Astrological connections and a new ordering of the cards
As we can see from the swapping of the Judgement and The Moon, I realized there are probably other swaps that need to be made to reveal the true structure of the Major Arcana.
From here, I began try to figure out what the true placement for each card should be. The first thing I worked to resolve were the orderings of the triad (3) cards against the (7) planetary cards. From the original pattern, we can see that these two groups are on opposite ends. Once I establish which side is which, the cards between those groups would then be mapped to the zodiac.
After trying both arrangements, I decided that the 3 elemental forces of “Fire – Water – Air” would be connected to the bottom 3 cards of The Sun for Fire, The Moon for Water, and The Earth for Air. The opposite side of the pattern, must then be connected to the planets.
Ordering for the top 7 cards from astrological symbols
Knowing that the cards up were associated to the planets, I began researching different ways to pieces of information to connect these systems together.
When looking at the glyphs for each of the seven planets, we can see that they are created from three fundamental symbols:
- Circle: 0 – Representing the Sun
- Crescent: ( – Representing the Moon
- Cross: + – Representing the Earth
The Sun and Moon are represented by just a Circle and a Crescent, but the other 5 planets are made up of multiple symbols combined together.
Mercury is a Crescent above a Circle above a Cross, which is Moon-Sun-Earth.
Jupiter is a Crescent attached to the upper part of a Cross: Moon over Earth.
Saturn is a Crescent attached to the lower part of a Cross: Earth over Moon.
Venus is a Circle above a Cross: Sun over Earth
The symbol for Mars is a little different. It has become more stylized than any of the others over the years, and at one point had a cross above a circle at an angle. Over time it has turned into more of an arrow. While alchemy would later use the symbol of a Cross over a Circle to represent antimony, we can then see Mars as possibly having an older connection to this symbol of a Cross over a Circle.
What’s important about that though, is that it creates 3 groups of planets, a group with 3 symbols used (1 planet, Mercury), a group with 1 symbols used (2 planets, Sun and Moon), and a group of planets with 2 symbols used (4 planets, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn).
We can then lay these symbols out into the 1 – 2 – 4 pattern. I connected the symbols together, and came up with the following correspondences:
- 0 – Fool – Mercury
- 1 – Magician – Sun
- 2 – High Priestess – Moon
- 3 -The Empress – Venus
- 4 – The Emperor – Mars
- 5 – The Hierophant – Saturn
- 6 – The Lovers – Jupiter
I was happy with this arrangement and began looking for other evidence to confirm it, which I found with the REBIS alchemical diagram: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rebis
This 1-2-4 structure is the compliment to the 8 – 4 – 2 – 1 pattern from Geomancy. Now that we have pinned down the planets and the triad, we can figure out the proper ordering for the zodiac in the middle.
Using the “Triplets” from Geomancy to establish the order of the Zodiac
From a study of how geomantic charts are created, we can begin to figure out the proper ordering of the Zodiac within the cards. To create a horoscope from a geomantic shield chart, you take the results from the 12 figures created from the 8 and 4 boxes, and then the figures 3 from the 2 and 1 boxes as its own result. Example diagram from a geomancy website:
From these triplicities, we can then group together the zodiac signs by element, with each triplicities representing its own element. In order to map out the elements, I realized that Water and Earth had to be on the Feminine side with of the Moon, whereas Fire and Air had to be on the Masculine side with the Sun.
In order to figure out which position meant what, for each part of the triplicity, I realized that two of the the signs in the group would have to be dichotomies of each other, and one of them would have to stand alone. I came up with the ordering of cardinal being the single piece, and then the dichotomy of fixed and mutable.
From here, I attached the 4 cardinal signs to that related grouping of cards in the pattern, and lined them up in the following way:
- Venus above Libra (Ruler)
- Mars above Aries (Ruler)
- Saturn above Capricorn (Ruler)
- Jupiter above Cancer (Exalted)
From here, I considered which side should be which for the Fixed / Mutable dichotomy. I came to the conclusion that when considering an astrological chart, the Sun is the fixed object, whereas the Moon is the one that moves far more in relation, and should be considered the mutable one. From this, I decided to give the right side the position of the fixed sign, and the left side the mutable sign.
