November 2018 Tarot Card Astrology: Six of Cups
Welcome to the third post in my series on tarot card astrology. I’m selecting cards whose astrological attributions are currently being played out in the heavens above. 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. Earlier this week I discussed the tarot’s Four of Cups: Moon in Cancer and Eight of Wands: Mercury in Sagittarius. Today I’ll explore the Six of Cups: Sun in Scorpio.
Be sure to check out all the articles on this month’s tarot card astrology.
Six of Cups: Sun in Scorpio
- The Six of Cups is titled “Lord of Pleasure.” Readers often vary as to its meaning, but it is a positive card and often associated with children, childhood, childhood memories, and the simple, easy love of best friends.
- The Sun represents the most essential part of your personality around which all other aspects of you orbit. It rules truth, honesty, your own blazing brilliance, your authentic self, and your higher self. The Sun is where we shine. The Sun rules the sign of Leo.
- Scorpio is a fixed water sign ruled by the planet Mars. Scorpio is considered to be secretive, private, deep processing, intense, and passionate. Its symbol is the Scorpion and its glyph indicates the stinger of the scorpion’s tail.
- Six of Cups: Sol Ruling the Second Decan of Scorpio
- The Sun will move through the middle portion of the sign 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
Sun in Scorpio
I don’t know about you, but every November newsletter that hits my inbox, not to mention my Facebook feed, talks about ancestor worship. Despite my upbringing in the Episcopal Church, a faith and practice I always loved, I don’t have any clear remembrance of celebrating All Saint’s Day or All Souls’ Day. Even during the years I had a Neo-Pagan practice, I still did not honor ancestors at Samhuinn. The veil was the thinnest, and what I learned was that it was a good time for divination and scrying, the practices I would use in ritual work to celebrate that season.
I do remember going trick or treating when I was probably 18 months old (could have been a year later, but I don’t remember my sister being there). I don’t remember a costume. I remember it being dark and dirty, maybe we were walking on dirt paths? It seems like there were a lot of trees and small houses, cramped and institutional. I’m not sure where we were, but my dad was teaching at Interlochen Arts Academy at that time in Michigan, so my guess is some kind of campus housing.
(Oh, wait, it’s the 21st century — a quick Google search reveals on the On-Campus Lodging page of their website: “Interlochen also offers cabin-style lodges. These range from rustic to luxurious.” Well, I can tell you they were just rustic in the late 60s.)
I was tired and ended up dragging my bag on the ground. Candy was the objective, but I don’t think I quite understood that yet. I was simply tired (perhaps due to the fact that my bedtime was 7 p.m. because parents used to do that). When I got home from this exhausting job, we discovered that my bag had a hole in it from dragging it on the ground. All the candy had fallen out, probably marking a little Hansel and Gretel style trail behind me. I’ve never liked Halloween that much.
Image of the Six of Cups
The Rider-Waite-Smith (RWS) image for the Six of Cups shows two figures and what appears to be the sharing or giving of a cup with a lily in it. The image is admittedly odd, and many of the reasons why readers suspect a dark secret in this card are summarized in this thoughtful article by Beth Owl’s Daughter.
Almost every reader describes this card as the boy leaning over to give the cup to the girl. But stop for just one second. Who’s giving what to who? What is the boy doing? Get the card out. Look at the picture. The boy is leaned over and his nose is touching the lily. The boy is smelling the flower. Do you smell flowers when you give them or when you receive them? It is normal to smell flowers when they are given to you. If the girl were receiving the flowers she would have her hands out to take them, but instead her hands are at her side. Yes, she is beaming with pleasure, not because of getting (a Sun in Leo thing) but because she is experiencing the joy of giving (a variation of the release present in Scorpio symbolism).
There is a guard walking along the left side of the card. Scorpion deities are often associated with healing and protection, and the armed guard in the background, within easy ear shot, assures us that we are safe. However, something in the aggregate symbolism of card and astrology almost requires a sense of “one step removed.” The DruidCraft Tarot Six of Cups expresses this perfectly — a man looking out the window at children playing. Because the action of the RWS Six of Cups is behind the guard, I wonder if you could say that this scene is not real, but a memory that the immediacy of place and scent invokes. The guard in the loneliness of his duty remembers the time a girl gave him the same flowers that bloom along his beat.
Title of the Six of Cups: Pleasure
The Golden Dawn title of the Six of Cups is “The Lord of Pleasure.” This reminds us that deep-soul experiences are often born of simple pleasures. Children playing. Bumping into an old friend. Smelling flowers. Tea parties. Spontaneous gifts.
The Astrology of the Six of Cups
Scorpio rules the organs of generation and excretion, thus is associated with life and death. The Sun with its brightness shines the spotlight on Scorpio’s darker and interior processes. The Sun is the ego, Scorpio the shadow, that which the reason-ruled ego rejects. When the Sun enters Scorpio, symbolically we begin our exploration and integration of the shadow.
The middle decan of the three faces of Scorpio is the fixed portion of this fixed sign. The fixed modality harnesses, holds onto, maintains, endures, and concentrates. There is a stillness in the middle decans of fixed signs, a sense of moments that extend into eternity. Snapshots. Memories.
My favorite Six of Cups card has to be that from the Victorian Romantic tarot. Two girls on a balcony overlooking the city. One leans over the balcony, peering into the depths of the city below. One looks up to the heavens. She tugs the apron of the other child. Each is completely absorbed in her own perspective, and yet one has initiated the interruption that will begin their exchange of ideas and perspectives. The Sun is about the external. Scorpio is about the internal. Sun in Scorpio brings internal processes out into the light. This is expressed in the symbolism of the card as two best friends share their unique understanding of the world, their deepest secrets and most hidden dreams. For this moment, one lets another see the light in their deepest soul.
Ritual Work for Six of Cups: Sun in the Second Decan of Scorpio
I’ve updated the ritual presented in the previous two posts based on my having performed it now twice beyond the development phase. Please read through all the instructions carefully, and personalize the ritual in ways that are meaningful to you.
The Sun will move through the middle portion of the sign of Scorpio, from 10 degrees through 19 degrees Scorpio, starting November 2, 6 a.m. through November 12, 4 a.m. Best times for ritual work are Sunday, November 4 and Sunday, November 11 at sunrise. Remember that we change the clocks at 2 a.m. on November 4, so sunrise that day will come around 6:30 a.m., not 7:30 as it has been. If dawn doesn’t work for you, use a planetary hour calculator to find the other planetary hours of the Sun during the day. Remember when using the calculator to set the location as well as the date.
Remember to review the ritual and gather your supplies in advance.
Sun Hymn or Prayer
Chose a hymn or prayer to the Sun or to any solar god or goddess. The Orphic Hymn is a popular one, or try this Homeric Hymn. You might also consider a prayer from classical magical practices, such as this one to Helios from the Greek Magical Papyri (PGM XXXVI 211-30). Deities associated with the Sun include Ra, Apollo, Hari (Shri Krishna), Adonis, Iacchus, Rama, Asar (all beautiful/handsome gods), Dionysus (Bacchus), Balder (resurrected gods), Amaterasu, Sekhmet.
But today what I have chosen to use is Paul Foster Case’s tarot meditation on the Path of Resh from his Book of Tokens. I like using these meditations for planetary work, and this is the shortest of them all, so more readily works for this type of ritual.
I am the FACE which shineth ever,
And before which the darkness hasteth away.
I am the White Brilliance
Of the Head which is not a Head.
I am the Profuse Giver of all abundance.
Yet though I the greatest of the great,
I am also the smallest of the small.
I am the depth as well as the height,
The without as well as that which is within,
For in me are all opposites united,
I am the Glory of the Eternal Source,
And I am the Foundation of the Kingdom of the Ageless Result.
In Assiah I am the Sun
Whose rays are the spring of life and action.
The Sun in this material world
Is the father of all bodies therein,
And the cause of every movement.
Yet though I am thy Sun,
I am also every Sun.
Lose not the spirit in the symbol,
O Seeker for Light.
Beneath the wings of the Great Sun thou dwellest,
And this is the Sun whereof the prophet spake:
“But unto you that fear my name
Shall the Sun of righteousness arise
With healing in his wings.”
Yea, in that day
Shalt thou sing unto the Lord a new song,
A song of rejoicing in His beautiful countenance,
The FACE of thine own true Self.
