Estimated Reading Time: 12 minutes
November 2018 Tarot Card Astrology
Join me this month as I share my thoughts on three of the Minor Arcana tarot cards which will be astrologically activated over the course of the next few weeks. Each of the twelve zodiac signs is subdivided into three equal 10-degree portions, called decans or faces. The tarot’s numbered suit cards, minus the Aces, correspond to these thirty-six decans of the zodiac. During the month of Scorpio, I have chosen three cards to discuss. I selected cards for which the planet is in or will be passing through the decan it rules. We’ll start with the tarot’s Four of Cups: Moon in Cancer.
The Moon travels around the whole zodiac each month, and so passes through each of the five decans it rules. But this month the Moon will pass through the third decan of Cancer, which it rules, on its day, Monday, during the final of its four planetary hours. Because the Moon also rules the sign of Cancer, the lunar energies will be very concentrated at this time! It will be an excellent time for connecting with the Moon and for receiving insight into the corresponding tarot card for this decan of the zodiac.
Over the following few weeks, Mercury will pass through the first decan of Sagittarius, symbolized by the tarot’s Eight of Wands. The Sun will transit the second decan of Scorpio, represented by the Six of Cups. Watch for upcoming posts on their tarot card astrology.
- Four of Cups: Moon in Cancer – Today’s post!
- Eight of Wands: Mercury in Sagittarius – Monday, October 29, 2018
- Six of Cups: Sun in Scorpio – Thursday, November 1, 2018
Four of Cups: Moon in Cancer
- The Four of Cups is titled “The Lord of Blended Pleasure” and sometimes is considered to signify ambivalence, complacency, or a general lack of interest
- The Moon is associated with the yin quality, and governs emotions, intuition, the internal, self-reflection, the unconscious, receptivity, the soul, and the mother
- Cancer is a cardinal water sign ruled by the moon and is considered to be nurturing, compassionate, a homebody. Its symbol is the Crab and its glyph looks like two eggs in a nest.
- Four of Cups: Moon Ruling the Third Decan of Cancer
- The Moon will pass through the third decan of Cancer on October 30, 2018 between 4 a.m. – 8 p.m.
- Best time for ritual work: Tuesday, October 30, 4 a.m.-5:07 a.m. This is the hour of the Moon on the day of the Moon (It’s still Monday technically because it is not yet dawn, when Mars day (Tuesday) starts)
Moon in Cancer
The Moon is associated with our emotional self, our soul, and our private self that we often reserve to share only to those closest to us. The Moon governs dreams, the subconscious, intuition, and imagination. As we watch the Moon move through all twelve astrological signs each month, we can see our own moods and the sensitivities of those around us respond like the tides of the ocean. The Moon rules the cardinal water sign, Cancer, considered to be nurturing, compassionate, and the homebody. Luna further rules the final decan, or one-third portion, of the sign of Cancer.
Image of the Four of Cups
The tarot card often shows a figure seated on the ground, leaning against a tree. Three cups are before him, while a fourth hovers in the air. Depending on the illustration, sometimes the fourth cup is within sight of the character, sometimes hidden. Even when the cup is within sight, the figure rarely seems to care and never reaches toward it. The card is frequently given the meaning apathy, ambivalence, complacency, or a general lack of interest. The emotional feeling of the card could be summarized as “meh.”
Title of the Four of Cups: Blended Pleasure
The title of the Four of Cups is “Lord of Blended Pleasure.” The Moon is the fastest moving of the seven classical planets, and as our emotional ruler embodies the capriciousness of our moods. The title Blended Pleasure pinpoints that moment when we achieve an experience or success we’ve been craving, and recognize within us both our limited capacity for fully savoring the moment and the too quick change as we begin the desirous search for another out-of-reach goal.
Mythology of the Four of Cups
Mythologically, the card can be associated with Siddhartha Gautama seated under the bodhi tree where he realized enlightenment and became the Buddha. This interpretation emphasizes less of the indifference of other interpretations and more of the intentional withdrawing from external emotional unpredictability to achieve inner peace.
The Astrology of the Four of Cups
The contrast of comfortable solitude while in an exterior location in the Four of Cups seems to epitomize the third decan of Cancer. The maternal care of Cancer is illustrated here as self-directed, in contrast to the other two Cancer pips, the Two and Three of Cups, which show more than one character. The character finds comfort not in his own home and garden, but out in the world. Nevertheless, he appears shielded from problems as he nests under a tree. Although the Rider-Waite-Smith illustration places the character elevated on a hillock, many artists conceptualize the location as within the cozy protection of surrounding greenery.
