Although many Tarot readers choose not to incorporate astrological attributions for the cards into their readings, others find that doing so adds a fascinating layer of information to consider and explore. The Order of the Golden Dawn* established a system of astrological attributions used by many Tarot readers. Here are the fundamentals of this system:
• Major Arcana cards are associated with a planet or sign in most cases, exceptions being The Hanged Man (Water) and Judgment (Spirit and Fire).
• The numbered cards are linked with the placement of a particular planet in a particular sign. For example, the 5 of Cups is assigned Mars in Scorpio, and the 8 of Swords is assigned Jupiter in Gemini.
• The Knave – or Princess – of each suit is associated with the element Earth plus the element linked with the appropriate suit. The Knave of Wands is called “Earth of Fire,” the Knave of Cups is called “Earth of Water,” and so forth.
My focus in this article is on the Knight of Pentacles – and how the astrological attributions chosen by the Golden Dawn can be used to enhance a Tarot reading in which this card appears.
According to Book T***, and as stated above, the Knight of Pentacles is associated with 20 degrees Leo to 20 degrees Virgo, that is, the last decan of Leo to the second decan of Virgo. The date range for this segment of the zodiac is August 13-September 13.
The Golden Dawn specifies 20 degrees Leo, which begins the last decan of the sign. That decan is ruled by the Sun and subruled by Mars. Known for its energy and force, Mars combines with the Sun to create impressive willpower and creativity, and an eagerness to plunge into new projects.
That description represents one-third of our Knight of Pentacles. What about the rest: the first and second decans of Virgo?
Virgo is a Mutable Earth sign, adaptable, versatile, practical, and conservative. Ruled by the planet Mercury, Virgo is commonly characterized as organized, methodical, discriminating, analytical, and critical.
• The first decan is ruled by Mercury and subruled by the Sun, adding a layer of individuality and conscious will to Mercury’s intellectual energy.
• The second decan brings in the planet Venus as subruler. Known for being gregarious and social, Venus combines with Mercury to create a desire for approval and a special talent for using words, an ability to speak and write in a charming manner.
So, when we consider the Knight of Pentacles from the perspective of Golden Dawn attributions, we find that he is 1/3 Leo (ruled by the Sun, subruled by Mars) and 2/3 Virgo (ruled by Mercury, with the Sun and Venus as subrulers). Earth is the dominant element, and Mercury is the dominant planet. Yet we cannot ignore that Leo-Sun-Mars connection. A complicated fellow, our Knight of Pentacles!
* The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn – or simply the Golden Dawn -- was an organization devoted to the study and practice of the occult, metaphysics, and paranormal activities during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
** A decan, or decanate, is a ten-degree subdivision of the zodiac that divides each astrological sign into three parts of approximately ten days each. There are three decanates in each sign.
*** Book T – The Tarot, Comprising Manuscripts N, O, P, Q, R, and an Unlettered Theoricus Adeptus Minor Instruction.