Twelve Cards Tarot Astrology spread

Astrology and Tarot combined creates a unified whole. Most tarot cards have astrological attributions that we can use. Tarot books on astrological spread often separate out the zodiac and houses, but this is not the way astrology works! The Golden Dawn has not helped in this respect as the zodiac signs and Houses are separate spreads within the Opening of the Key spread.

Laying out the Tarot Astrology Spread

The cards are dealt out in a circle anticlockwise, with the first card, the rising sign at the 9 o'clock position.

The Reader should memorise the attributions of:

  • The zodiac signs
  • The twelve houses
  • The astrological attributions of the cards.

The first card, which represents the First House, will be the indicator of the Rising sign. All cards that do not carry a zodiac attribution will be assigned to Aries, the natural first house. The Card in the second House will be in the next sign of the zodiac, and so on.

A sample reading is probably the best way of showing how the system works. For example, if the first card was the Chariot, we would have a Cancer ascendant, which means that the next card would be in the second house of Leo, the third card would be in Virgo, and so on.

The elemental dignity of the first house can be ignored since it is the indicator of the Ascending sign, but the element of the subsequent cards do have a bearing of strength and weakness.

Astro-Tarot Example
House Zodiac Tarot card Elemental Dignity
1 Cancer Chariot Significator
2 Leo Lovers Friendly, active
3 Virgo Queen of Swords Enemies, weak
4 Libra Four of Cups Friendly, neutral
5 Scorpio World Friendly, passive
6 Sagittarius Devil Strong, neutral
7 Capricorn Ten of Swords Enemies, weak
8 Aquarius King of Wands Friends, active
9 Pisces 4 of Pentacles Friendly, passive
10 Aries Emperor Excess Fire
11 Taurus Empress Excessive Earth, passive
12 Gemini Two of Cups Friends, neutral

First Impressions

There are two planets, Saturn in the 5th house, Scorpio, and Venus in Taurus, the 11th house. Venus rules Taurus, which makes it very strong. These planets are in opposition, creating tension between desires and friendships (11th), and the need to make a new start in life, perhaps a love affair (5th). The Ascendant, Cancer, is also found in the 4th House, Libra as Two of Cups and the 12th House, Gemini, reinforcing conflict. The 4th House is square to the Ascendant - this person is bored with home life, and she yearns to escape (12th), or she has fears about changing her life, but she cannot get the idea out of her head. It could be the person she wants to escape with is abroad (4th to 12th is nine houses), and she really looks up to him, perhaps as a Guru, but he appears distant. Her values (2nd) are in Leo, the natural 5th house of love affairs and new beginnings, and she has the Lovers card here! Note the Ten of Swords in the 7th. This card is naturally a bad omen, but it is a decanate of Gemini, which reinforces the pressures she feels from her present partner, who could be passive/aggressive. The Universe card often represents the nature of the reading, the subject under discussion, and it is there in Scorpio, the 5th, which underlies the sexual tensions. Look at the 6th, Sagittarius, a sign that loves to be free, suffocated by the Devil, which is Capricorn. We can also look at the Devil/Capricorn positions as 12th from each other, again hinting at foreign passions. If we wanted confirmation, the Four of Pentacles, a decanate of Capricorn is in the 9th House of Pisces. See how the bits of information can be put together, how they interlock?

What sort of man is he? The King of Wands is in the 8th House of Aquarius - he was originally a friend, and he may be ambiguous as to whether he wants to go further, but the 8th is about sexual energy, and Air and Fire are friendly. There is only one female court card, the Queen of Swords in Virgo in the 3rd. This house represents siblings - a jealous sister? Short term travel, and likenesses are also ruled by this house, so it is possible that the Queen of Swords is similar to the Querent in many respects. If it is the querent, we would have to wonder if she really wants to travel, since Air and Earth weaken each other. The other really strong feminine position is Venus in the 11th, women in her social circle. Perhaps she does not want to lose her friends? The 4th House often represents the outcome, and here we have the Four of Cups in Libra. The elements are friendly, but neutral. Maybe she does not make the changes at all.

Below is another way of analysing the chart, house by house, and then a summary I made some years ago of what the reading signifies. As you can see, there are several ways of reading this spread, depending on the person having the reading.

House 1 - Significator

Cancer is a Water sign on the ascendant, which is always Fire, but we ignore the Elemental Dignities. We look to see if there are any other Cancerian cards, and they are in the 4th house and 12th house, so the querent will strongly identify with issues that relate to these houses. The 4th house is square to the Ascendant, which indicates problems, and we have Libra in that position, so we may surmise that there are problems with relationships. The 12th house is not a happy position either, and with the Two of Cups in Gemini, we have confirmation that relationship problems are uppermost in the mind of the querent.

House 2 - finance

The next card is The Lovers (Gemini, Air) on the second House, Earth: Air and Earth are enemies, so this position is weakened. The second house is about finances, so maybe there is a problem with sorting finances. The 12th house has Gemini, another indicator of relationship difficulties.

House 3 - Communications

The Queen of Swords makes for excess Air in this position. As we know, understanding just who a Court card represents can be a nightmare. Astrology makes things so much more simple. The Third House is the House of Siblings, so we might reasonably assume that this woman is the sister of the querent. Communications and short distance travel is represented here, so there may well be arguments perhaps relating to finances (House 2). However, we have already established that the reading is about relationships, so possibly the Queen of Swords is a rival.

