The World, representing Saturn


   Invoking Saturn or any other planet is remarkably easy once the Ritual Pentagram Spread is mastered. Each of the seven planets of traditional astrology--Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, the Sun, Venus, Mercury, and the Moon--represent a sphere, or level of reality, on the Tree of Life. In other words, once you "contact" a God or Goddess representing one of these planets, you are also contacting the energies of a level of reality represented by a sphere on the Tree of Life. Since the Gods from pantheon to pantheon related to each sphere are slightly different, you can, with a little research, choose a God that best fulfulls your ritual purpose. The Roman Saturn, the Greek Chronos, and the Egyptian Ptah all share characteristics, but each one emphasizes certain aspects of the sphere of Binah.
   You can, to strengthen your personality, invoke the corresponding powers of the spheres represented symbolically by the Gods. Since you, as a microcosm, are a reflection of the cosmos, you contain the Tree of Life in your "sphere of sensation," also known as your "aura." Even though Saturn is known as the Greater Malefic and is a fearful reminder of mortality, you can make Saturn your ally. Using the Ritual Pentagram Spread, you can invoke and manifest the qualities of Saturn that serve you.
   Of the seven planets, Saturn is arguably, from the human perspective, the most powerful and the most problematic. In a sense, all of the other planetary energies emanate from Saturn, yet Saturn eats his children. In other words, Saturn is associated with Binah, the root of all form, the sphere on the Tree of Life which channels and limits free-flowing force. Saturn, often depicted as an old man with an hourglass to show that he rules time, is also often shown with a scythe to show that all form is ultimately "harvested." He represents the most primal state of matter but is also associated with death because all form is transitory. The great limiter of the horoscope, Saturn rules organization, discipline, responsibility, structure, restrictions, tradition, depth, time, memory, concentration, patience, endurance, truth, wisdom, aging, and solidification. Saturn's action is glacial but enduring.
   Most, if not all, spiritual traditions have pantheons of Gods and Goddesses (or Archangels) that symbolize the energies of the spheres on the Tree of Life. Basically, by invoking a God or Goddess, you are opening a sphere, or path, in your aura to the energies of the corresponding energies in the macrocosm, the cosmos. In other words, since Saturn is associated with the third sphere on the Tree, if you invoke Saturn effectively, you will effectively contact an aspect of the sphere of Binah (a Hebrew word which means "Understanding" in English).

The possible negative consequences of invoking a God.

The Pentagram

   Several effective methods of invoking the energies of the Gods using the Tarot already exist. One effective method is the Ritual Pentagram Spread. The pentagram is a five-pointed star with several significant meanings. First of all, the pentagram can be drawn in one continuous motion, suggesting its unity of form, but unlike the circle, which has no beginning or end, one can begin drawing the pentagram at any of its five points, each of which can have various symbolic associations. In this game, the pentagram reveals the unity of earth, air, water, and fire, and the fifth element of spirit, or aether. This reflects the esoteric doctrine that four visible states have their root in a fifth, invisible state.
   Like the circle, the pentagram establishes boundaries. In order to invoke any spiritual energy, a boundary must be established for the appropriate energy to manifest. The pentagram is also used to banish unwanted energies so that desired energies can then be invoked in a purer state. As a five-pointed figure, the pentagram stems from the sephira, or state of being, represented as the fifth sphere on the Tree of Life known as Geburah (meaning “power” or “severity”). Geburah restricts and controls energy on all levels of being in the same way that a combustion engine controls force so that the engine will run and the vehicle will operate. In other words, the severity of Geburah restricts force in a harmonious and productive manner.
   So it is appropriate that the pentagram is a figure representing the most harmonious force in the cosmos, the Christ-force. This is so because the elements and the letters of a familiar name of God, also known as the Tetragrammaton, are positioned on the points of the star to reflect this symbolic meaning. The Tetragrammaton contains the Hebrew letters Yod Heh Vau Heh, which spells Yahweh, or Jehovah. Reflecting how manifestation occurs down through the planes of force and form, Yod represents the element of Fire, Heh represents Water, Vau Air, and final Heh Earth, Fire and Air being active planes of force, Water and Earth being passive planes of form. Each of these elements reflects a state of being, not an element in the periodic table, and is associated with a suit in the Tarot, Fire with Wands, Water with Cups, Air with Swords, and Earth with Pentacles. To continue the association chain, Fire represents the spiritual plane, Water the mental plane, Air the astral plane, and Earth the physical plane.

