Secrets of Tarot Numerology:  Lesson 2

By Gary Meister, CTM

A person can spend a lifetime studying the Tarot, and still never know all there is to know.  But – you don’t have to spend a lifetime before you can start reading the cards for yourself and your friends and relatives.  You don’t even have to memorize all the meanings in the Little White Book that comes with a new deck of cards.  All you really need to get started is to know one meaning for each card, and know it well.  This series of articles will show you an easy way to do that, with Numerology


But, the series isn’t only for beginners.  I didn’t learn this system until I had received two Tarot Master Certificates from two different sources, after nearly 30 years of Tarot study.  And, along with some other systems, I use it to this day.  So – if you are a newcomer to Tarot, this might make your learning curve a little faster.  If you’re a veteran reader, this could be an extra technique to add to your arsenal.

Pulling It Together

Now: if you have memorized the tables I gave you last time, believe it or not, you have already learned the meanings to just under 2/3rds of the Tarot deck.  Now we’ll learn how to put the information you have given your subconscious mind together in an orderly way.  


First:  every card in the deck is a combination of two meanings, the Number and the Element.  


For instance, take the Ace of Cups:  We know that Aces are beginnings, or action.  And we know that Cups is the Water suit, having to do with love, relationships, and the emotions.  So…if you draw the Ace of Cups, it may signify that a new relationship is about to come along.  Or, perhaps, an already established relationship is about to find “a new beginning”.  It depends of course upon the question asked, and how you feel about it.


Another example - Seven of Swords:  Sevens are success, learning from one’s mistakes.  Swords, the Air suit, has to do with thoughts, ideas, and attitudes.  It could mean that you or the querent (the person asking the question) will gain more success if mistaken thinking is taken as an opportunity to learn and improve.


Here’s the formula:  Number + Element = meaning of card.  As long as you know those two factors, simply add them together and you’ve got the meaning of the card.  For those who missed lesson 1, the Number and Element associations are included below. 


You try a couple - Two of Wands:  Cooperation + imagination or creativity = what do you think?  Think about it before you move on.  Okay, one possible reading would be – you need to cooperate with someone else on a creative venture of some kind.  Usually the client will know exactly what you mean.  


Nine of Pentacles:  You do it.  Remember: Number + Element = Meaning.  Work with it and it will become very easy for you.


And, with that, we have all the necessary meanings to do a meaningful reading with the forty pip cards, and the first ten Major Arcana, fifty cards already!

You newbies to the Tarot can become proficient right now!  You experienced readers will be able to take these ideas and run with them – gaining further insight into the Tarot’s mysteries, and also learning an easy and reliable method of interpretation that’s perfect for short readings or for when your psychism is a little hazy.  It never hurts to try something new!


So here, again, are the Number and Element tables.  If you haven’t done so already, print these now, and memorize them:

Table of Numbers:


O.        Infinite potential

1.         Action, Beginnings

2.         Cooperation, Coming Together

3.         Creativity, Expansion

4.         Reason, Practicality

5.         Changes, sometimes crises

6.         Peace, Harmony

7.         Success, Learning From One’s Mistakes

8.         Success Through Hard Work

9.         End Of A Cycle Of Life

10.       Completion, Perfection, Endings Leading To New Beginnings.


Table of Elements:


Major Arcana = Spirit = spiritual growth

Pentacles = Earth = finances, money, material things

Swords = Air = thoughts, ideas, attitudes

Wands = Fire = imagination, creativity, intuition

Water = Cups = love, relationships, the emotions

Working With Your Tarot Notebook

The best way to cement the things you learn into your consciousness is to write them down on paper.  Use a full page for each card, expanding it as your knowledge grows.  Or, you could type them out on the computer and save them as your Tarot Notebook.  If you do that, print them out when they are full and put them in the notebook – you could call it your grimoire if you wanted to.   A loose-leaf notebook seems to work best; that way you can add pages as you fill them with new things you learn along the way.   

In choosing the numerological word or phrase you want to use for a number and /or Element, you will begin to think of other words that go with it; synonyms and adverbs or adjectives depending on the word.  Write it all down.  You might pick up a book on numerology to find other designations for the number.  The Internet is a good source of ideas.  One list of number-names can be found at:  You may want to work with the Number Tables at  Search the Internet for number meanings, numerology, etc.  You’ll find a lot of material to work with.  Write it down or type and print it.  These actions cement it into your subconscious in several different ways, making it more and more accessible to you. 

And, practice talking about the combinations of number and Element; you’ll want to use more than just the simple meaning itself, you’ll want to explain how it pertains to the questioner’s life.  But it all starts with memorizing the tables.

As we look at the numbers in more detail, you’ll see how each number’s numerological meaning relates to the four pip cards and to the Major Arcana card bearing that number.  We’ll go further on with the Court Cards and Majors from 11 to 21 as we go along.


This time, since there is only one card designated zero “O”, I am going to go more deeply into that.  “O”, though it is not technically a number, contains the possibilities of all the numbers within it.  Look at the figure – it has no beginning and no end.  Esoterically, it is a symbol of infinity or eternity.  


It can symbolize the cycles of rebirth as we enter into new bodies and new identities lifetime after lifetime.  Each life is a new opportunity to become whatever we want to become.  The possibilities are endless and unlimited; we are only limited by our own beliefs.  It is unlimited potential.


“O” also symbolizes the Unknowable Creative Principle of the Universe, by which we, and everything else, are surrounded, and in which we all have our being.  We are an integral part of that “space” within the “O”, and the outer shell is totally infinite and endless.


From ancient times, “O” has symbolized the Divine Essence, because it cannot be accurately described or defined.  It is the emptiness we search for when we meditate, and that emptiness is Divine.


Again, esoterically and historically, “O” is associated with Boundless, Limitless Light, the Light of the Divine.


So, looking at The Fool, see him as one who is just entering a new life experience, completely unconcerned with what the future may bring because, up until he takes that final step into the material world, he knows nothing can harm him, his essence.  Once he gets here he forgets for awhile, but from the very beginning of his new life, there is no limit as to how far he can go.  He has unlimited potential.


Next time, we’ll take a look at the five ones in the Tarot deck, and maybe the twos and threes, as well.  In the meanwhile, separate all the cards above 10 from the deck and set them aside.  You can do simple readings without them, for now, and I want you to really know the first ten numbers (50 cards!) before we move on.


Enjoy your work with Tarot and numerology; it can be fascinating, and you’ll be reading Tarot cards quicker than you think!  Good Luck!

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Tarot Reflections is published by the American Tarot Association - Copyright (C) 2008 

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