Estimated Reading Time: 6 minutes
Welcome to the Tarot Blog Hop!
Wranglers Jay Cassels of Sacred Healing and Sharron Basanti of Seeds of Shakti suggested we share a card that represents us. I gave this post an astrological twist by breaking down the basic components of the personality using tarot and astrology. We won’t pick just one card to represent us — we’ll choose three! The Sun, Moon, Ascendant combination forms the basis of personality. Through esoteric symbolism, those signs also relate to specific tarot cards. Learn the cards that represent the heart of who you are!
The Cosmogonic Egg
Out of chaos, Unaging Time and Inevitability combined to create the egg from which hatched all unique things. Time and Inevitability twined together like the wind, circling the egg like a serpent belt. They squeezed with all their might until the egg cracked into two halves. The lower half was the earth, the upper half the sky. From the broken primal egg came the god Phanes, the creative force of the universe, whose name means light.
In another tradition, the goddess Eurynome arose from chaos, and then separated the undifferentiated into sea and sky so that she could have somewhere to place her feet. She danced on the sea until her whirling created the wind, which she rubbed between her hands to form Ophion, the serpent. She was cold on the sea, and danced faster and faster to keep warm. Ophion was aroused by her dancing and coiled around her in his lust. Impregnated by their union, Eurynome transformed herself into a dove and laid the primordial egg on the waves of the ocean. She commanded Ophion to wrap around the egg seven times, his coils tightening until the egg cracked in two. Out tumbled the Sun, the Moon, the planets, the earth, and all things.
The Astrological Chart as Cosmic Egg
In astrology, the moment of birth marks a particular degree of the zodiacal wheel as the horizon, the exact point where earth and sky meet. This crack in the cosmic egg is the Ascendant, separating above from below. From here, the Sun, the Moon and the planets fall into order, populating the heavens above as well as the journey under the earth. This mandala, composed of universal elements, expresses the perfect uniqueness of the one born under its specific arrangement. Astrologers give the greatest emphasis to the Sun, Moon, and Ascendant. This combination represents the distillation of the personality.
Sun, Moon, Ascendant: The Basis of Personality
Most people know their Sun sign — this is often called your “star sign” on internet astrology sites, or just “your sign.” In Western astrology, this is the seasonal sign that the Sun was in at the time of your birth. The Sun sign depicts the self, who you are, your most basic essence.
The Moon sign is the zodiacal sign that the Moon was in when you were born. This sign represents your private self, the part of you that you only share with those closest to you, or that people don’t discover until they get to know you well. It can also represent your emotional self or the soul.
The Ascendant is also called the rising sign. This is the sign that was on the eastern horizon, rising like the Sun rises at dawn, at the time of your birth. The Ascendant indicates how others see you, including your overall physical appearance, the way you present yourself in terms of dress and grooming, and the personality people see as their first impression of you.
Although most of the time knowing only your date and place of birth will produce the correct Sun and Moon sign, in order to know the correct Ascendant it is important to have the exact birth time from a birth certificate, or a relative present at the time of birth, or another accurate source (such as a family bible or baby book).
Sun, Moon, Ascendant in the Tarot
Now let’s find your cards! Before you start, if you don’t already know your Sun, Moon, and Ascendant signs, please pull your natal chart for free at Astrodienst, Alabe, or AstroSeek. You’ll need to know your date, time, and place of birth to get an accurate chart. Note the signs of your Sun, Moon, and Ascendant (ASC). If you’d like to get fancy, you can also note the degree of each of those placements.
Every card in the deck has an astrological correspondence. To find your Sun, Moon, Ascendant cards, we only need to know the cards associated with the astrological signs. I put together a table of these correspondences for you. The easiest way to use the chart is to find the Major card associated with each sign. But if you’d like to be more specific, use the specific Sun, Moon, Ascendant degrees to add the court card and pip card which represent each of those three placements.
Spread out your three cards (you might need a second deck if you have any repeats!) and examine them. In what ways might these cards reflect you? Can you see in the Sun sign card your natural self? Do you see your emotional self in the Moon sign card? Does the Ascendant card reflect how other people describe you when they first meet you? If you’re not already familiar with the astrological correspondences of the cards, they might not seem to fit right away. It takes some meditation and research to understand the astrological meaning behind some of the cards. Here are the posts in my ongoing series on the pips and decans, if you’d like some insight into the astrological correspondences of the Minor Arcana numbered cards.
My Empyrean Key process, although adaptable to any tarot reading, is particularly useful for delineating your natal chart by using the associated tarot cards. This handout, The Empyrean Key: Unlock Your Personal Symbol, explains the process using your Sun sign. If you’d like to repeat the process for the Moon and Ascendant, it’s easy to do. For your Sun sign, you’ll use the Sun card to represent the Sun, plus the sign card from the chart above. For the Moon, use the High Priestess card plus your Moon sign card. The Ascendant is represented by the Ace of Wands plus your Ascendant sign card.
Once you’ve interpreted each of those three pairs, and then pulled and interpreted a Highest Expression card for each of the placements (Sun, Moon, Ascendant), you’ll find a common card to summarize all three of the Highest Expression cards using the process I call “synthesis.” To synthesize the three Highest Expression cards, note for each card one detail or cue in the imagery that is most important, relevant, or applicable to your interpretation of that card. You’ll have three visual cues. Look through the deck for a single card that contains all three visual cues. That is your synthesis card. See my post, A Union Of Opposites, specifically step 5, for a more detailed explanation. Then, returning to the Unlock Your Personal Symbol handout, base your symbol on the synthesis card. Here’s a pdf tarot spread sheet to analyze your Sun, Moon, Ascendant using the Empyrean Key process.
Hop Hop Hop
If I didn’t give you too much homework, and even if I did (you can come back to it!), please hop on to see what the other writers on this hop have to share about eggs and cards to represent themselves!
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.