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By the Numbers

This post was written by Barbara Moore
on May 24, 2011 | Comments (4)

When beginning a study tarot, one of the first things students learn about are correspondences. For some reason, tarotists love and the cards lend themselves to correspondences. Correspondences are other systems or symbols that, well, correspond to tarot cards. Common pairings include astrology and tarot as well as kabbalah and tarot. As for me, I don’t use those very often. However, I do tend to use some numerology. Not really with the Majors. Lately, I have deep concerns about assigning numbers to the Majors at all because I keep thinking of the original Renaissance-era decks in which the Majors were unnumbered.

But I do like to use numerology with the Minors. I do this in three ways: to add to the card’s meaning, to ascertain where in process a situation is, and to determine timing.

Today I’ll tell you how I assign meanings to the numbers. As you continue reading, you’ll come up with associations that work best for you.

Aces: new beginnings

Twos: duality, balance, relationship, choices

Threes: creativity, full expression of the suit, nurturing

Fours: stability, structure, organization, stagnation

Fives: conflict, loss, or chaos

Sixes: communication, problem solving

Sevens: reflection, assessment

Eights: movement, speed, power

Nines: compromises, possible stagnation, nearing completion, satiation

Tens: completion, ending a cycle

To ascertain where a situation is in development, I scan the numbers in a spread and make my analysis based on the numbers present:


Aces, twos, and threes: a situation is in early stages of development

Fours, fives, and sixes: a situation in the middle phase

Sevens, eights, and nines: near the end

Tens: all but complete and over

Why would a reader care to know this? Here’s how I use it. I believe that we have some control over our lives. But not total and complete control. I also believe that the earlier the stage of development, the easier it is to change course. So if I am looking at a relationship, where the querent has just begun dating someone, it is easier for her to affect change in the direction and course of that relationship. If it is the week before the wedding, it will be harder for her–for any number of reasons–to change course.

Do you use numbers in your readings? How?

Reader Comments

Written By Katie
on May 24th, 2011 @ 1:07 pm

Great post Barbara! I’ll have to jot this down when i get home.

Written By Donald Michael Kraig
on May 24th, 2011 @ 1:27 pm

Hi, Barbara!
This is very similar to a system that I have been using with the Minors for a long time. I learned it from a group called The Associated Readers Of Tarot. The training was supposed to take but six weeks. It took me several times that. My final included a reading that used almost the entire deck and I turned in a paper that was 20 typed pages (single spaced). Whew! Brings back memories.
What I’d like to add to this is elemental associations with the suits. For example, Cups is associated with the element Water. Therefore, Aces have to do with new beginnings in something associated with the element of Water. So if I was giving a relationship reading and an Ace of Cups appeared in a position of the future, I’d be inclined to say that a new romantic interest would be coming. Similarly, If an Ace of Pentacles appeared in the future position during a general reading, I’d say that a new financial situation would be developing. Thus, you combine the numerology with the elemental associations as influenced by the position and type of reading. This allows easy memorization of relatively little and the ability to give incredibly complex readings.

I would add that I like to use these system as a way to “kickstart” a reading, allowing it to trigger my imagination and intuition and move readings to a higher level. Beginning with a system such as numerology & elemental associations can help anyone further develop those abilities.

Written By Russell
on May 24th, 2011 @ 10:57 pm

Hello, Barbara!

I was linked here via Magus Books and Herbs and thought your post was a solid foundation for applying numerology to the cards. I come from a strong qabalistic background and tend to use the numerology of the Tree of Life in correspondence to the cards. I think your description of the numerical significances for the minor arcana syncs up very closely with the system I use, and I am always happy to see a clearly stated reference guide for these things.

For 7’s and 8’s, I tend to ascribe types of focus. 7’s usually represent a very wide focus and 8’s represent a very narrow focus, both of which have their pros and cons, depending on the situation. 7’s can also represent a surplus, while 8’s can represent a lacking.

I also use the numerology of the Majors to help make associations between cards in the spread. For example, The Emperor is Trump IV, and therefore rules over the 4 cards; so whenever I read a 4, I am also looking for the influence of The Emperor and the various forces associated with him. For higher Arcana, like Temperance/Art, Trump XIV, we add the digits together. 14 -> 1+4 = 5. So Temperance/Art rules the fives. I think this is a great way to gain additional insight into the forces operating on a situation.

This is particularly useful if any of the Majors appear in the spread and subsequently correspond via numerology to any of the minors; this indicates a significant linkage between the points in the spread where those cards appear.

By the by, I deeply respect your decision not to use the numerology of the Majors; I merely offer the system for those who are interested.


  1. By the Suits  on June 28th, 2011 @ 9:35 am

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