“Tarot and Astrology Chat” Links and References

Estimated Reading Time: 8 minutes

“Tarot and Astrology Chat” Links and References

I had a great time talking with Chris Brennan of The Astrology Podcast while I was in Denver last month. We explored a wide-ranging variety of topics centering around and launching from a tarot and astrology center. Topics included: symbolism, How does tarot work? (including Chris’s inspired time travel theory), and the previously underrated role of Pamela Colman Smith in the creation of the Rider-Waite-Smith tarot deck. Then we spiraled out into a history of how the tarot cards became associated with the Hebrew letters, and as a result of existing kabbalistic correspondences, the signs, planets, and elements. We ended with a discussion of the planets on the Tree of Life. In classes and groups I’m facilitating, whenever anyone asks me a question, I frequently reply, “I have a blog post on that.” Well, if any of the topics Chris and I discussed on the podcast sound interesting, you just might be able to find more info on my blog. To that end, I have compiled this list of “Tarot and Astrology Chat” links and references. I hope you find it a useful resource!

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By the way, if you can see this paragraph, the time stamps are based on a rough edit of the episode. Once I watch the final cut, I’ll update them, then delete this paragraph. I think having them is still useful. Doing a few spot checks, it looks like the times are not more than about thirty seconds off.


9:40 Quick Start Tarot

10:30 My Intuitive Approach to Astrology, discussed in this video.

11:00 Joy’s recommendations for choosing a deck. Also, all articles on choosing decks.

Examples of astrology-friendly tarot decks. The astrological correspondences are printed on these Major Arcana tarot cards. From "Tarot And Astrology Chat" Links And References in support of Chris Brennan and Joy Vernon's talk on The Astrology Podcast.

12:30 Decks for Astrologers (an old post; some decks that were in print at the time are no longer, while some that were out of print are available again)

13:45 Symbolism, otherwise known as “The Fool has cat food in his bag.” Also, this category.

14:30 Fool carries stick over wrong shoulder.

Tarot Tableau

19:45 Tarot tableaux video. Also, my 12-7-3 pattern, called the Day-Night-Resurrection tableau. And a related way of studying the cards by spelling out their Hebrew letter.

20:14 I made a mistake here, the BOTA Tableau (also this site has good info) is not called the Trestleboard pattern, which is something different. Not sure where I picked that up, I know it’s wrong to call it that, but unfortunately something learned wrong is hard to get rid of and thus the mistake. The Pattern on the Trestleboard is a series of ten statements that correspond to the ten sephiroth of the Tree of Life.

More Links

29:25 Thoth influence: there are three tarot lineages and knowing which one you’re working with helps you understand the way the deck works.

37:20 Immediately seeing stories in the chart, same video I referenced above regarding my intuitive approach

43:20 Fortune telling meanings of the cards: Many of the fortune telling meanings my teacher used came from the Etteilla system. Somewhat confusingly, the deck is called the Book of Thoth – Etteilla Tarot. I have the Lo Scarabeo edition. The cards have keywords on them, admittedly in French.

Also, Dame Fortune’s Wheel Tarot, book by Paul Huson (there’s a deck too) purportedly follows the Etteilla keywords for the suit cards (although I don’t own a copy to verify). Here’s the Google books preview of that book.

44:55 Mars ruling first decan of Scorpio. There are two sets of decan rulers, and tarot uses the Chaldean decans. In this example, Mars rules the first decan of Scorpio in both systems, so no one is going to have a question here. ? But I wanted to mention it. If you want more info, I have a blog post on that.

49:15 Robert Place book on tarot history: The Tarot: History, Symbolism, and Divination by Robert M. Place.

49:38 Robert Places argues that Pamela Colman Smith was independent in creating the Minor Arcana because, among other things, Waite didn’t describe the cards correctly. The Tarot: History, Symbolism, and Divination by Robert M. Place, pp. 184-186.

51:35 The Pamela Colman Smith Commemorative Set

53:55 Conducting Astrological Consultations in Person, with Joy Vernon (for The Astrology Podcast patrons at the Casual Astrology Podcast tier)

1:03:00 Word count on my blog. You can explore my blog via the magnifying glass search option, by category, or by date.


As we get into the last third of the episode, I alluded more to published works. I tried my best to annotate those references here.

Le Monde Primitif by Court de Gebelin

1:19:50 Donald Tyson translation of the tarot section from “Le Monde Primitif” by Court de Gebelin, and the additional essay by the Comte de Mellet, “Study On The Tarots, and on the Divination by the Cards of the Tarots.” World=aleph.

