The decans of the zodiac can serve as an aid for interpretation of the minor arcana tarot cards if you read the cards with an astrological bent ~ which many of us do. Using the decans might prove helpful if you read to answer the question “When?” because each card covers a specific span of dates. I won’t say it’s accurate, but you might test it out.
The cards on the right are the cards of Leo from The Truth-Seekers Tarot, a deck with “plain” minor arcana cards. As you can see, they aren’t exactly plain. They are intricately illustrated, but there aren’t scenes with people on them. (Click on the image to get a larger view.) Plain pip, or minor arcana, cards can be a special asset when reading from a numerological perspective because there’s no influence from the imagery.
The Golden Dawn associated the minor arcana cards with “face,” a minor astrological dignity. The illustrations on the minor cards in the RWS-style decks can show these dignities in either a positive or negative light.
Minor Arcana Cards
If any of the following cards show up with Strength or The Sun in a reading, they will bring an emphasis to the qualities of Leo and the astrological Sun.
5 of Wands
This card belongs to the first decan of Leo with a Sun/Sun influence. Perhaps ego has gotten in the way on this project and everyone wants to be in charge. Or this team could be in the process of building the most magnificent structure anyone could imagine and their exuberance has everyone so excited that they’ve abandoned themselves to a moment of play.
By face, this card is associated with Saturn in Leo. Saturn brings either fear or structure, depending on how you use him and sometimes they are the same. Banzhaf and Haebler mention “fear of being insignificant” as a keyword phrase in their book, Key Words for Astrology. This type of fear might cause one to try to take control of a situation as a way to project an image of power. Share the glory.
If you have planets in 0-9.59° of Leo or Saturn in Leo, this card is relevant to your chart. Give it extra attention when it appears in a spread.
Dates ~ July 22nd – August 1st
Numerologically, 5s belong to Mercury. Perhaps these fellows could benefit from better communication, or maybe they just need to slow down a bit. If one of your major numbers is a 5, this is one of your personal cards. If you are in the Cycle of 5 for your personal year, this card has strong relevance for the year.
6 of Wands
The 6 of Wands belongs to the second decan Leo, falling under the subrulership of Jupiter and Sagittarius. Sag is the explorer, so it’s possible to see the rider at the beginning of a new adventure, and excited about exploring the unknown.
By face, this card represents Jupiter in Leo. This card is usually titled “Victory,” and foretells a victorious end to any predicament. Jupiter expands anything it touches, so keep that in mind when drawing this card. Jupiter can enhance the qualities of Leo, but we don’t want him to go too far. It can also point to a truly wise and benevolent leader who isn’t afraid to join the ranks.
If you have planets in 10-19.59° of Leo or Jupiter in Leo, this card is relevant to your chart. Note what’s happening in your chart when this card appears.
Dates ~ August 2nd – 11th
Numerologically, 6s belong to Venus and bring a focus on the arts, family, your community, and sharing. This victorious rider surely knows he didn’t do it alone. This is an important card if you have 6 prominent in your numerology chart or you’re in a Personal Cycle of 6.
7 of Wands
The of Wands belongs to the third decan Leo, falling under the subrulership of Mars and Aries. This card really picks up the Aries influence. It looks like the guy jumped right into the fire of the situation he’s found himself in. I was delighted to discover that he moved so fast, he forgot his belt and his shoes don’t match. He’s ever ready, this 7 of Wands fellow.
The 7 is given the face dignity of Mars in Leo and it supports the meaning of the decan quite well.
If you have planets in 20-29.59° of Leo or Mars in Leo, this card is personal for you. Is there specific activity in your chart when this card appears?
Dates ~ August 12th – 22nd
Numerologically, 7s belong to Uranus and Neptune ~ planets of insight. Using these associations, we might imagine this fellow awakened from a precognitive dream. Or perhaps he had a sudden inspiration and rallied the troops. Look for insights ~ sudden flashes or psychic awareness ~ when reading numerologically. This card plays an important role in your readings if you have 7 prominent in your numerology chart or you’re in a Personal Cycle of 7.
Reading the cards from an astrological or numerological perspective brings deeper levels of meaning to the cards. You can apply these principles to any deck. Just memorize the astrological associations and apply those to your intutitive readings.
NOTE: If you’d like to learn more about the dignity of “face,” read Deborah Houlding’s article on dignities at Skyscript. The link will take you to the page of the article explaining face. She points out that face is based on the planets’ cycle through the days of the week: Sunday = Sun; Monday = Moon; Tuesday = Mars; Wednesday = Mercury; Thursday = Jupiter; Friday = Venus; and Saturday = Saturn. Face is also associated with a specific degree of a sign.