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Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Eight 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.


Eight of Cups - Astrological Associations (by Zanna)

Tarot Dynamics System by Anna Burroughs Cook
(illustrated in this blog by the Universal Waite tarot deck)

In Anna Cook's TD system, cards 2 through 10 are known as Subject Cards. They are viewed as having a strong impact on our immediate agenda, on situations, moods, opportunities or obstacles that pass quickly. The number on the card reveals the situation. The suit and definition suggest the reason for the situation, along with options and the most beneficial approach to take.

The suit of Cups represents Emotion, including dreams and that which gives meaning to your life. This is a fairly standard Tarot association. The astrological aspect of this system comes into play when we start talking about the number on the card.

To interpret the number Eight, we can look at the astrological Eighth House, which is considered to be the house of death, regeneration, your partner's money, sexual attitudes, and occult studies. In general, the Eighth House is about transformation and the deeper mysteries in life.

The Eighth House is associated with the zodiac sign Scorpio (a fixed Water sign known for being sensual, secretive, emotionally intense, imaginative, and psychic). Scorpio's traditional ruler is Mars (representing energy, force, sexual desire, and aggression). Many modern astrologers assign rulership of Scorpio to Pluto (regenerative forces, destruction, transformation).

In the Tarot Dynamics system, Subject Card Eight stands for renovation. The TD system's keyword for Subject Card Eight is "Renovation". As mentioned above, the keyword for the suit of Cups is "Emotional." Thus we arrive as "Emotional/Renovation" for the Eight of Cups.

(Please note: There is more to the TD astrological connections than I have included here. My intention is to convey the basic flavor and tone. A much more detailed, comprehensive discussion will be provided in Anna Cook's forthcoming book, Advanced Tarot Dynamics.)

Thoth Tarot by Aleister Crowley
For Crowley and the Order of the Golden Dawn (OGD), the Eight of Cups represents the energy of Saturn (discipline, restriction, responsibility) in Pisces (a Water sign ruled historically by Jupiter and/or Neptune, for many modern astrologers). Pisces is known as an emotional, romantic, impressionable, adaptable, imaginative, and intuitive sign. Crowley writes: "Pisces is calm but stagnant water; and Saturn deadens it completely." He titles the card "Indolence."

Hajo Banzhaf and Brigitte Theler (in Keywords for the Crowley Tarot) describe the energy of the card as: "hardened, dead (Saturn) feelings (Pisces)."

One World Tarot by Crystal Love
Crystal Love associates the Eight of Cups with the first subdivision of the sign Pisces, with Jupiter/Neptune as the natural ruler and Saturn as the subruler. She writes: "The imaginative and sensitive sign of Pisces is given extra weight and responsibility by Saturn in the first subdivision. . . If the inspirational qualities of Pisces can be harnessed and disciplined constructively by Saturn, then poetry, art, music, and drama -- or dedication to a worthwhile cause or institution -- can be expressed extremely successfully."

A.E. Thierens, PhD. (Astrology & the Tarot)
Thierens describes the Eight of Cups as follows: "On the Fourth house the Water of the soul will be in its own element, so to speak, and will consequently rejoice in its existence. . . Feelings, sentiments, wishes have very little chance of becoming reality in this house, and this may be called the true reason for 'leaving the house.'" In astrology, the Fourth house is associated with the zodiac sign Cancer, ruled by the Moon. It is described by astrology.com http://www.astrologyzine.com/what-is-a-house-in-astrology.shtml as the house of "Home, Nurture, and the Past." Joanna Martine Woolfolk tags the Fourth House as the "House of Beginnings and Home Life."

Thierens writes that the Eight of Cups can indicate "Leaving the house or home; changes in the family (-circle), little chance to see one's wishes and ambitions realised. Shyness, timidity. . . Despondency. . . No strongly preponderant feeling, unless it be that of dissatisfaction." (Note: The astrological 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 Thierens' system, I recommend his book Astrology and the Tarot.)

The Mandala Astrological Tarot by A.T. Mann
Like the OGD, Mann's deck associates the suit of Cups with the element Water. Mann describes Cups Eight, Nine, and Ten as "The Pools of Pisces" and associates them with the time period from 19 February to 20 March. Cup Eight is assigned to the First Decan of Pisces -- Neptune in Pisces. It represents the time period from 19 February to 28 February.

On the King Scale of Color, the color linked with Neptune is pale green. The color for the sign Pisces is red-violet. Mann's keywords for Neptune are "divinity, idealism, spirituality, dreamlife, clairvoyance, sensitivity." For the sign Pisces, his keywords are "swelling seed; purifying rain; serenity; potential. Sensitivity; destiny; receptivity; self-sacrifice; psychic impulse; karma; seclusion; mysticism." Mann's divination meanings for Cup Eight include "separation from the outer world leads to artistic reverie, fantasies and idealistic visions which do not have a realistic foundation. . . craving alcohol, drugs and sex as an escape from dealing with self. Hidden pathological tendencies."

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 Eight of Cups represents Saturn/Pisces energy. Hazel's illustration depicts a silhouetted woman who "is having a really bad hair day. Her hands are in a pose that indicates agony and deep emotional distress." Eight cups surround her, "spilling poisonous, noxious fumes into the dark scene."

Hazel notes that this card can suggest "sorrow and emotional anguish about the past. . . emotional cleansing, ego attachments dissolved. . . penitence. . . siblings in trouble. . . downsizing." Ill-dignified, the card might indicate "deceptions, bitterness and regrets. . . A lonely older person. . . rejection, emotional abandonment."

In general, I typically see the Eights of the Tarot as representing movement or being held back from movement, mastery, an inquiring mind, power, regeneration, and magic.
The Saturn/Pisces designation for the Eight of Cups is the most common among the systems described above. Thierens, as usual, is different, proposing a link between the Eight of Cups and the Fourth House (Cancer/Moon). A.T. Mann goes with a Neptune/Pisces connection. An association with Water is common to all of the above-referenced sources.

In my experience, Pisces is a complex sign. Jupiter and Neptune express vastly different energies, although both can be linked with excessive, irrational behavior. Saturn represents the opposite type of energy in the form of restriction, limitation, and discipline. As Crowley and others have pointed out, a Saturn/Pisces combination is not a happy one.

As always, I welcome your comments!



  1. I really do like these posts and how you highlight each card.

    I do see eights as movement, and the idea of regeneration fits in perfectly. They often show the way forward and how to open yourself up to new possibilities.

  2. Dear Zanna,
    As usual you have done a splendid job with all the 8 of Cups! Thank you SO much for continuing to share Tarot Dynamics as one of your sterling examples!

    Thankful Smiles,
    Anna Burroughs Cook

  3. Thank you so much for your encouraging words, Anna. I am continuing to explore and appreciate Tarot Dynamics!

  4. Helen, yes -- movement, or possibly being held back from movement. In either case, there is a sense of powerful forces pushing for change.

  5. I enjoyed that, Zanna! "Emotional Renovation" makes a lot of sense to me for the 8 of Cups. Sounds like Anna's forthcoming book will be very interesting as well.

    Thanks for the great share!


  6. I'm glad you enjoyed it, Velvet Angel!


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