Wald Amberstone made some comments in a video several years ago that got me interested in the esoteric titles firstly of Golden Dawn decks and later of Crowley’s Thoth deck.
I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with esoteric correspondences in the Tarot, either finding myself in a swordsy mercurial mess in the ether among stern dictates regarding alchemy and colour, hebrew and astrology or happily romping through the world of image and posture, pattern and movement in the non esoteric with a nagging feeling that I was missing out on something, despite having a shit ton of fun.
Recently, astrology has been tickling my pickle more and more – I like to keep it casual, going a little deeper gradually whilst practically looking at how transits play out in my day to day life.
So, I decided to use a deck that I rather love which I bought because of said piqued interest in esoteric titles, and look at the astro alongside the esoteric titles and play with these comparing and contrasting them with my own observations on how the cards present their insights in a reading.
I popped the aces, the courts and the majors to one side to look at on another day and pulled out the numbered cards 2 – 10 of each suit.
I’m very aware that the picture is incomplete, and that quite frankly, some of the astrology is just plain hilarious. I also acknowledge that my astro naivety will no doubt be glaringly obvious to those steeped in the movements of the constellations. But I want to show that there is fun, exasperation and delight in exploring with a light touch. In a way that won’t bog us down, stunt our seeing or convert us into ‘lesser banishing ritual of the pentagram’ converts – I much prefer demolishing cake.
The sources I used for my astro excerpts were Astro Seek (which I think is an astrology based dating site, but it has some useful resources for interpreting natal charts). I used this for checking out the interpretations of the planets in the signs. Also the deceptively simple ‘Be Your Own Astrologer’ by Joanna Watters for quick key words and seeing whether planets were in their comfy places in the signs.
Some of the astrology pertaining to the individual cards makes absolute sense. Some makes sense only if you ignore the esoteric title and picture the RWS version of the Tarot card in question in your head, some of it is absolutely counter intuitive, and some just looks bonkers to me.
Have a look, see what you think – if I’ve made any first class bloopers please let me know in the comments. My thoughts are between the greater and lesser than arrows because they’re no greater or lesser than anyone elses. Play along if you like – see if the titles, the astro and your own thoughts on the meanings of the cards marry up.
2 of Swords
Lord Of Peace Restored
Moon in Libra
Person with Moon in Libra is looking for safety in a relationship, has the need to make somebody happy and wants to have a rich social life. However, later they must find themselves and things that satisfy them must prevail. They also have a strong need for balance and harmony.
*unassertive, peaceable, adaptable
<I can go for this>
3 of Swords
Lord of Sorrow – Saturn in Libra
Saturn is exalted in Libra
Saturn in Libra represents a balance between the needs and desires of the individual on the one hand and the requirements and conditions of life and society on the other. Their most important life lesson is to establish the right relationship between themselves and anyone or anything within themselves. For this reason, Saturn is very influential in Libra because Order and Authority manifest the most profoundly through Equilibrium and Justice.
*a strong marriage, fairness, total commitment
<hmmm – a bit tenuous, but doable I guess>
4 of Swords
Lord of Rest from Strife
Jupiter in Libra
People with Jupiter in Libra are able to make the greatest progress in life when they learn to form relationships in a wise and honest way. Ethical and religious influences directly affect success in personal relationships of these people. In addition, they tend to have the most conventional moral attitudes. On the other hand, they believe that it does not suit their needs and desires, and then they are likely to experience at least one emotional turn which will mean a shift in their moral philosophy and the sense of fair play. It may even take the form of a legal dispute because people with Jupiter in Libra judge – consciously or unconsciously – themselves as well as others. However, if the judgement within them is not objective enough, then the conflict gets a “real” trial.
*tolerant, diplomatic, popular
<I find my head waggling from side to side here – maybe/maybe not>
5 of Swords
Lord of Defeat
Venus in Aquarius (Aquarius is Fixed Air – key phrase is ‘I understand’ associated with H11)
People with Venus in Aquarius have an open and experimental approach to relationships and art. On the one hand, it can be both relaxing and stimulating because it lets other people relax and be themselves. But on the other hand, it may be harder to understand their feelings because their style may be disturbing, shocking or weird. They want to satisfy all types of people with their liberal attitude but if they do not adhere to some moral code, their relationships will end when their partner finds out that their broad-mindedness and free spirit are only manifestations of hidden objections. Their cold and impersonal personality may be ok on social events or with their friends, but it may be the reason why somebody who is more than a friend leaves them.
