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Intro To Astrology In The Rws & Thoth

Rose Lalonde

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Info and Practice Exercises for Astrology & Tarot


I'm copying the posts I added to the forum's mentorship section for a student who wanted to study astrology and tarot specifically, in case it's helpful to anyone, or in case you spot ways I can improve my info or approach. 


This is specific to the Golden Dawn tradition, decks like the Waite-Smith (RWS) and Thoth. It should also apply well to decks inspired by those, though how obvious that is will depend on symbols the artist chose to include or remove.


This (fantastic) student was reading with the RWS, so I mainly reference that, but if you read with the Thoth, you won't have to add as much to the index cards we use as temporary flash cards, because you already have these astrological symbols on most of the cards. (The same is true of some other decks like the Tabula Mundi and the new Spirit Keepers.)

(*I've removed posts where I gave feedback on completed exercises or answered questions specific to this student's interests, but hopefully it won't seem too choppy.*)

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Astrology 1: General Introduction


Like you, I love pattern. I love how it contributes to the story and adds another dimension. I love looking at a spread and seeing the connections between cards bring a reading to life. Astrology can be an integral part of that for those of us who enjoy it. I hope to be helpful to you in exploring that. I see you've been working with Waite-Smith inspired decks, so for this section we'll work with your RWS, if that's good by you.


Astrology was there at the birth of the RWS, helping to shape Waite's meanings for the cards, because the Golden Dawn society, like some other occultists before them, applied astrology to tarot in a systematic way. Waite and Colman Smith were at one time members of the Golden Dawn, and leaned heavily on what they learned there, though like any good deck creators, they also expressed something unique.


(The Thoth deck also includes the same Golden Dawn astrological associations -- printed right on the cards, rather than the occasional hints in the RWS -- so the good news is that what we talk about here will be something you can apply to most any deck that's faithful to either RWS or Thoth.)


But it's important to note that astrology isn't the only system that contributed to the creation of RWS and Thoth card meanings, so there are a few places (surprisingly few) where, for example, the astrology related to a specific card will look positive, and yet the card still isn't positive for other reasons, usually related to hermetic Qabalah. To keep us on schedule, I'll only mention Qabalah briefly in passing, and only where it explains something to do with the astrology, but I did want to clarify that when we look at the astrology on its own, we aren't looking at the entire Golden Dawn system.


EDIT: If you're completely new to astrology, you may want to take a look at some intro pages on what the sun, moon, and planets signify here, and the signs of the zodiac here (or other links/books if you prefer). Because this student already had some knowledge of astrology on its own, we didn't go over these basics before looking at their correspondence to tarot. 

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Astrology post 2: Subjects to cover


Don't worry if you have questions about what any of this means. I just wanted to give you a general sense of what I'd planned to cover.



We'll start with the majors, because they're the building blocks for everything else in the deck. We'll talk briefly about the reason some were chosen to represent a planet and others to represent a sign. We'll talk about the meaning behind planet and sign, unless that's already familiar to you, and how they match or add depth to the majors.[br /][br /](We may talk about planetary dignity here, or we may save it for later on.)


We'll stick with this until you feel the majors are clear, because understanding them will help make everything else fall neatly into place.


Minors 2 - 10

We'll look at the element and quality of the signs as they relate to the suits of tarot.


These are the minors that are each associated with both a planet and a sign. These 36 cards represent the 36 decans (called 'faces' in some books) of classical astrology.


Because each of these minors represents one planet in one sign, we can refer back to the two majors that represent the same planet and sign and look at where we can see the influence of the majors in the minors.


We'll talk about seeing connections between cards in a spread, based on shared astrological associations.


Courts: Knight, Queen, King

These cards are each assigned 3 decans.  We';ll consider the signs of the courts.  And since cards 2 - 10 each represent one decan, we'll consider the 3 minors that share the same decans as a court. (If that sounds complicated, no worries; we';ll be ready by the time we get there.  🙂 )


Ace and Page

These are influenced by hermetic Qabalah more than astrology, but we'll talk about where they fit in and how to include them.



We'll do readings that include astrology in a way that enhances the overall message.


Extras and Questions

We can talk about anything I haven't covered that you may want to know more about -- triplicities, houses (which I see you've incorporated already), etc.  And. if I haven't already, we should talk briefly about the 7 planets assigned via Qabalah, and how they affect the minors 2 -10.

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Astrology Post 3: Majors Intro


Some of this will be old news to you, since your spreadsheet you shared had notes like Aries and Mars for Emperor and Tower. 🙂


No problem about not knowing much about hermetic Qabalah. It's a whole study in itself! In this post I mention the Hebrew letters, but it's only to show the reason why the Golden Dawn assigned planets and signs to certain majors, so you can see that it wasn't random.


The Majors were assigned to the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet in order, beginning with the Fool for the first letter and ending with The World for the last letter.



12 of those Hebrew letters are called Simple Letters, and the 12 majors assigned to those letters are also assigned to the 12 signs of the zodiac, beginning with Aries at the start of spring, and continuing in order as they fall through the year:

Emperor (Aries)

Hierophant (Taurus)

Lovers (Gemini)

Chariot (Cancer)

Strength (Leo)

Hermit (Virgo)

]Justice (Libra)

Death (Scorpio)

Temperance (Sagittarius)

Devil (Capricorn)

Star (Aquarius)

Moon (Pisces)



7 of the Hebrew letters are called Double Letters (because they can be pronounced more than one way), and the 7 majors associated with those letters are assigned to the 'planets of the ancients' in classical astrology -- the planets visible without the aid of a telescope:


Magician (Mercury)

Priestess (Moon)

Empress (Venus)

Wheel of Fortune (Jupiter)

Tower (Mars)

Sun (Sun)

The World (Saturn)*



Lastly, there are 3 silent Mother Letters, associated with the elements:

Fool (Air)

Hanged Man (Water)

Judgement (Fire)


Where's the other element... *The World does double duty; in addition to being associated with the planet Saturn, it's also associated with the element of Earth.



(Uranus Neptune and Pluto?

Although Uranus and Neptune had been discovered in their time, The Golden Dawn chose to use classical astrology and only included the planets that are visible to the naked eye, so that's what we'll cover here. Sometimes modern astrologers add the additional planets we can see by telescope to the 3 cards with mother letters: Uranus for the Fool, Neptune for the Hanged Man, and Pluto for Judgement. If you've looked at one of the sites or books that shows them, I didn't want you to be confused about why I'm not including them while I lay out GD astrology. After our segment is done, if they're of interest to you, I think the best way to decide will be to try them out in your own readings and see what you think of the results.)

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Astrology Exercise A: Spot the clues (in the RWS)


Let's start with a quick one. In some decks the symbols for sign, planet, and element are printed on the cards, but in the RWS they're not, so we only get reminders in certain places. The sun being assigned to the Sun is pretty obvious, of course. The tricky moon is not assigned to The Moon, but Waite and Colman-Smith have given us a reminder on the Priestess.


