How to cast your birth chart tarot spread by blending the Major Arcana cards of the tarot with your personal astrology.
The Major Arcana of the Tarot
The Major Arcana cards of the Tarot represent major shifts in your soul’s evolution. More than being about something you should or shouldn’t do or what will or won’t happen, they’re about the weather patterns and seasons of your life and the changes that are taking hold. You can’t control the weather, but you can dress for it and plan accordingly.
The Major Arcana is similar, you can’t control their sweeping energies as they roll through, but you can be aware of them and show up to meet the flavor of the moment and work with it, rather than against it.
Numbered 0 to 21, the Major Arcana takes us on a journey from making a leap into the unknown, to understanding who you are in the world, who you are as a soul, and ultimately how you’re connected to something bigger.
Each Major Arcana card is associated with either a planetary body (of which there are 10 in modern astrology) or one of the 12 zodiac signs. Because of these representations, we can recreate our natal/birth chart with tarot cards for a different perspective — both on the cards and our charts.
In this article, I’ll walk you through how you can use the Major Arcana to do a birth chart tarot spread for yourself.
Reading a birth chart takes knowledge and skill, so I always recommend getting a chart reading from a professional astrologer at some point. This exercise certainly doesn’t replace a natal chart reading, but it’s a great way to explore your chart on your own if you’re already a little familiar with it.
The Signs, Planets, and Houses in Astrology
A birth chart can be an overwhelming amount of info in the form of symbols and angles, but to start, let’s focus on a combination of 3 systems working together:
- The Signs of the Zodiac are the qualities that play out in our lives. Certain signs are emphasized in our charts more than others, but we contain all of the energies in some form. The signs that are the most influential to who we are will be the ones that have the most planetary bodies in them and the signs that contain your Sun, Moon, and Rising point, especially. There are 12 signs.
- The Planets represent different parts of our personality. They can look different/have different flavors depending on the sign and house they show up in in your chart. For example, Mercury shows us how we communicate — Mercury in Cancer looks very different from Mercury in Sagittarius. The Moon gives us insight into our emotional and bodily needs. Again, the sign and house the moon is in will give us specific insights into how we need to be cared for and how our emotions play out. There are 10 planets (the Moon and the Sun are considered planets here).
- The Houses represent areas of life, showing us where certain traits and themes show up in our lives. The planets and the signs that are contained within the houses are the aspects of ourselves that we embody in these areas of our lives. There are 12 houses.
So when we put all three together (i.e. Venus in Scorpio in the 5th House), you start to see the nuances and uniqueness of your personality and experiences reflected in your birth chart.
Stick a pin in this 3 part combo, we’ll come back to it when it’s time to analyze our tarot spread.
How to do a birth chart tarot spread
Step 1: First, look up your birth/natal chart.
Your birth chart can help show you the connections and complexities that are completely unique to you. It’s a map of the sky the moment you were born and is meant to reflect many aspects of your experience and personality, including areas of potential and growth.
You’ll need to plug in your birth date, time, and place. If you don’t have the time, you’ll get a less accurate chart (unreliable rising sign and house placements) but can still get a bunch of info about what planets are in which signs.
Once you have the drawing of the chart (it should look like a wheel), you can begin. The chart begins with your rising sign and the first house, located at the 9 o’clock position. The houses move in a counterclockwise direction from there (with the 2nd house at 8 o’clock, 3rd at 7 o’clock and so on).
Step 2: Pull all the Major Arcana Cards 0-21 from your deck.
You’ll only need the Majors for this spread. Have a look at the planetary and zodiac associations below before you begin — some of the cards may surprise you and the ordering is not what you’d expect!
Astrological Associations of the Tarot’s Major Arcana
The Fool – Uranus
The Magician – Mercury
The High Priestess – The Moon
The Empress – Venus
The Emperor – Aries
The Hierophant – Taurus
The Lovers – Gemini
The Chariot – Cancer
Strength – Leo
The Hermit – Virgo
Wheel of Fortune – Jupiter
Justice – Libra
The Hanged Man – Neptune
Death – Scorpio
Temperance – Sagittarius
The Devil – Capricorn
The Tower – Mars
The Star – Aquarius
The Moon – Pisces
The Sun – Sun
Judgement – Pluto
The World – Saturn
Step 3: Place the card for each zodiac sign in a circle according to your chart.
For example, if your first house is Taurus, you’ll place The Hierophant card at that 1st house (9 o’clock) position. Then The Lovers card representing Gemini in the 2nd, The Chariot representing Cancer in the 3rd, and so on.
Step 4: Place the card for each planet next to the zodiac sign/card they’re in in your chart.
So, if you have Mercury in Aquarius. Place the Magician next to The Star card. Saturn in Scorpio = The World next to Death. Jupiter in Pisces = Wheel of Fortune next to The Moon card.
Step 5: Take a pic and journal it out.
This may take a couple of sessions, as there’s a lot of info in this reading, so take a picture so you can easily come back to it later if necessary.
That being said, you can go as deep or brief as you’d life. But take the time to consider the different themes that come up when you line up the house + the card for the zodiac sign in that house + any planets there.
There won’t be planets in some houses, which is cool. Then you’re just looking at the interplay between the house/area of life and the zodiac sign/card that rules it in your chart.
Example: I have Strength (Leo) in my Second House of resources, values, and security, with The Tower (Mars) + The Sun (Sun) + The Magician (Mercury) there. There are so many ways I can interpret this experience and journey, using both the card meanings and astrological ones. I also have Justice (Libra) in my Fourth House of home, family and roots, but no planets there — and there’s still plenty of wisdom I can extract from that combination.
1st – Self, identity, style
2nd – Resources, values, security, possessions
3rd – Communication, education, mental activity, siblings
4th – Home, family, roots, inner self
5th – Creative expression, pleasure, children
6th – Rituals, health, routines, work
7th – Partnership, marriage, shadow self
8th – Sex, death, healing, renewal, inheritance
9th – Philosophy, adventure, advanced learning
10th – Responsibility, recognition, career, public life
11th – Community, groups of friends, hopes, goals
12th – Retreat, subconscious, escapism, self-sabotage
Consider what these combinations of House + Sign + Planet(s) as reflected in the cards represent for you. What has been your experience with them in the past? What’s coming up for you presently? How can you use these associations and unique combinations of your personal blueprint to help you in the future?
If you try this, I’d LOVE to see your tarot birth chart! Tag me or send me a pic on Instagram @leah.vanderveldt.