One of the classes I teach is Esoteric Tarot–reading tarot based on the astrological and qabalistic correspondences as systematized in Book T by Samuel MacGregor Mathers. Each year we are on a mission to find the perfect “cheat-sheet” deck–a deck that includes all the astrological associations printed on the cards. The class encourages memorization of this material (we even have weekly tests!), but even for those who have worked hard to memorize it, when you are staring at a spread with 20-36 cards, trying to remember how to lay the cards out, how to count them, the elemental dignities, the qabalistic correspondences, and the astrology…it’s really nice if the cards provide a helping hand and show the correspondences clearly.
One of the most frustrating things is the court cards–not all the decks include the astrological associations on the court cards, and when it’s standard iconography to show a crab on the Knight of Cups card–when a crab usually indicates Cancer, cardinal water, but the Knight of Cups is Pisces, mutable water…it’s enough to pack up a deck and give up.
Today I am sharing with you five decks that include the astrological correspondences on all 78 cards, making them perfect cheat-sheets for reading the Opening of the Key and other Golden Dawn style tarot spreads. I also include a section for decks that have the correspondences on some cards but not all, a few examples of decks that have correspondences but are out of print, and some decks that use non-Golden Dawn astrological associations.
For each deck, I link to the publisher first, the artist if self-published, or a site where you can purchase the deck if the first two options are non-existent or inadequate. And as a last resort for out-of-print decks, I link to Aeclectic.net (a great first stop for looking for decks!). I included a scan of a representative sample of cards for decks that I own and had close to hand.
Drawing and Contest
I hope you find this information as helpful as my students do! If you have any deck recommendations, or just want to leave a comment, please check out the contest described at the end of the post.
Please also check out my free community webinar, An Astrologer’s Approach to Tarot, offered by Kepler College this Saturday, August 29, from 2-3:30 p.m. MDT.
Great astrology starter decks using the Golden Dawn system:
Hermetic Tarot, by Godfrey Dowson, published by US Games 1990; reprint US Games 2006 (Court Cards show element of element attributions in the border and astrological associations in the artwork)
Liber T: Tarot of Stars Eternal, by Andrea Serio, Roberto Negrini, published by Lo Scarabeo 2004 (Court Cards show element of element attributions in the border and astrological associations in the artwork)
Parrott Tarot, by Thom Parrott, Self Published
Tarot of Ceremonial Magick, by Lon Milo Duquette, published by US Games 1997 ; reprint Thelesis Aura 2011
Tarot of the Spirit, by Joyce Eakins, published by US Games 1992
Uses Golden Dawn System, but attributions are not on every card:
Book of Azathoth, by Nemo, Self Published 2012 (Court Cards show element of element but not astrological correspondences)
Golden Dawn Magical Tarot, by Chic Cicero, Sandra Tabatha Cicero, published by Llewellyn 2001 (Court Cards show single element but not astrological correspondences)
Golden Dawn Temple Tarot, by Harry Wendrich, Nick Farrell, Nicola Wendrich, published by Wendrich artHouse 2014 (Court Cards show single element in border but not astrological correspondences)
Legacy of the Divine Tarot, by Ciro Marchetti, Self Published 2008, published by Llewellyn 2009 (on some cards but not all; hidden in art)
Night Sun Tarot, by Fabio Listrani, published by Lo Scarabeo 2014 (Court Cards show element of element but not astrological correspondences)
Sakki-Sakki Tarot, by Sakki-Sakki Artist, Self Published (not on Court Cards)
Tabula Mundi Tarot Nox et Lux, by M.M. Meleen, Self Published 2015 (Court Cards show element of element but not astrological correspondences)
Thoth Tarot, Aleister Crowley, Frieda Harris, published by US Games 1978 (not on Court Cards)
Wickwillow Tarot, by Hal Weeks, Self Published 2013 (not on Major Arcana or Court Cards)
Sadly Out of Print (but look around–you might find it):
Quest Tarot, by Joseph Ernest Martin, published by Llewellyn 2002 (uses mysterious notation on Court Cards but not astrological symbols; border color shows element)
Tarot of Dreams, by Ciro Marchetti, Self Published 2005 (Court Cards show single element in border and astrological associations in the artwork)
Tarot of the Sephiroth, by Dan Staroff, published by US Games 2001
Wyzard of Odd Tarot, by Bryan Lahr, Self Published 2014 (Court Cards show element of element but not astrological correspondences)
Zodiac Tarot, by Luca Raimondo, Lee Bursten, published by Lo Scarabeo 2007 (Court Cards show element of element but not astrological correspondences)
Alternate astrological systems:
Celestial Tarot, Created by Kay Steventon, Brian Clark, published by US Games 2004
Crow’s Magick Tarot, Created by Londa Marks, published by US Games 1998
Elemental Tarot, Created by Caroline Smith, John Astrop, published by St Martins Press 2001
Kingdom Within Tarot, by Juno Lucina, Shannon ThornFeather, published by Schiffer Books 2011
Maat Tarot, Created by Julie Cuccia-Watts, Self Published 2006
Mandala Astrological Tarot, Created by A. T. Mann, published by Harper San Francisco 1997, OOP
Symbolon Deck, Created by Ingrid Zinnel, Peter Orban, Thea Weller, 80 card Oracle Deck, published by AGM Müller 1993
Tarot of the Holy Light, Created by Christine Payne-Towler, Michael Dowers, published by Noreah Press 2011
Win a Free 20-Minute Phone Reading!
Contest 1: Drawing
Have you used any of these decks? Which is your favorite? If you haven’t used any of them, which looks like one you would like? Let me know in the comments! Post a comment by midnight MDT August 31, 2015 and I’ll choose one commenter to win a free 20-minute phone reading.
Contest 2: Share Your Knowledge
Also, if anyone can provide an in-print tarot deck (78 cards) not listed here that has the Golden Dawn astrological attributions printed on every card, let me know (in the comments or by email) by midnight MST December 31, 2015 and I’ll add it to the list and give you a free 20 minute phone reading.
Free Community Webinar at Kepler College: An Astrologer’s Approach to Tarot by Joy Vernon
I’ve been invited to present a free community webinar at Kepler College next week: An Astrologer’s Approach to Tarot by Joy Vernon.
Every card in the tarot deck corresponds to an element, mode, sign, decan, planet or combination of these. We’ll review how this astrological information came to be assigned to the cards of the tarot deck and learn a variety of techniques to make it easy for astrologers to add tarot to their repertoire.
The webinar is from 2-3:30 Mountain time on Saturday, August 29. It will be recorded and registrants can download it for fourteen days after the event.
Registration for this free webinar is required through Kepler College.
I hope you can join us!
Joy Vernon has been studying and teaching energetic and esoteric modalities for more than twenty years. She is the organizer of the Denver Tarot Geeks, Denver Tarot Meetup and Denver Traditional Reiki Meetup, and she served on the faculty of Avalon Center for Druidic Studies. She is one of the psychics at Isis Books and is a Certified Professional Tarot Reader and a member of the American Tarot Association and Tarosophy Tarot Association. Joy also teaches Traditional Japanese Reiki. For information on upcoming classes or to schedule an appointment, please visit JoyVernon.com.
© 2015 by Joy Vernon. All rights reserved.
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.