Significators | Astrology | The need for a lie down….

Published by Alison Cross on

So now we roll on to the Golden Dawn’s allocation of Court Cards to the zodiac.

Reader, I wrote this post about half a dozen times, every time it ended up utterly turgid and soooo boring I thought I might have to post you out a couple of match-sticks to prop your eyelids open and assault you with this *brandishes hat pin* just to make sure you are awake.

First of all, it’s bad news again for the Pages; there’s still no room at the Astrological Inn for them with this system either.

BUT – you will be pleased to know that I’ve abandoned all that earnest writing in favour of a drawing!  OK, it’s not the BEST drawing, but it does show the Golden Dawn’s zodiac choices.  I even added some seasonal trees to tart it up a bit for you.  You’re welcome.

(*sssh* ignore the fact that I almost spelled my blog’s name wrong)

First of all, let’s look at the outer wheel which is marked by lots of tiny strokes. like the teeth on a wheel There’s 360 of them to be exact.  Degrees.  They’re called degrees. This works out quite nicely to 30 degrees per astrological sign.  I marked the outer ring accordingly.

The next ring shows the 12 zodiac signs – well, my hand-drawn glyphs.  Apologies – they are tricker to doodle than you might think.

The inner ring has the Kings, Queens and Knights of the Tarot Court.  The Wands are written in a nice fiery orange, the Swords in truthful black, the Cups in watery blue and the Pentacles in green.  I *know* – SO organised.

You will see that each card does not line up exactly with each zodiac sign.  Irritating.  AND what is stranger is that they aren’t matched up like the previous system AT ALL (ie Wands = Fire Signs).

Why is this?

Well, the long and the short of it is that the Golden Dawners recognised that people are not quite the exact fit for each traditional astrological definition. So in a huge elemental mash-up, they offset each court card, preventing it from ‘owning’ a zodiac sign by 10 degrees.  This is called a decan. I think this overlap gives the whole thing a sort of strength of structure, like the bricks in a wall.  Just me?

Those Golden Dawn smarty-pants DID allocate Major Arcana cards to each zodiac sign; I guess it prevents any direct equation between a Court and a Major.  I left them off this diagram – just to keep the confusion down to a dull roar 😉

How did they arrive at these card/sign allocations?

The easy answer would be to say that I have no idea, shrug my shoulders and just move swiftly onwards, but the truth is, they did it using the concept of Cardinal, Fixed and Mutable signs.  *flourishes the hat pin* Do I need to use this yet?

Astrological signs with Cardinal attributes were allocated largely to the Queens.  The word itself derives from the Latin word for hinge, and, as you can see by the red dotted axis (axes, axii?!)  the Queen straddles the months that mark the changing of the seasons (The Solstices and the Equinox)

Mutable signs were allocated to the Kings.  They fall at the end of the season, diminishing in strength.  Very Golden Dawn.  Honestly 😉

In the middle are the Fixed signs, the attributes were allocated to the Knights.  They are reckoned to be the strongest, purest forms because the Knight is the child of the King and Queen. 

Around the edge of the inner circle, I have marked the Cardinals in red, the Mutables in yellow and the Fixed in day-glo orange ( a mixture of red and yellow, just like the Knight is a mixture of his Mother and Father!)  It’s almost like I planned it 🙂

And THAT is how the Golden Dawn allocate their Court Cards astrologically.

And now I am off for a lie down in a darkened room.

Alison Cross

The Tarot's Court Cards are my specialist area.  They talk to me. Not LITERALLY though ....


Christa Engelbrecht · 11th March 2021 at 9:56 pm

Hi there! I am very interested to know whether my significator (according to the Order of the Golden Dawn) is the King of Pentacles or the Knight of Pentacles. In your blog it is the Knight, but Ellen Goldberg (on Youtube) says that I am King of Pentacles. I was born on 8 May (Taurus). Please can you clarify if I am mutable or fixed? Am I a Knight or a King of Pentacles? I am so confused.

    Alison Cross · 12th March 2021 at 2:10 pm

    Christa – it is incredibly confusing, I admit and I possibly haven’t done a very good job explaining this.

    Here, in this blog post, I have used the RWS ranks to illustrate what goes where in the Golden Dawn’s grand scheme of things. So the Queen of Wands, opens the season. She is Cardinal and she is associated with Aries (mostly!), then this rolls around to the Knight of Pentacles who is mostly Taurus (but with that tiny bit of Aries overlap). If I laid out these cards using the Aleister Crowley’s Thoth Tarot, I would have the Prince of Discs at this point. The Knight of Pentacles/Prince of Disks is the FIXED guy for the Earth signs.

