Planetary Tarot correspondences… Why bother with them in the first instance? Do we really need to worry about what some French occultists or members of the Golden Dawn thought might be a good system to superimpose over the Tarot cards to get the most out of our Tarot readings?
Maybe not. There are certainly wonderful Tarot readers out there who do not feel the need to rely on astrological Tarot correspondences. Some prefer to use Numerology instead and some don’t use any superimposed systems. No one way of reading is superior to another, as long as your readings are making sense to you.
Why I Do Bother
Before I even picked up my first Tarot deck at age 15, I knew the Zodiac sign of everyone around me. I was looking for patterns to help keep me safe in what was an incredibly turbulent and often abusive home environment.
Knowing someone’s Zodiac sign made my chaotic childhood a little bit easier to predict. While I realise that Sun signs don’t really go that deep, they are a good place to start, because the Sun roughly defines how people express themselves and when I interact with someone, I need to know how people define themselves in order to know how to dodge, duck and dive.
When I first started learning to read the Tarot, I soon realised that there were correspondences between the Tarot and Astrology, but I honestly can’t remember when I started putting the two together.
All I know is that I have known all of the correspondences by heart for yonks and I rely heavily on them in readings – especially for pattern detection.
For instance, if a lot of the cards in the spread are related to Mars, there is a good chance that a major conflict is in the making… or if many of the cards correspond to Jupiter, things are soon going to open up and the Seeker will have a chance to improve their station in life – Alternatively, it could be a sign that the Seeker is given to excess.
On the other hand, if many of the cards fall under the auspice of Saturn, the situation, though limiting and presenting a tough challenge, could – with patience and perseverance turn into something like the Seeker’s crowning glory. It could also be Saturn showing us that we are dealing with an ascetic type of Seeker.
Of course, pattern detection can happen based on visual clues too – Again, Astrology is not necessary… but I find it works really well, thanks to how hardwired I am to think of people in terms of Astrology; It makes it easy for me to connect the dots and find the most relevant messages from the Tarot.
Below, I’m giving you a visual representation of the Planets and their corresponding Tarot cards. I am also listing the them by name with their respective Zodiac correspondences (Planet / Sign). To illustrate, I’m sharing images of cards from the Astrology Reading Cards and the Radiant Rider Waite Tarot.
Sun – Planetary Tarot Correspondences
- 3 of Wands – Sun in Aries
- 6 of Cups – Sun in Scorpio
- 10 of Swords – Sun in Gemini
- 4 of Pentacles – Sun in Capricorn
- 8 of Pentacles – Sun in Virgo
- The Sun – Sol / the Sun
- Strength – Leo, ruled by Sol
- Knight of Wands – Leo, ruled by Sol
The Sun represents the rational self. Sol is a yang energy. It is the personality seeking to express its unique qualities. This is not necessarily a bad thing though people often refer to this as ‘ego’ in a derisive way, as if it is just something we must transcend at all cost. The thing is, until we have full expressed our uniqueness, we cannot even begin to transcend it.
The Sun is associated with happiness, so what has happen in the undeniably unhappy 10 of Swords? Here the Sun is paired with restless Gemini and we see the ultimate destruction of a mind that will not open up to receive guidance but has driven itself to the edge of sanity with looping thoughts.
In the 3 of Wands we see a man who has been through a tough time (patched up coat) but has managed to rise again and is now on the path to establishing his domain and expanding his empire. If I would have to choose a card to signify man’s ability to dust himself off and begin again, stronger each time, it would be this one. Sun is the energy of personal power and Aries (Cardinal Fire) is the first, most energized sign of the Zodiac. This card does not admit defeat – It was merely another learning experience!
Moon – Planetary Tarot Correspondences
- 9 of Wands – Moon in Sagittarius
- 2 of Swords – Moon in Libra
- 7 of Swords – Moon in Aquarius
- 4 of Cups – Moon in Cancer
- 6 of Pentacles – Moon in Taurus
- The High Priestess – Luna / the Moon
- The Chariot – Cancer, ruled by Luna
- King of Cups – Cancer, ruled by Luna
The Moon represents the emotional self. Moon is yin energy and the full expression of this energy is seen in the High Priestess who is receptive to even the most subtle of energies. What she is able to sense, she is also able to transmit. As Yang contains the seed of Yin, so Yin contains the seed of Yang.
So if Luna is passive and receptive, how come we see a visual expression of this energy in The Chariot which seems to be moving ahead at full speed? First of all, those are sphinxes – They don’t actually move. The symbolism is more about discipline, balance and control than about racing ahead. Secondly, Cancer is a cardinal sign which means it likes to initiate. When it hesitates, it does so to keep its soft emotional core safe (see breast plate on charioteer).
