Significators | How to choose ’em | Part 1

Published by Alison Cross on

I don’t care how nice your hat is, there’s
nothing for you here, Sonny.
Keep walking….

One of the most popular ways to establish a Significator for your sitter is to ask them what their Birth Sign is (or Sun Sign) because, heck, even the Blackest Doubter knows their Sun Sign.

Back in the day, the 12 astrological signs were allocated by the Great and The Good (or at least the Heavily Robed) to the Court Cards.

What’s that I hear you say? There are 16 Court Cards and only 12 Astrological signs (13 if you count the ‘new’ sign of Ophiuchus).  Well, it was decided (probably by Committee – and you know how THAT tends to turn out) that you could get around this anomally by leaving the Pages out of the equation all together.

The reasons for this are complicated and, dare I say, contrived? Basically, the Pages don’t get any astrological real-estate because they are too young and immature. Now, I don’t know about you, but that all sounds to me like trying to ram a square peg into a round hole by being clever enough to cut the corners off using lots of Esoteric fancy footwork.

Or maybe I’m just not smart enough to ‘get’ it yet.  Tarot is, after all, a never-ending learning process and I know I’ve still got a very long way to go. *hopes that the Golden Dawners don’t take out a Fatwah against me face*

Aaaaanyway, just take my word for it – the Pages aren’t included in the Astrology/Tarot system.

So what does that leave us with? Four types of sign – Earth, Air, Fire and Water… and four Tarot suits. And three astrological signs in each category to accord with the three *cough* Court Cards in each suit!

Just a quick reminder:

Wands = Fire
Swords = Air
Cups = Water
Pentacles = Earth

Some people switch Swords and Wands associations around though. And just to confuse matters, the Astrological signs are allocated in different ways according to different decks.  Here is a handy set for you to refer to:

King of Wands – Aries
Queen of Wands – Leo
Knight of Wands – Sagittarius

King of Swords – Gemini
Queen of Swords – Libra
Knight of Swords – Aquarius

King of Cups – Cancer
Queen of Cups – Scorpio
Knight of Cups – Pisces

King of Pentacles – Taurus
Queen of Pentacles – Virgo
Knight of Pentacles – Capricorn

You might not agree with these associations –  Maybe you think that The King of Wands is Sagittarius and the Knight is Aries? I’d love to hear how you allocate them.

The key thing is – find something that works FOR YOU and stick with it!

I’d love to know what advantages or disadvantages you can see with this particular method of selecting a Significator.

And just WAIT till you see how the Golden Dawn allocates them…. πŸ™‚

Alison Cross

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


alisoncross · 23rd April 2012 at 2:42 pm

Yes, I can see where you are coming from regarding the definitions of Cardinals, Fixed and Mutable. The whole thing is very much a moveable feast, isn't it?!

Ali x

Identity_Concealed · 20th April 2012 at 10:26 am


I agree with the associations you have for elements and suits but the system of cardinal, fixed and mutable signs with the courts is different for me. I associate Knights with Cardinals, because they are the initiators, like the Knights. The Fixed are the Kings for me, because they are usually more stubborn and hard to handle and the images of Kings (Swords, Pentacles) look very determined, fixed, the change not so welcome etc. The Queens are mutable because they are the nurturing, the compassionate, the teaching ones.

I have been using these associations since the time I started tarot and still on with it πŸ™‚


alisoncross · 17th April 2012 at 1:20 pm

Even as we speak I am faffing around with a blank astrology chart and trying to fit card images on to it. It's not easy! A crappy image will be worse than none at all!

Ali x

Ania · 17th April 2012 at 12:19 pm

Need pictures πŸ˜€

alisoncross · 17th April 2012 at 7:32 am

It's like knitting – it all looks lovely in charts, but it's tricky to explain in words πŸ™‚ I'll do my best!!!!

Ali x

Vivianne · 16th April 2012 at 9:58 pm

I await your exposition of decanates with breathless anticipation ;-D

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