Rules of Astrology in Tarot

by Nov 29, 20139 comments

The Rules of Astrology for Tarot readers

Certain astrological rules have remained constant throughout the centuries, but the modern focus on Character readings where flattery and not the need for objectivity has generally obscured their importance. Most Tarot readings concern events, so we can take these traditional rules to our advantage.

How Planets relate to Houses

So far you have looked at placements in astrology – the house signs and relationships between the planets. Now you will look at how the planets relate to the houses; how they are strengthened or weakened within a sign.

MarsAries, ScorpioTaurus, LibraCapricornCancerLeo6
VenusTaurus, LibraAries, ScorpioPiscesVirgoSagittarius5
MercuryGemini, VirgoSagittarius, PiscesVirgoPiscesCancer, Capricorn1
JupiterSagittarius, PiscesGemini, VirgoCancerCapricornAries, Taurus, Libra11
SaturnCapricorn, AquariusLeo, CancerLibraAriesGemini, Virgo12
Strengths and weaknesses of the planets in the Zodiac

Astrological Rulerships

This table is simpler than it seems . Each of the seven main planets rule two signs each, except the Sun and the Moon, so we can see that the two luminaries are aspects of each other. Planets in their own signs are at home – they are strong.

Planets in their Detriment place are weak, which means that the signs ruled are also weakened. Note the symmetry: Mars is in detriment in the signs ruled by Venus and vice versa, Mercury and Jupiter are polarities, as are the Sun/Moon and Saturn.

Planets in their exalted place are very strong, which also strengthens their own signs. The weakest place, Fall, is exactly opposite, or seven signs away. Planets in the Fall position are correspondingly weakest.

Planets in signs other than the ones described above have a normal strength.

If two planets are found in the other’s ruling sign, there is a condition of mutual reception, which is also powerful, and shows that they exchange energy easily. Think of it as when your host invites you to treat their house as if it was your own.

The Joys of the Planets

The house that a planet is happiest in, irrespective of the real zodiac sign. This system comes from Firmicus Maternus in the fourth century.

All good astrologers have memorised this information.


Convert the above table into the corresponding Major arcana. You can also do a similar exercise with the Minor arcana.

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  1. Claire

    Sat / Aqu / 0 (Air)
    Jup / Pis / X
    Mar / Ari / IV
    Sun /Tau / XIX
    Ven/ Gem / VI
    Mer/ Can / I
    Moo/ Leo / XI
    Sat / Vir / XXI (Earth)
    Jup/ Lib/ VIII
    Mar/ Sco / XIII
    Sun/ Sag / XIV
    Ven/ Cap / XV
    Mer/ Aqu / XVII
    Moo/ Pis / XVIII
    Sat / Ari / XX (Fire)
    Jup /Tau/ V
    Mar/ Gem/ XVI
    Sun/ Can/ VII
    Ven/ Leo / III
    Mer/ Vir / IX
    Moo/ Lib/ II
    Sat / Sco / XII (Water)


    • Paul-Hughes-Barlow

      Where does this table come from?


  2. Claire

    Hi Paul,

    it came through meditation on the Universe XXI card. This chart represents only the top line though (running from Aqu to Sco), and shows the separation of the 7 Planets/Trumps into 3 modalities. If the sequence is continued unbroken and completely around (down to the corner of Sat/Leo, over to Sat/Tau and up to finish at Sat/Aqu), then you end up with all 7 planets in all 12 signs of the zodiac.

    If the Trumps are used with these Planet/Modality associations in a 4 card elemental spread (or first operation of the Opening of the Key?), I think it can add insight to the reading because of the sign/house info for each Trump given by its position.

    For example: Atu X = Mutable Jupiter, so if it shows up in the Fire position it could be read as Jupiter in Sag and/or the 9th House. In the Water position it would be Jup/Pis/12th. In the Air position: Jup/Gem/3rd, and in the Earth position Jup/Vir/6th.

    I got this directly from the XXI card, but unfortunately haven’t found it anywhere else (yet). But it just seems so “intended”, and I just wish I could find a book source or direct quote or hint somewhere, that would show it as more “legitimate”(?) ๐Ÿ™‚


    • Paul-Hughes-Barlow

      I think you are describing the decanate system where each 10 degrees are ruled by a planet in sequence (planets of the week). There is also a way of rulerships of 5 degrees, which will give you 72, the number of the Shemhamphorash and the Goetia

  3. Claire

    Thanks so much, Paul! I really appreciate your responding and yes the planets and days of the week is exactly what I’ve been currently trying to figure out and work with (emphasis on “trying” though – lol) It’s often more challenging/frustrating than anything else, and especially when not 100% sure why I keep working on this stuff in the first place, or what “exactly” the point/goal (if any) there is to it either. Mainly, (at present) I’ve this idea of trying to find a way to work with the Major Arcana as planetary symbols/talismans and see if they can be integrated into daily life in a regular and helpful way. But also trying to understand if there is a larger underlying rhythm and energy that “everyone” who lives by and is aware of the days of the week cycles creates and is a part of, even without knowing astrology. Do you think that the 7 day cycles have more/less effect on people than the “real time” actual movements of the planets out in space. I guess I’m trying to understand the difference between what’s real/tangible and what’s made real simply because a large collective body of people are all in agreement with it (like the fact that today is Friday versus Monday?) ๐Ÿ˜› But does that give more power to Venus (Friday) or influencing energy, than if the planet itself is out in space somewhere making a supposed hard aspect to another planet, which the majority of the populace wouldn’t even consciously know about? I apologize for this being such a long-winded question.


    • Paul-Hughes-Barlow

      I think you are trying to think too much – just go by what is already out there, rather than trying to reinvent the wheel! Sometimes what is more important is what people think, not what is right (I am talking from personal experience here. The other system you might consider is the tattwas. Sometimes its better just to get on with your life unless you find a better of way of understanding it. In the meantime, keep experimenting!

    • Paul-Hughes-Barlow

      The other way of looking at things when you are trying separate truth from lies is; a lie will make you heavy and small, while the truth will make you light and expanded.

  4. Claire

    I really appreciate your insight and advice! I just looked up what the Tattwas are, and this looks like a promisingly area for study and exploration too. Thank you!

    • Paul-Hughes-Barlow

      Glad to be of help!


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