The Zodiac and the Tarot
One of the most popular and influential forms of divination to blossom out of Europe since the early 1400s. The earliest Tarot card decks were beautiful, hand-painted works of art, while the latest decks can be as flashy, colorful or as cartoonish as we can imagine. Each zodiac sign is linked to one of the Tarot cards in the Major Arcana. Most of these powerful cards have images of animals, objects, or archetypal figures that represent the essence of a type of person. These cards depict the soul nature of the 12 zodiac signs and can deliver prophetic messages as to the gifts and challenges each of us will have to face in our lifetime. Let's get started, shall we?
Your Tarot card is The Emperor. Like the royal figure on your card, you use your authority and analytical powers to help others and to achieve your goals. As the first sign of the zodiac, Aries, The Emperor is the representation - and the ruler - of the structured and regulated world. The Emperor card features a wise, authoritative, old man sitting on a stone throne embellished with rams! His white beard represents experience, while his armor is a sign of the inevitable battle to come. Like Aries, the Emperor reminds us that, "Anything worth having is worth fighting for!"
The Hierophant, represents learning from knowledgeable teachers who can help you search for higher truths by exploring tried and true traditions. Sifting through the superficial, these wise souls can lead you to the heart of matters where profound insights reveal important life lessons. This is the card of beliefs, both religious and otherwise, though it does tend to focus on the religious and spiritual aspects because the Hierophant himself is often depicted as a holy man. In some modern decks this card is known as the Pope or High Priest. But in actuality, a Hierophant is a person who holds 'forbidden' or 'secret' knowledge. Despite their love of the finer things, those born under the sign of Taurus are actually quite practical in their approach to life and possibly the most reliable sign of the zodiac! Which is why Taurus and The Hierophant have more in common than you might expect. The Hierophant represents spirituality, conformity and tradition. The stone columns behind him symbolize the stability of his presence and message. This echoes the dependable, though often stubborn, nature of Taurus themselves.
Every Gemini is blessed with a dual nature represented by your Tarot card, The Lovers. Your greatest challenges in life often involve making a moral choice between taking the high or the one more easily traveled. This card encourages you to weigh your options carefully and follow the path dictated by your personal integrity. Air is the element which rules the Lovers, and we should therefore expect the majority of its meanings to be associated with the mind and spirit. The notion of choice between positive and negative is first depicted on this card with the old symbology of a man deciding between two lovers. This card tells us to consider all consequences before acting. The situation could be as simple as a fork in the road with two paths to choose between, or a much more complicated decision by which all of our strongest beliefs and ideals will be tested. Two people, two choices, two sides.. The man and woman in the card symbolize duality and are two halves of a greater whole. The Man's gaze is going forward as he represents physical presence. The woman is looking upward, representing an intuitive presence. With the combined forces of body and mind, they create one whole. This reinforces the idea that the Gemini "twins" are not actually identical twins but two sides of the same person!
It's somewhat of a mystery why the Chariot, clearly a card of force and of control, should be of the Water element, but its attribution to Cancer is indeed valid because this card deals heavily with emotions. Specifically, the Chariot is a card of emotional control; the power of the mind to shape the desires of the heart and direct them to meaningful expression. The triumph over both positive and negative emotions is often shown by two horses or sphinxes of different colors pulling the Chariot. Though on their own they would run wild and untamed, going in whichever direction they choose, here they move only forward. This shows that they still have power, but this power has now been directed and focused by the man holding the reins. You stand proud and strong as you guide The Chariot on your card, steering a steady course and rising above life’s conflicts. Even though as a Cancer, you seek security, you also love the freedom of the open road where you can use your highly-developed intuition to win the race. As a Cardinal sign, Cancer is associated with beginnings and moving forward, and The Chariot itself represents fresh starts, determination, and drive.
This one might seem a bit more obvious to you, Leo. The Strength card represents your physical strength — like that of the mighty Lion on your card — as well as your emotional, mental and spiritual prowess. Like the Lion, you are blessed with plenty of courage, which helps you overcome life's problems and obstacles. The symbolism of the lion is common to Strength, and aptly so. The lion is the "beast within" -- the raging desire inside every one of us that like fire (you're a fire sign after all!) has the destructive ability to set the world ablaze, but when tempered to a healthy heat, it can bestow much warmth, vitality, and passion. The image of the woman opening the mouth of the lion shows both courage and patience; she must not fear the lion, and she must wait for it to tire before she can exert her own will upon it. The heartfelt connection between them is especially important because in astrology, Leo rules the heart. The maiden is dressed in a regal white robe with floral sash and crown to represent royalty, bravery, and honor -- all characteristics embodied in the zodiac sign of Leo.
Like The Hermit, Virgo, you often need to slow down and go within to focus on your purpose in life. The image on this card — an old man — represents a person who is weary of the outer world. When he retreats to explore the mysteries of his inner life, he becomes open and innocent like a child. When questions about the nature of existence and the purpose of life start eating away at your mind, answers will not be found in the physical world. They can only be found inside of you. You have risen above your desires and emotions because they will no longer help you on your journey. Now you must become like the Hermit, who seeks the answers alone -- which shouldn't be a problem for you Virgo, you do get tired of others easily! Only the whispers of your Inner Voice, and the light of your lamp can guide you now. Eventually even that lamp shall be cast away, because it is artificial and will not help the Hermit forever. His own inner light must learn to shine in the absence of the light of others. As a Virgo, you will feel complete fulfillment when you are alone and satisfied with yourself, while somehow always pondering perfection.
