Card Meanings,  Numerology

Numbers in the Tarot (Part 2)


Magenta offers TABI a wealth of knowledge and helpful hints in the form of tarot, numerology, tea leaves, spreads and places of interest. In this part of Numbers in the Tarot (click the link for part 1), Magenta takes us through exercises and explanations to help bring together the teachings of part 1. You can find out more about Magentas wares and skills on this link here.

Following on from last month’s Blog, ‘Numbers in the Tarot Part 1’, we will be looking a bit deeper into the cards.

Firstly, as an exercise, lay out the Major cards numbered 1, 10 & 19, then 2, 11 & 20, then 3, 12 & 21 in rows downwards to see what similarities there are between each set of three. For example The Empress, The Hanged Man & The World; all three have similar poses, although the Hanged Man is upside down of course. All are symbolic of a period of waiting  too; the gestation period of The Empress, the hanging around of The Hanged Man and the period of a year of The World as symbolised by the four signs of the zodiac in each corner.

The Empress, The Hanged Man, The World

As you know, the Major Arcana has 22 cards, 0 The Fool up to 21 The World, but here the exception is 0 – zero which is a complete cycle, a beginning and an end, transformation.  The Fool is numbered 0, and this number obviously cannot be broken down any further. Numerically the Fool is not included in any calculations.

Another exercise to try is to lay out the Majors from 1 to 10 in a line and then all the numbered pip cards under each numbered Major.  Look for recurring themes/images/symbolism in each set of cards.  This only really works when using the Rider Waite or any Rider Waite influenced decks of course and does not apply to any Tarot de Marseilles decks.

The Moon

Looking at the frequency of numbers occurring in a spread is important too and can also add an extra meaning to the reading. For instance three Ace’s might indicate good news or a promising start, or two 8’s might show a surprise development.  Other examples are three 2’s which often shows indecision, like someone who keeps changing their mind about the matter. Four 5’s would show great challenges to be met.

An abundance of any number would emphasise the energy of the number and any absence of a particular number might highlight where something is lacking, similar to the absence of any suit in a spread.  An absence of Aces would show delayed starts or a reluctance to start something or an absence of 10’s could indicate projects not finished.

Another aspect of numbers is called the Quintessence of the reading.  The Quintessence is the overall theme or final message of the reading and can sometimes be quite revealing. This is found by adding up all the numbers of the cards laid in the spread and then adding the numbers until you get a number of 21 or less. I personally do not assign numbers to any of the Courts appearing, but there are some systems that do; Aleisiter Crowley did using his Thoth deck. Usually a King is 4, Queen is 3, Knight is 2 and Page is 1. If this appeals to you, then by all means use it.

The Emperor

So an example could be Ace Cups, 7 Swords, 2 Wands, The Empress (3), 4 Wands, 6 Wands, The Devil (15) = 38, 3 + 8 = Quintessence of 11.  Being a Master number, 11 has strong energies and the influence of Justice or Strength, (depending on which deck you use) and gives the overall ‘feel’ of the reading.

An exercise to try then is to lay out several cards at random in a line (try to include at least one Court) and add the numbers of all the cards to get the Quintessence.  Try both methods of adding the cards (including the Courts and also not including the Courts) to see if the Quintessence value changes the overall meaning of the cards in the spread.

Finally, numbers in the Tarot can be used in other ways, in particular to find your Birth Card or even your Card of the Year or Day.  As this is a vast topic however, I will be writing another Blog about this later in the year.

Have fun playing with the numbers!