    If you are using the Thoth Tarot, the ranks are Princess, Prince, Queen and Knight. These map across to the more usual Page, Knight, Queen and King. And this is confusing – there is no King in the Thoth Tarot, his role is taken by the Knight. And there is no Prince in the Rider Waite Smith Tarot, his role is filled by the Knight. So we have the role of Knight fulfilling two different functions, depending on what deck you are using.

    There are many different ways to find significators. For example – the Queen of Wands, according to the Golden Dawn, is associated with Aries. But I learned with the Rider Waite Smith and because she has lions I always associated her with the sign of Leo.

    I can’t comment on how anyone else works out how they associate the courts on the astrological wheel, but you can double check the info here using Aleister Crowley’s Book of Thoth. It also depends on what ranks are being used in the deck in the video.

    There are lots of ways to choose significators, Christa – you could find one based on your date of birth (day, month and year) which you can find on this blog post

      Christa · 20th March 2021 at 9:34 pm

      Thank you!

alisoncross · 23rd April 2012 at 2:19 pm

Hello Celestia 😉 This is true! I tend to associate her with Leo rather than Aries though. Probably because I learned with the RWS and the lions decorate her throne. Part of the process for me, with writing this blog, is to challenge what I 'believe' and to be prepared to change when I recognise that something makes more sense 🙂

Thanks so much for the kind words about the posting, I really appreciate it. It took AGES lol! Even the trees – I couldn't find any felt pens and ended up using these massive marker things that belong to my son. I'll not be hanging in any galleries any time soon!

Ali x

Celestia · 22nd April 2012 at 3:44 pm

That's a great drawing and article. Easier to follow than some explanations I've come across 😉 Only thing I would add is that it could be argued that there is SOME matching of elements (ie Wands with Fire). This occurs in relation to the second sign of the two 'straddled' signs, per court card. So, eg, Queen of Wands covers the last ten degrees/decan of Water sign Pisces (20-30 Pisces) but also the first ten degrees/decan (0-10) AND the second ten degrees/decan (10-20) of Fire sign Aries. But that doesn't detract from the fact that you've still managed to put the Golden Dawn Court attributions into good, plain English – a blessing of its own. With cool glyphs and humour, too – can't be bad…!

alisoncross · 19th April 2012 at 7:52 pm

It's tricky, isn't it? It's almost as if they didn't want non-Golden Dawners to use it.

I'm thinking about a career in art. Not *grin*

Easy-peasy lemon squeezy ways coming up on Friday 🙂

    Mojo · 19th April 2012 at 8:11 pm

    Hi Ali,

    I found this a bit confusing (due to my lack of knowledge) but really interesting especially the bit about each card not lining up with each sign. I noticed that when trying to work out court cards with signs and appearance etc. There is so much on court cards and even though slightly overwhelming, really fascinating!!

    alisoncross · 19th April 2012 at 9:08 pm

    Mojo – great to see you here! The post going up tomorrow is SO much easier. I decided to go in with the Big Guns and when everyone was staggering around concussed from too much Golden Dawn, I'd toss in a couple of EASY methods right at the end.

    Please drop me a line if there is anything that you want to know about in particular and I'm happy to address it for you. As long as it's to do with Court cards 😀

    Also – you may not have realised, but if you also become a follower of m'blog, you stand a chance of winning a copy of the Robin Wood Tarot 🙂

    See – it's aaaaalllllll about spreading the lurve here 😀

    Ali x

    Ali x

Inner Whispers · 19th April 2012 at 6:56 pm

I am in awe of your brilliance, but still won't be using this system 😉 Makes my brain hurt just thinking about it, and remembering it isn't going to happen anytime soon!

alisoncross · 19th April 2012 at 5:06 pm

I know, I'm soooooo sorry – but there really was no other way to do it without sending everyone to sleep! Tomorrow will be brighter and lighter, I promise!

On the up side, I've had an offer from an artist to redo the drawing to an AMAZING standard!!!! I do hope that it doesn't just slip between the cracks of life – it will look totally awesome when drawn up professionally. Better handwriting for a start. And hopefully not children's paint pens 🙂

Ali x

Carla · 18th April 2012 at 9:17 pm

Ugh, astrological correspondences. Ptooey! (I appreciate the hard work you put in in the post, though. Very pretty chart. I've done several similar ones myself trying to beat this info into my brain. Then I just gave up on it).

alisoncross · 18th April 2012 at 5:45 pm

I have spent longer researching this post than I did studying for my Higher English lol!

Ali x

Vivianne · 18th April 2012 at 5:42 pm

LOL very good. I particularly like your brick analogy 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *