Numerology is an important part of the symbolism of Tarot cards. An understanding of the basic principles of numerology will add richness and depth to Tarot card reading. There are many different Tarot decks available, but this article will be focused on the Rider-Waite-Smith deck.
This deck is divided into two sections, the Major Arcana and the Minor Arcana. The Major Arcana consists of 22 cards that are in a numbered progression. The Minor Arcana consists of four suits with 10 numbered cards and 4 Court cards each. The numbers on the cards are rich with meaning, and these meanings are consistent with numerology. In the Major Arcana, the two-digit numbers have two meanings, the meaning of the number itself, and the simplified number that you get by adding the two digits together. In this article, we focus on the simplified number.
The Major and Minor Arcana and Numbers
The Number 0
There is only one card in the entire Tarot deck with the Number 0. This card is The Fool. The Fool is both the first and the last of the Major Arcana, and thus, this card is the beginning and the end. It also represents the innocent soul on his journey through the rest of the Major Arcana.
Though The Fool is the only card that is numbered 0, the symbol is also contained on the wreath that surrounds the woman on The World.
The Number 1
The Number 1is the first act of pure Creation, and it also represents new beginnings. The card of Major Arcana that is the Number 1 is The Magician. Each of the Minor Arcana suits begins with the Number 1 as well. The four suits represent the four classical elements. Wands represent Fire, the realm of action. Cups represent Water, the realm of imagination and emotion. Swords represent Air, the realm of thought. Finally, Pentacles represent Earth, the realm of materiality. The Number 1 has mostly positive associations.
The Number 2
The Number 2 represents balance, decision-making, and polarity. In the Major Arcana, the Number 2 is The High Priestess. Justice, whose number is 11, can also be simplified to the Number 2, because 1+1 = 2. Judgment, whose number is 20, can be simplified to the number 2 as well. In the Minor Arcana, the 2’s represent balance, relationships, and decisions.
The Number 3
The first of the Major Arcana to be represented by the Number 3 is of The Empress. The Hanged Man, Number 12, and The World, Number 21, also carry the symbolism of the Number 3. Of the Minor Arcana, in all of the suits except for Swords, the 3’s have positive connotations.
The Number 4
The Number 4 is a more tense number. In the Major Arcana, the Number 4 is The Emperor. This is largely a positive card, but it brings in a harsher, very masculine element. Death, Number 13, also carries the symbolism of 4. In the Minor Arcana, it is only in the suit of Wands that 4 has an unambiguously positive connotation.
The Number 5
The Number 5 represents freedom and expressiveness, but there is also an element of wildness and unpredictability to it. In the Major Arcana, 5 is the number of The Hierophant. Temperance, Number 14, also carries the symbolism of the Number 5. In the Minor Arcana, 5’s carry a negative connotation in every suit and introduce an element of strife.
The Number 6
The Number 6 has the meaning of balance and harmony. In the Major Arcana, it is the number of the two related cards, The Lovers, Number 6, and The Devil, Number 15. In the Minor Arcana, the 6’s carry relatively positive connotations in all four suits.
The Number 7
The Number 7 represents faith, but it also represents knowledge and understanding. In the Major Arcana, the Number 7 is The Chariot as well as The Tower, Number 16. And the Minor Arcana, the 7’s have mixed or ambiguous meanings in all suits.
The Number 8
The Number 8 represents power and intensity. 8 is the number of the card, Strength. The Star, Number 17, also incorporates the symbolism of 8. In the Minor Arcana, the Eight of Pentacles is positive, as is the Eight of Wands. The Eight of Cups is mixed, and the Eight of Swords is negative.
The Number 9
The Number 9 is the number of completion. In the Major Arcana, 9 is The Hermit, as well as The Moon, Number 18. In the Minor Arcana, the 9’s represent as far as the suits can go before it reaches completion.
The Number 10
The Number 10 is the end of the matter. At the same time, because 1+0=1, 10 also incorporates the meaning of the Number 1 and indicates a new beginning. In the Major Arcana, Number 10 is the Wheel of Fortune and also The Sun, Number 19. In the Minor Arcana, the 10’s mark the end of the numbered cards in each suit.