To deepen your understanding of the Tarot, it may be helpful to explore the fundamentals of numerology and how numerology played a role in tarot reading.
In the earliest tarot decks, the 22 major arcana cards were the only cards in the deck that depicted symbolic images. The rest of the deck was made up of the court cards (page, knight, queen, king) and the suit cards. The suit cards consisted of an image of one suit and a coordinating number. These are referred to as “pip” cards.
Because the original “pip” cards only had numerical characters on them, it was important for the tarot reader to understand the numerological symbolism for each card and how it associated to the meaning of its correlating suit.
The main numbers used in numerology are 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9. When you come across numbers that are more than one digit, you can break them down to a single digit number by adding them together. For example, the number 11 is 1+1 =2. Some numbers represent a spiritual evolution while others can represent a period of upheaval. Numbers can also be masculine or feminine, and odd numbers tend to represent power and force, while even numbers represent balance and temperance.
Below, I have included the symbolism for each of the ten numbers. It terms of tarot numerology, is always important to keep in mind the significance for the number of times a number shows up in a tarot spread. Knowing a number’s symbolic significance, can deepen the meaning of the entirety of the tarot spread.
Zero: Zero is the number of potential. It is the first thought before an action. In a tarot reading, zeros may represent freedom, promise, creativity and the beginning or ending of a journey.
One: In the Tarot, ones are known as the aces. This number represents the beginning of any new endeavor. Ones may also represent individuality, originality, courage, power, birth and new business enterprises.
Two: Two’s represent balance, relationships, collaboration, moderation and duality. When a two comes up in a tarot reading, it typically references those in relationship to you.
Three: Three is the number of creation. Threes can represent parenthood, children, planning, procreation, fun, entertainment, completion and happiness. Three is the number of joy and it may represent an individual who is outgoing or an invitation to become more involved with life’s pleasures.
Four: Four is the number of manifestation. It is also the number for laying foundations in the material world. In a tarot reading, fours can indicate new construction, property and business ventures. Fours also can indicate a time of stability and a need for persistence.
Five: Five is the number of upheaval. It can indicate the eruption of a crisis. It also signifies the need for one to develop adaptability to a current situation. In tarot reading, fives may also represent exploration, new challenges, travel, disruption, new opportunities and uncertainty.
Six: The number six represents the calm after the storm. It is a number of peace, tranquility, retrospection, balance and acceptance. Sixes pertain to matters of the home, family, close relationships, marriage and responsibility. The number six also suggests a time for giving rather than receiving.
Seven: Seven is the number of spirituality. Sevens pertain to meditation, self-awareness, enlightenment, understanding, solitude and thinking outside of the box. Because seven is spiritual in nature, it may be somewhat like the fives. Sevens may indicate the need to shed oneself of old ideas and behaviors. There may be a temporary stage of upheaval as one transition from the unconscious to conscious awareness.
Eight: Similar to the fours, eights represent regulation, achievement, organization, financial stability, money, advancement, influence and soundness of mind. Eights also reference the material world and all that we can achieve on this plane. Eights can signify a situation that will demand your attention; however, this attention will reap big rewards.
Nine: Nines represent the end of a cycle or a completion of a stage. With this said, nines also indicate the need to prepare oneself for a new cycle or life stage. Nines signify completion, perfection, disengagement, transition, termination and separation. In tarot reading, nines may indicate the need for a more humanistic approach to one’s life, perception and behavior.
Tarot Reading and The Number Zero
Tarot Reading, The Fool Tarot Card and the Number Zero
In Tarot the number zero is associated to only one card:the Fool Tarot Card. The Fool is the often considered to be the first card of the Major Arcana. However this is not necessarily the case. Numerically he can appear at the beginning of the Major Arcana or he can appear at the end. However, he can also appear in any major life transitions. The fact that he is numberless serves an important purpose. He can appear at any point in one's journey. The number zero and its association to the Fool Tarot card serves an important function in Tarot reading, it is there to remind us that life is truly boundless and new opportunities await us at every stage of life.
In terms of mathematics, the number zero is nothing more than a symbol. In truth, the number zero symbolically represents the absence of numerical value. It is not a true number. It is a representation of nothingness and, at the same time, it can represent everything. In Tarot reading, the number zero highlights potential in its purist form as it is often associated to the source of creation, conception and new beginnings.
What’s important to keep in mind when doing a Tarot reading is that the number zero signifies utter and total freedom. Its association to the Fool Tarot Card denotes freedom of thought, action and choice. The Fool Tarot card is the card of free will. He is there to remind us to follow our own path, one that is closest to our heart.
The number zero also symbolically represents the unknown or what the Taoists referred to as “The Void”. In Tarot reading, the Fool often represents a journey into the unfamiliar. He is a representation of our own journeys as we develop through our various levels of consciousness and maturation. With every stage comes a new journey into the unknown and the Fool reminds us to never dismiss the childlike parts of ourselves.
The Fool's inexperience is not necessarily a sign of weakness or a vulnerability. It is an asset as it keeps the world alive, exciting and fresh. Exploring the unknown does not have to be filled with anxiety or trepidation. Rather, it can be perceived as an invitation for new experiences and opportunities.