Numerology and the Tarot

13-numerology-2

Numerology – the language of numbers

Numerology is the metaphysical science of numbers, their vibrations, and their energies. Modern Numerologists believe that each number has spiritual significance and based on your birth date and your birth name, they can paint a detailed picture of who you are. By formulating your Personality Number, your Personal Year Number, your Life Path Number, et cetera, they can offer guidance, much like the Tarot, and is used to learn your destiny, life purpose and life lessons.

Brief History

Numerology is the ancient study of the significance of numbers dating back 2,500 years ago and used by ancient civilizations in Babylon, China, India and Greece.

There are three main systems or schools of the numbers:

  • Chaldean
  • Pythagorean
  • Kabbalah

Pythagoras-KnappPythagoras, a 6th century B.C.E. Greek mathematician and mystic, is considered the father of numerology. However, the Chaldean (pronounced kal-day-yan) system was developed by the Chaldeans of ancient Babylon, years before Pythagoras.

Pythagoras believed that numbers are the measure of form and energy and the numbers 1-9 symbolize the nine stages of the life cycle.

Both of these systems are based on letters and numbers, using your birth date, birth name, or your current name. The main differences are the Chaldean system is based on sound vibrations, while the Pythagorean system is based on sequential patterns . In addition, Chaldean focuses only on the name you’re currently using and their numbers range from 1-8 (9 is considered a holy or respected number).  While the Pythagorean system focused on your birth name and  uses the numbers 1-9 and odd and even numbers were looked at differently. Odd numbers were associated with masculine traits, and even numbers were associated with feminine traits.

Kabbalah numerology originated in the mystical teaching in Judaism and uses the Hebrew alphabet. It’s used to interpret a person’s name (only) and the meanings come from the Tree of Life’s ten Sephiroth (paths). See image below.

Modern Western Numerology

Mrs. L. Dow Balliett has been credited for the modernization of Numerology. In the early 1900’s, she was an influential speaker in the New Age Thought Movement and thus her teachings were spiritual in nature and were rooted in the Pythagorean system. Dr. Julia Seton is credited with modernizing the name ‘Numerology’ and her daughter, Dr. Juno Jordan, formed the California Institute of Numerical Research. For 25 years, they studied “every phase of the science of name and numbers; testing, proving, and disproving”¹. Dr. Jordan is greatly respected amongst Numerologists and some deem her to be highly influential on how the numbers are used today.

Numerology and Tarot

As stated earlier, the Chaldean systems uses the single digits 1-8; Pythagorian uses 1-9; Kabbalah uses 1-10. In Numerology, double-digit numbers are reduced to one digit however, there are a few ‘Master Numbers’ that are not reduced. These Master Number are 11, 22, and 33. The number zero (0) is also considered symbolic.

How to reduce a double-digit number:

  • 12: 1+2=3
  • 39: 3+9=12 as above, take 12: 1+2=3

Numerology in the Tarot has no set rules regarding the range. I’ve seen Tarot readers use 1-9 as well as 1-10. In addition, there is no absolute, complete set of interpretations that are universally accepted. You’ll notice each Tarotist has their own interpretations and they may differ from the next Tarot reader due to the different systems available.

  • The Major Arcana Numbers: 0-21
  • The Minor Arcana Numbers 1 (Ace) – 10
  • Court Cards are the exception

Some Tarotists consider the Courts an extension of the Pips and simply continue the sequence. Pages = 11, Knights = 12, Queens = 13, and Kings = 14 and then the numbers are reduced. I have also seen the following used respectively: 4, 3, 2, and 1.

treeoflifeWhile others Tarotists follow the Tree of Life’s Sephiroth:

  • Pages: 10th Sephirah – Malkuth; Kingdom
  • Knights: 6th Sephirah Tipareth; Beauty
  • Queens: 3rd Sephirah – Binah; Understanding
  • Kings: 2nd Sephirah – Chokmah; Wisdom

Click here to see the full Tree of Life


In the Tarot, there are several numbers that can be calculated into ‘Lifetime Cards’ using the Querent’s birth date, name, and current year, similar to Numerology’s Life Path number. Based on these numbers, the corresponding Tarot cards are used to help the Querent learn more about themselves, life lessons, their destiny and purpose.

Lifetime Cards:

Major Arcana Cards

Birth Cards

  • Personality Card
  • Soul Card
  • Hidden Factor Card – Shadow & Teacher Cards

Name Cards

  • Desires & Inner Motivation Card
  • Outer Personal Card
  • Destiny Cards (Root number)  – Theme Note, Rhythm, Melody, Hidden Factor (name)
  • Theme Chord – First, Middle, & Last Name Card

Year Card –

Some Tarot readers believe you Year Card begins in January, while others believe it begins on your birthday and continues until your next birthday.

