While having lunch with a friend recently, I mentioned the topic of tarot and psychoanalysis. To my mind reading the tarot cards and interpreting a dream on the analyst’s couch are very similar processes. My friend grew up in a family in which the women enjoyed reading tarot cards and the men were interested in psychoanalysis. There was little communication between the gender-divided groups regarding these disparate interests. The conversation reminded me of a story from long ago in which the two worlds did meet.
Many years ago my wife and I were living in New Haven and her best friend from graduate school was living in Washington, DC, where she was completing her internship in clinical psychology at a local mental hospital. My wife’s friend would occasionally come to visit us in Connecticut. (She would prefer that I not use her name, so I shall refer to her as Diana.)
On one of these weekends I did an astrological reading for Diana and noticed that she had a lot of transits to her 12th house. (My recollection is that the Moon was conjoining Mercury at the cusp of the 12th house and other planets were transiting within.) I explained to Diana that the 12th house had to do with hospitals, prisons, and places of seclusion or confinement, and I told her that she was likely to have contact with such places or with sick or unfortunate people when she returned to Washington, DC. Diana, who was a total skeptic about astrology, responded that, of course, she would have contact with hospitals because she worked with psychiatric patients confined to a mental institution. It was not much of a stretch to make such a prediction.
I replied that whatever happened would not be part of her ordinary routine and that other meanings of the 12th house such as “animals larger than a goat” might apply. Jokingly I forecast that she would have an out of the ordinary encounter with a large animal, like a cow, early in the week on her return to Washington. “Maybe you’ll take your patients to the Washington Zoo or run into a cow on the street,” I quipped. (A friend of mine had actually hit a cow while driving in the country in NY State earlier in the year, so that image popped into my mind.)
Monday evening the phone rang. It was my wife’s friend laughing hysterically. At the time she was in psychoanalysis in Washington, DC. On Monday afternoon she went to her usual analytic session and laid down on the analyst’s couch. As she looked up, she noticed that the analyst had redecorated his office over the weekend and placed a new painting of cows grazing in a field on the wall over the analytic couch. Diana began to laugh and explained the prediction to her analyst. I don’t know whether he was amused.
Based on my recollection of events, I was able to reconstruct the transits to Diana’s chart. What I noticed back then was a Moon/Mercury conjunction that was taking place on the cusp of her 12th house in the middle of the night between the Monday and Tuesday when she returned to DC. For this reason I jokingly predicted an encounter with a large animal, like a cow, early in the week. My thought process associated cows with Taurus, female bulls, and milk; the 12th house with large animals; and Mercury with local travel. Here is the chart with Diana’s natal planets on the inside and the transiting planets on the outer wheel:
Animals are generally ruled by the 6th and 12th houses. Animals up to the size of a sheep or goat belong in the 6th house. Animals larger than a goat are 12th house matters. Here is what Lilly says:
The 6th house “concerneth men and maid-servants, galley slaves, hogs, sheep, goats, hares, conies [rabbits], all manner of lesser cattle, and profit and loss got thereby…”
The 12th house “hath signification of private enemies, of witches, great cattle – as horses, oxen, elephants, &c.; sorrow, tribulation, imprisonments, all manner of affliction, self-undoing, &c., and of such men as maliciously undermine their neighbours, or inform secretly against them.”