Justice holds the scales, asking you to weigh your desires against your needs. In order to reach a fair outcome, you must put your feelings and emotions aside. When you reach the light at the end of the tunnel of indecision, you will be able to serve the greater good. From the law of cause and order develops the law of Karma, showing that all your actions will return to you eventually. They will be modified slightly, and they are often strengthened over time, but the lesson is still the same. As you sow, so shall you reap. The judge (Justice) depicted in the Tarot card radiates that charming Libran energy, and maintains a diplomatic equilibrium through the scales of Karma in her left hand. Like any Libra pondering a decision, she weighs both her intuition and expertise to balance the karmic laws of the universe! As an official truth-seeking judge, she arms herself with a double-edged sword, allowing her to cut through any fog or confusion standing in her way. The sword of justice, double-edged as always, is ready to delve out punishment for those who have done wrong, and to reward those who have done good deeds.
Like your Tarot card, Death, you welcome transformation. You often shed your skin like a snake, seeking to release your spirit and be reborn. Because you are able to detach yourself from the ties that bind others, it’s easy for you to change your identity, making you the mysterious person everyone wants to figure out. Whether you like it or not, Death is one of the most powerful cards in the Tarot. Humans naturally fear the unknown, so Death, being the greatest unknown, is often our greatest fear. The majority of us are unaware that our mind and spirit die all the time, constantly shedding old beliefs and acquiring new ones. It has been said many times by many readers: the Death card is not a card of death - it is a card of transformation. The skeleton actually represents what will remain AFTER death, and his armor reminds us to focus on what is invincible and cannot be destroyed. Just like Scorpio, this symbolism challenges us to look beyond death as we know it and focus on our capacity to rise above our pain and re-invent ourselves.
Like your card, Temperance, you are a gifted mediator, able to find common ground by balancing out judgments with genuine understanding and awareness. Like a steadily-meandering stream, you work your way through whatever difficulties get in the way. After the purging experience of Death, it is necessary to rebuild and improve on that which has been left over. Now that old habits and beliefs are gone forever, new attitudes must be acquired to fill the gaps and make you whole again. Temperance also represents an appreciation of moderation through experience of the extremes; to use an analogy, to live through the darkest night and the brightest day to appreciate both the twilight and the dawn. Only through seeing and acknowledging both sides - the positive and the negative - can you integrate both into your personality. Both Sagittarius and the Temperance card are constantly striving for a more enlightened state of being (hence, your thirst for knowledge and travel). The angel in the Tarot card here demonstrates this by slowly pouring the liquid from one golden cup into another -- a process called "tempering" (a slow process of integration that leads to the perfect middle state). Of course, you know how to accomplish this Sagittarius, by exploring the far reaches of both the physical and philosophical world to expand on or "temper" what is already known.
The Devil card encourages you to face your shadow-self in order to gather the knowledge necessary for spiritual transformation. It advises you to reflect on any negativity that has made you doubt yourself, swap it for confidence and hold fast to your highest vision of who you are. The most important lesson the Devil teaches you is that you can free yourself from whatever restrictions are holding you back, at any time you choose to. Conservative Capricorn is ruled by Saturn, the planet of limitations and structure. We know what you're thinking -- boring! But here's the Tarot twist: the chains on the slaves in the images depicted are actually quite loose, implying that the slaves could leave if they really wanted to. Similarly, Capricorns may feel restricted by the expectations of those around them (and their own expectations of themselves) but in the end, they always have the opportunity for freedom and change through their disciplined systems and endless determination.
Your card, The Star, focuses on your optimism. When you wish on the stars, you really believe you can achieve your heart’s desires. Your job in this world is to convince others they can too, thereby helping to lead them home in a spiritual sense. Whenever all hope seems lost, it will reappear to prove that you have really lost nothing, except perhaps your sight of the path to enlightenment. And in the absence of that sight, the Star will light your way. Represented by the water bearer, Aquarius is the quirky sign of the zodiac. Their offbeat opinions and lifestyle often garner a reputation for being eccentric but they like to think of themselves as true individuals. Similar to water-bearing Aquarius, The Star card features a woman that is pouring water into a body of water and into the earth, providing nourishment and restoring hope for the future. She has one foot in the water, symbolizing intuition, and one on land, symbolizing stability. This echoes the same duality in Aquarius, which is the only zodiac sign represented by two of the elements -- water for her emotional side and air for her intellectual side.
Like your Tarot card, The Moon, you are a creature of ever-changing moods. You do best when you attune to nature’s cycles and use them to refresh your intuitive powers. The Moon rules emotions, which are your strong suit, especially when you use your compassionate nature to help others. The ordeal of the Moon is the last challenge posed by the Major Arcana, in which you must travel in the dark, not knowing for sure if your path is the right one. There is no sunlight to guide you, no distant landmark in the hills to direct your steps, no one to travel alongside. This is a journey that must be made alone, in darkness and without a map or a compass. You must learn to rely on your own inner light to lead you along the true path. Like Pisces, The Moon card is associated with the subconscious and often highlights idealism -- suggesting that things are not as they may appear. The Moon card also represents our secretive side or "shadow self". The dog and the wolf in this card represent how our wild side blends with our tame side. This recurring theme of unity can also be found in the towers. They symbolize the practical life that most of us lead, while the path between them reminds us of the more meaningful life that we desire. This is very true to the nature of Pisces, who are always dreaming of something more fantastic than what is actually in front of them.