Lay out the following majors with your RWS, and list the part of the card that helps us remember the sign or planet:

The High Priestess (Moon)

The Empress (Venus)

The Emperor (Aries)

Strength (Leo)

Justice (Libra)

The Star (Aquarius)


A little less obvious:

Chariot (Cancer)

(There's also a reminder in The Devil, but it's the planetary ruler of Capricorn rather than Capricorn itself, so that one would be extra credit. 😉 )

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Astrology Exercise B: Create index cards for the majors

Index cards (or rectangles of paper in a pinch) are going to be very important at first to help with seeing the correspondences in readings with the RWS right in front of you. It's better than looking away from the spread to check books, trying to remember what the first card corresponded to when you're looking up the last card etc. In short it will mimic some of the easy feeling that comes with time, in which you look at a card and already know what it corresponds to.


[if you're working with a deck that has Golden Dawn astrological symbols on the cards, you won't need to do this step. Whether you create index cards later will depend on whether or not you want to include aspects of astrology that aren't on the cards -- things like cardinal, fixed and mutable, which we'll cover soon.]


Please lay out 22 index cards so they're tall like a tarot card instead of the usual wide way we use them. Write the name of each major at the tops of the cards.


About 2 cm (1 inch) from the bottom of the card, please refer to post 3 above, and write the sign or planet or element for that card. -- We're leaving the 2 cm space beneath it, because we're going to add more info there later on.


It may be easiest to use symbols instead of the words so that we'll have room to include everything we want later on. I've included those in a pic below. (If you're not already familiar with all of them, it will also make it easier later to work with decks that show them.)


When we eventually use these, we'll lay out the index cards first, and then set the majors on top of them so that only the notes at the bottom are visible. In a sense, we're making the RWS look like the decks that have the symbols already on the cards for you. When we add in the minors and courts later, this will make it easier to see pattern in a spread.)




Edited by Rose Lalonde
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Astrology Exercise 😄 What does it mean to you?


Please add at least 2 positive keywords and 2 negative keywords of your own for each of the below. Just give a sense of what these mean to you. (If you there are any signs or planets you aren't yet familiar with, you can refer to this page or elsewhere, but if you already have some idea, I'd much rather have your own, keywords.)
















Sun, Moon, and Planets with their Gods and Goddess














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Adding to your index cards for the majors


Each of the 4 seasons during the year includes 3 signs. The first of the season, called cardinal, has the energy of starting and increasing; the second, called fixed, has the energy of continuing, and the last, called mutable, has the energy of ending or decreasing.


So for example, Aries is the cardinal sign at the beginning of spring, Taurus is the fixed sign in the middle of spring, and Gemini is the mutable sign at the end of spring, heading into summer.


These 3 qualities affect the order of the signs in the minor suits. I've included them below in case it's helpful to see them in relation to their major. Please add either Cardinal, Fixed, or Mutable to the space we left open at the bottom of the index cards for the majors of the 12 signs.


Matching your keywords to the majors


Great to have your keywords! I've copied them below.


For each card, please give a few sentences about the relationship between your keywords and the majors. (You could consider the following, but you don't have to stick to these questions... Do astrological keywords add depth to your meaning for the major? Do they just match what you already knew about the card from looking at it? Do you think the keywords add any ideas that you don't really associate with that major?) Whatever sums up your feeling about the relationship between your keywords and the card for each sign, planet and element.



The Fool

•  Air:


The Magus

•  Mercury:


The Priestess

•  Moon:


The Empress

•  Venus:


The Emperor

•  Aries: (cardinal fire sign)


The Hierophant

•  Taurus: (fixed earth sign)


The Lovers

•  Gemini:  (mutable air sign)


The Chariot

•  Cancer: (cardinal water sign)



•  Leo (fixed fire sign)


The Hermit

•  Virgo: (mutable earth sign)


The Wheel of Fortune:

•  Jupiter



•  Libra (cardinal air sign)


The Hanged Man:

•  Water



•  Scorpio (fixed water sign)



•  Sagittarius (mutable fire sign)


The Devil:

•  Capricorn (cardinal earth sign)


The Tower

•  Mars:


The Star

•  Aquarius: (fixed air sign)


The Moon

•  Pisces: (mutable water sign)


The Sun

•  Sun: 



•  Fire: 


]The World

•  earth

•  Saturn




Discussion that came up about the Priestess corresponding to the moon, while the Moon card corresponds to Pisces:


I know it seemed strange, and you are not at all alone in feeling that way!  In tarot we get the two different sides of the moon: the bright, full moon and the dark, new moon. Or the side we always see when we look up, and the 'far side' of the moon that never faces the earth.


The High Priestess represents the highest or best form of the moon, the flexibility and positive change, the bright radiance of that reflected silver light.  (Waite talks about her more here if of interest, and in addition to the silver light, also compares her to a mother, a keyword of yours. I'm not Christian, but to me she's more like the 'virgin' mother, Mary, rather than the earthier mother of fertility we get in the Empress. Two different sides.).


But there's another aspect of the lunar influence that shows up in the card of The Moon, of which Waite says, "It illuminates our animal nature, types of which are represented below--the dog, the wolf and that which comes up out of the deeps, the nameless and hideous tendency which is lower than the savage beast." He's not exactly positive here.  😮 You can read his full entry here if you want, but it's not required.)


Basically unlike the straight forward sun that always looks the same, the moon has two sides its always shifting between in the lunar cycle, and we get that represented in two cards. Whether that idea of duality works for you is for you to consider, but that's what it attempts to show.

Edited by Rose Lalonde
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Astrology post 4: Intro to minors 2 - 10


When we pull out cards 2 -10, we end up with 9 cards in each suit. Since there are 4 suits, we're looking at  36 cards now. That number will be important...


The Decans as a way to further divide up the sky


The Zodiac and dividing the year: When ancient astrologers looked up to see where planets were and where they were moving, they needed reference points. Thousands of years ago the Babylonians divided what appeared in the sky in the course of a year into 12 zodiac signs that lasted 30 days each, and each sign covered an equal 30 degrees of longitude in the sky.


The Decans and dividing the days: The ancient Egyptians used  36 different groups of stars called decans that rose on the horizon at even intervals of 10 degrees of the sky, and each one marked a new 'hour' ('hora' in Greek, from which we get horary astrology).


Since the zodiac signs each represent 30 degrees of the sky, and the decans each represent 10 degrees, that meant that 3 decans are contained within each sign. The first decan, middle decan, and last decan of each.


A perfect circle: Both the 12 zodiac signs  x 30 degrees and the 36 decans x 10 degrees multiply to 360 degrees. I've attached an image with them here.


Assigning the signs to the suits using the elements:


Wands got the fire signs. Cups the water signs. Swords the air signs. Pentacles the earth signs. Pretty straight forward. (These are called the Triplicities, if you've seen that term in your astrology books, because when we divide up the signs by the four elements we end up with three fire signs, three water signs, three air signs, and three earth signs.)