WANDS          CUPS          SWORDS          PENTACLES
Fire                  Water          Air                      Earth
Spiritual          Mental         Astral                  Physical
Yod                  Heh            Vau                     Heh

   In the Pentagram Spread, you will use five “foundation” cards to represent this harmonious energy of manifestation: the four a Aces, each representing the root of its element, and “Judgement,” a card associated with the letter Shin and the quintessence of spirit. The Ace of Wands representing the element of Fire (Yod) should be positioned at the lower right point, the Ace of Cups representing the element of Water (Heh) at the upper right point, “Judgment” representing Aether (Shin) at the top, the Ace of Swords representing the element of Air (Vau) at the upper left point, and the Ace of Pentacles representing the element of Earth (final Heh) at the lower left point of the pentagram.

Foundation Cards: The Four Aces and Judgement with "The World" (Saturn)

   These cards form the base of any Pentagram Spread ritual you devise. The other cards from the Major and Minor Arcana can be used as modifiers that support the ritual purpose since they represent divine energies at different levels. The twelve Major Arcana cards associated with the zodiac (see chart) should go first on the aces since they represent cosmic energies. Next the cards associated with the planets, if appropriate, should be placed on top of the zodiac cards. Then any number cards that support the ritual purpose should be placed last on the stack. In other words, three cards can be placed on top of each Ace. Any more than three invariably complicates the ritual and dilutes its power. Remember that modifying cards add power, but effective rituals can be done with only the foundation cards, if you choose.
   First place the card that best represents the ritual purpose in the center of the star. Then lay out the foundation cards, the Aces and Judgement, at the points of the pentagram. Next lay out any modifying cards in this order if you feel they add power to the ritual:

1) a card signifying a zodiac sign
2) a card signifying a planet
3) a number card or court card


   In astrology the twelve zodiac signs are grouped into four elemental triplicities. In other words, three of the signs are associated with the element of Fire, three with Water, three with Air, and three with Earth. You should always place a zodiac card on its own Ace. For instance, The Emperor, Strength and Temperance (Ares, Leo, and Sagittarius respectively) are associated with Fire, so they should only be placed on the Ace of Wands. The Chariot, Death, and The Moon (Cancer, Scorpio, and Pisces) are associated with Water and should only be used on the Ace of Cups. The Lovers, Justice, and The Star (Gemini, Libra, and Aquarius) are associated with the Air element and should only be placed on the Ace of Swords. Finally, The Hierophant, The Hermit, and The Devil are associated with Earth and should only be placed on the Ace of Pentacles.

The Zodiacal, Planetary, and Elemental Associations of the Major Arcana Trumps

   The planet modifiers are most effective with the signs they modify. To avoid conflict it is best unless you know a great deal about astrology to stick with the ruling signs. Also, since the zodiac cards are not being laid out in a zodiacal circle, you do not need to worry about creating adverse aspects.
   In the system of Golden Dawn correspondences, each number card, or Minor Arcana card, from the Twos to the Tens, is assigned ten degrees of the zodiac, called a decan, or decanate, each of which is ruled by a planet. The number cards are also associated with the ten sephiroth (spheres) on the Tree of Life. For instance, the Aces, described as the roots of the powers of the elements, are all assigned to Kether, the first sphere on the Tree, the Twos to Chokmah, the second sphere, the Threes to Binah, the third sphere, and so on down to the Tens in Malkuth, the tenth sphere.
   The meaning of each number card is derived from its element, the combined planet and sign of its decanate, and its location within a sephira, seven of which are associated with a planet.

Learn more about the decan associations of the number cards.

   At the risk of stating the obvious, the number cards should only be used with the Ace of their own suit. In other words, place a Pentacle only on the Ace of Pentacles, not on the Ace of Cups, the Ace of Swords, or the Ace of Wands. Mixing them only creates conflicts and results in confusion.


   First lay down the card called "The World" in the center of the altar or the table. Before you lay down the foundation cards, however, you need to choose the aspect of Saturn that you'd like to emphasize. If you refer to the chart, you will see that Saturn rules two signs, Capricorn and Aquarius. Thinking in terms of associated Gods is always helpful in choosing the right cards. Capricorn, associated with the tarot card "The Devil," is also associated with the Egyptian God Min, who closely resembles the Roman God Pan. Min is one of the primary fertility Gods of the ancient Egyptians and is associated with the dynamic, potent life-force permeating the material realm. Capricorn is an earth sign, so the "The Devil" will be placed on the Ace of Pentacles. Furthermore, the Egyptian Goddess Sothis is associated with "The Star," the trump card representing Aquarius. Sothis is the celestial Isis, her star appearing on the horizon before the Nile floods. The celestial Isis, as the Great Mother, is associated with the sphere of Binah on the Tree of Life. Aquarius is an Air sign, which means that you will place it on the Ace of Swords.