*broad-minded, convivial, unusual
<Ok, if I think through that astro to its logical conclusions, I think this could just about work>
6 of Swords
Lord of Earned Success
Mercury in Aquarius – there is a school of thought that considers mercury as exalted in Aquarius, (traditionally Virgo)
People with Mercury in Aquarius do not care what they write as long as they can write. These people learn foreign languages easily and they flirt with abstract ideas, scientific predictions and their intuition. Their mind goes through processes that are “connected” to the so-called Universal Mind, so they perceive things that other people find highly unlikely. It can be said that Mercury feels the best in air signs, but it can be a bit shallow in them – these people do not like to study things into the greatest detail.
*matter-of-fact, methodical, quirky
<this works for me>
7 of Swords
Lord of Unstable Effort
Moon in Aquarius
Your relationship with your emotions can be complicated. You want to free yourself from negative emotions such as fear, anger and jealousy, but it can lead to the fact that others will expect you to be incredibly tolerant when they display such emotions.
*brisk, brilliant, humane
<I can see how this could work>
8 of Swords
Lord of Shortened Force
Jupiter in Gemini (Detriment)
People with Jupiter in Gemini have a talent to get to know as many aspects of life as possible. It is basically how they get to know themselves. However, they may easily get entangled in endless amusements and distractions that life offers and forget about things that truly matter. They collect as much information and knowledge as they can, and in this process, they meet many people that can act as facilitators (travel, employment, services, or something more unusual). At a more intellectual level, gathering information allows them to see general trends in society as well as interests of individuals. Their most important ability is to be a well informed in one or more areas. It is possible that they identify themselves with two or more philosophies or moral codes at the same time. Jupiter in this position may mean talent for writing, success in studies (languages, medicine), the possibility of studying abroad (Jupiter = foreign countries), twins (Jupiter = children), scholarships (Jupiter gives people support), studying overseas, education in adulthood, success in journalism, medicine or travelling.
*breezy, playful, full of ideas
<yep – I can see the ’round and round’ thought getting nowhere feel going on here>
9 of Swords
Lord of Despair and Cruelty
Mars in Gemini
Mars in the Gemini never stops moving. These people have many projects and ideas, but their energy is fragmented because air signs are known for not wanting to put up a fight. Instead, when something does not work out, they redirect their energy on a new goal. Of course, aggressive Mars does not like this very much. Fortunately, their activity is joined with intelligence. Their fiery temperament manifests itself mainly verbally, abruptly and swiftly. If people with Mars in Gemini want to get something or know something, they ask. It may happen that they will impulsively gain something or someone, but they will not know what to do with it or with the person. So it will not take long before their tireless mind and moving body starts looking for something else, they will get it and they will not know what to do with it again. And this will happen again and again.
*quick, inventive, versatile
<I can live with this>
10 of Swords
Lord of Ruin
Sun in Gemini Mutable, Air, ‘I Speak’, H3
People born under the sign of Gemini are people of many talents and they are able to use their skills in both theory and practice. They are very intelligent and quick-witted people who are interested in everything that happens around them, and they can quickly adapt to any new situation. They are open to all novel things in the world because they can quickly see their advantages. They try to show these novel things to others so that they can also benefit from them. But more conservative people often do not have an understanding of this. They are sociable people that have representative personalities and they can inspire and influence others with their innate charm and vigour.
*multitasking, animated, talkative, inventive, resourceful, mischevious
2 of Cups
Lord of Love
Venus in Cancer
The manifestations of love of people with Venus in Cancer are connected with the need to give and receive satisfaction and security. If these people were not sure of their mother’s love, they cling to their partners. If they were sure enough of their mother´s love, they are able to show balanced love for their family. These people subconsciously think too much about accepting love that they forget about the quality and the amount of love that they give.
*loyal, dependable, appreciative
<this makes me feel a wee bit nauseous, but I can see how it would work>
3 of Cups
Lord of Abundance
Mercury in Cancer
Mercury in Cancer gives people good memory, great imagination, adaptability, and a talent for writing. Those who hurt these people can be sure that they will not forgive them any time soon. People with Mercury in this position can do any job and they can adapt easily when circumstances change. They get along well with people who have different opinions and attitudes. They like to be flattered and praised and they rarely do anything that could damage their reputation.