Minor Arcana Cards

Name Cards –

  • Lessons and Opportunities Cards
  • Zodiacal Lesson and Opportunity Card
  • Significator Card (Courts)


How to calculate your Personality and Soul Number

Add the following:

  • The months you were born
  • The day you were born
  • The year you were born
  • Add the single-digits of this sum together
  • Reduce this number to 22 or less

Personality Number is this sum (22 or lower)
Soul Number is this sum’s final reduction

To learn more about these numbers, their corresponding cards, your Hidden Factor Number, how to use these in readings and much more, I highly recommend the follow book:

Who Are You In The Tarot?: Discover Your Birth and Year Cards and Uncover Your Destiny by Mary Greer. This book is an “extensive revision” of her book, Tarot Constellations (’87)

Number Meaning

numbers1

The numbers 1 through 10 represent ten stages of a cycle, from the idea or concept, through to completion. In the Tarot, these stages are a direct representative of the suit itself.

 

Keywords

Aces – Seed, root, origin, starting point, beginning of a cycle, conception, initiation.

Twos – Partnering, union, balance, choices, duality, decisions, planning, opposing forces.

Threes – Communication, creating, expansion, movement, action, growth, development.

Fours – Stability, status-quo, order, stagnation, slow progress, building, foundation.

Fives – Instability, difficulties, changing, impulsive, impatient, quick movement, risks.

Sixes – Adjustment, flexibility, harmony, nurturing, flow, compassion, peace.

Sevens – Challenges, contemplation, analysis, observation, reevaluating, soul-searching.

Eights – Achievement, movement, authority, expanding, maturity, prosperity, mastery.

Nines – Ripeness, attainment, conclusion, transformation, abundance, integration.

Tens – Completion, endings and beginnings, finality, renewal, mastery, transition, reaching a higher level.


Using Numerology in Tarot Readings

Here is a beginner tip I’ve seen:

  • learn the 10 numerical keywords
  • learn the suit meanings
  • combine them and voilà, you have an instant card meaning

Yes, this can work and it can help when you are an absolute beginner. But it’s far too simplistic.

img_2209When I first began interpreting the numbers in the Tarot, I used to find the numerical meanings challenging to square with each suit, especially the Wands and the Swords. However, as I’ve learned more about Numerology, I’ve gained a better understanding of how each number corresponds and develops in each suit.

For instance, the Ten of Wands didn’t seem to make sense when I tried to apply the keyword ‘completion’ of the tens, with the burden of the Ten of Wands . When you hear the words ‘ending and completion’, it’s difficult to see how a burden would be considered an end of a cycle. But, if you take a moment and consider what would happen if you did start your own business and you were successful, you would be carrying a burden of responsibilities that come with a lucrative business. Right?

Now let’s look at the Eight of Swords. When I look at the bound and blindfolded woman surrounded by swords, I don’t think of attainment or mastery. But, once again, let’s look further. In the Seven of Swords, we were challenged ethically and to our values and ideas. In the eight, we’re feeling trapped. We must face our fears, face our truth and be honest in order to be released; mastery over the mind – attaining your freedom, ripping off the ties that bind you.

Numerical Patterns

There are two things to look for in a reading:

  • Sequences
  • Multiple numbers

When you see a sequence of numbers, this can point to the development of the matter at hand and what stages they should expect to experience.

Examples:

  • If you have an ace, two and a three in a reading, the situation is in the earliest stages and something is unfolding.
  • If you have a seven, eight, and nine, the situation is in the last third of the stages and will soon reach completion.

When you see multiple of numbers, the meaning of each number becomes the focus.

Examples:

  • Multiple aces, there’s a focus on new beginnings.
  • Multiple twos, there’s a focus on choices or partnerships.

Exercises

Exercise 1

Imagine if you were going to start a business. What do you think the stages would be if you had to guess? Let’s try:

  1. The idea, the concept, seed
  2. Researching, planning, developing, getting a loan
  3. Launch, reach people, network
  4. Hard work and slow but steady progress
  5. Natural bumps in the road impeding progress; instablity
  6. You’ve made it through the 5 by adjusting, being flexible
  7. Contemplating, introspection, or analyzing your current situation
  8. Attainment- hitting a milestone or goal, or even getting a reward
  9. Your business is really taking off – consider expanding
  10. Completion – you’ve made it! and now with the expansion, you’re starting all over again.

Exercise 2

Separate the Pip cards and take out all the Aces, the Twos, etc. Taking in consideration the keywords above:

  • Lay out all the Aces together, look at the them and take note what similarities you observe?
  • Now lay out all the twos together and note what similarities and differences you observe?
  • Continue doing this with all the Pip cards (excluding the Court Cards)

Aces

I need to learn much more about Numerology in the Tarot as well as the Kabbala Sephiroth however, these are the keywords that I feel best represents each number. As I continue my studies, I will write blog posts, diving into each number much deeper, considering all the systems available and their symbolism.

Recommended Books

  • Numerology Key to the Tarot – Sandor Konraad
  • The Divine Triangle – Faith Javane and Dusty Bunker
  • The Complete Idiots Guide to Numerology – Sagui Cohen
  • Who Are You in the Tarot?: Discover Your Birth and Year Cards and Uncover Your Destiny – Mary Greer: To learn more about these Lifepath numbers and constellations.

______

Reference:
1. Kay Lagerquist, Ph. D. and Lisa Lenard, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Numerology  – pg. 7