I have included both exoteric and esoteric rulers for the cards. The exoteric rulers are said to endow the particular sign with outer characteristics and drives, while the esoteric rulers bestow the spiritual support for the sign’s inner motives. The esoteric rulers provide a secret, spiritual sustenance for the signs they rule.
0. The Fool
Uranus. This card does not rule a particular Zodiac sign although it shares many of the same themes as the fixed air sign of Aquarius. Corresponds to the “number” 0. The idea, the thought, spirituality; that which endeavours to transcend Earth. Also, folly, eccentricity, or even mania. Inspiration, new adventures, new pastures, heeding the call, listening to one's wise all-knowing self, taking a chance, a risk, a gamble, trust and faith in life and in future possibilities. Going forth into the unknown. Inner hunches. Gut instinct.
1. The Magician
Mercury. Corresponds to the number 1 and has no Zodiacal sign that it rules although it shares common themes with the air signs Gemini and Aquarius. Skill, wisdom, adaptation, craft, cunning, or occult wisdom or power. The spark of imagination, new potentials emerging, the conscious mind, consciousness, the time is right to act, ingenuity, infinity. Connection with the source.
2. The High Priestess
The Moon. Corresponds to the number 2 and has no rulership over any of the 12 Zodiac signs. She has strong affiliations with Greek goddess of the Underworld, Persephone and with the watery signs of the Zodiac -Cancer, Pisces and Scorpio.. Change, alternation, increase and decrease, fluctuation, intuition, dreams, gestation, esoteric doctrines, secrets, the womb, receptivity. This card speaks of potentials, the unconscious, a secret initiation.
3. The Empress
Venus. Corresponds to the number 3 and doesn't rule any particular Zodiac sign, however, it is affiliated with the lunar Goddess, Demeter, or Ceres/Gaia and is therefore expressed comfortably in earthy signs such as Taurus and Virgo. Demeter is mother of Persephone and represents the more earthy facets of feminine expression. Beauty, happiness, pleasure, success, fertility, ripeness, fecundity, birthing, pregnancy. Birthing the potentials indicated in The High Priestess.
4. The Emperor
Mars/Mercury. This card is the first of the Zodiacal signs and corresponds to the cardinal fire sign, Aires. Corresponds to the number 4. Mars is the exoteric (traditional) ruler of Aries, while Mercury is its esoteric ruler. The Sun is exalted in Aires. War, conquest, victory, strife, ambition, self-realisation, implementing structures, inner authority, masculinity, yang energy, male self. Laying down foundations, organising power. Organising the wild growth and fertility indicated by the Empress. Willfulness, determination, control and manipulation of environment for good or for ill.
5. The Hierophant
Venus/Vulcan. This card is the second of the Zodiacal signs and corresponds to the fixed earth sign, Taurus. Corresponds to the number 5. Taurus is ruled by Venus in traditional, exoteric astrology and by Vulcan in esoteric astrology. Some doctrines suggest that it is the Earth rather than Venus that is the rightful exoteric ruler of Taurus. The Moon is exalted in Taurus. Divine wisdom, manifestation, explanation, teaching, occult force voluntarily invoked. The Hierophant, or Priest, is the builder of bridges -uniting spiritual realities with mundane ones. He rules the 5 senses and bridges inner meaning with outer reality.
6. The Lovers
Mercury/Venus. This card is the third of the Zodiacal signs and corresponds to the mutable air sign, Gemini. Gemini is ruled by Mercury in traditional astrology and by Venus in esoteric astrology. Corresponds to the number 6. Inspiration (passive, mediumistic choice), motives, power, action, conscious choices, decisions, a cross-roads, being confronted with a conflict in tastes, values, love triangles, adolescence. Pros and cons.
7. The Chariot
The Moon/Neptune. This card represents the fourth of the Zodiacal signs and corresponds to the cardinal water sign, Cancer. Corresponds to the number 7. Cancer is ruled by the Moon in traditional, exoteric astrology and by Neptune in esoteric astrology. Jupiter is exalted in Cancer. Triumph, victory, health (sometimes unstable), emotional power, emotional conviction, balancing masculine and feminine energies. Cancer, in esoteric doctrine, was known was the first sign in the Zodiac and its constellation was called "The Gateway of Man". It is here that man gets a first glimpse into his true nature.