2, 3, and 4 of each suit represent the  cardinal signs that start their season:

Aries  for the 2, 3 and 4 of Wands

Cancer  for the 2, 4, and 4 of Cups

Libra  for the 2, 3, and 4 of Swords

Capricorn  for the 2, 3, and 4 of Pentacles


5, 6, and 7 of each suit represent the  fixed signs :

Leo for the 5, 6, and 7 of Wands

Scorpio   for the 5, 6, and 7 of Cups

Aquarius   for the 5, 6, and 7 of Swords

Taurus for the 5, 6, and 7 of Pentacles


8, 9 and 10 of each suit represent the  mutable signs at the end of their season:

Sagittarius for the 8, 9, and 10 of Wands

Pisces for the 8, 9, and 10 of Cups

Gemini for the 8, 9, and 10 of Swords

Virgo for the 8, 9, and 10 of Pentacles


(We aren't including the Aces here, but we'll talk about them later. Because they represent divinity and unity at the very top of the Tree of Life, they were handled differently.)


Everything in order:    

You've probably noticed there are 3 decans in each sign and now we have 3 cards representing each sign. Yep, that means each card 2-10 represents one decan


Every 2 is the first decan of a cardinal sign that starts a season. Every 6 is the middle decan of a fixed sign. Every 10 is the last decan of a mutable sign. etc. This makes it easier to remember.


The ancient Greeks had a planetary ruler for each of these decans, not as important as the ruler for the sign itself, but basically a less important sub-ruler for only the decan. For example, Mars is the ruler of the last decan of Pisces, the decan of the 10 of Cups. Often it's written as 'Mars in Pisces' to save space; I do that sometimes, but to be clear, it's more accurate to say the 10 of Cups is 'the last decan of Pisces, which is ruled by Mars'. -- (ETA: This affects things like timing and the season associated with the card. The last decan of Pisces is always March 11-20, right before the spring equinox. That's not the same as looking up when Mars will next be IN Pisces, which varies. Dates for all of these cards are in the image attached to a later post.)


The decans helped form the meanings of these cards. In some it's pretty obvious, like the first decan of Cancer ruled by Venus for the 2 of Cups. In some it's less obvious, or another part of the story, like hermetic Qabalah, might be affecting the meaning. We'll talk about these as they come up in readings. The main thing is that we're moving toward the point where you can take one look at a spread and see, for example, that it's dominated by the influence of Mars appearing in several ways.


ETA - there's now a thread for readers who are memorizing these decans HERE




Edited by Rose Lalonde
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Astrology Exercise E: Creating the index cards for the minors 2-10


In the same way you created index cards for the majors, we're going to create 36 index cards for minors 2-10.  This time, instead of just the single sign, we're going to have write both a sign and planet on each card to represent the decan. [Thoth readers, these are already shown on your cards.]


If it's easier to refer to the symbols, you can look at the chart attached to my last post. Or if you prefer to work from a list, I've added that here.


You only need to write the name of the card, the sign, and the planet on each, leaving that 2 cm at the bottom for additional info later.



Two of Wands – first decan of Aries ruled by Mars

Three of Wands – middle decan of Aries ruled by the Sun

Four of Wands –  last decan of Aries ruled by Venus


Five of Wands – first decan of Leo ruled by Saturn

Six of Wands – middle decan of Leo ruled by Jupiter

Seven of Wands – last decan of Leo ruled by Mars


Eight of Wands – first decan of Sagittarius ruled by Mercury

Nine of Wands – middle decan of Sagittarius ruled by the Moon

Ten of Wands – last decan of Sagittarius ruled by Saturn



Two of Cups – first decan of Cancer ruled by Venus

Three of Cups – middle decan of Cancer ruled by Mercury

Four of Cups – last decan of Cancer ruled by the Moon


Five of Cups – first decan of Scorpio ruled by Mars

Six of Cups – middle decan of Scorpio ruled by the Sun

Seven of Cups – last decan of Scorpio ruled by Venus


Eight of Cups – first decan of Pisces ruled by Saturn

Nine of Cups – middle decan of Pisces ruled by Jupiter

Ten of Cups – last decan of Pisces ruled by Mars



Two of Swords – first decan of Libra ruled by the Moon

Three of Swords – middle decan of Libra ruled by Saturn

Four of Swords – last decan of Libra ruled by Jupiter


Five of Swords – first decan of Aquarius ruled by Venus

Six of Swords – middle decan of  Aquarius ruled by Mercury

Seven of Swords – last decan of Aquarius ruled by the Moon


Eight of Swords – first decan of Gemini ruled by Jupiter

Nine of Swords – middle decan of Gemini ruled by Mars

Ten of Swords – last decan of Gemini ruled by the Sun



Two of Pentacles – first decan of Capricorn ruled by Jupiter

Three of Pentacles – middle decan of Capricorn ruled by Mars

Four of Pentacles – last decan of Capricorn ruled by the Sun


Five of Pentacles – first decan of Taurus ruled by Mercury

Six of Pentacles – middle decan of Taurus ruled by the Moon

Seven of Pentacles – last decan of Taurus ruled by Saturn


Eight of Pentacles – first decan of Virgo ruled by the Sun

Nine of Pentacles – middle decan of Virgo ruled by Venus

Ten of Pentacles – last decan of Virgo, ruled by Mercury

Edited by Rose Lalonde
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Astrology Post 5: Minors as affected by hermetic Qabalah; A VERY Short Intro


I don't want to bog us down in hermetic Qabalah too much, because it's just as big of a topic as astrology, but there are planets assigned to these cards based on Qabalah, so we should touch on that.


In the Golden Dawn's hermetic Qabalah, the Ace is at the top of the Tree as unity / divinity /One, and 10 is at the bottom of the tree as Earth / diversity/ what we interact with on a daily basis. The other cards are aspects or steps of creation between them. As a group, they're called the sephiroth.


Most of them are assigned a planet that gives sense of the energy they embody. Since this helped form the meanings, you can pretty much lay out all four cards that match each number below and get your own sense of this numerology just by looking at the cards. But this is my own extremely quick take on an overview; at the very least, I wanted to list the planets for you:


Aces -- (top middle of the Tree) --  No planet or sign* , because we are at unity, so nothing is separated out into different things yet. *But they are said to be the seeds of the element of their suit. So, for example, the Ace of Wands could be said to contain all the promise of the fires signs of Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius that will follow in the suit, even though they aren't yet separated out.


Twos -- (top right of the Tree) --  The entire zodiac , all of the signs. This is to give a sense that the twos are the first place where there is separateness, the idea of duality. The action all starts here and everything exists here. Like raw fuel.


Threes -- (top left of the Tree) --  Saturn . This is where the first idea of constraining energy into forms happens. It's not the forms yet, but here's the foundation where the idea of boundaries begins. Planning starts here.


Fours -- (right side of Tree) --  Jupiter . Things are expanding, and structure is in place. Those new boundaries are being created and tested. Things are just beginning to take shape so there's a sense of achievement and for the first time a bit of a plateau.


Fives --- (left side of the Tree) --  Mars . There's an opposite reaction. Things are polarizing and changing, breaking down and rebuilt without anything unnecessary.


