they travel the World, the card that represents the territories that Sagittarius can explore. It will help them realise that the best place in the universe is enjoying the peace of mind when they accomplish their goals – until they find a new one. After all, knowledge is never static.
Capricorn – The Emperor Encounters The Devil In The Wheel of Fortune
The Capricorn sign is the master of time and planning like the Emperor that rules in the tarot realm – he is the great father of us all. But the excess of responsibilities can make him be too hard on himself, forgetting how to live the day for what it is. When he meets the Devil, he can easily get lost in the role that society asks him to play, feeling limited by his own personality. He could get materialistic, pessimistic, ambitious, having so much magical power to change the world, to make politics, to build a business, but not able to set the boundaries needed for his sanity. And when he is less expecting, he finds himself in the Wheel of Fortune, the one that shows him that the ideal for him is not being on the top, neither on the bottom: it is right in the axis that life flows. There is nothing left to control. He is back in believing in the matters of the spirit.
Aquarius – The Hanged Man Sights The Star
The Hanged man sees the world upside down. Immersed in his individuality, he observes life from a different perspective. He feels unique for doing that, just like Aquarians could feel. But being upside down is not enough, to be really unique they will need to sight the Star, the bright woman that will show them the power of creation if they dive into the collective memory. Her waters are the ones that keep powerful ideas from the artists and revolutionaries throughout time. Aquarians can get really optimistic drinking them waters, and maybe they will bottle them for their personal use, forgetting to share some drops with the community. That is when they make a trap for themselves, back to the hanging position. It was her waters that created them, and not the other way around.
Pisces – The High Priestess Teaches The Fool
Pisces sign is in the last position of the Zodiac wheel therefore it can encounter the Fool that is the first archetype in the tarot journey. Just like the Fool that jumps into the abyss to live the dream, Pisces personalities can believe too much in their fantasies, forgetting the ultimate aspects of reality – for instance, the height of the abyss. It is when the High Priestess meets the lunatic Fool and the moony Pisces that they listen to the silence, comprehending how to access their dreamland to intuitive and spiritual purposes. Organising their mental flux, they heal their minds. They also learn to live in a world made of dualities so their foolishness becomes their power: the absolute essence of vacuity. Something to not be forgotten.
Written by Julia Albertoni © All rights reserved
Reference: Sallie Nichols, Tarot and the Archetypal Journey, originally published in 1980.