With only the Moon and Judgement being swapped, it didn’t still seem quite right. For example, Temperance as Pisces made sense, Scorpio as Death also made sense, and Cancer might work. Aries as The Tower seems to fit, but The Hermit as Leo didn’t fit. The rest of the zodiac didn’t quite seem right. I took some time and rearranged the cards with as few swaps as I could, until I came out with the following ordering that made the most sense to me.
- Aries: The Tower
- Taurus: The Hanged Man
- Gemini: The Chariot
- Cancer: Judgement
- Leo: Strength
- Virgo: The Hermit
- Libra: Justice
- Scorpio: Death
- Sagittarius: Wheel of Fortune
- Capricorn: Devil
- Aquarius: The Star
- Pisces: Temperance
While a couple of the associations seem a little strange a first, this is the most accurate I could get it, and as I’ve studied it, it’s made more sense to me over time. Unless I can find a new piece of evidence that contradicts it, or a new way to order them that seems more natural, this is the ordering I’m going with.
New Trump Ordering:
0 – Fool – Mercury
1 – Magician – Sun
2 – High Priestess – Moon
3 – The Empress – Venus
4 – The Emperor – Mars
5 – The Hierophant – Saturn
6 – The Lovers – Jupiter
7 – The Star – Aquarius
8 – The Chariot – Gemini
9 – Strength – Leo
10 – The Wheel of Fortune – Sagittarius
11 – The Hanged Man – Taurus
12 – The Hermit – Virgo
13 – Death – Scorpio
14 – Temperance – Pisces
15 – Justice – Libra
16 – The Tower – Aries
17 – The Devil – Capricorn
18 – Judgement – Cancer
19 – The Sun – Fire
20 – The Moon – Water
21 – The World – Air
Interesting new connections with number associations:
1 = Magician – Many magicians in a spiritual sense have been seen as Solar in nature.
2 = High Priestess – There is an obvious connection between the feminine and the moon. In fact, the moon is displayed quite prominently on the card.
7 = Star. 7 pointed stars play a major role in many spiritual systems, especially Thelema.
8 = Gemini. 8 is perfectly balanced number, especially when we take into consideration how the number 8 is connected to the geometry of the Ogdoad. This is a perfect number to symbolize a balanced duality.
11 = The Hanged Man – This connection was a little strange for me at first, but after I did some thinking, I realized that it actually fits well in an interesting regard from a perspective of the card that has been overlooked historically. The Hanged Man was originally viewed simply as a traitor, whom was hung upside down as a punishment. In many older versions of the card, there are coins falling out of his pockets. If we take this historic view on an emphasis on gaining money, perhaps even through an illicit context, a connection to Taurus make some sense.
10 = The Wheel of Fortune – Sagittarius is often associated with traveling, so it seems appropriate that its connected to a wheel, which is essential for many vehicles to move.
14 = Temperance. Pisces is connected to the feet and water, so it’s interested how this card places a special detail on the angel’s feet, with one being in water and the other on land.
15 = Justice. As I’ve shown, there is an amazing level of balance to the number 15 through the formula: 3+5+7 = 15. In a certain sense, 15 can be viewed as a perfectly balanced number, since its always the result from adding up any row, column or diagonal on the 3×3 magic square. This makes a lot of sense then as a number that would be connected to Libra.
17 = Devil. There is an interesting connection with how the number 17 is viewed historically in Italy (from http://blogs.transparent.com/italian/venerd-17/):
OK, so why is 17 the only unlucky number out of the three? Well, the most accredited explanation is that 17 in Roman numerals is written XVII, which can become the anagram of VIXI, a Latin word which was inscribed on Roman tombs, meaning“vissi”, (“I lived”), and implying that “I’m now dead”. For this reason XVII, (17) was considered inauspicious.
18 = Judgement – At first, this connection to Cancer didn’t make much sense, but after thinking about it for a little while, I realized that there are some interesting symbolic parallels. Crabs are one of the animals that will shed its shell and regrow itself in a continuous way throughout their life. If we look at Judgement (or Aeon) as a rebirthing process, the idea of a crab constantly renewing its outside appearance makes perfect sense. On some what of a funny note, Cancers are sometimes known to be judgmental people.
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