Sixes -- (middle of the Tree) --  Sun .  After the back and forth of the 4s and 5s, we have successful balance. The Sun represents the middle of the Tree and higher consciousness. (If you've seen the terms HGA, Holy Guardian Angel or divine higher genius, that's represented by this sephirah)


Sevens -- (bottom right of the Tree) --  Venus . There's an earthy, primal quality here. Instincts and urges. There are our likes and dislikes, creative impulses. (Personally I see a lot of self reliance reflected in cards at seven, for better or worse).


Eights -- (bottom left of the Tree) --  Mercury . This is the place where impulses of the sevens are categorized, investigated and assessed. The discerning intellect.


Nines -- (the middle pillar) the  Moon . This is the next to last step. Everything is in place and energy has reached its full force, so it's a peak moment, but it's on the astral level, nothing is solid yet.


Tens -- (the bottom of the middle pillar) -- the elements,  Earth . This is the fully manifested world we're familiar with. Lots of people and things that seem totally solid and separate. (Although Qabalah points to that separation being an appearance or a perspective.) This is also the point at which we swing back up to the Ace again, and a new cycle begins.


The above will often shade a meaning. For one example:


The 5 of Cups -- As we discussed in post 4, it's the first decan of Scorpio ruled by Mars.


Mars also rules the entire sign of Scorpio, so Mars should be pretty productive here (as we'll talk about in the next post), so that can point to a possible upside. But in Qabalah, the fives represent polarizing energy. Plus, because of Mars describing all 5s via Qabalah, we get Mars three times in this card; that's a whole lotta hot and dry (the classical description of Mars) in a Cups card! That much fiery Mars can overpower the watery influence of Scorpio.


To top it off, Mars corresponds to the Tower and Scorpio to Death, if you decide you want to consider these minors in terms of their associated majors too. That's not obvious in the RWS art for the minors. But I've attached an image of the 5 of Cups in Tabula Mundi, where the creator is specifically trying to show the influence of the Tower as representing Mars and Death as representing Scorpio at work together in the 5. You can see where she's used the landscape from Death but the water has been burnt away by the fire of the Tower, so we end up with parched land in the 5 that has a sky the red of the Tower.


To sum up

Despite how quickly I glossed through Qabalah, I think the understanding you already had of the planets themselves should give you a good sense of how you might decide to apply these additional planetary assignments in you reading of cards.

That was a lot to cover, so any questions, please let me know!  🙂


*Index Cards*

Please add these planets to the bottom of your index cards for cards 3 - 9. You might put Q = Saturn on all of the 3 cards, for example, to remind you that it's from hermetic Qabalah.




Edited by Rose Lalonde
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Astrology Post 6 : Planetary Dignity


My familiarity with planetary dignity comes from Golden Dawn style tarot rather than working with astrology separately, so I'm not an expert in the nuances of their uses in natal charts, etc. I agree with your description of the dignities and work from these basic ideas:


Rulership: A planet is productive and at home in the sign it rules.


Exaltation: A planet is harmonious and comfortable in the sign in which it's exalted


Detriment: A planet is vulnerable here and has to adapt.


Fall: The planet's influence on the sign is weakened.


Peregrine: Nothing. When none of the above four states apply to the planet in a sign, it's said to be peregrine.



In Tarot:

Rulership and exaltation are generally strengthening, but can become a liability if there's too much of one planet's influence in a card, particularly a 'challenging' planet like Mars or Saturn.


Detriment and fall are generally negative on their own, but can become somewhat helpful if it tones down the influence of a planet that would otherwise have too much influence.


Some readers prefer not to go into this level of detail, and that's fine too!  If you want to include dignity, I'll link to or write up a list of the cards for which dignity is anything other than peregrine, so you can just copy it onto your index cards. Would that be helpful?  :)


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Astrology Post 7:  Index Card Update and Checklist


Yes, here's the list of cards affected by classical dignity.


2 of Wands: Mars rules Aries

2 of Pentacles: Jupiter is in fall in Capricorn

3 of Wands: Sun is exalted in Aries

3 of Swords: Saturn is exalted in Libra

3 of Pentacles: Mars is exalted in Capricorn

4 of Wands: Venus is in detriment in Aries

4 of Cups: Moon rules Cancer

5 of Wands: Saturn is in detriment in Leo

5 of Cups: Mars rules Scorpio

6 of Pentacles: Moon is exalted in Taurus

7 of Cups: Venus is in detriment in Scorpio

8 of Wands: Mercury is in detriment in Sagittarius

8 of Swords: Jupiter is in detriment in Gemini

9 of Cups: Jupiter rules Pisces

9 of Pentacles: Venus is in fall in Virgo

10 of Pentacles: Mercury is exalted in Virgo


And for majors, R for Rulership, D Detriment, E Exaltation, F Fall:


The Magician (Mercury)

R=Virgo, Gemini  D=Sagittarius, Pisces  E=Virgo  F=Pisces


High Priestess (Moon)

R=Cancer  D=Capricorn  E=Taurus  F=Scorpio


Empress (Venus)

R=Taurus, Libra  D=Scorpio, Aries  E=Pisces  F=Virgo


The Wheel of Fortune (Jupiter)

R=Sagittarius, Pisces  D=Gemini, Virgo  E=Cancer  F=Capricorn


The Tower (Mars)

R=Aries, Scorpio  D=Libra, Taurus  E=Capricorn  F=Cancer


The Sun (Sun)

R=Leo  D=Aquarius  E=Aries  F=Libra


The World (Saturn)

R=Capricorn, Aquarius  D-Cancer, Leo  E=Libra  F=Aries


Will you always want to incorporate this info in your readings after the class? I don't know; it will depend on whether you find them helpful or not. :)  If you add them to your index cards, you'll see them when they pop up in our exercise readings, which will make it easier to notice and decide if they're adding something.



Just double check that you have index cards ready to go:


Majors with either their planet, sign, or element.


For the 12 majors of the zodiac signs it should include whether it's a cardinal, fixed or mutable sign


For the 7 majors with planets, you'll have the info in this post.


Minors with the planet and the sign of their decan.


For minors 3 - 9 you'll also have the planet that rules their place on the Tree of Life


Dignity above, if you wanted to include.

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Astrology Exercise F: Cards in combination




(For this first exercise we won't add a question or specific spread positions.)


For each of the combinations below, lay out your index cards and the RWS cards and answer on the following:


1) Looking at the art only, what adjectives would you use to describe the people or the scene in the cards?


2) What astrological planet or sign appears most often? (If it's a tie between two, list both.)


3) List the ways that planet or sign appears.


4) What were your keywords for that planet or sign from Exercise C?


5) Which of your keywords seem to either reinforce or add helpful information to your adjectives from question 1? How do they reinforce or add to the meaning?


6) List whether each minor or major associated with a sign is cardinal (starting/increasing), fixed (continuing/stable), or mutable (ending/decreasing). How might that add to the meaning?


7) If something in particular jumped out at you about the way the art the astrology match, mention it here. If not, just say none; it won't always, depending on the deck, and that's fine.


8 ) Give a sentence or two that describes this card combination and includes at least one adjective from question 1 and keyword from question 5.