*secretive, evasive, compassionate
<I think I would come to a very different title and meaning from this astro>
4 of Cups
Lord of Blended Pleasure
Moon in Cancer (Dignity)
Safety for people with Moon in Cancer is their home, family and related activities such as cooking, gardening and DIY. Other people can be attracted by your home-loving character. Your inborn disposition to educate and protect allows you to be a good parent and a supportive friend
*clannish, encouraging, sympathetic
<this works for me>
5 of Cups
Lord of Loss in Pleasure
Mars in Scorpio (Dignity)
People with Mars in Scorpio are pleased to be able to hide their power and show it to the world at the right moment. They have a strong sense of survival and sexuality, and they are well aware of how these two instincts intertwine. This sense makes them very attractive, and the effect is that other people never act indifferently toward them – they always notice them, whether they are trying to get their reaction or not. As if they strongly and automatically provoke the most basic hopes and fears in people. They do not try to get anything or do anything if they do not really want it. Their challenging aura, whether active or passive, will always attract great loyalty or great hostility, nothing in between.
*controlling, passionate, insightful
<I have my tortured face on with sound effects such as ‘neeeee’, ‘weeeeelllllllll’, and I think my feeling is – well sort of perhaps, with a different slant to that which I’d normally adopt>
6 of Cups
Lord of Pleasure
Sun in Scorpio – Fixed, Water, ‘I regenerate’ H8
People born under the sign of Scorpio can think very clearly, they have good judgement and can assess situations very well. They also have a good memory and a very creative mind, which is characterised by its originality. They can be very obstinate when they defend their opinions. The reason for this behaviour is their justifiable confidence.
*determined, forceful, thorough, intense, passionate, resourceful
<yep – I can see that confidence in achievement can be a pleasure, but regenerate starts getting into the realms of a tad too tenuous for me here>
7 of Cups
Lord of Illusionary Success
Venus in Scorpio (Detriment)
People with Venus in Scorpio need to control their strong sense for what excites people – and also what gets on their nerves – because it is hard for others to resist. With such a supply of sexual tricks, they might think that they can make anyone do anything they want. On the other hand, however, it is likely that they will get caught in their own trap. Venus in Scorpio is about the Power of Love, and these people will eventually force others to do what they want, not vice versa. Their feelings of love are accompanied by a trace of desire, which means that there is something desperate and crucial in their life. They radiate strong sexual energy and they have a deep sense for the emotional state and sexuality of others.
*impervious, powerful, alluring
<this is a yep for me>
8 of Cups
Lord of Abandoned Success
Saturn in Pisces
People with Saturn in Pisces have to strike a balance between the need to ignore the demands of their own life and the need to take care of other people´s problems. In order to find the golden middle way between these extremes, sooner or later they will have to find a way to call the wisdom of the Ancient Soul within themselves. They should discover their inborn ability to help others and at the same time solve their own problems. They must go to the depths in order to discover the lost wisdom and insight. The Ancient Soul longs for ancient peace. It combines an ideal and strength. These people are predestined for life in seclusion, and for philosophy, scientific research and loneliness.
*intense empathy, rescuers of the weak, experiences of redemption
9 of Cups
Lord of Material Happiness
Jupiter in Pisces (Dignity)
Jupiter in Pisces forms a hospitable, friendly and charitable nature. These people like to help the castaways of the society. They are true angels of mercy who help anybody whose body, soul or spirit suffers. They help the sick and imprisoned. They are sensitive and therefore they are able to perceive the influences of the invisible world. They have experience of spiritual nature and they often become occultists. People with Jupiter in Pisces may have been too obliging in the past and too much may have been expected of them. As a result, they may have become distrustful and suspicious of other people’s intentions, and they tend to exaggerate their troubles in a slightly distorted effort to uncover their misunderstood sensitivity. They may tend to follow someone or something that they promoted to a divine position and later they become disappointed.