The Sun. This card represents the fifth of the Zodiacal signs and corresponds to the fixed fire sign, Leo. Corresponds to the number 8. Leo is ruled by the Sun in traditional, exoteric astrology as well as esoteric astrology. It is said that Neptune is exalted in Leo. Eternal justice, strength, force, but arrested as in an act of judgment. May mean law, trial etc. Taming beast within -aligning animal instinct with drive, will and determination. Self-expression, instinctual wisdom married with conscious effort.
9. The Hermit
Mercury/The Moon. This card represents the sixth of the Zodiacal signs and corresponds to the mutable earth sign, Virgo. Corresponds to the number 9. Virgo is ruled by Mercury in traditional, exoteric astrology and by the Moon in esoteric astrology. There is much dispute in astrological circles as to whether or not Mercury rules Virgo. Some astrologers suggest that the asteroid Vesta rules Virgo, while others suggest that it is the planetoid Chiron. It is said that Pluto is exalted in Virgo. Wisdom from on high. Active, divine inspiration. Sometimes “unexpected current”. Denotes a time when one must find inner strength and fortitude in stillness, silence and solitude. The word Virgin, or, "Virgo" means whole unto oneself, which suggests that a period of isolation is needed to gather inner reserves and to re-evaluate the meaning of one's journey. Both the Moon and Mercury rule different facets of memory so this period can be likened to "remembering who we are", untarnished and uninfluenced by outside forces and opinions.
10. The Wheel of Fortune
Jupiter. This card does not represent a Zodiacal sign though can be linked to both Sagittarius and Pisces due to its Jupiterian rulership. It corresponds to the number 10. It denotes good fortune, changing fortune, happiness (with bounds), intoxication of success. The fact that this card is usually presided over by animals or feminine figures or deities suggests that fortune or, luck doesn't come from outside forces but rather reflects an inner intelligence or pattern at work within one's life -we create our own fate through our biological impulses. What is outside and what is inside are always mysteriously intertwined.
Venus/Uranus. This card represents the seventh Zodiacal sign and corresponds to the cardinal air sign, Libra. Corresponds to the number 11. Libra is ruled by Venus in traditional, exoteric astrology and Uranus in esoteric astrology. Courage, strength, fortitude, power passing on to action. Obstinacy. Laws of the universe, fairness, truth, insight, impartial judgment. Balancing two different realities. Libra is the only manmade symbol in the Zodiac and represents the power of the mind to be an impartial judge and witness of an objective reality. Learning objectivity. Value systems. Peace. Manmade law, faith in justice. Divine intervention.
12. The Hanged Man
Neptune. This card does not represent a Zodiacal sign though shares common ground with the mutable water sign Pisces. It corresponds to the number 12. It denotes enforced sacrifice, punishment, loss, voluntary suffering as befitting for its Neptunian rulership. Neptune is said to be exalted in Leo and this suggests something of the willingness to sacrifice the "I", the Self, in order to be of service to the All -the one reality. Sometimes involuntary surrender. Scapegoat, victim, martyr. Redeemer, redemption, saviour. Submission.
Pluto/Mars. This card represents the 8th Zodiacal sign and corresponds to the fixed water sign, Scorpio. Corresponds to the number 13. Scorpio is ruled by Pluto/Mars in traditional, exoteric astrology and by Mars in esoteric astrology. Uranus is said to be exalted in Scorpio. Time, age, transformation, change, involuntary (as opposed to The Moon card). Death, destruction. Death of the ego self, purging, rebirth, resurrection. Dying so that we can be born again. Renewal, metamorphosis, transformation. The end of one reality and the beginning of a new life. Change. Surrender. Loss of control, surrendering ego and the illusion that ego is in control.