That Comte de Mellet intended the final tarot trump, The World, to be associated with the first Hebrew letter, aleph, is clarified in “A Wicked Pack of Cards: The Origins of the Occult Tarot” by Ronald Decker, Thierry Depaulis, and Michael Dummett, p. 71.

1:21:05 That Court de Gebelin and Comte de Mellet had a common source: “A Wicked Pack of Cards: The Origins of the Occult Tarot” by Ronald Decker, Thierry Depaulis, and Michael Dummett, p. 66-68.

The Doctrine and Ritual of High Magic by Eliphas Lévi

1:21:48 The Doctrine and Ritual of High Magic: A New Translation by Eliphas Lévi, tr. John Michael Greer and Mark Anthony Mikituk. Originally published 1854. Magician=aleph.

This was previously translated into English by Arthur Edward Waite as Transcendental Magic: Its Doctrine and Ritual.

The Golden Dawn Influence

1:22:55 Mathers, The Tarot. 1888. Magician=aleph.

1:24:20 Book T, reproduced in Aleister Crowley’s journal The Equinox in September 1912. Fool=aleph. Majors to Hebrew letters on pdf p. 196, the page as numbered in the original publication is 150. Although no author is indicated in the Equinox article, the volume titled The Golden Dawn by Israel Regardie, which includes “Book T,” follows up the card descriptions with a note signed S. Rioghail Ma Dhream, the magical motto of Samuel Liddell MacGregor Mathers. He is generally accepted as the author of Book T.

1:24:43 “All the correspondences are wrong” Waite was not quite as officious as I remembered (What??!!). The actual quote is, “I have also not adopted the prevailing attribution of the cards to the Hebrew alphabet–firstly, because it would serve no purpose in an elementary handbook; secondly, because nearly every attribution is wrong” (emphasis added). This is from The Pictorial Key to the Tarot, Part 2, Section 3: Conclusion as to the Greater Keys. Oh, this is also the section where he talks about the Fool’s bag and memories (which he avers are stored in the soul).

Alternate System Example

1:25:45 The Book of Tarot by Fred Gettings, Triune Books, London. 1973.

The Tree of Life and the Planets

1:46:27 Tree of Life and the Planets. The planets are mapped onto the tree according to the Ptolemaic cosmology. I learned this through the Western Mystery tradition, relying on texts such as:

  • Fortune, Dion. The Mystical Qabalah. York Beach, ME: Weiser, 1935, 1984.
  • Greer, John Michael. Paths of Wisdom: A Guide to the Magical Cabala. Second Ed. Loughborough, Leicestershire: Thoth, 2007.
  • Knight, Gareth. A Practical Guide to Qabalistic Symbolism. Boston: Weiser, 2001.
  • Regardie, Israel. A Garden of Pomegranates. St. Paul: Llewellyn, 1970.
  • —. A Garden of Pomegranates: Skrying on the Tree of Life. Ed. Chic Cicero and Sandra Tabatha Cicero. Woodbury, MN: Llewellyn, 1932, 1999.
The Tree of Life with the planetary glyphs

I did find the same ideas in Maimonides, the 12th century Jewish philosopher and Torah scholar.

Note that many modern magical systems, when assigning the planets to the sephiroth, incorporate the outer planets, making ten planets plus the earth (which is the lowest sephirah, number 10), for a total of eleven. So these systems either leave one of the outer planets out, or assign one to the quasi-sephirah Da’ath. These schematics are easy to come by online.

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Thanks for Exploring with Us!

I hope these “Tarot and Astrology Chat” Links and References for Chris’s and my talk on The Astrology Podcast provide a warren of rabbit holes for you to tumble down!

Joy Vernon
Joy Vernon

Joy Vernon is widely recognized as an expert tarot teacher and respected community leader. With over twenty-five 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 grew into one of the largest and most active tarot-specific meetups in the world. Now Joy runs the Greater Seattle Tarot Meetup. Joy works as a tarot reader, astrologer, and teacher in Burien, Washington. To learn more, please visit JoyVernon.com.

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  1. I am so happy to have been introduced to you and your work via the astrology podcast! I have been studying tarot for 4 years and I use the Thoth deck mostly but i am wanting to expand so I look forward to perusing your “choosing a deck” posts. Please consider me a new fan and student! <3 Marshall

  2. Just came over after experiencing your interview on The Astrology Podcast. What a fabulous convo and OMG I just adore your vibe and info! Thank you for these incredible resources! It was a delight watching your chat with Chris and I’m so glad to have loads of your goodies to dig into from here. 🙂

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