Gods and Archangels on the Tree of Life.

Option One: Zodiac Cards with The Star modifying the Ace of Swords

   Determining which modifiers work best when invoking planetary energies is usually a matter of determining the related sphere of the planet on the Tree of Life and the decanate associations of the number cards. For instance, Saturn is associated with Binah, the third sphere on the Tree, so we can focus on the Threes in each of the four suits. Sometimes, however, you must make choices about what you wish to emphasize. Notice that the number card associated with Saturn in the suit of Swords is the "Lord of Sorrow," the Three of Swords. Many might consider this a negative card because it emphasizes the suffering associated with the transitory nature of existence. However, without the sorrow caused by restrictions and the transitory nature of life, the dance of life, with all of its beauty and abundance, as shown in the Three of Cups, could not occur. Acceptance of limitation and death is a major aspect of becoming an ally with Saturn. If you choose to emphasize this aspect of Saturn, you should choose the zodiac card in the decan association: Justice (Libra), which as you can see is modified by Saturn. However, if you do not wish to focus on this aspect of Saturn, then you should use The Star as originally suggested--and leave it unmodified by any other card.

Option Two: Zodiac Cards with Justice modifying the Ace of Swords

Saturn (Binah, the third sphere)

Wands: The Emperor (Aries), The Sun (The Sun), the Three of Wands (Sun in Aries, Saturn in Binah)
Cups: The Chariot (Cancer), The Magician (Mercury), the Three of Cups (Mercury in Cancer, Saturn in Binah)
Swords: Justice (Libra), The World (Saturn--center card), the Three of Swords (Saturn in Libra, Saturn in Binah)
Pentacles: The Devil (Capricorn), The Tower (Mars), the Three of Pentacles (Mars in Capricorn, Saturn in Binah)

Number Cards (Threes) on top of Planetary Modifiers

   After you have chosen the zodiac cards and planetary cards that you feel are most appropriate, you can easily determine the modifying number cards by referring back to the decan associations.

The Three of Wands.
The Three of Cups.
The Three of Swords.
The Three of Pentacles.

Active and Passive Invoking Pentagrams

   Fire and Air are active elements and Earth and Water are passive elements. Therefore, the invoking ritual for Air and Fire is slightly different than the one for Earth and Water. Again, first lay down the card with the energies that you are invoking, in this case "The World" for Saturn. The rule is, if you are emphasizing the active elements related to the suit of Wands or Swords, start with the Fire element and move toward the Air element, placing the Ace of Wands in the lower right hand corner and then the Ace of Swords in the upper left hand corner, continuing with the Water element and so on until you complete the star. Then draw a complete star above the layout in the same order. (Do the same with any Major Arcana card associated with Fire or Air.) If you are invoking the energies from a card in the suit of Pentacles or Cups, start with the Ace of Pentacles in the lower left hand corner and move toward the Ace of Cups, continuing until you complete the star. Therefore, if you choose to emphasize the aspect of Saturn represented by Capricorn, start with the Ace of Pentacles, then lay down the Ace of Cups, then the Ace of Swords until the star is complete. All subsequent modifiers will be placed in the same order. Then tap the cards or draw the pentagram in brilliant white light in the same order above the layout and say, "The Pentagram is complete."
   On the other hand, if you choose to emphasize the aspect of Saturn represented by Aquarius, start with the Ace of Wands, then lay down the Ace of Swords, then the Ace of Cups until the star is complete. All subsequent modifiers will be placed in the same order. Then tap the cards or draw the pentagram in brilliant white light in the same order above the layout and say, "The Pentagram is complete."
   The rest is simple. To review: Since Saturn is associated with Binah, the third sphere, find the threes in each suit. Every number card is associated with a planet from its sphere, so all the threes are automatically associated with Saturn in Binah. Every number card is associated with a decanate, or ten degrees of the zodiac, which includes a planet and a sign. Refer to the list of decan associations (see link above) for the modifiers associated with each card.


The Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram.

   The Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram starts with the Earth element in the lower left hand corner and moves toward the apex, the element of Aether, then to Fire, Air, Water, and back to Earth. So for the Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram, the player should lay down the card with the unwanted energies in the middle of the star and then the Ace of Pentacles in the lower left hand corner. Then proceed as in the Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram, placing “Judgment” at the top of the star, the Ace of Wands in the lower right hand corner, the Ace of Swords in the upper left corner, the Ace of Cups in the upper right corner. Then draw the full pentagram above the star in the same order from the Ace of Pentacles back to the Ace of Pentacles, thereby banishing the energies in the card.

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