What Do Numbers Mean in Tarot

What Do Numbers Mean in Tarot?

The meaning of each Major Arcana card is intertwined with the vibration of a specific number. The Pythagoreans believed that numerical relationships underpin all phenomena in the world, and understanding them could unveil the secrets of existence. Each number, for them, had significance and embodied an aspect of the universe’s existence.

Ancient researchers noticed the influence of planetary positions on human’s situations and actions on Earth.

All Tarot cards are connected to numbers. Additionally, each subsequent card’s meaning emerges from the properties of the preceding one. For example, the meanings of the Twos stem from the Aces and lead to the Threes. The meanings of the Major Arcana are also linked to the symbolism of numbers. For instance, the Magician and Aces correspond to the number One, because both the card (according to Tarot principles) and the number (according to numerology) represent similar qualities and properties: novelty, inspiration, unity, energy, and creative beginning. Knowing the correspondence of cards to numbers makes it easier for the interpreter to explain and read the Tarot spreads. For this, it’s not necessary to know the exact meanings of the cards, but just having a basic understanding of numerology is sufficient.

0 The Fool – Number 0
Symbolizes the cosmic Chaos, from which new beginnings arise. Zero is both the beginning and the end, encompassing all existence and eternal non-being. It is associated with an egg containing an embryo to give rise to new life. Its round shape reminds us of the infinity of the universe.

1 The Magician, Aces, Pages – Number 1
Represents the manifestation of divine will, the activity of the masculine principle, the foundational principle upon which all other numbers are built. One is a symbol of unity, the essence of divinity, associated with the Sun. It is the basis of all life and a creative, positive beginning. The Pythagoreans called One a monad, a single indivisible particle, related to phallic forms. The Magician embodies the element of Fire and is the patron of the Suit of Wands.

2 The High Priestess, Twos, Knights – Number 2
Symbolizes love and wisdom, the manifestation of kindness and compassion. Two is the passive feminine principle, the embodiment of yin and yang in Taoism, the relationship of two polarities expressed in the tense struggle of opposites. Number 2 symbolizes all dualities: life and death, spirit and matter, positive and negative. It is associated with the Moon, the main symbol of the High Priestess. The Pythagoreans called two a dyad, meaning “duality.” The High Priestess embodies the changeable element of Water and oversees the Suit of Cups.

3 The Empress, Threes, Queens – Number 3
Represents fertility, the reasonableness of nature, and creativity. The triad unites the active and passive principles, spirit and matter. For the Pythagoreans, Pythagoras of Samos was the founder of the science of numbers (numerology) as the measure of all existence. He was born in Sidon, Phoenicia, traveled extensively, and delved into the secrets of ancient mysticism and occultism. Forced to leave his homeland due to political disagreements, he settled in Croton, where he founded a philosophical-mystical school. The Vitruvian Man drawing and its explanations are sometimes called canonical proportions, representing the manifestation of magical power. The dynamic and creative number can be associated with Jupiter, the planet of opportunities and expansion. The triad is the result of the manifestation of divine will. God reveals himself in three hypostases: God the Father – creator of all, God the Son – born of the creator, and the Holy Spirit – proceeding from the Father. In Ancient Egypt, the triad was embodied in the legend of Osiris – the father, Isis – the mother, and Horus – the child. The Empress symbolizes the element of Air and oversees the Suit of Swords. In myths and fairy tales, we often encounter three witches, three brothers (one of whom is foolish), three sisters (two evil, one good), or a hero needing to pass through three trials.

4 The Emperor, Fours, Kings – Number 4
Number 4 represents the stability and security of the material world, symbolizing a plane (rectangle, square) and its manifestations through the four elements: Fire, Water, Air, Earth. The number can be represented by the four seasons: autumn, winter, spring, and summer. Or through the four evangelists: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. It’s also the four aspects of the Sphinx: human, lion, bull, and eagle. Or the four weeks of the month, etc. In Judaism, the “ineffable name of God” consists of four letters. Geometrically, the number four is expressed by the square and the equilateral cross. According to Pythagorean tradition, the number four is called the tetrad and symbolizes, at the highest level, the divine principle of the existence of matter, while its earthly manifestation is defeat, oppression, boredom, poverty, and inactivity. It corresponds to the planet Uranus.

5 The Hierophant, Fives – Number 5
Number 5 symbolizes knowledge and wisdom, immersion in the mysteries of spirit and faith. Five represents the five elements of feng shui: Water, Earth, Wood, Fire, and Metal. The pentagram also has five points and can represent the number symbolizing man (well illustrated by Leonardo da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man). The vibrations of five disrupt the stability created by the number four, causing crisis and change. The Pythagoreans named the number five the pentad, which meant sexuality and mobility. The planet of five is Mercury.

6 The Lovers, Sixes – Number 6
Number 6 symbolizes the necessity of making a decision, a crossroads, and the qualities of the planet Venus. The number six, hexad, is a number of harmony and beauty. For the Pythagoreans, it had a special sacred significance, as its factors can be both added and multiplied to get six (1 × 2 × 3 = 6; 1 + 2 + 3 = 6). In the school of Pythagoras, the hexad was attributed qualities of maternal love, care, and was associated with the parental home and a period of stagnation. The hexad is connected to divine completion – the sixth day of creation and the six-pointed Star of David, which originally was a symbol of the fertility goddess Ishtar.

