The Signs of the Zodiac and the Tarot

By Frater Nur-i-Siyah (Shawn Richburg) Class I: Cancer, “The Crab”
Keyword: “I Feel” Traditional Meanings: Sensitive and protective, a strong emotional nature and a tendency to act in unexpected ways. They can also be moody, easily offended and clingy. Element: Water (C) Triplicity: Cardinal Ruled By: Moon (") Exaltation: Jupiter (&) Detriment: Saturn (') Fall: Mars (%) Sigil: d Tree of Life Path Association: Key 18 – Geburah to Binah (from Sephira 5-3) (Links „Strength‟ with „Understanding‟; or Volition opening to Intuition. “A mighty warrior in his chariot” [= magical image of Geburah] in victorious return to the Mother, positioned before a stream or abyss.) Egyptian Godforms: Khephra, Hormakhu Gemstones: Amber, Emerald, Sapphire, Chalcedony Perfumes: Camphor, Onycha Plants: Hazel, Comfrey, Lotus, Mangrove Animals: Crab, Turtle, Crablouse, Snake Colors: King Scale – Amber Queen Scale – Maroon Prince Scale – Rich bright russet Princess Scale – Dark greenish brown “In connection with the life of man it represents the quickening of the child in the womb of its mother, which takes place three months after conception, as symbolized by the Sun in Aries. Cancer being a watery sign, this period is the receptacle of the force of the previous quadrant. It. is governed by the Moon and here we see its connection with the symbol of the mother, while the exaltation of Jupiter in the sign refers to the divine influence presiding over the incarnation.” - Crowley/Adams, General Principles of Astrology

MAJOR ARCANA: The Chariot
Esoteric Titles: The Child of the Powers of the Waters, The Lord of the Triumph of Light Hebrew Letter: Cheth (j), Fence: that which defines a territory; or an enclosure, field; from Hebrew root meaning, “to surround or gird.” Symbolic of any device of containment or any vehicle. Card Name: Chariot: Most importantly, notice that the title is the chariot, not the charioteer. The word comes from the Indo-European root kers-, “to run.” Important derivatives include car, course, courier, current, intercourse, occur, recur, career, carry. Esoteric Meaning: The Consciousness of the House of Influence. From its inmost center flow forth the Arcanum and veiled ideas, which “abide in its shadow”; thus is there cohesion (or, union) with the inmost substance of the Cause of Causes. Tantric & Alchemical Significance: Unveiling the Grail. Divination: Triumph, victory, hope, memory, digestion (health sometimes unstable), extreme zeal in maintaining traditional ideas, the “diehard,” ruthlessness, lust of destruction, obedience, faithfulness, service under authority; receptive, questing, seeking, voluntary sacrifice or surrender.

MINOR ARCANA (From Liber )
Two of Cups
Meditation Pattern: Place Atu III, The Empress, and Atu VII, The Chariot, side-by-side, with the 2 of Cups above them. Chokmah of Water: Water in its purest and highest form; the impulse or Word of Water; the Will-to-Love. Harmony of the union of masculine and feminine (or of any such polarities). Polarity relationship in love matters. Love, pleasure, marriage, reciprocity, reflection. Venus/Cancer: Harmony, pleasure, mirth; an intensity of joy and ecstasy; powerful love feelings. If ill-dignified, folly, dissipation, waste, silly actions. Chokmah + Venus: Arousing of love; a forceful pressure or impulse to emotional expression. Nature of affections governed by instinct rather than social convention, by impulse of Will rather than conditioning or logic. ABUNDANCE LOVE

Three of Cups

Meditation Pattern: Place Atu I, The Magus, and Atu VII, The Chariot, side-by-side, with the 3 of Cups above them. Binah of Water: The fulfillment of the Will-to-Love in abounding joy. Love brought to happy fruition. Fulfillment, pleasure, sensuality, abundance; gladness, hospitality, eating and drinking, pleasure, dancing, new clothes, merriment. The spiritual basis of fertility. Mercury/Cancer: Abundance, plenty, success, passive success; keen perception, memory; good luck and fortune; love, kindness, liberality. Saturn + Mercury: (This combination is not so revealing as for most of these symbols. Its usual meanings are quite different from the clear meaning of this card, mostly because we are here dealing with Supernal Saturn at her best. But Mercury-Saturn does contribute profound thought, common sense, and a clear state of mind. Amidst the sense of abundance, there remains a practical element.) LUXURY (Previously called, “Blended Pleasure.”)

Four of Cups

Meditation Pattern: Place Atu II, The Priestess, and Atu VII, The Chariot, side-by-side, with the 4 of Cups above them. Chesed of Water: Luxury, leisure, an abundance of pleasure. Pleasure that is ordered, stabilized. Receiving pleasure or kindness from others, but some discomfort therewith. Laziness, dispersion, excess, negligence; loss of impulse from over-satisfaction. Philosophy, contemplation, introspection. Devotion (of all kinds, including spiritual devotion). Luna/Cancer: Success or pleasure fulfilled. Strong feeling nature. A stationary period in happiness, which may, or may not, continue. It does not mean love and marriage so much as the Three of Cups. It is too passive a symbol to represent perfectly complete happiness. Swiftness, hunting, pursuing. If ill-dignified: acquisition by contention; injustice; drawbacks or dissatisfaction regarding pleasure is implied. Jupiter + Luna: Happiness, kindness, generosity, sociability, popularity, pleasure, rich living, noblesse oblige. Indifference, negligence, jadedness, lazy justice, opportunism.