House 4 Home

Four of Cups, Luxury, in the House representing the home, family, mother. We have excess Water. Perhaps these people are wealthy but bored? The 4th house is the natural Cancer sign, connecting it to the Ascendant. The 4th house is about endings, the past, also means of transport, and the mother. We seem to have a lot of issues between two sisters concerning their past, or responsibilities, that neither want to tackle, but still create a lot of hot air (3rd House), over money (4th House).

House 5 Love, passion

Universe in the 5th house: Earth and Fire are friendly, however, this card represents Saturn, and astrologically, Saturn does not do well in the 5th house. Saturn represents restrictions, delays, seriousness, while the 5th house is about fun, games, love affairs and children. Scorpio rules other people's money and legacies, which lends credence to the views we are developing about what is going on in this reading. The Ascendant has The Chariot, which is a card of travel and control, but thus far we seem to have a situation of frustration and delay.

House 6 Work, health

Devil (Capricorn) in the 6th house. Excess Earth. The 6th House is about work colleagues, work itself, organised labour, and health. There must be a lot of driving ambition (Capricorn is the 10th house Career) in the work situation combined with restriction, feeling trapped. Here we have a good example of Derived Houses — Capricorn is ruled by Saturn in the 5th, but Saturn is the Twelfth House, and we know that this house causes fears, worries, problems, weakening Saturn. Possibly a bit of paranoia creeping in?

House 7 - Relationships

The seventh house always indicates the astrologer and his capacity to interpret the chart and advise the querent. A Cancer ascendant always means that Capricorn is in the Seventh house, and is a classic example of a Stricture in Horary Astrology, which shows that the horoscope is not fit to judge. However, in Tarot terms, we have the Ten of Swords, which is relevant to the reading. Ten Swords in an Air house shows excess Air. This house is about serious long term relationships and legal matters, while we know the 10 Sword shows arguments, division and divorce. The third house is also Air, and we have disputes in that area. Could sibling rivalry (3rd) over a man (7th) who is divisive, be based upon events from the past (4th) in the home (4th)? There may also have been a frustrated love affair (5th), or work was used as an escape (6th).

House 8 Death, other people

The plot thickens. Here we have the King of Wands, who does not do well in a Water House. This House is about other people's money, legacies, hidden agendas and sex! At last we get to see just who might be causing the problems. A fiery card in this position creates strong passions. We can relate this card to the 5th house, since Saturn traditionally rules Aquarius, the zodiac sign in the 8th. Sex and money is a potent mixture. This house relates directly to the Querent in the Ascendant, so what about the Queen of Swords? The 8th house is 6 from the 3rd - work issues - maybe the Queen of Swords had an office fling with the King. Perhaps the Querent and the Queen of Swords were not sisters, but they had a strong friendship.

House 9 Religion, philosophy

Four of Disks relates to power and money, while the house is about philosophy and religion. The God here is Mammon. This card is a decanate of Capricorn, the Natural 10th house of Career, and we also have the Devil in the fifth. These people are very ambitious, putting their career before everything, but suffering nevertheless.

House 10 Career

The Emperor (Aries) in its own sign, so there is an excess of aggressive energy relating to work. Work is dynamic, very stressful, and suggests that more men than women work there.

House 11 Society, friends

The Empress is the only other planetary card, it represents Venus, therefore ruling Taurus (11th) and Libra (4th). The 11th house is desires, social life, clubs and society. Taurus represents values, while Venus is beauty. A strong social life is important to this person, and she probably has a lot of women friends. Taurus is the natural 2nd house, and we know there are problems in that area.

House 12 Fears

This house shows fears, restrictions and worry, hidden matters, while the Two of Cups is Love, so there is a fear about relationships, which we have already seen as we work through the Houses. This card is also the first decanate of Cancer which relates directly to the Chariot.


Capricorn in the Seventh House indicates that the astrologer will have problems in interpretation. However, as you can see, the problem lies in giving the Querent adequate advice in a complicated situation. All the astrologer can do is attempt to describe what may be going on.

There may well be deep psychological issues at work here. Maybe the reason her partner (8th house King of Wands) had an affair (Queen Sword) with her best friend (11th) or neighbour (3rd), or that she put career (9th) above all else. Possibly she put off having children (5th), or she did not enjoy sex (5th again), while her husband is probably highly sexed and prone to secrecy (8th). The arguments revolve around money or values which avoid the deeper issues of relationship.

To see the final result, we look at the fourth house, which is the Four of Cups, another Cancer decanate. Security ranks high. We may find the origin of the problems with this woman in her relationship to her mother. The emphasis on security, and the fact that we have a watery, passive card, suggests that not a lot of change will happen until she breaks out of cycle of fear and stops blaming the other woman. Depending on when this reading took place, we might also suggest that changes occur during July 12th to July 21st.


As you can see, using astrology makes it easy to understand what kind of relationship the court cards represent using the Houses - we see how the Queen of Swords represents a friend or neighbour to the Querent and lover of the Querent's partner that started in a work environment.

To keep things fairly simple, I have not included planetary aspects from Saturn or Venus to the houses, but astrologers will note that Saturn and Venus are in opposition to each other.

One other aspect I have not explored is the Elemental Dignity relationship between the card, the zodiac sign, and the House, which we can represent as:

  1. Zodiac Sign
  2. Tarot card
  3. House
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

Since we are combining two elemental systems, we have to be careful. There is an Elemental Dignity relationship between the Tarot card and the Sign, and the Tarot card and the House, but there is NOT an Elemental Dignity relationship between the Sign and the House. As you can see in the reading above, I have emphasised the House/Tarot card relationship over the Sign/Tarot card.