hello, friends, and a blessed solstice to you and yours. we're going to be doing things a bit differently today.
in case you missed my announcement last week on twitter and instagram: i have left my position at team writer and columnist at autostraddle, which means that there will be no queer tarotscopes for the foreseeable future. (i'm very open to new writing, editing, and photography opportunities, as well as to rehoming these 'scopes at a new outlet, so if you want to connect with me, shoot me an email.) i have loved writing this column, and am so grateful for everyone that has supported this work, shared these pieces, and connected with me through this long-running series.
and also: i've been writing astrologically-based tarotscopes for five years. and while it's been a privilege to do so, frankly, i also just don't have that much left to say on these correspondences, since my work in this area rarely takes the rest of the ever-shifting sky into account. as my friend diana rose harper reminded us on instagram the other day, the astrological correspondences that we tend to use for tarot's major arcana were created by the hermetic order of the golden dawn, which means they were drawn with specific motivations in mind. and like diana, i don't always feel that the correspondences they chose are fully in line with how i see different archetypes.
with tarotscopes wrapped for now, we have an opportunity in this space to look at these seasonal shifts in a new way, and to potentially consider some alternative lenses for these zodiacal signs. i'm quite excited to set that old framework aside and consider something experimental, something fresh, something different.
let's meander into cancer season, and see what we find along the way.
cancer is our sign of cardinal water: making discoveries about deep emotions, starting new journeys forward towards connection and compassion, serving as leaders when it comes to loyalty, privacy, and family of all kinds. with cancer we begin a new season of summer, initiate a new relational journey, consider the ever-shifting picture of where we want to go next and who we want to be. moon-ruled cancer is a healer, protector, nurturer, shield, and gives permission to shift with the tides, to let our emotions matter.
cancer is the space between nourishment and discovery, finding self-love and self-knowledge through time spent with others and time spent with ourselves. cancer is the mother, a concept that we can separate from gender roles or femininity: this is an energy that tends, that provides, that sustains. this is knowing ourselves well enough to build and engage with authentic community, investing in relationships that deeply reflect who we are and what we value.
in the major arcana, cancer is usually associated with the chariot, that archetype of spiritual discovery, deep internal analysis, and longing to know more about what drives us. and there is so much water flowing in cardinal cancer, rushing rivers and protected reservoirs, channels and dams, water that moves with purpose.
to be clear, i don't think that the chariot and cancer have nothing in common, that there's nothing to explore here. there's plenty to consider, plenty of depths to dive into. but what about numerological connections? what more might we find when we go beyond the golden dawn's major arcana suggestions and consider our own?
following aries, taurus, and gemini, cancer is the fourth sign of the zodiac, and rules the fourth house. and 4 is our digit of stability, foundations, limits, protections, guarding, traditions, rules, and restrictions. coming in the wake of 3's expression, 3's longing for connection, 3's willingness to share who they are and be seen by the world they live within, 4 serves as a protective container to facilitate growth, safety, and connection. there's caution here, but it comes from a place of deep, authentic care, from a desire to take actions that serve a clear and definitive purpose, from a drive to protect what matters and give it room to thrive.
with cancer, we see so many of these same themes: a protective shell around the heart, one that grants stability and privacy, that lets us be soft safely, when we choose to be. a willingness to take risks, but ones that have been thoughtfully calculated rather than hastily explored. an intentionality around actions and decisions, with an awareness to safeguarding the things and people and dreams that matter.
and when we turn back to the tarot, 4 gives us much to ponder: the emperor, death, the minor arcana fours, and the minor arcana queens. all cards that balance stability with desire, that create containers of safety for better or worse. all cards that have power and agency, but are also grappling with the responsibilities and limits of that control. all cards that nurture via protection.
the suit of cups in particular, our suit of water, can give us insights into how cancer might show up within and throughout the deck. in the minor arcana, the four of cups can be interpreted as selfish and closed off, unwilling to expose a tender heart. it's also often read as boredom with our current relationships, taking things for granted or feeling apathetic about the people we are in community with. but the four of cups, in looking at the number four and the element of water, can hold so many more meanings: protecting our hearts, nurturing our emotions, tending to our most private needs, caring for those we love, implementing habits around self-care, and on and on and on. what else could this card teach us, if we only let it, if we listened with a more open mind?
how does cancer dwell in this card, these meanings? what does cancer have to teach us about the fours of tarot, and the four of cups in particular? what happens when we let cancer be bigger than just one archetype?
and beyond that: how do limits, foundations, boundaries, and rules make deliberate space for connection, tenderness, and nourishment? how do the other fours of the tarot reflect those lessons? what does the queen of cups and the other queens of the minor arcana reveal about teaching and caretaking through boundaries? what could the emperor teach us about safe places to play, to love, to rest? what does death offer us in thinking about our relationship to power, control, and surrender? how do these big ideas offer us new pathways and road maps for accessing cancer's energy?
i don't have the answers to these questions. but i hope that as we move into this new chapter of studying zodiacal seasons together, we can keep exploring the relationships between astrology, tarot, numerology, elements, and so much more. and as we shift as a collective into cancer season, consider which cards of the tarot feel most connected to this sign of cardinal water, for you. what cards feel initiative and intuitive? which archetypes protect and shield, while also nourishing and nurturing? what combination of cards evokes the energy of cancer to you?
which lessons are you carrying from gemini season into this new time in cancer? and how can working with and reflecting on the moon, the number four, and the archetypes of the tarot help add shape, clarity, definition, and protection to your season?
wishing you a joyful, connected, and pleasure-filled cancer season, friends.