2 of Swords (Moon in Libra) ~ 3 of Cups (Mercury in Cancer) ~ 6 of Pentacles (Moon in Taurus)


1) solitary; happy and social; kind and altruistic


2) The Moon


3) Twice as the planet of the decan for 2S and 6P. The Moon is also the ruler of Cancer in 3C and is exalted in Taurus in 6P.


4) Moon: your keywords - instability, change, periodicity, moods, instinct, mother


5) "Change , periodicity, moods." Change and periodicity: We first see someone alone, and then joining others, and then helping others. Moods: The mood in the 3 of Cups looks happy, but the other two cards look more pensive to me.


6) 2 of Swords and 3 of Wands are cardinal, and the 6 of Pentacles is fixed. Something is starting to change and then in the last card things continue on without a lot of change.


7) There's a moon on the 2 of Swords. There are scales on the 6 of Pentacles: The 2 of Swords is a decan of Libra, symbolized by scales, so I would say the woman on the 2 of Swords was already thinking about finding a way to help people in the 6 of Pentacles.


8 ) Someone who's solitary gets an idea that they want to help others, but they aren't sure how. They talk to others and get encouragement to change, which lightens their mood, and they successfully become more altruistic. (Since the Moon is exalted in Taurus, it's especially successful.)



Card Combinations


7 of Cups ~ 2 of Cups ~10 of Cups


8 of Swords ~ Temperance ~ 9 of Cups


7 of Wands ~ The Sun ~ 6 of Wands


The Devil ~ The Tower ~ 3 of Pentacles

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When the influence of astrology is less obvious


Above were combinations in which the astrology really jumps out at you, because the same planet or sign shows up in several ways in just 3 cards. To me, it calls out to be noticed.  But some spreads won't be like that. For example:


6 of Swords (Mercury in Aquarius)  ~ The High Priestess (The Moon) ~ 2 of Wands (Mars in Aries)


You could decide to talk about Mars ruling Aries. You could talk about the fixed sign of Aquarius followed by something beginning in the cardinal sign of Aries. You could even talk about Aquarius being a sign that falls in the middle of winter if you wanted, and that Aries is the start of spring, with the lunar Priestess marking the shift between seasons. But there's no one astrological influence that seems to be underlying the direction of the whole spread.


Perhaps something in the art will really jump out at you instead, a repeating color or an image on one of the cards that seems to sum everything up well. If that happens, you might decide you only want to talk about that strong visual impression, or you might decide to include the astrology too. It will be up to you.

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Astrology Exercise G: Minor roommate problem


This is inspired by a page from the book Tarot Correspondences by T. Susan Chang.

Here's a little exercise that's more free-form, and hopefully will be fun.  :)  Answers can be short!


First, remove the majors and courts from your deck. We're just going to work with minors this time around. (Also remove the 6 of Swords, because I use it as an example below.)


Imagine that you need a new roommate to share an apartment or flat with you. You put an ad online, and 8 people reply that they're interested.


Draw 8 minors at random to represent your options for a new roommate. Pull the associated index cards for reference.


1) For each of the 8, what kind of roommate do you think the person the card represents would be, noting in parenthesis why you came to that conclusion. [Random example might be: "This person would be away from the flat often (their back is turned, on a boat, your keyword of 'travel' for Mercury), and empathetic (one of your keywords for Aquarius)."]


2) Which of these cards represent the person you would choose to be your roommate? Why?


3) Suppose you had to pick a second roommate to go along with the answer you gave for question #2, so that all three of you live together. Pick an additional card from the remaining seven based on how well you think they would get along with both you and with the roommate represented by the card you chose in answer 2. Why did you choose them?

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Some Notes that Came Up in Discussion


Yes that roommate exercise was different than the readings I normally do and had me asking myself how far I wanted to go with astrology, whether to include planetary dignity in relation to my own sign, etc. In the end it's up to you.


For myself, what I love most about tarot is the way the art conveys ideas in a way that's different from reading words, the way a symbol or a color will echo across cards and draw connections you can see in a flash of insight. So I give the art a lot of weight in readings. I like the additional information from Qabalah and astrology, especially where it fleshes out something the art is pointing to, and it all comes together. But if I include so much astrology detail that the art starts to feel like it's not at the center of the reading anymore, that doesn't work well for me.


When we decide to learn something like tarot and astrology, I think there are 3 stages:


1) Learning or creating some system of correspondences. Here those are the lists and explanatory posts.


2) Playing around with it and seeing the different aspects in action, asking questions about whether you feel something is adding to the clarity of your reading or not. Here those are the exercises, though that's just a start of that process, of course.


3) Making it your own! From hands on experience with seeing the results play out in readings, getting used to it so it just naturally draws your eye to connections between cards that share planet or sign, over time you keep the aspects that work for you and even adapt them to your needs. This is the part you do on your own.  :)

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Astrology Post 8: Kings/Knights and the question of how they correspond to the Golden Dawn


That's fine. We'll go with Kenner's astrology that you're familiar with unless you'd rather not. She gives the Knights the mutable signs like Gemini and the Kings the fixed signs like Leo. That's the opposite of the Golden Dawn. But there are good reasons to believe she might be right for the RWS. Decision is split on this issue...


The reason - to oversimplify it! - is that in the original Tarot de Marseilles (TdM) the King is seated on his throne, and the Knights are on horses. But the Golden Dawn wanted, among other things, to make the courts 1) a family, & 2) a cycle of continuing action, just as each suit was meant to be a cycle. They put cards titled King on horseback, actively wooing the Queen and gaining his throne, and the Princes seated in chariots. See a version of the deck here to clarify.


In addition they referred to cards in Book T with titles like "The King of Wands: The Prince of the Chariot of Fire" for their card that shows the title of Prince and "Knight of Wands: The Lord of the Flame and Lighting: the King of the Spirits of Fire" for the card that shows the title of King. You can see how that gets confusing as hell.  ::)


The thing to remember is that the TdM Kings are seated on thrones, while the Golden Dawn cards titled King are riding on horseback. The Thoth art followed the Golden Dawn (though the naming differs slightly).


But Waite's courts look like the TdM courts with the Kings on thrones and Knights on horseback. So tarot authors and readers are left with a choice: Match the RWS's courts up to the Golden Dawn using either the card title OR the art. Depending on which you rely on, you may get a different answer.


If you look at the card title King and decide Waite's King equals the Golden Dawn King, then he should get the mutable signs, and the King of Wands is Sagittarius.  If you instead look at the fact that the RWS King is seated and decide he matches up better to the Golden Dawn's Prince seated in a chariot, then you give the RWS King the fixed signs, and the King of Wands would be Leo.


You can make a decent case for either one, and you will find a different answer in different books.


