By the Numbers
In Tarot Numerology, numbers are part of each Tarot card’s meaning. During readings, patterns can often be found in the numbers on the pulled Tarot cards, which can show the person getting the reading what they need to work on or where they should go. These numbers can also help the reader understand the timing of events to come.
One helpful way to do this is to look at the numbers one through ten and the roles they play in the Minor Arcana. There are four Minor Arcana suits: Staffs, Vessels, Coins, and Swords, though they are known by other names depending on the deck.
However, to properly understand the different Minor Arcana numbers, it’s important to know the basic functions of each suit.
The Suit of Staffs (sometimes known as Wands, Rods, Staves, Batons, or Clubs) represents the element of fire. This includes the fire signs of Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius. Fire is a bright light that can show you the way, keep you warm and dry, and spark enthusiasm. However, it can also cause chaos, burn things to the ground, and destroy valuables. This suit is the stuff of life itself, standing for inspiration; passion; drive; ambition; primal, sexual, or artistic energies; motivation; success; and willpower.
The Suit of Vessels (also known as Cups, Chalices, Goblets, Cauldrons, or Hearts) represents the element of water, including the zodiac signs of Cancer, Scorpio, and Pisces. Water can be life-giving, cleansing, and purifying, but it can also become the tidal wave that drowns. This suit reveals emotions and feelings, both positive and negative, and it can provide insight into intuition, spirituality, desire, connection, love, and romance. Vessels can give you a glimpse into your heart and the hearts of the people you love.
The Suit of Coins (also known as Pentacles, Disks, Rings, and Diamonds) represents the element of earth, which includes the earth signs of Taurus, Virgo, and Capricorn. This element very literally provides support, giving you something solid and firm to stand on. It is the foundation upon which people build their lives. But if the earth breaks apart, crashes down, or quakes, it can shake, crush, and destroy all of that with ease. The Suit of Coins is associated with wealth, finance, work, employment, prosperity, material possessions, practicality, nature, stability, reliability, and tangible manifestations on the physical plane.
The Suit of Swords (also known as Knives, Spades, and Blades) represents the element of air. This includes the air signs of Gemini, Libra, and Aquarius. Air is needed by every living thing. Though unseen, it can refresh, cool, and cleanse. However, it can also be a devastating force, as seen in tornados and hurricanes. The Sword cards of the Tarot can provide insight into someone’s thoughts, logic, and conflicts — and its double-edged imagery emphasizes the importance of balance.
The Numerology of
the Minor Arcana
With that context, here is a guide to the numbers one through ten in the Minor Arcana and how the numerology of each card affects its meaning and purpose in its suit and the deck overall.
The number one represents new beginnings, fresh opportunities, and the powerful potentials of manifestation. In Tarot, the aces (ones) embody the essence of their suit and are often viewed as “good luck” or “good fortune” cards. This is especially true when many aces show up in a single reading. If a specific question is asked, they also tend to indicate a “yes.”
Ace of Staffs: Inspiration, courage, life force.
Ace of Vessels: Love, divine source, intuition.
Ace of Swords: Truth, mental strength, clarity.
Ace of Coins: Prosperity, fruitful enterprise, manifestation.
The number two represents union, harmony, and balance, in both Tarot and numerology. The cards associated with this number can indicate choice, duality, and opposites coming together. They can also show pairings, polarities, and partnerships, helping you make decisions and discern if and when you can expect support on certain matters.
Two of Staffs: Plans, ideas taking hold, minor decisions.
Two of Vessels: Union, mutual attraction, emotional bonds, agreement.
Two of Swords: Stalemates, indecision, stagnation.
Two of Coins: Balancing acts, financial planning, biding one’s time.
The number three represents abundance, growth, fertility, and collaboration. When you see the number three in Tarot and in numerology, it’s a coming together of ones and twos. This, in turn, can provide insight into groups, collaboration, and teamwork.
Three of Staffs: Positive anticipation, gratitude, good things arriving.
Three of Vessels: Happiness, a circle of friends, joyful emotional connection.
Three of Swords: Separation, heartbreak, disappointment, broken or painful communication.
Three of Coins: The Holy Trinity, a master craftsman, successful collaboration or teamwork.