COURT CARD: The Queen of Cups (From Liber ) THE QUEEN OF THE THRONES OF THE WATERS The Queen of Cups – Queen of Nymphs or Undines WATER of WATER
Meditation pattern: Place 10 of Swords, 2 of Cups, and 3 of Cups side-by-side, with the Queen of Cups above them. Below the two Cups, place Atu VII, The Chariot. Traditional Description: A very beautiful, fair woman like a crowned Queen, seated upon a throne, beneath which is flowing water wherein lotuses are seen. Her general dress is similar to that of the Queen of Wands, but upon her crown, cuirass, and buskins is seen an ibis with opened wings. Beside her is the same bird, whereon her hand rests. She holds a cup, similar to that of the Apprentice Adeptus, whence a crayfish issues. Her face is dreamy. She holds a lotus in the hand that is resting upon the ibis. Heh (h) of Heh (h) (WATER of WATER): She is the fertile, loving mother, whose essential nature is expressed by the titles LOVE and ABUNDANCE. As h of Water, she is nurturance, love, maternity, reflection, and peace. As h of Briah, she is especially intuition, and all the higher expression of the soul (Neshamah), including the faculties of prophesy and revelation. She rules the heavens from 20° c to 20° d. Her strongest astrological relationship is to the first two decanates of d. Cancer expresses the maternal quality of this most maternal sign as containment, enclosure, even enwombment. Cancer (j) emphasizes the layered shells of our existence in the various worlds and, especially, the receptivity of the vehicle to right guidance by higher power. To it is attributed the Consciousness of the House of Influence; and it is the fluidic word “influence” which best describes the irresistible power of this Queen, who is a compendium, or house, of all the veiled mysteries which dwell in dark shadow, yet flow forth, cohesively, from the inmost sources. The d decanates to which she corresponds are those labeled LOVE and ABUNDANCE, ruled by Venus and Mercury. The Venus decanate indicates love, harmony, enjoyment, and pleasure. The Mercury decanate credits her with intelligence and practical ability. Alchemists are wont to call Mercury “our water.” Mercury (b) is a Path of prophesy and revelation. The intuitive faculty of the Queen gives voice to the Word she witnesses in her reflection. Her shadow is expressed by the final (solar) decanate of c. It represents undisciplined, warring forces divided against themselves, creating disharmony and friction. Normally, this is utterly unlike her! Such a state would disrupt her serene reflection, and is the lurking enemy of all inspiration, intuition, and harmony. (Her ibis, the bird of Thoth, is a symbol especially of the power of reflection; but, also, an ibis is a variety of stork – which has definite maternal implications. The two themes are integrated in her.) In divination, she is loving, nurturing, and fertile; imaginative, poetic, kind, harmonious, yet not willing to take much trouble for another except for those close to her. Gives and receives much pleasure. Coquettish and good-natured, underneath a dreamy, reflective appearance. Despite this, intelligent and practical. Imagination is strong: may have a gift of vision or prophesy. She is very much affected by other influences, and therefore more dependent upon dignity than most of the cards.

MINOR ARCANA (cont. from p. 2)
Small Card GD Attr. GD Titles for the Small Cards Crowley’s Descriptions of the Small Cards Descriptions of the Decans (Agrippa)

Astrolabium Planum

Image from the

2 of Cups

$ in d

Lord of Love

Babalon in the Chariot of Chaos, bearing the Graal

In the first face of Cancer ascendeth the form of a young Virgin, adorned with fine cloathes [clothes], and having a Crown on her head; it giveth acuteness of senses, subtilty of wit, and the love of men:

3 of Cups

# in d

Lord of Abundance

The Charioteer of the Graal sets out from the City of the Pyramids.

In the second face ascendeth a man cloathed in comely apparrel, or a man and woman sitting at the table and playing; it bestoweth riches, mirth, gladness, and the love of women:

4 of Cups

; in d

Lord of Luxury

The blood of the Saints offered to the Father in the Graal.

In the third face ascendeth a man a Hunter with his lance and horne, bringing out dogs for to hunt; the signification of this is the contention of men, the pursuing of those who fly, the hunting and possessing of things by arms and brawlings.

Sources:  Golden Dawn astrological associations and titles for the Small Cards come from Book T, The Tarot, the volume given to the Theoricus Adeptus Minor (a sub-grade of the 5°=6°) for memorization and study of the Tarot within the Second Order (Ordo Rosæ Rubeæ et Aureæ Crucis, “The Order of the Ruby Rose and Golden Cross”) of the Golden Dawn system of magick.  Aleister Crowley‟s descriptions are part of a virtually unpublished section of his personal notebooks written between 1909 and 1919 and which were abandoned in America once he left the States for Cefalu, Sicily. A transcription of these notes was publiched in the Magickal Link in the Spring/Fall edition of 1998. The original notebook is part of the Yorke Collection of Crowley materials held at the Warburg Institute, University of London.  Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa‟s descriptions of the decans are from his masterwork of hermetic magick, De Occulta Philosophia libri III, Book II, Chapter 37: “Of the images of the faces, and of those images which are without the Zodiac.”  The images of the decans come from Johannes Angelus‟ (Johann Engle) Astrolabium Planum (“Plane of the Astrolabe”) which was first printed in Augusta, Germany in 1488. The work though is claimed by the author to be from another earlier astrological text written by Pietro D‟Abano. This is most likely the Paduan‟s De signis celestibus eorumque significatione et potestate (“Of the signs from heaven and their meaning and power”) written by Pietro D‟Abano of Padua in 1302/1303.  Liber  is an expansion of Book T mentioned above. It was written by James Eshelman for the benefit of members of the Los Angelesbased College of Thelema and the lineage of the A.A. associated with it.

© Copyright 2011, Shawn J. Richburg

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