Updated: Apr 2, 2020
Both tarot cards and astrology date back thousands of years, so it makes total sense why these two practices have some crossover. But by understanding which cards represent which zodiac signs, it can really add depth to your tarot reading skills.
In the traditional tarot deck, 22 cards belong to the Major Arcana—and 12 of those cards represent the 12 signs of the zodiac. While there are other cards in the tarot deck that represent zodiac signs (modality-forward, specifically), in this article we're solely focused on the zodiac's relationship with the Majors.
Take note when one or more of these cards show up in a spread, because when you apply their zodiac traits to the card meanings, you'll get an extra layer to work with. You may even be able to guess the zodiac sign of the person you're working with or discussing!
The Emperor IV: Aries
The Emperor card is one of strength, fortitude, leadership, and power—sounds totally Aries, right?
Like The Emperor, an Aries person is action-oriented and seemingly "just knows" what to do and when to do it. So there's some mutual meanings here regarding authority. Naturally (as Aries is the first sign of the zodiac calendar), The Emperor is first numerically of all the Major Arcana cards associated with zodiac signs.
The Hierophant V: Taurus
While Taurus is generally known for love of luxury and comfort, The Hierophant taps into a Taurean specialty in a much different way. Traditionally, The Hierophant is a card that embodies religious tradition. For example, this card is sometimes referred to as "The Pope" in older decks. Being that Taurus is one of the most steady and consistent signs in the zodiac, an inherently traditional card is so fitting.
More than that, The Hierophant is someone said to connect spirituality to the Earth. He is the bridge-builder between us and the Heavens. Being that Taurus is an Earth sign (and a very grounded and practical one at that), and is also a lover of the highs we get from luxurious, sensual things, Taurus enjoys being that bridge. .
The Lovers VI: Gemini
Gemini is represented by The Lovers. If you connect this back to the zodiac sign's symbol, "The Twins," this makes a lot of sense. Gemini is a very social sign that thrives with a partner next to them—whether that be at work on projects or in love relationships. More than that, Geminis are very open-minded and able to see both sides of a situation (hence, their prejudice for being "two-faced").
The Lovers card not only empathizes with a Gemini's need to be partnered, but it also resonates with this sign's dreamlike optimism. This card suggests romance or partnership for sure, but it also sees that partnership through the lens of rose-colored glasses. Thus, while there are always two halves, two sides to a story, two people involved... reality can be lost in the duality.
The Chariot VII: Cancer
Cancers are known for being sweet, moody, and having a homebody streak. But what many people forget about the Crab is their insane determination. This is a resilient sign that will stop at nothing to achieve their goals. Remember: They have one of the toughest shells in the zodiac. The Chariot is equally as fierce. This card comes up to suggest winning at all costs. It's about leading the pack, taking charge, and knowing what you want. Cancers may be sensitive... but they're definitely not weak.
With that "hard shell outside, soft feels inside" vibe, a Cancer's only weakness is their own self-confidence if it's too low. The same can be said for The Chariot—something you can identify if the card comes up reversed.
Strength XI: Leo
The Strength card represents one of the fiercest signs of them all: Leo. This feisty, loud, fixed fire sign is both charming and intense. A Leo's greatest Strengths (ha, get it?) resides in his or her optimism, confidence, and loyalty.
Because a Leo's cup is always half full, that's where the correlation with Strength comes into play. When times are tough and you want to give up, you know the Strength card (or your Leo bestie) will swoop right in and encourage you to keep going—that is, only after they boost your confidence with a makeover and a million compliments.
The Hermit IX: Virgo
Virgos are known to be analytical (to the extreme), judgmental, and loyal to a fault. But what relates them to the solitary and thoughtful Hermit? As a practical and detail-oriented sign, Virgo matches well with the solitary and soul-searching Hermit.
The real connection here lies in the “inner search” for higher meaning. Virgos are constantly seeking perfection, and while that may be a tiresome task, it’s one essential for them to feel whole. The Hermit actively pulls away from society so he can self-reflect, re-organize his thoughts, and re-emerge a more refined version of himself than ever before. Essentially, both seek to establish a more perfect plan for the future and vision of themselves.
Justice VIII: Libra
As a sign that’s always weighing out the pros and cons, and naturally indecisive about… well, everything, it makes total sense that Libra's zodiac symbol is a Scale.
Similarly, Justice is also a card about pros and cons. However, it dives more into Libra’s fight for equality. Sure, this sign may never be able to decide who they want to date or what they want for lunch. But when it comes to bigger scale issues, they want everyone to have a fair say. And that’s where Justice—the card of moral stature, compromise, ethics, and equality—comes in.
Death XIII: Scorpio
For those unfamiliar with tarot, Death is typically thought of as representing endings and sadness. However, it’s really a card of transition. It appears when we’re transforming our lives from one chapter to the next.
Being a sign of intensity, depth, and competitiveness, Scorpio makes a perfect companion for this life-changing card. So, similar to Scorpio’s contemplative nature, Death also asks us to go deep and understand what we need to change, in order to evolve.
Temperance XIV: Sagittarius
Sagittarius is the sign most associated with world travel, spirituality, higher learning, and philosophy. It’s one rooted in humanity, with the hopes to make a bridge between higher power and earthly beings.
Embodying the bridge between worlds, it’s no wonder why Sagittarius is associated with Temperance: the card of balance and higher purpose. Temperance comes up at a time when we need to bring balance in our lives in order to enhance the quality of our lives. (For example, work-life balance or mind-body-soul balance.)
The Devil XV: Capricorn
Symbolizing all mechanisms of material sin, The Devil is a card that suggests a toxic relationship we have with something on Earth such as a person, a vice, or a substance.
Capricorn, being the hardworking Earth sign that it is, is rooted in logic, practicality, and physicality. But because this sign works so hard and gives such attention to material success, it can get wrapped up in success for the wrong reasons. Hence, the all-consuming energy of The Devil.
The Star XVII: Aquarius
As the humanitarian sign of the zodiac, Aquarius is grounded in the idea that the world (and the people in it) can evolve. They are rooted in their vision of a better future.
In fact, creativity, hope, and vision, are a few of Aquarius’ greatest strengths. This is perfectly suited for The Star card as it’s the most optimistic card in the entire deck. The Star isn’t afraid to dream BIG. And because this card is so willing to dream, this also gives The Star the freedom to be as creative and bold as possible. Dreaming without fear!
The Moon XVIII: Pisces
I know, I know… seeing as Cancer is ruled by the moon, it’s almost like this card should be devoted to Cancer. However, Pisces and The Moon actually have some serious similarities.
Pisces is a dreamy and intuitive sign that meets up naturally with The Moon’s attention to femininity, psychic intuition, and liminal space. This card is all about detaching from the world and diving into one’s consciousness—something Pisces does on a daily basis. In fact, detachment from the world from time to time is necessary for any Pisces to recharge and then reappear with full empathy.
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