This decan is the mutable fraction of this cardinal water sign, and accordingly represents the transition out of Cancer and preparation for the next sign of Leo. In this tarot card, we might even see the withdrawal from the affectionate connection of the previous two Cancer cards, the Two and Three of Cups, and an emotional centering as we prepare for the more self-oriented fixed fire sign of Leo. The next card in astrological sequence is the Five of Wands, Saturn ruling the first decan of Leo, and is titled Strife. We must move out of the comfort of caring for others and step into the spotlight fully seen. The Four of Cups gives us the moment of pause, the several deep breaths in the wings, as we ready ourselves to step on stage.
The Four of Cups and the Phases of the Moon
It seems to me that the four cups in the image could represent the four phases of the moon. One cup is above, held aloft or offered by a clouded hand or an animal. The other three cups are on the ground. Perhaps the offered cup, which frequently is nearest to the seated figure, is the current phase of the situation being asked about. The three cups on the ground might indicate that there are additional phases that the situation will undergo. Alternately, the hovering cup could be the upcoming phase in the cycle, with the three cups below being the completed steps in the series. Either way, the glumness of the character indicates the recognition that whether good or bad, the present situation will develop, moving through a complete cycle before reaching its final degree of achievement.
Ritual Work for Four of Cups: Moon in Third Decan of Cancer
If you’d like to connect with the energy of the Moon in the third decan of Cancer, the best time to do it this month is Tuesday, October 30, 4 a.m.-5:07 a.m. (This is still technically Monday, the Moon’s Day, because Tuesday, Mars’s Day, will not start until dawn.) If you’d like suggestions for how to use this energy, consider the following simple ritual. Keep in mind that this is a waning moon. Most magical practitioners prefer the day and hour of a planet over its phase, but it never hurts to keep in mind that the decreasing moon is best for releasing or banishing. For instance, if you want to use this ritual to increase your intuition, you might also consider including the concept of decreasing your dependence on logic.
It is always best to read through a ritual several times, make note of all supplies needed, and gather things together ahead of time. To complete the ritual during the planetary hour of the moon as recommended, you will want to start right on time, and so having everything ready to go ahead of time is highly advised. Supplies can be gathered, the altar set up ahead of time, and the hymns and statement of intention written or printed in advance.
Lunar Hymn or Prayer
In this ritual, we’ll use the Orphic Hymn to Selene to connect with the Moon. You might also considering using the Homeric Hymn to Artemis (I like #27) or the Homeric Hymn to Selene. Interestingly, I started working with Greek hymns, such as the Homeric and Orphic hymns, when working with the High Priestess card and the Path of Gimel on the Tree of Life in February 2009 with the Denver Tarot Geeks. The High Priestess corresponds to Luna in the Golden Dawn tradition. So it seems appropriate to again be visiting the Moon, the hymns, and the tarot in this new tarot card astrology series.
I like the following prayer because it is more of a petition. If you have something to ask the Moon Goddess for, you might consider this excerpt from Phaedra by Seneca:
O Artemis, queen of the groves, thou who in solitude lovest thy mountain-haunts, and who upon the solitary mountains art alone held holy, change for the better these dark, ill-omened threats. O great goddess of the woods and groves, bright orb of heaven, glory of the night, by whose changing beams the universe shines clear, O three-formed Hecate, lo, thou art at hand, favouring our undertaking. [State the problem or question.] To this end direct thy powers; so mayst thou be Selene the moon wearing a shining face and, the clouds all scattered, fare on with undimmed horns; so, when thou drivest thy car through the nightly skies, may no witcheries of Thessaly prevail to drag thee down and may no shepherd make boast o’er thee. Be near, goddess, in answer to our call; hear now our prayers.
Statement of Intention
You’ll also need a statement of intention. Sit with the Four of Cups. Consider its symbolism as well as the qualities of the Moon in the third decan of Cancer. Decide what you’d like to achieve by connecting with these energies. Perhaps it is a lunar quality like increasing intuition, remembering dreams, or deepening compassion. Perhaps it directly relates to the imagery of the Four of Cups, such as receiving the proffered cup (what does it symbolize to you?), finding rest and comfort, or learning to center and meditate. An intention that combines Four of Cups and Moon qualities would be releasing your ambivalence and looking within through meditation and reflection to connect with your inner wisdom. Write out your intention using your own words, but if you’d like a template to get you started, consider adapting the following.
