Which tarot card is for Aquarius? A better question is which tarot cards are for Aquarius, and how they apply to you.
The tarot cards of Aquarius
When people ask “Which tarot card is for Aquarius?”, the typical answer given is the tarot card associated with the zodiac sign of Aquarius, The Star card. It’s not a wrong answer, but it is more complex than that. There are multiple answers that may have more bearing depending on why you might want to know. Major Arcana cards are large umbrellas, encompassing concepts on a cosmic scale. So sure, the Star card is Aquarius. But what bearing does this have on the mundane lives of Aquarians? And what does it mean for those with planets and points in the sign of Aquarius? To learn something interesting and relevant, we must turn to the Minor Arcana. Let’s look specifically at the cards associated with the astrological decans of Aquarius.
The Decans of Aquarius
A decan is a ten-degree segment of the zodiac. Since the 360 degrees of the zodiac is divided into twelve signs, each sign encompasses 30 degrees. These are further divided into the decans, or ten degree segments of each sign. Each sign has three decans associated with it – and each of these decans is associated with a card of the Minor Arcana. So for the sign of Aquarius, from 0° Aquarius thru 9° 59′ correlates to the first or ascending decan and the card is the Five of Swords, also known in the Thoth system as (the Lord of) Defeat. From 10° Aquarius thru 19° 59′ Aquarius is the second, the succedent or middle decan of Aquarius and the Six of Swords, Science. From 20° Aquarius thru 29° 59′ Aquarius is the third, final or cadent decan, and the Seven of Swords, Futility.
Every decan has two Major Arcana associated with the Minor Arcana of the decan. Each has the Major card of the Zodiac sign, and the Major of the planet that rules that particular decan – which is not the same planet usually that rules the sign itself. For example, the Five, Six, and Seven of Swords are all cards of Aquarius, so are under the “umbrella” of the Star card as the trump of Aquarius. But each decan is ruled by a different planet. Aquarius itself is ruled by Saturn in the classical system, and Uranus is considered the sign’s modern ruler. But as seen in the graphic above, the middle decan of Aquarius, the Six of Swords, is ruled by the planet Mercury. Mercury’s card is the Magus or Magician. What planet is more fitting than knowledgeable Mercury to preside over the card known as the Lord of Science?
Tabula Mundi Tarot and the decans
The graphic above doesn’t show it, but every minor card of Tabula Mundi is marked on the left with the symbol for the sign – in this case of the Six of Swords the wavy lines of Aquarius. Each card is also marked on the right with the glyph of the decan’s ruling planet, in this case the planet Mercury as shown on the right of the Magus card. Tabula Mundi Tarot is unique in the way it also combines imagery and concepts from the related Majors, synthesizing them in the related minor card. This is as shown above in the Six where the sextant is both an object of science and the stars – mercurial stellar navigation.
Likewise, the decan for the Five of Swords is ruled by Venus. Defeat results when pacific Venus, who wants to bring things together, is in aloof and humanitarian Aquarius. In addition it is a Five card – relating the the very martial sephira Geburah on the Tree of Life. Geburah tears things apart. To make matters worse it is also a mental Sword card to boot! On the other side of the center of the Tree of Life, the Seven of Swords is also a bit unbalanced. The decan is ruled by the unstable and fluctuating Moon, in the sephira associated with Venus. Again the Swords attack, and the querent may not be adequately prepared here in the decan of Futility.
The tarot court cards and the decans
In addition to the Minor Arcana, there are also court cards to examine. The Prince of Swords is the card normally associated with the sign Aquarius. However he only ruled the first two decans of the sign. Every court card also picks up the last decan of the preceding sign, in this case the last decan of Capricorn or the Four of Disks. So if you are an Aquarius Sun sign, born in the first two-thirds of the sign, whose sun is between 0° and 19° 59′ Aquarius, the Prince of Swords is your court card. But if you are a third decan Aquarius, then your court card is actually the Knight of Cups. The Knight of Cups is considered the court card of the next sign, Pisces, but he also picks up the last decan of Aquarius as his “shadow” decan: a hidden part of his nature.
So to go back to the original question, what are the cards of Aquarius and how might they apply to you? The cards of Aquarius are:
- The Star, the major arcana card associated with Aquarius
- The Five of Swords, the minor card of the first decan from 0° Aquarius thru 9° 59′ Aquarius
- The Six of Swords, the minor card of the second decan from 10° Aquarius thru 19° 59′ Aquarius
- The Seven of Swords, the minor card of the third decan from 20° Aquarius thru 29° 59′ Aquarius
- The Prince of Swords, who has the first two decans of Aquarius in his toolkit
- The Knight of Cups, who hides the third decan of Aquarius in his nature
Which tarot cards are for Aquarius, and how do they apply to me?
So how might this apply to you? Well if you get a copy of your astrological chart, you can see what planets you might have in the sign Aquarius. Which decan are they are in, and what card(s) correspond? For example, perhaps your Mercury is in the middle decan of Aquarius. This is a very fortunate place for it to be as the decan itself is ruled by Mercury, giving what is called “face dignity”. Someone with this Mercury placement will be quite gifted and brilliant, coming up with solutions and plans and easily navigating problems. Or perhaps your rising sign is in the first decan of Aquarius, where the Five of Swords resides. Does that mean that you are forever doomed to Defeat? Absolutely not! However it may mean that you are perhaps prone to self-defeating behaviors, and to learn when to be more discriminating. Learning the art of self-defense might be useful!
Want to learn more about decans and how they play out in the minor arcana and the courts? And learn how shadow decans affect the personality traits of the court cards? Tabula Mundi Tarot will be your deck, and Book M: Liber Mundi will be your guide!