*philanthropic, selfless, a connection with the mystical
<the way I’ve usually read the 9 of cups bears no resemblance to the astro quote, but I can see how this would work in a lot of readings>
10 of Cups
Lord of Perfected Success
Mars in Pisces
Mars in Pisces gives people the opportunity to work in professions where one does not come into direct contact with the public but exercises his authority in a detached workplace. These people can work for example as detectives, prison wardens or doctors in hospitals. They may also work in desolate places, for example on oil rigs. People with Mars in Pisces get what they want by delicate or indirect means. They tend to have secret love affairs and they can successfully hide such relationship from the public eye. Their actions are affected by strong emotional undercurrents and if they do not want them to negatively influence their efforts to reach their goals they have to figure out what these emotional undercurrents mean.
*hypersensitive, elusive, imaginative
2 of Wands
Lord of Dominion
Mars in Aries (Dignity)
Mars is very happy in fiery signs and likes to show how strong it is. Mars in Aries exhibits the best and the worst of the desire for self-realisation. These people have a huge but unmanageable supply of energy that needs to be controlled and directed. If these people do not have any introvert character features, then they are probably not troubled by things that trouble most other people. This lets them continue with things without being disrupted by different pros and cons. Their practical approach and unrestrained style are so simple and straightforward that finer details and tendencies may escape their attention. They are full of energy and they can deal with challenges that life brings – or they just do not care. Courage and initiative are on the list of their positive qualities, but unfortunately love and patience are not among them. The aggressive or even militant nature of Mars in Aries can make these people very hungry for sex. They are full of sexual vitality and mars in aries females are attracted to militant, masculine and violent men.
*egotistical, immediate, proactive
<a big fat yes>
3 of Wands
Lord of Established Strength
Sun in Aries – Cardinal, Fire, ‘I am’, H1
The ruler of Aries is the planet Mars, which symbolises energy, health, fighting spirit and leadership skills. People born under this sign are courageous and decisive in most situations in life. They do any work with enthusiasm and confidence in their abilities, but they often lack deliberation and patience.
<another big yes for me>
4 of Wands
Lord of Perfected Work
Venus in Aries (Detriment)
People with Venus in Aries could be described in only one word – imps. They are impishly immoral. They are shameless in the way they blatantly pursue the object of their desire. They are very impulsive and impatient in everything related to love and relationships. The more cultured parts of their personality can try to suppress it, but there is something wild in their way of loving, something that can never be completely suppressed by so-called civilised behaviour. Venus in Aries adds passion to feelings because its influence is mixed with the passion of Mars, which rules this sign. These people are not afraid to show their feelings and they do so with passion, and this makes them usually popular with the other sex. They may marry in a rash. However, this kind of love cannot last long. The fire of passion finally burns love, and marriages that are the result of this love are the sources of family misfortune. Venus in Aries also tempts these people to spend more money than they can effort. When it comes to love, they always lose their head. They throw themselves into a love affair and they are convinced that this is the only true love between two people in the entire world, well, maybe with one exception: Romeo and Juliet. When their love ends, they pick up the pieces and try to save the dead relationship in all possible ways. If it fails, they start again and it will be the same as the first time. Regardless of the number of mistakes they make in their love life they are sure that the true love is within reach
*direct, impulsive, impatient
<oh, now this is in direct opposition to how I would normally view 4 of Wands>
5 of Wands
Lord of Strife
Saturn in Leo (Detriment)
Saturn in this position tries to show its limiting and conservative nature through the joyous and generous Leo. These people need the right amount of self-esteem, they should learn to be confident without feeling superior, and respected without being too dictatorial. Other people may dislike them if they start showing others that they are better than them. However, since Saturn often represents our doubts, fears and uncertainties, it is very likely that these people will be so afraid that other people may dislike them that they will be too modest. There may be authorities in their lives, such as a parent, a partner, a school, a church, or a government that will teach them either to develop their creative abilities or just to complain about their life and destiny.
*authoritative, choosing personal responsibility, fulfillment later in life
<this makes sense to me>
6 of Wands
Lord of Victory
Jupiter in Leo
There is something very natural about people with Jupiter in Leo because they believe that their mere existence is the evidence of their value. It may be said that they grow and develop by being excited about themselves. They may become selfish and arrogant, but sometimes it is better than false modesty and quarrelsomeness. Their sense of grandeur can lead to manifestations of self-confidence and wealth, but they may also fall into disfavour because of it. They may be too enthusiastic to overlook the fact that having a lot of energy is great, but one also has to take into account the personality of the people and nature of the things the energy is used on. In other words, people and things into which they invest their time, money and feelings have different characteristics, requirements and limitations, and they tend to overlook them, which may cause subsequent disappointment.