On this day at this hour, the Moon is at home in her home sign of Cancer the Crab, and in the third and final portion of that sign, the face of Cancer that she rules. I connect with the Moon through her divine representative [Selene] (use whichever lunar god or goddess you invoked). I ask [Selene] to help me [release my ambivalence and apathy, and looking within through meditation and reflection, to connect with my inner wisdom] (use your statement of intention).
You can make your altar as elaborate or as simple as you like. I tried to list supplies in decreasing level of importance, with required or practical items listed first and decorative items listed last. However, feel free to substitute as needed, choosing for this ritual items that reflect the qualities of the Moon or of the sign of Cancer, or items that express elemental water.
- Small table (one of those folding TV trays works great in a pinch) or clear area on a shelf to set up the altar
- White, silver (Moon colors) or blue (water) cloth to cover the altar
- Lunar incense such as jasmine, mugwort, or sandalwood
- White or silver candle (Moon colors)
- Four of Cups tarot card
- Orphic hymn to Selene (or appropriate prayer of your choice) printed or written on index cards
- Your statement of intention for the ritual, printed or written on an index card
- A silver chalice or other cup; or any water symbol, such as a seashell
- Stones such as quartz point, selenite, pearl, and/or moonstone
- Other lunar symbols, including photos or art of the moon, Moon goddesses, or lunar symbols such as a crescent
- Lunar beverage: I like using a jasmine green tea; spring water is also a good choice
- Lunar food: Anything spiced or flavored with moon-ruled plants, herbs, or spices, or having a lunar shape or color. Consider crescent rolls, a banana, or a lemon poppyseed muffin.
It’s best to prepare ahead of time. If however, you find yourself awake at 4 am on Tuesday, October 30, 2018 or any other time the Moon is in the third decan of Cancer, feel free to improvise as necessary and say your prayers and intentions extempore.
- Set up a basic altar. On a table or clear area of a shelf, place your appropriately colored altar cloth, candle, and lunar incense. You can also include any other Moon related symbols or decorations that will help you connect with the lunar energies.
- Have on hand your prayer or hymn, your Four of Cups tarot card, and your statement of intention.
- Find a comfortable seated position (standing works depending on how long your ritual is) at your altar. Ground and center yourself, perhaps using the fourfold breath.
- Light the incense.
- Read the prayer or hymn that you chose nine times (nine is the number of Yesod, the sphere of the Moon on the Tree of Life). You can use nine coins, stones, or other counters to keep track, moving one from a “to-do” pile to a “done” pile with each reading. Feel a deep connection to the Moon, remaining fully present and aware of the Moon during each recitation, and taking a moment in between to feel the lunar energies.
- Next you’ll focus this increased awareness of lunar energy by turning your attention to the Four of Cups tarot card. Meditate on it briefly, becoming immersed in the scene.
- Read your statement of intention four times (the number of the card), asking Luna (or Selene, or Artemis, or whichever lunar god or goddess you have chosen to work with) to assist you with your intention.
- It is then necessary to ground the energy. You can kneel down and touch the ground with your hands, or place your forehead and hands, palms flat, against the altar. See and feel any excess energy sinking into the earth. You can follow this with eating and drinking (give preference to lunar beverages and food), a traditional technique for grounding.
- You can leave your altar out and return to your intention whenever the Moon is in the third decan of Cancer, or you can put everything away.
If you have any question about this ritual, please leave them in the comments! I’d also love for you to share your experiences with this practice in the comments.
Upcoming Tarot Card Astrology posts for Scorpio:
Eight of Wands, to be published on Monday, October 29, 2018
- Eight of Wands: Mercury Ruling the First Decan of Sagittarius
- Starting October 30, 10:38 p.m. through November 9, around 7 a.m.
- Best times for ritual work: Wednesday Oct 31 and Wednesday, November 7, dawn
Six of Cups, to be published on Thursday, November 1, 2018
- Six of Cups: Sun Ruling the Second Decan of Scorpio
- Starting November 2, 6 a.m. through November 12, 4 a.m.
- Best times for ritual work: Sunday, November 4 and Sunday, November 11, dawn
Joy Vernon is widely recognized by tarot professionals as an expert tarot teacher and respected community leader. With over twenty years’ experience teaching energetic and esoteric modalities, Joy brings expertise and practiced familiarity to her specialty of esoteric tarot, which layers astrological and qabalistic symbolism onto the traditional tarot structure. Under her leadership, the Denver Tarot Meetup has grown into one of the largest and most active tarot-specific meetups in the world. Joy works as a tarot reader, astrologer, and teacher at Isis Books. To learn more, please visit JoyVernon.com.