(I often read with the Tabula Mundi or the Thoth -- as if you couldn't tell by now  :P -- and I like the symmetry of the cardinal sign Queen and mutable sign King having a child who's in the middle between them as the fixed sign Prince, so unless I consciously make a switch for the RWS, the Knight of Pentacles is fixed Taurus and the King of Pentacles is mutable Virgo. If you look at the throne on Waite's King of Pentacles, you can see he has bulls, lending some weight to the view that Waite chose Taurus for him. But then again, Waite has the fish that would point to mutable Pisces on both the King and Knight of Cups, plus the Page of Cups too. Lions that point to fixed Leo show up more on the Queen of Wands than the King of Wands.  ??? )


I'm happy to write up the courts post for you using Kenner's correspondences you've been working with.  :)


(By the way, what you talked about here earlier about the four elements and whether all the Kings are fiery or airy... that's the same situation in that Golden Dawn Kings are fire and Prince/Knights are air. But if you decide the RWS is the opposite of the Golden Dawn titles on the cards, then the Kings would be air and Knights would be fire. -- You can also make that decision about the elements based on other ideas, but the reason a lot of people are split on the issue began with the above info, and the fact that Waite didn't say which he intended.)

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Astrology Post 9: Intro to the Knight, Queen, King


This is where it gets really fun. Well, that's what I think.  ;)


As we've seen, most of the majors correspond to one thing: a sign, a planet, or an element. There's the powerful focus of the single idea. The minors 2-10 each represent a decan, and each has both a sign and a planet that rules the decan, so those minors have dual correspondences working together.


The courts integrate more correspondences. Each Knight, Queen and King represents three decans.


When we first talked about decans in post 4, we saw that every zodiac sign includes three decans. Knowing that the courts represent three decans as well, a first guess might be that the Queen of Swords, for example, would correspond to all three decans of Libra. But if that were the case, she would represent the same thing, astrologically, as Justice.


Plus courts can mean many things, but at their heart they represent personalities and attitudes. We know real people have many sides to them. In order to capture that depth and complexity, and to avoid making courts into flat stereotypes, they were assigned to 2 decans of a sign in the element of their own suit, and 1 decan of a sign not of their element.


They straddle two consecutive zodiac signs. Their main association is with the two decans of the sign in their suit's element.


For example, the Queen of Swords corresponds mainly with the first two decans of Libra. But she also corresponds to the last decan of Virgo that comes immediately before Libra in the calendar.


Let's look at the keywords you gave for Libra and for Virgo again:


"Libra: diplomatic, honest, slow and indecisive.

Virgo: Organized, practical, rational, analytical, attention to detail, self-disciplined and critical."


Grabbing a few of your keywords, she would mainly be diplomatic and honest, but also organized and analytical.


You could look at her in terms of other tarot cards with which she shares a correspondence:

The majors would be Justice mainly, plus the Hermit.

The minors would be the 2 of Swords and 3 of Swords for Libra, plus the 10 of Pentacles for the last decan of Virgo.


Regardless of whether you relate her to your astrology keywords and/or the tarot cards with which she shares a correspondence, how much or how little you want to emphasize that one-third part of her that corresponds to the last decan of Virgo is up to you.


Some readers include it as an additional description, so that she's mainly Libra, but also a little bit of Virgo. That's what I did above when I grabbed a few of your keywords from Libra and a few from Virgo and put them together.


Alternatively, you can include the one decan of Virgo as an area in which the Queen of Swords is literally 'out of her element' as the saying goes, since Virgo is an earth sign, and she's in the suit of air. In that case, of the keywords for Virgo you gave, the ones you might choose would be the more challenging, like 'critical' as a description of her less positive (shadow) side.  Or you could even say she's uncomfortable receiving criticism from others.


The complexity gives us more leeway to decide how much emphasis we give to different aspects of a Knight, Queen or King's astrological correspondences. And that emphasis may change from reading to reading, depending on whether the court is surrounded by challenging cards or more easy-going cards, or whether upright or reversed.



Breakdown of the RWS courts with your preference for mutable sign Knights and fixed sign Kings: 



Wands: Last decan of Scorpio. First two decans of Sagittarius.

Cups: Last decan of Aquarius. First two decans of Pisces.

Swords: Last decan of Taurus. First two decans of Gemini

Disks: Last decan of Leo. First two decans of Virgo.



Wands: Last decan of Pisces. First two decans of Aries.

Cups: Last decan of Gemini. First two decans of Cancer.

Swords: Last decan of Virgo. First two decans of Libra.

Disks: Last decan of Sagittarius. First two decans of Capricorn.



Wands: Last decan of Cancer. First two decans of Leo.

Cups: Last decan of Libra. First two decans of Scorpio.

Swords: Last decan of Capricorn. First two decans of Aquarius.

Disks: Last decan of Aries. First two decans of Taurus.


[NOTE: For Thoth readers, the Kings above have the info for the Thoth Prince; the Knights have the info for the Thoth Knights]



There's also a chart attached showing how these courts cover the signs in order through the year.



If any of this seems confusing, we can stop and do an exercise to look at these cards on their own before we include them in readings. Would you like to do that? I'm happy to, but didn't want to slow you down if this is old information for you.


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Astrology Exercise H: Three Dimensional Knight, Queen, King


Sure, here we go...  :)  Since you've done the exercises in 60 Quirky Court Cards in which you were already thinking of courts in terms of the sign that matches their suit's element, I'm going to focus a little more on the sign that's not in their element.


In astrology, sun signs are by far the most well known, even though they're one part of a big picture. For each Knight, Queen, and King, imagine that they have both a sun sign and a less obvious moon sign, just like we do. (If you're not familiar with the moon sign, it's just the sign in which the moon is positioned in a natal chart.)


For this exercise, think of their sun sign as the sign that matches the element of their suit. That's the one you're used to associating with them.


We're going to look at the other sign that doesn't match the element of their suit as though it were their moon sign. In modern astrology the moon sign represents characteristics that play out as our private, inner life, subconscious instincts and habits, and how we feel and process emotions.


A) Using the list in post 9, for each Knight, Queen, and King please answer the following based on your understanding of the sign that's NOT in their element:


1. What's a secret that none of their friends know about them?


2. What habit do they find it difficult to break? Which qualities of the sign IN their own element might they use to help them break it?


3. After they've received sad news, how do they cope? (For example, they distract themselves in some way, remind themselves about all they have to be grateful for, get angry, connect with friends, etc.)


4. What about very happy news; how do they deal with that?



B) After you've finished writing down your answers to the above, for each Knight, Queen and King, lay out the 3 minor cards that correspond to their decans (see post 9 ). For this exercise we don't need the index cards you made for the minors, because you're not going to include details like dignity. We're just looking at card art.


First lay out the court, then on either side, lay out the two decans in their suit's element. Beneath the court, lay out the card that corresponds to the one decan not in their element. (So for the Queen of Swords, the top row would be 2S, QS, 3S. The bottom row would be 10P under the Queen.)


1. Does looking at the cards add any specifics details about the court that weren't as obvious when considering the signs alone? If so what is added and by which card(s)?


2. Does looking at these minors reinforce or contradict something you said in part A? In what way?


3. For the minor card that's below the court, imagine either a secret, an unconscious habit, or something that makes them emotionally uncomfortable.



Example: Queen of Swords


A) Based on Virgo

1. She's more critical of herself than other people realize.

2. She'll want to throw something perfectly useable away because of a very small imperfection. Relying on the diplomacy of Libra, the sign in her suit's element, she's able to break this habit when the item in question was a gift from someone else or is an item that's important to her spouse or someone else close to her.