The number four represents stability, structure, sturdiness, and foundation. In Tarot, getting fours often means you’ve laid the ground for your desires in a way that is strong, stable, and durable. The cards that you get here can represent that upon which your structure is built.
Four of Staffs: Celebration, possible marriage, positive achievement.
Four of Vessels: Uncertainty of what is being offered, detachment, avoidance, apathy.
Four of Swords: Forced rest, inaction, recuperation.
Four of Coins: Security, attachment, withholding, selfishness.
The number five represents change, conflict, instability, shock, and challenge. In the numerology of Tarot, pulling lots of fives can indicate that a transformation or metamorphosis is underway, whether it be for good or for ill.
Five of Staffs: Fighting, arguments, unwanted competition, struggle.
Five of Vessels: Despair, grief, a focus on the negative — but a reminder that not all is lost.
Five of Swords: A win that will turn into a loss, defeat, deceit, bullying.
Five of Coins: Financial hardship, despair, hope even after struggle.
In Tarot and numerology, the number six represents cooperation, communication, balance, harmony, and mutual assistance. Pulling sixes during a reading can indicate or provide insight into overcoming conflict and finding solutions.
Six of Staffs: Victory, a potential engagement or marriage, good news, success.
Six of Vessels: Beneficent giving, healing, childlike joy.
Six of Swords: Something that is gone or moving on, the potential to return later.
Six of Coins: A good Samaritan, generosity with money and material goods, the fulfillment of a desire or need.
The number seven generally represents knowledge, faith, stagnation, reflection, and introspection. In both Tarot and numerology, seeing the number seven can be a sign to look within and assess or reevaluate whether you are on course with what you want in the long run. This number may also remind you that alone time can be regenerating.
Seven of Staffs: A win after “fighting the good fight,” hope, defense, the high ground.
Seven of Vessels: Daydreams, confusion, someone being overwhelmed, the possible use of alcohol or drugs.
Seven of Swords: Sense of loss, theft, or deception; an absence — but with something good remaining.
Seven of Coins: A wait, patience, positive results, evidence of tangible growth, a desire for fulfillment.
The number eight represents power, mastery, strength, protection, and accomplishment. When having your Tarot cards pulled, this number can indicate authority — perhaps through being the boss or director — and it suggests that you are experiencing growth and achievement both within and without.
Eight of Staffs: Swift movement, travel, good news coming in fast.
Eight of Vessels: Walking away, rejection, a difficult path.
Eight of Swords: A sense of being stuck that is only in your mind, potentially overthinking, a feeling of being trapped.
Eight of Coins: Hard work, a solution to a problem, expanded knowledge.
The number nine represents fulfillment, attainment, fruition, and expansion. Pulling nines can suggest that you are almost there — wherever “there” is for you. Whether it’s a goal, plan, or long-term project, it is nearing completion and you’re close to attaining what you desire.
Nine of Staffs: The worst has passed, stand your ground, strength, perseverance.
Nine of Vessels: Wish granted, fulfillment, pleasure, contentment.
Nine of Swords: A problem that contains the answer; something that isn’t as scary as it seems; worry, sleeplessness, nightmares, anxiety, and tearfulness — but with hope.
Nine of Coins: Inheritance, abundance, reward, bountiful harvest, peace of mind.
The number ten represents completing work, reaching goals, ending cycles, and coming full circle. In numerology and Tarot alike, seeing tens can indicate that you have completed a cycle and are ready for new beginnings. Renewal and growth may be approaching.
Ten of Staffs: A heavy burden, frustration, a reminder to continue toward your goals.
Ten of Vessels: A happy marriage/partnership/family, emotional security, fulfillment in love.
Ten of Swords: The worst is over, change, hope rising like the sun.
Ten of Coins: Family, the purchase or sale of property, legacy, wealth, the happy fulfillment of the Tree of Life.
Part of a Larger
While the numbers of the cards in a Tarot reading are just one piece of the message, don’t disregard them. Tarot and numerology go hand in hand, and if multiple instances of the same number appear in a single reading, the cards may be trying to send you a message. Every part of a Tarot card is important, and everything that a number represents carries weight. Trust that when you ask the Universe for answers, you’ll get them — no matter what medium you receive them through. You just have to know how to look for them.
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