Statement of Intention
Meditate on the Six of Cups and the idea of Sun in Scorpio until your recognize how these symbols represent your intention for this ritual. State this in a concise sentence or phrase. Solar topics include truth, logic, reason, self-confidence, success, letting your light shine, and connecting with your higher self. Sun in Scorpio topics might include uncovering secrets, expressing passions, or bringing understanding to our shadow self. It is beneficial also to pull from the card image when crafting your intention, perhaps the idea of giving gifts, or sharing memories. Perhaps you can give a gift from your Sun self to your shadow self. It might be appropriate to connect with your shadow and begin the process of forgiveness that can lead to integration. This might be very intense for some people, and if you do not feel ready for it, write your own intention focusing on another aspect of the symbolism of the Six of Cups: Sun in Scorpio. Some examples of Statements of Intention for the Six of Cups: Sun in Scorpio might be:
- Shine your light into the darkness where my pain and hurt dwells, and with your honest truth, and deep-hearted compasion, let me see the part of me that I have refused, and if it be your will, let me reach out a hand to it to it in forgiveness and absolution.
- Let my heart be filled with your light, truth, healing, and compassion and beam it to all that I encounter today.
- Let me sing a song of rejoicing in your beauty.
- Let your light shine from me in self-confidence and success.
On this day of the Sun in the hour of the Sun, Beaming Helios, you rule this second, fixed portion of the sign of Scorpio the Scorpion. I ask you, Light of Truth and Bestower of Freedom, to [Let my heart be filled with your light, truth, healing, and compassion and beam it to all that I encounter today.] (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 Sun or of the sign of Scorpio.
- Small table (one of those folding TV trays works great in a pinch) or clear area on a shelf to set up the altar
- Yellow or gold cloth (Solar colors) to cover the altar
- Solar incense such as frankincense, acacia, olibanum, cinnamon, copal
- Yellow or gold candle
- Six of Cups tarot card
- Tarot Meditation on the Path of Resh (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 symbol of the sun, such as a cube (6-faced solid), the cross of six squares, lion, phoenix, pelican
- Gold jewelry or a sun-ruled gemstone such as topaz, tiger eye, or citrine
- Other Solar symbols, including photos or art of the sun, Sun gods, lions, phoenixes, etc.
- Solar beverage: Chamomile tea
- Solar food: Anything spiced or flavored with Sun-ruled plants, herbs, or spices, or expressing Solar attributes, such as as yellow color, blooms at dawn, ripens at the summer solstice, or looks like an eye. Chamomile, rosemary, saffron, sunflower, walnuts, honey, oranges. Baklava.
It’s best to prepare ahead of time. If however, you find yourself suddenly free during an hour of the Sun, especially on a day of the Sun, between November 2 and 12, 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 incense. You can also include any other Sun related symbols or decorations that will help you connect with the energies. Besides the yellow or gold solar candle, it might be helpful to have extra candles for illumination.
- Have on hand your prayer or hymn, your tarot card, and your statement of intention, and a printout of these ritual instructions or your own notes for your ritual
- Light the candle(s).
- 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 six times (six is the number of Tiphareth, the sphere of the Sun on the Tree of Life). You can use six 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 Sun, remaining fully present and aware of the luminary during each recitation, and taking a moment in between to feel its energies.
- Repeat the name of the Deity to fully call them to presence. Traditionally this is done three times, but six times would be an appropriate number for this ritual. Alternately, you can use the God Name of the corresponding sephirah on the Tree of Life. In this case the God Name of Tiphareth is “YHVH Eloah v’Da’ath” (Lord God of Knowledge).
- Next you’ll focus this increased awareness of Solar energy by turning your attention to the Six of Cups tarot card. Meditate on it briefly, becoming immersed in the scene.
- Read your statement of intention six times (the number of the card), asking Helios (or whichever god or goddess you have chosen to work with) to assist you with your intention.
- Sit with the invoked energies at this time. A useful way to direct the energies is in any magical operation or by performing a divination. Skrying is traditional at this time of year, and uses a cup or bowl which supports the symbolism of this ritual.
- 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 Solar beverages and food), a traditional technique for grounding.
- You can leave your altar out for the ten or so days that the Sun is in the second decan of Scorpio and return to your intention during any planetary hour of the Sun or time of need during the Sun’s transit of this decan, 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.
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.