*devoted, big-hearted, a sense of occassion
<another hearty yes both on the bright side, and the shadow>
7 of Wands
Lord of Valour
Mars in Leo
Mars in Leo gives people enterprising, diligent, fearless and independent nature. These people have a well-developed sense of responsibility and they have the ability to hold public office. They are devoted worshippers of their beloved person, and they court them with great passion. They successfully overcome any obstacles in their way and their courtships usually have happy endings. Mars is very happy in fiery signs and likes to show how strong it is. People with Mars in Leo are cheerful and have a sense of honour. These people have a fiery character that needs some form of dramatic, creative or romantic expression.
*creative, bossy, big hearted
<this works for me>
8 of Wands
Lord of Swiftness
Mercury in Sagittarius (Detriment)
People with Mercury in Sagittarius love travelling. It is possible to make them sit at home and play a game of chess, but only for a brief period of time. It may seem that there is a fire behind them that is forcing them to act fast. Mercury affects fiery signs by creating lively imps who are interested in anything that attracts their attention. They are great people to spend life with. This position combines intelligence and an ideal, because their soul is focused in one direction, on one goal. These people are likely to teach foreign languages and to study abroad. They have a talent for languages. They have philosophical principles and religious tendencies. Mercury in Sagittarius creates foreign correspondents, journalists and authors of adventure novels or travelogues. These people often study medicine or law.
*forthright, visionary, intellectual
<oh yes, this is good!>
9 of Wands
Lord of Great Strength
Moon in Sagittarius
The greatest need is to always search for something. In order to feel safe you need a philosophy or belief. You need to have a goal or mission that gives your life meaning. Your faith must be voluntary and it is a paradox that fighting against dogmas may lead you to other dogmas.
*engaging, spirited, unbiased
<if the wording was arranged slightly differently, I could see this working too>
10 of Wands
Lord of Oppression
Saturn in Sagittarius
People with Saturn in the Sagittarius have to build a healthy system of religious and moral principles that will lead them and give a purpose to their lives and hence the lives of others. It is quite possible that people with this social status come from an environment of religious dogmas that have to some extent limited their outlook on life. Perhaps they were not treated well in the past, which gave rise to resistance on the one hand, and taught them not to worry about problems too much on the other hand. Or it could have been social and cultural influences that restricted their freedom and stopped them from experiencing things that will expand their horizons and improve their self-concept. Even if they do a lot of exciting things and visit very distant places, they still lack the feeling that they firmly believe something or that something believes in them. This shortcoming can grow into a great need for social and educational moral principles, qualifications etc. However, if they do not understand what “tested in searching” actually means, they will continue to fear moral and social censorship. If they lose hope, they may have nothing to support them even if they have university education.
*humanitarian, ethical, barristers and professors
2 of Disks
Lord of Harmonious Change
Jupiter in Capricorn (Fall)
People with Jupiter in Capricorn are diligent and efficient, and they strongly dislike any form of wasting. They are resourceful and technical people who can handle complex situations. They are honest and sincere, and they keep their promises. Their goal is to get a job where they can be independent. Ideally, they should be running a company. At work they need to be in a subordinate position and most suitable for them is work for the state or local community.
*conscientious, persevering, humorous
<well, other than the astro quote itself seeming to contradict itself, I can see how this works – more imposed harmonious change than natural harmonious change>
Three of Disks
Lord of Material Works
Mars in Capricorn (Exaltation)
People with Mars in Capricorn do not like to waste time daydreaming. In other words, when they make plans, they are realistic and they will accomplish what they plan. The influence of Mars in Capricorn is stronger, which means that these people are usually able to get what they want in a sophisticated, pragmatic and infallible way. Their achievements are built on solid foundations and they usually do not tend to make things easier for themselves. Still, it is likely that they do not fully realize how deep and broad are the foundations on which they build on are. It is important for them to believe that there is a progress, that the “construction work” continues, even though it can be done unconsciously, under the surface where the foundations are.
