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.
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.
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
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.
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.