Mercury – Planetary Tarot Correspondences
- The Magician – Mercury
- The Hermit – Virgo, ruled by Mercury
- The Lovers – Gemini, ruled by Mercury
- 8 of Wands – Mercury in Sagittarius
- 3 of Cups – Mercury in Cancer
- 5 of Pentacles – Mercury in Taurus
- 10 of Pentacles – Mercury in Virgo
- 6 of Swords – Mercury in Aquarius
- King of Pentacles – Virgo, ruled by Mercury
- King of Swords – Gemini, ruled by Mercury
Two Mercurial Kings
Which of these two Kings would you rather have as your guide across turbulent water (6 of Swords – Mercury in Aquarius)? The practical King of Pentacles (Virgo / Mutable Earth) or the analytical and chatty King of Swords (Gemini / Mutable Air)?
Venus – Planetary Tarot Correspondences
- 2 of Cups – Venus in Cancer
- 4 of Wands – Venus in Aries
- 7 of Cups – Venus in Scorpio
- 5 of Swords – Venus in Aquarius
- 9 of Pentacles – Venus in Pentacles
- The Empress – Venus
- The Hierophant – Taurus, ruled by Venus
- Justice – Libra, ruled by Venus
- Knight of Pentacles – Taurus, ruled by Venus
- Queen of Swords – Libra, ruled by Venus
Libra and Taurus, the two Venus signs
Mars – Planetary Tarot Correspondences
- 2 of Wands – Mars in Aries
- 7 of Wands – Mars in Leo
- 9 of Swords Mars in Gemini
- 5 of Cups – Mars in Scorpio
- 10 of Cups – Mars in Pisces
- 3 of Pentacles – Mars in Capricorn
- The Tower – Mars
- The Emperor – Aries, ruled by Mars
- Death – Scorpio, co-ruled by Mars and Pluto
One of the strongest human drives is to create offspring, which obviously perpetuates the dream of the happily ever-after. We want our children to have a safe upbringing… However, often they grow and learn through adversity (Mars), no matter how much we dream of (Pisces) creating the perfect childhood for them.
Jupiter – Planetary Tarot Correspondences
- 4 of Swords – Jupiter in Libra
- 6 of Wands – Jupiter in Leo
- 8 of Swords – Jupiter in Gemini
- 9 of Cups – Jupiter in Pisces
- The Wheel of Fortune – Jupiter
- The Moon – Pisces, co-ruled by Jupiter and Neptune
- Temperance – Sagittarius
- King of Wand – Sagittarius, ruled by Jupiter
- Queen of Cups – Pisces, co-ruled by Jupiter and Neptune
Saturn – Planetary Tarot Correspondences
- 5 of Wands – Saturn in Leo
- 8 of Cups – Saturn in Pisces
- The World – Saturn
- The Devil – Capricorn, ruled by Saturn
- 7 of Pentacles – Saturn in Taurus
- 3 of Swords – Saturn in Libra
- 10 of Wands – Saturn in Sagittarius
- Knight of Swords – Aquarius, co-ruled by Saturn and Uranus
- Queen of Pentacles – Capricorn, ruled by Saturn
Uranus – Planetary Tarot Correspondences
- The Fool – Uranus
- The Star – Aquarius, ruled by Uranus
Before the discovery of the outer Planets, the correspondence for The Fool was Element of Air. Now The Fool has two correspondences and in his case it makes sense since Uranus rules an Air Sign. It gets trickier when we get to Pluto, as you will see shortly.
Aquarius is co-ruled by Saturn and Uranus but for the purpose of illustrating correspondences, I’m going with the modern rulership for Aquuarius, which is Uranus. This goes for the Minors too, of course – Any time you see an Aquarius energy card (5-7 Swords + Knight of Swords), you may wish to be mindful of the double planetary rulership.
Neptune – Planetary Tarot Correspondences
Before the discovery of the outer Planets, The Hanged Man corresponded with the Element of Water – a great fit with Neptune, God of the Sea and ruler of Pisces!
Pluto – Planetary Tarot Correspondences
Pluto is the God of the Underworld (aka Hades). Before the discovery of this planetoid in the 1940’s, Judgement corresponded only with the Element of Fire. Judgement is now the Planetary Trump for Pluto and the ruler of the Element of Fire.
As previously discussed, Death (Scorpio) is co-ruled by Pluto and Mars, as is the passionate Scorpio Knight of Cups below… because what do you get when you mix Fire and Water? A hell of a lot of steam!