Reader Ahmed, in response to my last post, commented on tarot card associations:

I do not believe in astrological attributions to the tarot, there are several and all are invented according to the taste of each. And besides, there is traditionally no astrological attribution, only figments of the Golden Dawn and those who continued to innovate with this.

I spent a bit of time editing my response, then decided it was suited to be a new post.

When it comes to tarot card attributions — I agree, they are all arbitrary, whether it’s astrology, numerology, elements or Hebrew letters (which I do not use). If I take that thought far enough, even the card meanings are invented according to individual taste. There are many different systems today for meanings that follow some logic, as well as old meanings that are a melange of cartomantic messages.

My feeling is that if an attribution adds something useful to readings then it’s worthwhile. The astrological signs for the trumps help me, mostly with hints for timing. Elements help to define the minors for me, and give further nuance to my readings through the elemental interactions of neighboring cards.

If an attribution only allows people on internet forums to pontificate over who has the closest thing to The Truth, then I don’t find it so useful. You won’t see me involved in a debate on what Mars in Aries means in one of the four Qabalistic worlds, and whether the Golden Dawn’s assignment to the 2 of Wands is correct, because I don’t care. I have my seed ideas for what the 2 of Wands mean, and that is sufficient for my readings.

In my previous card draw, I used an association of Capricorn to consider the executive nature that is part of my Devil. This doesn’t mean the Devil is synonymous with Capricorn, nor does it mean that every time I see The Devil, I immediately think of work and career issues. The Devil just happens to be a card whose meaning for me is enhanced by considering those sorts of things. They won’t be a part of The Devil in every reading; but they were useful here.

And that is my idea of  how a card attribution works: it adds associated meanings to a reading, if those associations happen to pop up from the ol’ intuitive faculty during a reading.

Thanks for prompting this post, Ahmed!