3. She'll prefer to get to work right away, taking practical steps to improve the situation or to make arrangements that need to be made. She'll feel like she's supposed to process the feeling on her own.

4. She will be pleased, but not more so than the situation realistically deserves. Given long enough to think about it, her happy mood might diminish somewhat if she starts to consider the possible pitfalls and down sides to the situation.


B) Based on 2S, QS, 3S and beneath the Queen, the 10P

1. One specific detail that isn't obvious by looking at her signs alone is that she's been through a great deal of sorrow in her life. That's shown in the 3S.

2. The 10P being underneath her feels like it reinforces my answer in question A2. When all her material needs are met (10P), she may have difficulty enjoying it fully, because she tends to find fault with the details, so that enjoyment stays buried below instead of fully expressed.

3. 10P imagined as a secret: She's even wealthier than other people realize. She's set to inherit a fortune from her family, but only her spouse is aware of that, and her spouse only found out after they were married.

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Some of the notes after Exercise H


...what matters is that, having understood what the signs represent, you successfully applied it in ways that make sense to you.


But I do have some questions for you to think about...


Did you find this exercise a helpful way to think of the courts?


Which part (A or B) seemed more helpful, and why?


Do you enjoy incorporating the one, out-of-element decan as a hidden side, or do you think there's a different way you might want to have it correspond to the courts?


Basically, as you continue after our astrology section is done, you can consider whether you want to include the 'out of element' decan for the courts, and if so, how you want to include it. It's entirely up to you. You can do practice readings with it, and see how it goes.

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Astrology Post 10: Aces and Pages


These are the last 2 cards to cover!  :D  And in some ways there's not much to cover. I'll give you a little background on the Golden Dawn (GD) correspondences for them, and then the changes to the Pages in the RWS, and you'll see what I mean. Then it's up to you...


The GD courts are King, Queen, Prince, and Princess.


In the previous post, I talked about how the GD envisioned the courts as both a family and a repeating cycle like the suits. (When we get to the 10 we're swinging around to the beginning, ending one cycle while starting a new one in the Ace, for example. The snake biting its own tale that you see often in tarot.) This is meant to mirror the hermetic Qabalah's story of creation, in which Aces are at the very top of the Tree of Life, at unity, and 10s are at the bottom of the Tree, here at earth and the world as we know it, but the separation between the top and the bottom is an appearance, and ultimately, the Aces are in the 10s. All things are One. As Above, So Below. That's highly theological, but it's central to the GD system.


The courts also have a place in this picture of creation. GD Kings correspond to fire and the place on the Tree of Life where the Twos are, on the right side of the Tree. Queens with water and the Threes on the left, Princes with air and the balanced Sixes at the center.


Princesses are associated with earth and with the 10s at the bottom center. A Princess is meant to represent you and me and the world around us, and she will eventually become the Queen. She's called "the mighty and potent Daughter..." "a Princess powerful and terrible, an Empress whose effect combines those of the [King], Queen, and Prince, even as the elements of Fire, Water, and Air are combined in the fabric of what we term Earth..." (Liber Theta) She's the culmination of all the possibility in the Ace of her suit, at the end and about to begin the cycle anew. For that reason, she's associated with the Ace and in Book T she's called the "Throne of the Ace."


The GD associated these cards to quadrants of the earth, areas divided up around the North Pole. Geographical place rather than astrological correspondences.


The Ace and Princess of Wands cover Asia and the area of the sky in which Cancer, Leo and Virgo reside. (That's June 21 - September 22. The cardinal, fixed and mutable signs of Summer.) The Princess is also the fiery aspect of earth.


The Ace and Princess of Cups cover the Pacific and the area of the sky in which the signs in which Libra, Scorpio and Sagittarius reside. (That's September 23 - December 21. The cardinal, fixed and mutable signs of Autumn.) The Princess is also the watery aspect of earth.


The Ace and Princess of Swords cover the Americas and the area of the sky in which the signs in which Capricorn, Aquarius and Pisces reside. (That's December 22 - March 20. The cardinal, fixed and mutable signs of Winter.) The Princess is also the airy aspect of earth.


The Ace and Princess of Pentacles cover Europe and Africa and the area of the sky in which the signs in which Aries, Taurus and Gemini reside. (That's March 21 - June 20. The cardinal, fixed and mutable signs of Spring.) The Princess is also the earthy aspect of earth.



What's all that got to do with the RWS?


The answer is.... not a lot, really. If you work with the Thoth or some other deck with Princesses, the above will be useful. But you're probably thinking that this stuff doesn't sound much like our male Page in the RWS. He's a student starting out and a messenger, not the culmination of the RWS suit; that would be the RWS King, with his age and wisdom.


The RWS Page is, I believe, Waite's biggest and most meaningful move away from the Golden Dawn as he and Colman-Smith created a deck uniquely their own. OR it's Waite's attempt to be discreet about core Golden Dawn teachings he had taken an oath not to reveal to non-members. Either way, looking at a Page's art and widely accepted meanings, you won't find a natural match to the GD ideas about the Princess.


Many readers who do include astrology, don't include it for Aces and Pages. And those that do often do so as Kenner describes in the list you gave, with the Ace and Page corresponding to all three signs in their suit's element. The Fire signs of Aries, Leo and Sagittarius for the Ace and Page of Wands, for example.


Kenner isn't the only one to do that, and it can work well, because in the RWS, both the Ace and Page represent a sense of starting out and learning, so they have the potential there for every sign that will appear in their suit.


How and whether you choose to create correspondences for the Aces and Pages is up to you. If you're interested in timing, you could include the GD seasons in your readings. You might be drawn to the idea of the Pages as the element of earth, which kind of works for them starting from the ground up. Or you might like trying out Kenner's astrological correspondences in readings and seeing whether that works for you.

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Astrology Exercise I: Aces and Pages


Sure thing. With the exception of the roommate exercise, I'm making these things up as I go, so we'll see how well I do with Aces and Pages, which as you said are a bit different. I generally just read them in terms of their GD Qabalistic significance since I often read with the Thoth where they're Princesses, but I've brainstormed some other possibilities below.


You may not find all of these to be helpful, and if you don't, that's fine too! Just have fun experimenting with them.


1) Imagine you're missing a ring, and you think you lost it at one of these places:

[Note: We found this one tricky since geographic locations for each Ace/Page are 1/4 of the earth. ymmv. This is a question I'd prefer to explore with Lenormand, but we're playing around with possibilities.]


Your office to the east of home

A friend's house out of town to the south east

A shopping center to the south

A park to the south west

A doctor's office to the west

A café to the north


Based on where your own home is in the world and the geographical locations listed in post 10, for each of these locations, figure out which direction each Ace/Page is from your country. Then decide which one would indicate the ring could be found.


If you see conflicting information between the type of place mentioned and the compass direction, choose whichever seems like the best match to you. There's no set answer.



2) Imagine that this week you're doing a reading for a sitter who's asking when they'll begin a romantic relationship. Based on the three cards below, what date range would you give them? Can you narrow the date range down by looking at the card art and also at the speed indicated by the cards?