*dedicated, purposeful, traditional
4 of Disks
Lord of Earthly Power
Sun in Capricorn
Capricorn sign is ruled by the planet Saturn, which gives people born under this sign peace, patience, perseverance and ambition. These people are able to put maximum effort into work they have chosen to do or which they were told to do. They are friendly and cheerful people, but in their essence they are serious and responsible, and everything they do is based on these attitudes.
*stoical, pragmatic, tactful
5 of Disks
Lord of Material Trouble
Mercury in Taurus
People with Mercury in Taurus stop being so carefree. They are thorough and precise. The influence of earth awakens contemplation and the need to provide evidence of their findings and opinions. People with Mercury in earth signs are renowned experts in the field they have chosen to specialise in. They like to think deeply about things, they have good knowledge of things they are interested in and they enjoy the process of learning – as if it was some good food. When they learn something and understand it, they will probably never forget it *stoical, pragmatic, tactful
<nah – this looks more like a more serious version of the Lord of Earthly Power to me>
6 of Disks
Lord of Material Success
Moon in Taurus (exaltation)
Your safety depends on stability, which is not easy to satisfy. You may have a practical nature, dependent on the material aspects of life. You have to learn to accept change as part of your life, otherwise complications can occur – changes caused by other people that you love, illness and so on.
*sensual, secure, down-to-earth
<I can see the links here>
7 of Disks
Lord of Success Unfulfilled
Saturn in Taurus
People with Saturn in Taurus need to learn to attribute the right value to things. They have a particularly good sense of material values, but they tend to underestimate the intangible or “invisible” things that are not immediately apparent at first glance. Money can become the source of their worries and problems. They are either afraid of losing what they already own, they may have debts or not enough money. In the first case, they attach too much importance to material things, in the second case they probably do not take money seriously enough, and in the third case, they must realise that the supply of cash does not depend so much on external conditions, but rather on how rich one feels inside. The purpose of this life lesson is to gain a sense of balance and stop compensating for it by merely evaluating life from a material point of view, or to overlook this area.
*dependable, constant, the sugar daddy
<aye – I can follow that train to the title I think>
8 of Disks
Lord of Prudence
Sun in Virgo – Ruling planet Mercury, mutable earth, ‘I serve’, H6
Distinctive feature of people born under the sign of Virgo is their sense for order and system. They are practical people with great design and manual skills. They are always able to fully concentrate on their tasks. They tend to be charmed by well thought-through and functioning systems and they try to ensure that everything around them has been properly arranged, because order makes work easier and faster. This characteristic can change into pedantry if their sun is badly illuminated by planets.
*fastidious, analytical, diligent, dutiful, quirky, astute
<oooooo this is a big YES>
9 of Disks
Lord of Material Gain
Venus in Virgo (Fall)
Venus in Virgo can signal difficulties because love and beauty cannot coexist with analysis, so one of them must be suppressed. The result of analysing love and art is the realisation that one must accept secrets and stop analysing them. These people have a very gentle and rare sense of distinction. If people with Venus in Virgo decide to prefer inspiration over technology, they can become unbeatable in appreciating, expressing and maintaining the wonderful fragility of love and beauty. They gain their refined taste for social, emotional and artistic values during their systematic routine of searching for defects and removing them. As far as love and relationships are concerned, they undergo a process of purification, which removes unclean thoughts, feelings, and values. Because of this, they can become temporarily or permanently old bachelors or spinsters.
*curious, choosy, subtle
<clever – a gain in the one, may have caused a lack in the other hence the rather wistful woman in the RWS>
10 of Disks
Lord of Wealth
Mercury in Virgo (Dignity and Exaltation)
People with Mercury in Virgo lose their carelessness and stop being so carefree. They are thorough and precise. The influence of earth awakens contemplation and the need to provide evidence of their findings and opinions. These people are very accurate because they are heavily influenced by their home sign, Virgo. They are renowned experts in the field they have chosen to specialise in. They are materialistic and scientific, and they have a talent for economy.
*critical, incisive, accurate
Out of 36 cards and their astro and titles, 24 worked for me, there were 7 that I wasn’t quite so sure about and 5 that just seemed way off.
I had a lot of fun doing this, and it’s only because I though of it as play. An experiment.
Will it revolutionise the way I look at the cards? Probably not, but I have no doubt that tantalising tidbits will stick with me and weave their way through readings in the future. For me, there is no substitute for play in discovery.