Jupiter/Earth. This card represents the 9th Zodiacal sign and corresponds to the mutable fire sign, Sagittarius. Corresponds to the number 14. Sagittarius is ruled by Jupiter in traditional, exoteric astrology and by the Earth in esoteric astrology. Combination of forces, realisation, action, material effect, good, evil. A new person emerges from the ashes of the Death card. Regeneration and reconfiguration on a cellular level. Increased libido, strong life urge, tempering inspiration with worldly reality. Universal concerns. A new person -reborn and rebirthed after the struggle of Death.
15. The Devil
Saturn/Lilith. This card represents the 10th Zodiacal sign and corresponds to the cardinal earth sign, Capricorn. Corresponds to the number 15. Note that 1 and 5 add up to make 6 and 666, in Kabbalistic tradition, is the number associated with the Devil. Capricorn is ruled by Saturn in traditional exoteric astrology and by Dark Moon Lilith in esoteric astrology. Materiality, material force, material temptation, obsession. Control issues, bound to form and structure, materialism, fear of vulnerability. Defense mechanisms. Bondage. Bondage to material reality and comforts.
16. The Tower
Mars. This card has no Zodiacal sign attached to it, however due its rulership by Mars it has a natural affinity with the signs of Aries and Scorpio. It corresponds to the number 16. Ambition, fighting, war, courage, or destruction, danger, fall, ruin, falling from the ivory tower, breaking away from self-imposed limitations. Has affinity with Uranus, too -the old ways have died and no longer serve the individual's growth. Not being able to live inside the safe confines of the mind anymore. Instinct (Mars) erupts and takes over. A raw life force emerges from the polite, manmade sophistication of the tower.
17. The Star
Uranus/Jupiter. This card represents the 11th Zodiacal sign and corresponds to the fixed air sign, Aquarius. It corresponds the number 17. Both Uranus and Saturn rule Aquarius in traditional, exoteric astrology while Jupiter rules Aquarius in esoteric astrology. Hope, faith, unexpected help. Or dreaminess, deceived hope etc. Pennies from heaven. Rosy visions of the future. Faith in greater power, faith that there is a divine, intelligent pattern at work in our lives, weaving meaning into seemingly random events. Everything happens for the greater good.
18. The Moon
Neptune/Pluto. This card represents the 12th and final Zodiacal sign and corresponds to the mutable water sign, Pisces. It corresponds to the number 18. Both Jupiter and Neptune rule Pisces in traditional, exoteric astrology while Pluto rules Pisces in esoteric astrology. Venus is exalted in Pisces. Dissatisfaction, voluntary change. Error, lying, fatality, deception. This card is very sensitive to dignity. Confusion, confrontation with instinctual life (reflected by the dogs and crawfish). Contents of the unconscious swimming up to surface to b healed and redeemed. Vivid dream-life. Usually indicates a period when dreams and introspection are strong -providing clues on ones' secret self or issues from the past that need to be resolved.
19. The Sun
The Sun. This card has no Zodiacal sign attached to it though it shares a natural affinity with the fire signs especially Leo. It corresponds to the number 19. Glory, gain, riches. With certain cards it can mean vanity, arrogance and display. Usually a very positive, buoyant card, where all past efforts have woven together to yield a beautiful harvest of ripe fruits. Divinity, childlike joy, unabashed self-expression, seeing oneself in ones creations, divine nature, acknowledging one's divinity
Pluto. This card has no Zodiacal sign attached to it though due to its Plutonian rulership shares common ground with the fixed water sign, Scorpio. It corresponds to the number 20. Final decision, judgment, sentence, determination of a matter without appeal on it plane. A karmic period. One has been asleep for years and is finally waking up to who they really are and what they're really about. Previous life events all weave together to produce an invisible, intelligent pattern at work in one's life. A calling, a calling from within that gets you back on your destined life-path. No more hiding. Work to be done. Something's gotta give. Change from the inside out.
21. The World
Saturn. This card has no Zodiacal sign attached to it though it relates to both Capricorn and Aquarius due to its Saturnian rulership. It corresponds to the number 21. The matter itself, synthesis, world, kingdom. Wholeness, coming into one's one. The end of one journey and a seed planted for a new one. Whatever "ends" must come round again. The Fool has come full circle. Duty to self, responsibility, inner alignment, self-mastery, completeness, completion, attending to worldly duties.
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