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Sunday, November 28, 2010

Ace of Cups - Astrological Associations (by Zanna)

Astrological associations for the Minor Arcana cards typically involve both a planet and a zodiac sign. The attributions established by the Order of the Golden Dawn (OGD) are by far the most commonly used. However, some Tarot decks use a different set of associations. As a professional astrologer, I find it interesting to compare and contrast these associations from deck to deck. The use of astrological associations with Tarot is completely up to the reader. This is merely intended to be interesting and fun.

Credits for the decks and books mentioned in this post can be found HERE


Thoth Tarot by Aleister Crowley
For Crowley and the OGD, the Ace of Cups is The Root of the Powers of Water. It is not assigned to any particular planet or sign. It can be said to incorporate the energy of the three Water signs of the zodiac: Cancer, Scorpio, and Pisces. Hajo Banzhaf and Brigitte Theler (in Keywords for the Crowley Tarot) describe the energy of the card as: "emotional depth (Cancer), emotional strength (Scorpio), devotion and empathy (Pisces)."

One World Tarot by Crystal Love
Crystal Love writes: "The Ace of Cups represents the passive, feminine element of Water and expresses the powers attributable to all the water signs: Cancer, Scorpio, and Pisces." As a group, the water signs represent introversion, repressiveness, intuitiveness, and psychic sensitivity. Their realm is the sphere of emotions and emotional relationships (including love, home, family, and motherhood).

A.E. Thierens, PhD. (Astrology & the Tarot)
As usual, Thierens departs from the associations used by Crowley and the OGD. While Thierens does retain the association of Cups with the element Water, he also writes that "The Cups. . . start their cycle on the Ninth house, the house of Sagittarius, ruled by Jupiter, the lawgiver." The qualities of mutation or transmutation are linked with Sagittarius (a mutable Fire sign), along with "a tendency to teach, to translate, guide, interpret." Sagittarius and Jupiter also bring a possibility of extravagance or over-indulgence, as well as inspiration and idealism. (Note: The system devised by Thierens is radically different from that of the OGD. I will not go into detail here, but will simply provide the astrological associations for the card under discussion. If you are interested in learning more about this system, I recommend the book referenced above.)

The Mandala Astrological Tarot by A.T. Mann
Like the OGD, Mann's deck associates the suit of Cups with the element Water and the zodiac signs Cancer, Scorpio, and Pisces. Mann chooses the colors of the outer rings of the central image from the King Scale of Color (yellow-orange for Cancer, blue-green for Scorpio, and red-violet for Pisces). He titles the Cup Ace "Power in Rains of Water." Mann describes the water signs as being "subjective, personal and receptive to outer influences. . . value systems or feelings which are often unexpressed or expressed as emotional, sensitive, mediumistic, impressionable, imaginative, psychic, secretive and visionary." 

The Whispering Tarot by Liz Hazel
Liz Hazel's suit of Cups is the suit of the Water element, embodying "emotions, feelings, relationships, love, as well as the nature and consequences of emotional attachments." The Ace of Cups is not linked with any particular zodiac sign or planet in this deck. Hazel notes that the cups or chalices in this suit "may contain liquids, potions, dreams and wishes."

From an astrological standpoint, the water signs -- Cancer, Scorpio, and Pisces -- have their watery nature in common. However, they are also different from each other in many ways. For example, Cancer is a cardinal sign (action, initiative, leadership, outgoing activity), Scorpio is a fixed sign (persistence, single-mindedness, determination, resourcefulness), and Pisces is a mutable sign (adaptability, versatility, openness to change, flexibility). Cancer is ruled by the Moon; Scorpio is ruled by Mars (and/or Pluto); and Pisces is ruled by Jupiter (and/or Neptune). These heavenly bodies have their own unique attributes and influences which can be taken into account.

I welcome your comments!  



  1. It is interesting to note how there is agreement and then again there is no agreement between different authors as to how astrological attributions are assigned to Tarot. I have always thoughts them separate entities that walk very successfully by themselves but do not necessarily need each other to work, but can walk side by side. Still this non agreement does raise the question of which attribution is correct? Or are they all correct?

    It does seem to be reasonable that a card like Ace of Cups be assigned those watery signs but as you point out to us although they have water in common they are different. Yet I can see from your description that all these differences can fit the Ace of Cups.

    Interesting read - thanks!

  2. I know that many people feel any astrological associations with the Tarot cards are "forced" and therefore not useful. I agree with you that astrology and Tarot exist quite successfully on their own. At the same time, I am intrigued by the reasoning and attempts to link the two -- therefore, I enjoy studying it (and I also use it in my readings)!

  3. I didn't mean forced, I just meant, are they all correct or are some associations more correct than others?

    I think it too an interesting subject, and I think that they compliment each other while each is able to stand alone.

    It appears that some link the attributions to the 12 signs while others attempt to link them more to the elements.

    I'm finding reading you post most interesting.

  4. Oh, I didn't necessarily think you thought they were forced. LOL. I just meant that I'm aware that many Tarotists simply discount any astrological associations for that reason.

    I tend to use the OGD associations when the deck I am using lends itself to that. If the creator of a deck has a different set of associations, I use those when reading with that deck. Fortunately (for my sanity), very few of my decks contradict the OGD associations.


Thank you for leaving a comment. I love hearing from my readers!
~ Zanna