It may be helpful to refer to the attached chart of dates. I had trouble finding one that gives dates and RWS titles and fixed sign correspondences for Kings. So I've just attached the Thoth wheel I use from online, and have left Knights and Kings out of this question, so you don't have to sort out any differences.


For your purposes here, RWS Pages are the chart's Princesses. The other cards below have the same name in the chart. For example, the Queen of Cups is on the chart as Queen of Cups, etc.


World ~ Page of Wands ~ 4 of Swords

8 of Wands ~ Ace of Cups ~ Page of Swords

Ace of Pentacles ~ Queen of Cups ~ 4 of Cups



3) For this one, I don't want you to write an answer down for each one. We're just getting a general sense of whether these combinations are helpful overall. Lay out the cards as listed below and ask yourself whether or not you see a meaningful connection between them and the Pages and Aces.


After doing this in all of the ways below, just sum up in a couple of sentences whether or not you find either way of looking at Pages and Aces helpful in some way.


A) Although the GD connected them with geographical place, lay out the majors that correspond to the signs associated with their part of the sky as listed below (these are the signs from post 10). If you'd like, you can also pull the 9 related minors for each, but it's not required. Look at the cards below in terms of how they reflect astrology, but also just look at art on the cards and anything that strikes you visually.


Page and Ace of Wands: Chariot, Strength, Hermit

Page and Ace of Cups: Justice, Death, Temperance

Page and Ace of Swords: Devil, Star, Moon

Page and Ace of Pentacles: Emperor, Hierophant, Lovers


B) Let's look at your Kenner book's astrological correspondences that relate to the suit's element. These are pretty widely accepted. Again, lay out the Page and Ace alongside the majors that correspond to the same signs, and ask yourself whether you find a connection between them meaningful. (Again you can lay out the 9 related minors if you want to, but it's not required.) Look at how they reflect astrology, but also take time to just look at the art on the cards and anything that strike you visually.


Page and Ace of Wands: Emperor, Strength, Temperance

Page and Ace of Cups: Chariot, Death, Moon

Page and Ace of Swords: Justice, Star, Lovers

Page and Ace of Pentacles: Devil, Hierophant, Hermit


(Note that in both A and B, the Ace and Page center on the fixed sign of their own element. In the GD and Thoth decks, this would be the same sign as the Prince. In Kenner's correspondences for the RWS, these fixed signs correspond to the King.)



4) What, if anything, does it mean to you that the Ace and Page correspond to geographical spaces (GD correspondences) or with the widest range of zodiac signs of any cards in the deck (Kenner's correspondences)?


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Some notes that came up after Exercise I


Making Esoteric Correspondences Your Own


In many ways I think what's important is that there are correspondences and archetypes at work that you yourself have confidence in. Once your preferred system is in place, and you've worked with it enough that you aren't having to think about it all the time, but instead it feels natural, then they kind of percolate away in the background, or work on a subconscious level, and you find astrological connections popping up and interacting with the card art in ways that call out to you or slap you in the face with how obvious they are. And sometimes the astrology stays 'quiet' while the art or the Qabalistic or alchemical correspondences jump out to be noticed the most. It seems like the message is just laid out, and you're simply reading it, not working the meaning out bit by bit. Or that's how it seems to me on a good day, at least. It may be different for different readers.


I hope all this answers your questions.  Even when there is a set rule written down, we still look at it and decide whether it works for us in our own readings. You don't have to do what anyone else has done.  :) As we figure it out, I think the true test is in readings. The more we practice readings and do readings for ourselves and others and get feedback, the more we see what does and doesn't work for us. And if something isn't working, we can always try something else. (I find that fun.) I used to read in very different ways than I do now. And a few years from now I may read differently again.

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Astrology Exercise J: 5 Card Reading with Spread Positions


I'm going to post a spread below and a practice, imaginary sitter with a question. You'll draw the cards at random.


But first I want to talk about the layout of the reading. How the message is communicated is an important opportunity to help your sitter feel confident in the reading and leave with the main points still clearly in mind. That's especially true when we incorporate astrology or any learned system. If the sitter isn't familiar with it (or I don't know whether they have any interest in it), I'm even more careful to include it in context.


For this exercise, whenever you mention astrology, please mention how it contributes to the meaning.


As an example, say that you wanted to mention Jupiter and Leo when talking about the 6 of Wands in the outcome position for someone asking about a legal case. You could say something like...


The Outcome: 6 of Wands

Here you have the good fortune of Jupiter along with dominant Leo riding his horse in with the laurel of victory, showing that you'll be successful in bringing your suit to court.


That should make it clear to the sitter how the astrology reinforces the message, even if they're unfamiliar with meanings for Jupiter and Leo.


That's just one way to say it! You wouldn't have to associate Leo with the rider there. You might do something else, like talk about this card in relation to ideas represented by the Wheel of Fortune and Strength. Whatever works for you.


Or, talking about Mars in Scorpio in the 5 of Cups in the position of "What you need more of in your life now," I might say...


What you need more of: 5 of Cups

Recognizing what you can do to improve your outlook and emotional state in a difficult time will serve you well. There are two cups behind the figure that he doesn't see, so take stock of what you do have to support you. And energetic Mars is the ruler of watery Scorpio here, so where possible, rely on some of Mars' dynamic enthusiasm to cross that bridge in the background, helping you forge a way forward or really commit to seeking out any help you need.


You might mention something else entirely since Pluto is the modern ruler of Scorpio. Again, whatever you think works best! Your way of communicating the message can be something very different than the above.


The only thing I'd rather not see for this exercise is separated information, like...


The Outcome: 6 of Wands

Jupiter in Leo - peregrine

You will be successful in bringing your suit to court.



The Reading


It's entirely up to you how much astrology you include.


For example, for my readings, I tend to mention the things that jump out most strongly, so if Virgo turned up multiple times, I would incorporate that, while I might choose not mention Libra if it showed up only once and it seemed less important too. Dignity may or may not come up, depending on how important it seems when I look at the spread as whole.


In a similar way, you should feel free to include as much or as little astrology as you want. You might decide to include aspects of it for every card, and that's fine, but it's not required. I know you have a good handle on all that we've talked about. :) 


The one goal is for the astrology to add clarity to the overall message.


Okay, after all that talk from me  ::) , we finally get to the scenario...



Your imaginary sitter is a manager who sometimes trains new employees at her job (at the Department of Parks and Recreation). She's been told she'll be the trainer for a new employee for the next 2 months. She asks, "What is this trainee going to be like, and what would be the best approach to training him?"


Please write this reading up as though you were talking to a real person. Address her as "you".


We have a great Trainer/Trainee spread from member Trogon[/member] , who posted the original at Aeclectic.






1 = Trainee's current situation or state of mind (as it applies to the training and starting the new job)


2 = Obstacles for the trainee which the trainer [your sitter]  needs to be aware of


3 = Something the trainer brings to the relationship


4 = Something the trainer needs / advice for the trainer


5 = How the trainer can best approach the relationship

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