7 The Chariot, Sevens – Number 7
Number 7 symbolizes a considered step toward making a decision, as the Chariot is the first card of activity and movement. The number 7 is magical and mysterious, not easily obtained by multiplication: seven stars of the Big Dipper, seven days of the week, seven days of creation, seven planets of ancient astrology, seven circles of hell, seven deadly sins, seven notes, seven colors of the rainbow, seven chakras, etc. The heptad embodies mysticism and mystery, the principle of newness, the last day of creation, the union of spirit and matter. It corresponds to the planet Neptune.

8 Strength, Eights – Number 8
Number 8 symbolizes both completeness and the turned sign of infinity. The path to liberation from samsara in Buddhism consists of eight steps: right view, right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration. The twenty-four runes of the Elder Futhark are divided into groups called aettir. The infinity symbol is visible above the head of the woman on the Strength card. The Pythagoreans called the number eight the ogdoad and associated it with karma and life after death.

9 The Hermit, Nines – Number 9
Number 9 embodies wisdom, higher philosophy, and solitude. The vibrations of nine require readiness and the ability to find the meaning of life within oneself. As the last single-digit number, it symbolizes the result. The planet is Mars. The Pythagorean students called nine the ennead, symbolizing the connection of three worlds: spirit, soul, and matter. Nine is the number of completion, multiplied by itself, it shows the components of the sum of nine (9 × 9 = 81; 8 + 1 = 9).

10 The Wheel of Fortune, Tens – Number 10
Number 10 embodies the end. Ten consists of zero and one, symbolizing the manifestation of divine will, so the vibrations of ten are associated with the numbers that create it. One is the desire to start anew, and zero is the chaos from which everything is born

11 Justice – Number 11
Number 11 represents the sum of the numbers of the Universe (10) and God (1), a number of disturbance and antagonism, associated with the planet Proserpina, symbolizing the manifestation of sin. For the Pythagoreans, the number 11 was considered sacred because it held special significance in the repetition of digits.

12 The Hanged Man – Number 12
Symbolizes order and goodness, the number of completion, associated with the twelve months, twelve zodiac signs, twelve apostles, and the twelve labors of Hercules.

13 Death – Number 13
Symbolizes the beginning of a new cycle, traditionally considered unlucky in many cultures. Many buildings lack rooms with the number 13, and after the 12th floor, the 14th follows directly. Thirteen people were present at the Last Supper – Jesus and the 12 Apostles. King Solomon built his palace for 13 years. The number 13 is associated with destruction, death, and betrayal, yet since ancient times, it has been considered sacred, relating to the underworld that seeks to disrupt cosmic order.

14 Temperance – Number 14
Symbolizes transformation and combinations, considered lucky because its sum yields two sevens. Fourteen is a number of unexpected assistance.

15 The Devil – Number 15
Carries the vibrations of one and five, which together yield six. Symbolizes the full moon, spiritual elevation, in Kabbalah corresponds to the genius of evil, who governs religion and ideology, engendering religious wars, false prophets, and destructive sects.

16 The Tower – Number 16
Symbolizes collapse and destruction, yet the Pythagoreans considered it lucky because it unites three elements: spirit (head), soul (heart), and matter (body). The Major Arcanum of The Hanged Man corresponds to the vibrations of the number 12, carrying an active impulse promising not only the destruction of the old but also the creation of the new (1 + 6 = 7).

17 The Star – Number 17
Symbolizes hope, strength, and faith, carrying the vibrations of numbers 7 and 1, which together yield 8.

18 The Moon – Number 18
Symbolizes sadness and mystery, mistakes and lies, associated with lunar and solar eclipses, carrying the vibrations of numbers 8 and 1, which together yield 9.

19 The Sun – Number 19
Symbolizes the light of truth and enlightenment, the philosophical stone, the quintessence of wisdom in alchemy, the substance with which any object can be transformed into gold. Number 19 is considered lucky because it consists of nine and one, which together yield 10 – the number of the Wheel of Fortune.

20 Judgment – Number 20
Symbolizes salvation, truth, faith, rebirth, and immense spiritual energy. Corresponds to the total number of human fingers, so in the Maya calendar, which had 20 days, May was called Man. The number 20 corresponds to the vibrations of numbers 2 and 0: on one hand, it represents the constant implementation of plans, and on the other, possibilities and the beginning of a new life.

21 The World – Number 21
Symbolizes strength, stability, and immutability of the Universe, the fulfillment of desires, freedom from limitations and independence, the number of wisdom and perfection. Number 21 embodies simultaneously the vibrations of numbers 2 and 1, also corresponds to seven multiplied by three.

4 thoughts on “What Do Numbers Mean in Tarot?”

    1. Hi 🙂
      Numerology enhances the interpretation of Tarot cards by providing additional layers of meaning to each card. Numbers carry specific symbolic significance that can influence the reading’s context and depth. For example, the number 4, symbolizing stability and structure, aligns with The Emperor card, reinforcing themes of authority and order. Understanding these numerical associations helps readers gain deeper insights into the cards’ messages and how they interact with each other within a spread.

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