The Fire Starter Challenge Begins

I had plans to do my post reflecting on my Instagram tarot challenges, but that fiery energy of Mars that closes out Pisces season before then thrusting Aries season upon us got me, and I couldn’t help but start planning out Aries. There was a lesson there for my reflections, but I’ll talk about that in the next post, which is my reflection. It’s imminent! 

Like The Star Seeker and Moon Dreamer Challenges, the Fire Starter Challenge was designed to inspire connecting with the spirit of the sign, both in thought and action. As the bringer of the spring (in the Northern hemisphere where all this was created) and a new zodiacal year, Aries is tied to starting new projects and taking action. The ram charges ahead regardless of the obstacles. While that might not make for amazing long-term results, there’s nothing that says that Aries ideas can’t last long-term, and the major arcanum in tarot associated with Aries (the Emperor) is all about structured application of force (presumably rams charge in a straight line), so there’s hope for us all if we can channel that Aries energy into something productive. Aim first, then charge.

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That’s the goal of this challenge, to connect with Aries energy and do something with it. Even if only one day of the challenge sparks something that turns long-term plan, that’s one more thing than might otherwise have happened. As someone who often embodies that tendency to start things, I wanted to just get started right away, and all of my earthy tendencies to plan were tossed out the window by two consecutive weeks of Tower, but the challenge is well on its way, and I’ve managed to keep up with posting prompts even if I haven’t always posted my readings on time. It’s a little bit of the structured Emperor and the charging Ram.

I’ve used astrology and its ties to tarot to inform this challenge more explicitly than in the last two, which only used the major arcanum of the sign. Since not everyone is familiar, and I like to introduce people to ideas that might be new to them, I’ve given the background on the cards and the astro-tarot systems within them. It helps give people an idea as to where I got the ideas for the prompts while inviting those who don’t use tarot cards to feel connected to the ideas behind the prompts without worrying about the tarot cards that might be referenced. 

In terms of the tarot, at least as envisioned by the Golden Dawn—and two of the three most common types of decks (Waite & Smith’s Rider deck and Crowley & Harris’s Thoth deck) were designed by its members—there are a handful of cards associated with Aries, and those cards inspired much of this challenge. As a side note, I’m including the Golden Dawn titles because they’re just fabulously dramatic.

  • The Emperor, the major arcanum of zodiacal Aries

  • 2 of Wands, also called Dominion or the Lord of Dominion, the minor arcanum of the first decan* of Aries (0º–9º of Aries, influenced by Mars / tied to the Tower)

  • 3 of Wands, also called Virtue or the Lord of Established Strength, the minor arcanum of the second decan of Aries (10º–19º of Aries, influenced by the Sun / tied to the Sun)

  • 4 of Wands, also called Completion or the Lord of Perfected Word, the minor arcanum of the last decan of Aries (20º–29º of Aries, influenced by Venus / tied to the Empress)

  • The Queen of Wands, also called Water of Fire and the Queen of the Thrones of Flame and Queen of Salamanders, the court card that rules the first two decans of Aries (0º–19º), along with the last decan of Pisces

  • The Prince of Disks/King of Pentacles,† also called Air of Earth and the Prince of the Chariot of Earth and Emperor of Gnomes, the court card that rules the last decan of Aries (19º–29º), along with the first two decans of Taurus

*Decans are 10-degree segments of the zodiac, which is a circle of the sky, so the 360º of the zodiac results in 36 decans. There are 36 minor arcana numbered 2–10, so that’s the primary focus of this astrological correspondence. Each decan is ruled or influenced by a planet that flavors that sign differently. (I say “influenced” since the zodiac signs have their own “rulers,” which in the traditional Western system only sometimes also rule one of the sign’s decans, and that just gets messy.) There are also modern associations, which are not used by the old tarot systems, but I hope to one day soon incorporate those into my own tarot components. Honestly, you should probably Google this term (and any other I use that’s new to you) if you want more info on it because I am a dilettante magpie when it comes to astrology.

†I’ve been meaning to do a post on this merging of Prince from Thoth and King from Rider/Waite-Smith since it goes against what I take to be majority understanding. In short, Waite either had a special copy of the Golden Dawn’s Book T or just made up his own thing, both seem quite likely to me. When it’s done, I’ll relink it here if I remember.