Astrological associations for the Minor Arcana cards typically involve a planet, a zodiac sign, and/or a house. The attributions established by the Order of the Golden Dawn (OGD) are by far the most commonly used. However, there are other associations out there. As a professional astrologer, I find it interesting to compare and contrast these associations. (The use of astrological associations with Tarot is completely up to the reader. This is intended to be interesting and fun!)
Credits for the decks and books mentioned in this post can be found _HERE_
SIX OF SWORDS
Thoth Tarot by Aleister Crowley
For Crowley and the Order of the Golden Dawn, the Six of Swords is linked with the planet Mercury (thinking, communication, the mind, logic, reason) and the sign Aquarius (a Fixed Air sign known for being innovative, idealistic, humanitarian, and intellectual).
Crowley titles the card "Science" and notes "The perfect balance of all mental and moral faculties, hardly won, and almost impossible to hold in an ever-changing world, declares the idea of Science in its fullest interpretation."
Hajo Banzhaf and Brigitte Theler (in Keywords for the Crowley Tarot) describe the energy of the card as: "Innovative (Aquarius) thinking (Mercury) and philosophical, scientific (Aquarius) perceiving (Mercury)."
The Whispering Tarot by Liz Hazel
Liz Hazel's astrological associations for the Six of Swords align with those of Crowley and the Golden Dawn: Mercury/Aquarius. Hazel's DMs for this card include: "display of talents and knowledge; clever resourcefulness; a proclivity for science or art; moving up on the ladder of one's profession; travel for intellectual purposes; messages share with public; advertising." And those are assigned to the well-dignified Six of Swords. Ill-dignified: "a plan gone awry because of misunderstandings or garbled communications; overconfidence in abilities; efforts derided by one who wishes to undermine capacities or prevent progress."
One World Tarot by Crystal Love
Crystal Love associates the Six of Swords with the second subdivision of Libra (natural ruler Venus; subruler Saturn). She writes: "Saturn brings grief and trouble to this subdivision but promises success after obstacles and difficulties have been overcome, or toward the latter half of the life. Difficulties may be many and may relate to marriage or partnerships in general..." She notes the following "Traditional Interpretations": "Moving away from imminent danger. Travel or a new home. Success after anxiety."
The Mandala Astrological Tarot by A.T. Mann
Like Crowley and the Golden Dawn, Mann associates the Six of Swords with the energy of Mercury in Aquarius. Mann calls Swords Five, Six, and Seven "The Clouds of Aquarius," and links the Six of Swords with the period between January 30-February 8. Yellow is the color associated with Mercury and violet is associated with Aquarius on the King Scale of Color.
Mann's divinatory meanings for the Six of Swords: "New experiences and progressive thinking in group situations must be judged quickly and then stabilized for maximum effect. An awakening of the conscious mind inventively." Reversed: "A tendency to be too idealistic when confronted with reality leads to loneliness and isolation. Unconventional behaviour can lead to antagonism and chaos."
_The Tarot and Astrology by David Thornton_
(illustrated in this blog by the Universal Waite tarot deck)
associates the Six of Swords with the placement of the planet Mercury in the Eleventh House (House of Friends, Hopes, and Wishes). The Eleventh House in astrology is associated with the sign Aquarius.
Thornton's description of the energy of the Six of Swords is: "Progressive thinking, an interest in invention or reform."
_Tarot Dynamics System by Anna Burroughs Cook_
(illustrated in this blog by the Universal Waite tarot deck)
In Anna Cook's TD system, Subject Card Six signifies "Commitment." The key word for the suit of Swords in this system is Challenging, which gives us Challenging/Commitment(s) for the Six of Swords. In astrology the Sixth House, ruled by Mercury, is commonly known as the House of Work and Service (among other things). The sign associated with the Sixth House is Virgo. However, Cook uses the second decan of Aquarius (subruler: Mercury) for the Six of Swords.
A.E. Thierens, PhD. (Astrology & the Tarot)
Thierens notes that Mercury is lord of the Sixth House. He associates the Six of Swords with "The element of Earth on the Sixth house, and the Virgo-particulars expressed in 'earth' become the 'ways' that carry the message from the centre, the heart, to the parts of the system." His keywords for this card include: "route, way, canal, conveyance, nervous system, a course, a voyage to be made, a cure or even emigration." He also writes that the Six of Swords can represent a vision or materialisation from the "other side" and may also refer to "the passing over to that side, the crossing of the Styx, which seems to be indicated by the picture of this card. The cusp of the seventh house in the horoscope is 'the end,' in the same way as the ascendant is 'the beginning.'"
(Note: If you are interested in learning more about this system put forth by Thierens, I recommend the book referenced above.)
In summary, for the Six of Swords we have:
- Crowley, Hazel, and Mann with a Mercury/Aquarius association
- Love with Libra /Venus/ Saturn
- Thornton with Mercury/11th House (ruled by Aquarius)
- Cook with the second decan of Aquarius (subruled by Mercury)
- Thierens with Earth/6th House (ruled by Mercury/Virgo)
According to Arthur Waite, the Six of Swords refers to a journey, route, or way (especially by water). The Rider-Waite-Smith card shows a ferryman carrying passengers, with rough water shown to the right of the boat, and smooth water ahead. Taking into account the prevalent astrological association of this card with the planet Mercury and the Air sign Aquarius, I do get a strong impression of mental "travel" or perhaps a "journey" using some form of electronic communication. Aquarius rules electronic devices.
At the same time, this card (from the RWS) has always made me think of "ferrying dead souls across the Styx" as Thierens points out. I am also fascinated by his comment about the cusp of the seventh house meaning "the end" and the possibility of "a vision or materialisation from the 'other side.'"