Learn Tarot – The Numbers
Now you know what the elements represent, let’s take a look at the number associations (1-10) then combine this with what we’ve already learnt to perform our first readings/interpretations. See, we said this would be easy!
Basic number associations can be found in many places and the meanings are generally consistent. However, in self study you will likely find a little variation between tarot and the wider numerology world – an interesting thing to research in itself.
In summary, the numbers 1-10 plus court cards:-
|Basic quality or potential in the suit, new beginnings and opportunities
|Union, balance, decision
|An early success
|Building strong foundations
|Communication, learning to work with people
|Learning, inner (spiritual?) reflection
|Action, creation, movement
|Success, or the final struggle before completion
|Completion, reflection and moving forward to new beginnings
|Deep expression of the suit, creativity
|Power and success but with social responsibility
Note: For a slightly more detailed table cross referencing the RWS, Tarot De Marseilles and corresponding major arcana associations see Learn Tarot – The Numbers (Revisited)
The numbers form a story and flow into each other. For example, 6 is working/communicating with people to overcome the conflict of the 5s. After achieving this it leads to reflection, the spiritual growth of the 7s.
This can also be useful in readings as you have some idea where the querent may be coming from and where they may be heading; the cards either side (in sequence) of the card you’ve drawn. For example, the card in front of you may show they’re in conflict right now (5) but you can perhaps suggest that they’ve built good foundations (as the 5 follows the 4) but to move forward from the current conflict/struggle they need to work with people and learn to communicate effectively (moving forward from 5 to 6). This also keeps the reading positive, rather than dwelling on the immediate negative card in front of you (5).
As you can see, knowledge of the sequence and suits means even a simple 3 card spread can provide a detailed reading – and this is without even looking at the images.
For a very good video tutorial covering everything we’ve covered so far, check Kelly-Ann Madox’s Trainee Tarot Part 4: Elements and Numbers in the Minor Arcana (below). We are in no way affiliated with Kelly-Ann Maddox – just fans of her work.
Next, we’ll look at how to combine our knowledge of the elements and numerology then compare this with the artwork on the standard RWS deck. Are we on the right track? (spoiler: yes we are!).
Ready? Forward to Learn Tarot – Putting The Pieces Together
Esotericist with particular interest in tarot and the underlying magical traditions/systems.