Tarot 101: Numbers in Tarot

When it comes to learning Tarot, something every beginner needs to take into account is how numbers play into a reading.

Now, I know, I know; you don’t want to have to learn math or formulas! But you just have to bear with me. The numbers in Tarot don’t relate to math, which is a good thing most of the time. Mostly, the numbers relate to the cycle of the story.

Every suit follows a kind of story, broken down into chapters represented by the numbers of the suits. So the Aces are chapter 1 and Tens are the last chapter. Unless you get further into Numerology, for most beginner Tarot readers should focus just on how the story progresses through each suit. Then, after you get a little more comfortable with reading the cards, you should dive into Numerology and see if it fits with how you read.

So what do the numbers mean then?

Aces

Aces represent the beginning. Simple, right? They’re the first card in the Minor Arcana suits, therefore kicking off our Tarot numbers. Of course, between different suits, Aces can represent more; such as new business ventures in Pentacles or potential actions in Wands.

Twos

Twos represent either choices or balance. Twos are where we can start to see the multiple aspects of the numbers in Tarot. If we look at a Two of Swords and Two of Cups, we can see how the Twos in Tarot can differ; the Two of Swords represents choices and the Two of Cups represents romantic emotion.

Threes

Threes represent growth and relationships. Most Threes represent growth in either your wallet, your thoughts, or your social circle. With the exception of the Three of Swords, which depicts three swords through a heart, these cards are mostly positive and celebrate growth and friendships. But this is also where the story takes a turn.

Fours

Fours are where the story plateaus for just a moment. It’s as though we take a step back from the action to see the characters happy and stable. Which is what Fours represent; stability and structure. But the stability and structure see throughout the Fours is only leading up to the drama Fives bring to the table.

Fives

Fives are where the stories take a turn; Fives are conflict and loss, change. Five of Wands represent conflict and Five of Pentacles represent poverty. So the stability, celebration, and wealth seen earlier in the cards are now gone.

Sixes

But don’t get depressed over this story quite yet! Sixes are were things begin getting good again! Sixes represent problem-solving and compassion. So the issues that Fives have brought up, are now getting solved! Six of Cups shows fertility and celebration and the Six of Wands show victory! But the story isn’t over yet!

Sevens

Sevens are where we can see some of the personal growth that has come from the Fives’ conflicts. Sevens represent wisdom, faith, and understanding. Although not every Seven represents an immediate resolution of the conflicts beforehand, it does show personal growth in the characters and how conflict brings changes for the better.

Eights

Eights represent movement and change. Now, I know what you’re thinking; omg, more change, haven’t we had enough yet! But hold your horses, it’s a different kind of change! The Five of Wands represents conflict and fighting, and the changes that come with that, whereas the Eight of Wands represents the growth from change and how things have changed since conflict.

I think of the difference between Fives and Eights are Fives represent external change: changes brought about by forces you cannot control. Eights represent internal change: the change you can do in response to your life changing, the changes you can make to your own actions or thoughts.

Nines

Nines are where the story starts to come to an end. Nines represent fulfillment and completion. Now I know what you’re thinking; If Nines are the end then what do Tens have to do with anything! Slow down, kiddo! I’m getting there! Nines show the completion of the cycle, how everything ends up immediately after the changes and growth.

Tens

Now, how do Tens play into all of this? While Tens represent completion and transformation, there is a difference between Nines’ completion and Tens’ completion.

I like to think that Tens are the epilogue to the story, whereas Nines are the final chapter that finishes up the action of the story. If you compare the difference in the Nine of Pentacles and Ten of Pentacles, you’ll see that the Nine represents personal wealth and Ten shows community wealth; so in the short term, personally, you will experience wealth, and in the long-term, your community will experience wealth.

Now I can see your wheels turning; what about court cards? What about the Major arcana? What about-

Slow down and take a breath! We’ll get into the court cards soon and the Major arcana and the story of the Major arcana. There’s time to learn and there’s time to discover. Just be patient until I get everything written!

AcesBeginnings, Potential
TwosBalance, Choices
ThreesGrowth, Relationships
FoursFoundations, Stability, Structure
FivesConflict, Loss, Change
SixesCompassion, Problem-Solving, Harmony
SevensFaith, Wisdom, Understanding
EightsMovement, Change
NinesFulfillment, Completion
TensCompletion, Transformation

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