Card Meanings,  Numerology

Numerology In The Tarot (Part 1)


Magenta is a long standing TABI member who often blesses us with her knowledge and discoveries. In two parts, Magenta allows us to see into the world of Numerology and how it relates to tarot. You can find more about Magentas Crafts in the link here.

Over the years there have been many correspondences to other divinatory systems and connections made between them and the Tarot.  The main ones are to Astrology, Numerology and the Kabballah, but there are other, more obscure links to Runes, the I Ching, the Chakras and crystals too.

Numerology and Astrology are probably the most easy to identify.  Our numerical system is based on 10’s of course and there are 10 pip cards in each suit of the Minor Arcana.

9 pentacles, The Lovers, 6 cups

Numerology is the study of numbers and the impact they play on our lives, as well as the frequency in which they appear. A basic understanding of how numbers relate to specific cards in the Tarot is very helpful as it helps to shed further light on the meaning of each card.

The numbers 1 to 9 are called Primary numbers and from 10 onwards, they are known as Compound or Secondary numbers. Compound numbers can be broken down into a Primary number so for example let’s take card 14 Temperance.  As a Secondary number 14 symbolises challenges, intuition, balance, and if you add 1 + 4 together, you get 5 which symbolises obstacles.  As a rough guide then, you need to find the right balance in something to get over an obstacle. 

Emperor (IV)

The qualities of the Secondary number are what are often needed to deal with or blend with, the qualities of the Primary number to get an answer.  If you look at all the double numbered cards and break the number down to a single digit, it will give you an extra dimension to the meaning of that card.

The keywords for each Primary number, in relation to the Tarot are as follows:

Aces or 1’s are the beginning or start: in the Majors, The Magician is numbered 1

2’s are the balance: in the Majors, the High Priestess is numbered 2
3’s are the initial result: in the Majors The Empress is numbered 3
4’s are the rest or pauses: in the Majors The Emperor is numbered 4
5’s are the obstacles: in the Majors The Hierophant is numbered 5
6’s are the rewards: in the Majors The Lovers is numbered 6
7’s are the choices: in the Majors The Chariot is numbered 7
8’s are the movement: in the Majors Strength is numbered 8 (* sometimes this is Justice)
9’s are the strength: in the Majors The Hermit is numbered 9
10’s are the ultimate result, completion. 10 is also the Compound number of 1, 1 + 0 = 1: in the Majors The Wheel of Fortune is numbered 10

Looking at the Compound numbers we have:

11 is considered to be a Master number with magical properties. Being the Compound number of 2, it also signifies the need to find balance. Justice is numbered 11 (Some decks Strength is 11)

12 is also considered a master number and being the Compound number of 3, often signifies looking deeper into or reflecting on, any initial results. The Hanged Man is numbered 12

13 is not an unlucky number to many Pagans as there are 13 Moons in the year. It can symbolise destruction if the power is used wrongly. Being the Compound number of 4, it signifies that stability can often only be achieved after destruction.  Death is numbered 13.

14 is as mentioned earlier, actually a number representing challenge. Being the Compound number of 5, these challenges need to be met with intuition and balance. Temperance is numbered 14

15 is a number of personal magnetism and power that can be welded over others. As the Compound number of 6, this power can have its rewards if used constructively. The Devil is numbered 15

16 is associated with danger, mainly from over confidence and as the Compound number of 7, this can signify attention to detail especially when considering choices. The Tower is numbered 16

17 is associated with harmony, spirituality and love and being the Compound number of 8,  this is about movement within these areas. The Star is numbered 17

The Moon (XVIII)

18 is often seen as a very difficult number with conflicts and deception. Being the Compound number of 9, it is about using strength to get through these difficulties. The Moon is numbered 18

19 is considered to be a very fortunate number and is symbolic of general success. As the Compound number of 1, it signifies new starts and beginnings. The Sun is numbered 19

20 is about awakening and rebirth and being the Compound number of 2, gives a balance and sense of purpose in life. Judgement is numbered 18

21 is considered to be a fortunate number and is associated with Karmic rewards and that a major cycle has been completed. Being the Compound number of 3, this again shows any initial results, but as a bigger picture. The World is numbered 21

As you will see, the numbers 10 & 19 are both Compound numbers of the Primary number 1 and when considering these numbered cards in the Majors, all are connected with new starts and beginnings.

Similarly, the Major card numbered 11 & 20 being the Compound numbers of Primary number 2, all have similar traits and themes running through them.  This also applies to Major card numbers 12 & 21 in relation to Primary number 3 of course.

In part two of the article you will find exercises and examples to help put this idea fully into practice! Stay tuned.

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