All Things Tarot: Musings of a Tarot Crone

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Numerology and the Tarot

You don't have to be an tarot expert to realize that numerology is very strong in both the major and the minor arcana. All the cards are numbered—and every tarot card resonates along with the number that is ascribed to it. Every number has its own frequency, its own vibration. Just ask a musician about the notes and timing of the score.

The major arcana is numbered 0 - 21, and of course 0 is just a placeholder. It's a pause, the place where anything is possible. It's the potential of an idea before that idea comes to mind.

In most standard tarot decks, the minor arcana is divided into 4 suits. These are usually known as cups, swords, wands, and pentacles. Some tarot decks call them chalices, blades, staves, and coins. Some even go off on a bit of a tangent, and use the elements, or names like bowls, knives, sticks, and stones. The element is usually the same—cups with water, swords with air, wands with fire, and pents with earth. 

All the numbers throughout the tarot resonate in a similar way. A two is a two is a two; but the two of pentacles is going to reflect the element of earth, while the two of cups is going to reflect the element of water. Two is graceful and poised and all about duality. With the two of pents that is reflected in what's a priority and what isn't, and until that's established, you may feel you're juggling too much. The two of cups indicates an emotional issue, the choice of a partner. The two of swords is a mental duality, struggling with a decision or what tenet to follow, while the two of wands pauses, choosing what plan to put into action. 

It's easy to make your relationship with the tarot much more personal and involved if you use some simple numerology along with the archetypal images. You may already know what major arcana card resonates with your astrology sun sign; what about which one resonates with your actual date of birth? There are two ways of doing this. 

The first is to add up the numbers in your date of birth. For example, if you were born on 17 September, 1957, you're a Virgo, and the card that resonates with Virgo in the tarot is the Hermit. To bring in the numerology to find out more about how the tarot resonates with your date of birth, add all the numbers of your date of birth together.  1 + 7 + 9 + 1 + 9 + 5 + 7 brings the result of 39. The 3 and the 9 added together bring you to 12. That can be further reduced to get 3. Your personal tarot companion based on the numerology of your date of birth would be the Empress, and you'll find that you're greatly influenced in your life by the number 3. 

But what about the 12, the number on the Hanged Man card? Well, that also resonates with you, maybe even more than the Empress, because it is the number of the first major arcana tarot card, before you reduced to find your single digit number. There are different ways of looking at this. and Mary K Greer goes into them at great length in her book, Tarot Constellations, where she discusses the Personality cards, the Soul cards, and the Hidden Purpose cards. 

Using this concept, then in the above example, the Hanged Man is the personality card, the Empress the soul card, and the World card (because the World is assigned the number of 21, and that can also be added together to get 3) is the Hidden Factor card. The personality card is just that; it reveals aspects about your personality in this lifetime. The soul card points to your destiny, your soul's purpose for this incarnation. The hidden factor card gives you glimpses int to your shadow self, and aspects of your personality that you may not want to face, or that you don't recognize even though others do (not everyone will have a hidden factor card, simply because of the numerology involved). The threes of the minor arcana will also be more meaningful in readings because of this connection with the numbers. You may even find that threes jump out at you in other places, like your phone number, drivers' licence number, or address. 

Have fun getting to know your tarot in a new way. You can even use numerology through the tarot to help you plan important events in your life, such as weddings or house moves. Your name can also be reduced to numbers using numerology, and it's fun to take a look through the tarot to find out what cards resonate with your strengths and lessons based on the consonants and vowels in your name. We'll take a look at that in an upcoming entry.



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Charlie Rainbow Wolf is happiest when she is creating something, especially if it can be made from items that others have cast aside. Pottery, writing, knitting, and Tarot are her deepest interests, but she happily confesses that she’s easily distracted, because life offers so many wonderful things to explore. Charlie has been reading the Tarot professionally for over two decades, and can't imagine life without it. She is an advocate of organic gardening and cooking, and lives in the Midwest with her husband and special-needs Great Danes.


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