One year ago, almost to the day, I wrote my first blog post. It was April. Spring was wafting through the air and I wanted to celebrate the beginning of bringing The Sacred Web Tarot to the world. It felt like writing about Aries Season and the start of the zodiacal New Year was incredibly opportune. New beginnings are initiatory moments that deserve special attention. They are often blessings full of possibility. They can often be kind of terrifying as well. The deck wasn’t even published at the time, so I didn’t really expect anyone to read the blog (which did ease the terror of sharing my thoughts online). But after having created The SWT guidebook, it was important to me to keep writing and learning through research, reflection, inspiration and composition. I also wanted to look more intentionally at the astrological correspondences within the tarot and to explore how they might take on a more central role within the Major and Minor Arcana which tells the tale of the archetypal journey of the soul . The signs and their cadre of planets, houses and elements were whispering to me, “it's time to tell our story.”
Through the last twelve months and twelve blog posts, I have given myself not only the creative gift of writing, but also the expansive gift of astrology. As a person with triple Water placements (Pisces Sun, Cancer Rising and Scorpio Moon), I have always been intrigued by the signs. And yet, I really didn’t understand their purpose within the story of the stars. As I traveled through the signs, it became clear that they function as energetic signifiers that reveal just “How” the planets, houses and elements and quadruplicities (qualities of the elements aka Cardinal, Fixed and Mutable) communicate with each other. If worked with intentionally, these astrological aspects can help us better understand ourselves and others. They can give us agency to work with their energies so that we can transform and evolve.
Each sign is connected to one or more planets, traditionally and esoterically. For example, Aries looks to Mars (traditional/exoteric), the planet of desire and activation, for guidance as well as to Mercury (esoteric), the planet of mental process and communication. The planets function as the “Who” in the story. They contain within them the archetypal energy associated with the sign. Each sign also exists within a particular house or domicile, a space where the energetic blueprint of the sign feels most at home. In this regard, the essence of Aries - with its initiatory power to create, to be, to begin to act, to assert - is always rooted in the First House. The Houses form the “Where” in the tale of the stars. And for my next blogging deep dive, I will be looking within the astrological Houses to better appreciate just where all the celestial magic of who we are takes place.
The past twelve months brought with them an opportunity to explore the astrological signs and to deepen, not only my understanding of the signs, but in examining their relationship to tarot, to begin to uncover the rich wisdom that can be found in the conversation that takes place between astrology and the tarot. By connecting the energy of the astrological House system to the numerology of the tarot, I hope to uncover an even more profound interconnectedness between the stars and the cards. So, here we are. It is April again and there is Aries energy all around to lift us up to the Sun after a long, long winter.
Now feels like a good time to open the door to the First House in the zodiacal wheel - the house of the self, the house of the “I am”. This is the house where the brave Ram dwells. The sigil for Aries and the first House is a pair of horns rising up and out in a determined posture of exploration. They remind us of the self’s ability to perceive, to understand, to wrestle with ideas, to claim our individual position in the wheel so that we can begin anew over and over again. The First Astrological House is built upon the infinite possibility of embodiment. Here, the soul commences its cycle and starts the journey of being. We find this same initiatory opportunity within card I of the Major Aranca - The Magician - who comes into a body with all the gifts they need to manifest a life of purpose and wonder. The mantra for The Magician is “Manifestation” whose word originates from the latin word manifestare which means “to discover”. The Magician represents spirit or soul in manifested form and shows up to remind us that the journey is all about discovering our power to weave our own stories. We have the power to create a life of meaning, one that represents our authentic self. Not surprisingly, the First House holds the key to our dharma/purpose. We can look to the energetic qualities of the sign in our First House - the House of the Ascendent - to guide us so that we can flourish and evolve in this lifetime.
The First House is always positioned on the horizon line of the moment in time that we were born. While it might be rising in the sign of Cancer and Cardinal Water, it will always contain within it the energy of Aries, new beginnings, possibility, saying “Yes”!, soul purpose, inner wisdom and intuition and, of course, the energy of The Magician. Within this House, we discover so many invitations to question, to expand, to come forth and share our soul’s unique and sacred essence. Here are some of the words that I associate with the First House, The Magician and all the cards that contain a little Magician energy of 1 (aka X/10 The Wheel):
◦ new beginnings
◦ connection to spirit
◦ a path forward
We can also look to the Aces in the tarot to delve deeper into the personality of the First House. Aces tend to be especially joyful and promising cards as can be the Ascending Sign in the First House. In the SWT, the mantras for the Aces are interesting to consider in relation to the First House.
◦ Ace of Earth: “Joy”
This Ace is the root of the Minor Arcana and initiates the journey through the element of Earth and all the material experiences of our lives. So too, the First House is the root or foundation of the zodiacal wheel. It is the axis point of potential for how we choose to move through the world, how we desire to be seen and how we proceed on our soul journey.
◦ Ace of Water: “Beauty”
There is an incredible beauty to be found within each House, but within the First House, we experience the beauty of simply being alive. Being who we are in our own imperfectly perfect selves is a gift that comes to us so that we may heal any old soul wounds and blossom into our truest selves through the profound understanding that we are always connected to source or divine or whatever word you want to use. We are always connected to love because that is the source of who we are.
◦ Ace of Fire: “Passion”
This mantra encapsulates the essence of Aries, the First House and the soul’s passionate desire to evolve into its most sacred iteration. Passion can be an intense fuel that helps us to transform our experiences through the alchemy of courage, inspiration and free will. The full mantra for the Ace of Fire reflects the intensity and potentiality of Aries and the First House:
“Anything is possible when I follow my true passion.”
◦ Ace of Air: “Discernment”
The practice of discerning connects us back to the sigil for Aries and the First House. The horns function as a symbol of mental activity, the instinctual desire of the self to know itself through every new adventure, every new idea. In the Ace of Air, we see the Heron in winged flight, another symbol of expansion. The entire Suit of Air reminds us of our own ability to narrate our lives with clarity and authenticity - two traits associated with Aries and the First House.
While this is just a brief overview of the First House and its inhabitants, tenets and tenacity, I hope it helps you to explore your own Ascending Sign. When you discover how those attributes can be awakened and integrated you have more agency to experience your most authentic self. Just as you can work with the tarot as a tool for self-reflection, self-compassion and deeper knowing of the gifts you are meant to share with the world, so too, can you work with your First House and Rising Sign to cultivate a deeper connection to your truth.
First House Considerations
- Tarot Cards, Mantras, Chakras and Elemental Energies
- I - The Magician: “Manifestation”
- Fire: Solar Chakra, The South - perseverance, determination, strength, courage to walk the path
- The Aces
- The Suit of Fire (especially The Seer of Fire with its double Fire energy and whose mantra is “Vision”)
- Astrology and Journaling Prompts
- To determine your First House, go to astro.com and enter your birth date, place and - if you want to know your Rising Sign - birth time. Without your birth time and place, you can still look at your natal chart to see what sign dwells within the First House.
- Once you discover your First House sign, you can look up that sign on-line and free-write about the energetic qualities that live in your First House?
- How do these qualities present themselves in your life right now?
- What can you do to amplify the ones that resonate most with you
- What can you release to make more space for these qualities to be of service to you?
- Poem for the First House
The spring is fresh and fearless
And every leaf is new,
The world is brimmed with moonlight,
The lilac brimmed with dew.
Here in the moving shadows
I catch my breath and sing,
My heart is fresh and fearless
And over-brimmed with spring.
- Song for the First House: Coldplay - Up&Up