In a previous post, I looked at the card suits. In this post, we will go over some information that is helpful for understanding the pip cards in the minor arcana. Pip cards are the cards in each suit that are labeled one through ten. In some decks, the cards are illustrated, but this is not always true. Many decks just show the object associated with the suit (often repeated) and the number. Regardless, reading the pip cards can be greatly aided by knowing some basic numerology.
While this is not intended to be a comprehensive lesson on numerology, a little information on the topic can be very helpful when starting to memorize the card meanings for the minor arcana. Otherwise, it can seem like a daunting task for a new reader to have to memorize everything from scratch for the 56 cards of this arcana. Here are some basic numerology correspondences that correlate to each of the ten pip cards in a card suit. When combined with other aspects of the cards (e.g. elemental associations), these can provide for a great deal of information with just a little practice.
Ace: beginnings, potential, opportunities
Two: partnership, duality, balance, decision, exchange
Three: activity, growth, acknowledgement, groups
Four: stability, stagnation, manifestation
Five: instability, conflict, health
Six: harmony, pathway, communication, cooperation
Seven: ambition, potential, reflection, knowledge
Eight: change, ideas, accomplishment, mastery
Nine: intensity, change, fulfillment, attainment
Ten: completion, renewal, cycle’s end
Learn it in Song
Even though it is geared more toward general cartomancy and not tarot, there is a lovely little rhyme that can be used to help learn the card meanings called “For the Witch of Poor Memory.” It can be found here.
Note: As a general rule, numerology reduces larger numbers down to a single digit. So, 18 would be 1+8 or 9 in numerology. There are some exceptions for repeated numbers (e.g. 1111). Since tarot has ten pip cards, we leave 10 standing, but also recognize that 10 reduces to 1, showing the completion of a full cycle and the start of a new one.
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