Numerology plays a very important role in understanding the symbolism behind each card in Tarot. Just like a standard deck of playing cards the minor arcana has 4 suites of numbered cards from 1 (Ace) to 10, as well as the court cards. As the suite defines the element of the card and the aspect of life it symbolises, the number of the card defines the situation or phase.
The number that should be the most obvious in it's meaning is the first card of each suite, the Ace (number 1). In all 4 suites the Ace symbolises the new, a beginning, a fresh start.
The number 2 is a number of balance and harmony. In numerology it is a number of diplomacy and building of relationships. Even in the troublesome Swords suite the 2 is a card of balance, a locked situation, a healthy debate or argument, possibly a legal binding or contract.
The number 3 is the number of creativity, joy, parties.The joy, the parties and the social happiness can be seen in the 3 of Cups. The 3 of Wands/Rods and Coins/Pentacles relate to the creativity of the number. As the number 3 is such a carefree and happy number the negative opposite is worry and anxiety. The 3 of swords being the intellectual suite of element Air carries this negative aspect of the 3.
The number 4 is the number of hard work, patience, setbacks, restrictions & limitations. The 4 of Rod/Wands often depicts a home with people working in the fields in front of it. The other 3 suites have images of people at rest or inactivity in the 4th card of each suite.
The number 5 is the number of freedom, travel, the unexpected, sensuality & change. The negative aspect of this number are irresponsibility, self-indulgence & thoughtlessness. In Tarot the 5's are unwelcome cards as they traditionally point to negative situations. It is worth remembering though that there are positive aspects to the number 5 when they appear. They are a transitory phase being mid way between the other numbers therefore anything negative they point to should be short lasting.
The number 6 is the number of the home, family, friends & responsibility. The 6 of Coins/Pentacles often depicts a man handing out money in benevolence as the 6 is a caring number, a number for taking care of others rather than yourself. The harmony and protection of the 6 can be seen in the 6 of Swords which has a man crossing calm, flat, waters. The water represents emotions and, unusually for the suite of swords, there is calm here. This will be an easy crossing for the travellers. In some decks the man is on a boat with a woman and child representing the family of the 6. The 6 of Cups traditionally depicts a man and a woman in a platonic relationship. They are not lovers, just family or friends.
The number 7 is the number of rest, observation, contemplation. The major religions rest to pray on their 7th day. The 7 tells us to think before you jump. To observe, wait, contemplate and not act. The thief in the 7 of Swords is usually depicted stealing 5 of the 7 swords. Go back to the meaning of 5 and see for yourself it's negatives. This is the wrong time to act or to take what is not yours yet. The working man in the 7 of Coins/Pentacles rests from his work and contemplates his achievements so far.
The number 8 is the number of power, wealth, control, good fortune, success, organisation, practicality and authority. As it's a material number it doesn't bode well with the Suite of Cups and emotion. The mind rules over the heart in the 8 of Cups. It should be no surprise then to see in the suite of Coins/Pentacles a man making coins/pentacles. This card is about making money. The blind man in the 8 of Swords cannot see the earth and water around him. He is bound up in imprisoned within the confines of swords representing the intellectual bars of being controlled.
The number 9 is the number of endings, completion. It is the number of the harvest. What was sown in the 1, worked and tended from 2 to 8, now you will reap in the 9. In the 9 of Rods/Wands the harvest can be seen in the tall sticks that have grown to a height greater than the man who tends them . The wealth of the harvest can been seen in the 9 of Coins/Pentacles. The 9 is also a card of loneliness. As 9 is the number of endings it can also mean enjoying the benefits of the past alone.
The number 10's of the Minor Arcana are among the most auspicious and feared of the Tarot deck. The 10 of Swords is probably the most feared card in Tarot, as unwelcome in any spread as The Tower. It represents total and utter defeat, a perfect storm against which anyone who draws it has no chance of avoiding. The 10 of Rods/Wands also carries a negative message and situation, it is a card of too much work or responsibility to bare. When considering the Numerology of these cards hope can be found. 10 reduces to 1 (1+0). This must always be remembered when these cards appear. The 10 represents a new start, brought about by the ending of a cycle. Therefore with the defeat of the 10 of Swords look to the following cards for indication of what is to come in this new cycle. The storm will pass blowing away the old, leaving space for the new. The 10 of Coins/Pentacles and 10 of Cups represent the greatest achievements of wealth and love respectively.They also mark beginnings too. A good long term investment for wealth or a happy long term relationship, the beginning of a happy family life.
Numerology has one more significant application in Tarot and that is in determining the age of a person, usually male, from the court cards. A Knight in Tarot can often point to a young man in the age range of mid teens to the age of 28 to 37. A man becomes a King in Tarot once he has reached his 2nd Life Cycle, or Pinnacle, which occurs sometime between these ages. If you want to confirm wither someone is a Knight or King in a spread checking his numerology from date of birth will help.
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