Miscellany,  Tarot studies

Tarot suits and Hogwart houses

One of the best ways to deepen your understanding of the tarot is to find ways to align or integrate it with things you’re passionate about, or things from your everyday life. In that light, here’s a fun little thought exercise we had fun discussing one rainy Sunday afternoon.

We’ve been hard-core Harry Potter fans around here for a long time. (JK Rowling’s recent comments against transgender folks did a lot to tarnish my love for the series, but we’ve decided to keep the art and throw out the artist for now.) It didn’t take me long into my journey with tarot cards to notice that there are four tarot suits and four houses at Hogwarts. Could they be aligned by comparing the essential characteristics of each suit to the character of each of the houses? Of course they can! 🙂

Wands are characterized by action and optimism. Wands represent our love of competition for the sake of burning up energy and the exuberant joy of living. This is very clearly the suit most tied to Gryffindor, the house that values bravery, daring, nerve, and chivalry.

Swords are the tarot’s suit of conflict, but also of cunning and intellect. For Slytherin, using knowledge is about power and control rather than Gryffindor’s sense of optimism and achievement. Slytherin fits best with stormy, detached swords.

Cups then, the suit of emotion and love and intuition, aligns with easy-going Hufflepuffs who admire patience, loyalty, and fair play. Rachel Pollack says of cups that their element of water represents “formlessness or passivity.” This accords with Hufflepuff’s general demeanour as agreeable, gentle souls.

Pentacles, suit of earthy materialism, is most clearly linked to wise Ravenclaw, who perceive the esoteric magic hidden in the everyday world. Rachel Pollack calls this the “magic of everyday creation” inherent in the pentacles.

This is, of course, a totally subjective assignment, and I’m sure one could argue otherwise. What do you think?

Another way to look at tarot through the lens of the Harry Potter world is by thinking of the characters and which court card they could represent. Court cards in tarot are personality archetypes, and are a combination of their place in the court hierarchy and the energy of their suit. The two elements together give each card a distinctive personality.

Impetuous and impatient, Harry himself is a Knight of Swords for me, charging recklessly forward without considering the consequences of his actions. Hermione Granger, on the other hand, is definitely a practical and ambitious Page of Pentacles. I see Ron Weasley as an emo sort of Knight of Cups, prone to getting lost in his emotions. Luna Lovegood, the ultimate free spirit, is a great embodiment of the Page of Wands, while diligent and dependable Neville Longbottom plods along like a Knight of Pentacles, determined to stay on the path and finish his task no matter how long it takes him. Note how these core characters balance and offset each other, each bringing a different tarot element to their fellowship.

Incisive, prickly but highly intelligent, Professor McGonagall is definitely a Queen of Swords in my books. Contrast her with the warm, domestic Molly Weasley, my ultimate Queen of Pentacles. Severus Snape also feels like a Knight of Swords (not terribly surprising that Harry gives the same vibe) with his nakedly ambitious and relentless pursuit of what he wants. And Professor Dumbledore? Wise, calm, diplomatic and emotionally balanced, I think he’s a nurturing King of Cups.

What do you think? Are you a Harry Potter fan with a deep love of the tarot? Would you argue some other associations between the Hogwarts houses and the suits of the tarot? How else might we align the court cards to the various characters?

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