Numerology & Tarot Symbolism


Numerology is any of many systems, traditions or beliefs in a mystical or esoteric relationship between numbers and physical objects or living things.

Numerology and numerological divination by systems such as isopsephy were popular among early mathematicians, such as Pythagoras, but are no longer considered part of mathematics and are regarded as pseudomathematics by modern scientists. This is similar to the historical relationships between astrology and astronomy, and between alchemy and chemistry.

Today, numerology is often associated with the paranormal, alongside astrology and similar divinatory arts.

The term can also be used for those who place excess faith in numerical patterns, even if those people don’t practice traditional numerology. For example, in his 1997 book Numerology: Or What Pythagoras Wrought, mathematician Underwood Dudley uses the term to discuss practitioners of the Elliott wave principle of stock market analysis.

History

Modern numerology often contains aspects of a variety of ancient cultures and teachers, including Babylonia, Pythagoras and his followers (Greece, 6th century B.C.), astrological philosophy from Hellenistic Alexandria, early Christian mysticism, early Gnostics, the Hebrew system of the Kabbalah, The Indian Vedas, the Chinese “Circle of the Dead”, Egyptian “Book of the Masters of the Secret House” (Ritual of the Dead).

Pythagoras and other philosophers of the time believed that because mathematical concepts were more “practical” (easier to regulate and classify) than physical ones, they had greater actuality.

St. Augustine of Hippo (A.D. 354–430) wrote “Numbers are the Universal language offered by the deity to humans as confirmation of the truth.” Similar to Pythagoras, he too believed that everything had numerical relationships and it was up to the mind to seek and investigate the secrets of these relationships or have them revealed by divine grace. However, that does not mean that Pythagoras had coined himself the system one calls numerology. Pythagoras had only paved the way to the observation of numbers as archetypes rather than mere numerals.





Tarot Numerology

It’s easy to occasionally overlook the number meaning of tarot cards in readings or general contemplation. The Tarot is packed with symbolism, and its numbers are sometimes taken for granted as a simple cataloging device, when actually they open up a whole new realm of mysticism and methodology.

To further understand the energy of the Tarot, we must take into account all of its aspects, including its numerological perspectives.

Numbers exude vibrations that resonate with all energy, and strike individual chords upon the harp strings of the Universe. By observing the numbers that fall in a Tarot spread, we can pluck those vibrational strings, and “ring out” further truth from a reading.

At its simplest, number meaning of Tarot cards can provide additional light to a tricky spread. These number meanings may also lend a different point of view when seeking solutions with the cards.

At its most complex, number meaning of Tarot cards can blossom into overwhelming oracles of symmetry, geometry, and startling congruency that provides us with fascinating accuracy in our readings.

As you are working with the Tarot, begin to hone in on the numbers that are being drawn to you. Use the number meaning reference below to assist you in extracting deeper interpretations in your Tarot readings.

Keep in mind, the system of Tarot numerology (or any numerology for that matter) reduces numbers. To illustrate, if you’ve drawn the Temperance card (14 of the major arcana), you will reduce the number to 5 because
1 + 4 = 5.

Some practitioners of Tarot numerology chose not to reduce the numbers at all. Rather, they use the second digit as the numerical signifier. For example, the Temperance card (14) is numerically identified with the number 4.

Number Meanings:

Zero – Beginning and Ending, Alpha and Omega, Limitless, Infinite, Unity, Pure Potential.

One – Independence, Action, Motivation, Singleness of Purpose, Driven, Positivity, Will.

Two – Balance, Contrast, Opposites, Partnership, Communication, Negotiation, Choice.

Three – Time, Creativity, Versatility, Mystery, Intuition, Fecundity, Advancement.

Four – Stability, Endurance, Practicality, Physicality, Achievement, Humility, Simplicity.

Five – Motion, Erratic, Adventure, Passion, Expansion, Travel, Unpredictability

Six – Sincerity, Unfoldment, Protection, Sensitivity, Dependability, Growth, Nurturing.

Seven – Perfection, Imagination, Awareness, Mysticism, Understanding, Healing.

Eight – Opportunity, Observation, Intention, Abundance, Repetition, Infinity.

Nine – Vision, Invention, Influence, Intellectual Power, Attainment, Anticipation.

Source








The Candidate Numbers

According to the Man in Black and Ilana, a number of select individuals were chosen as candidates to replace Jacob in the job of protecting the Island. The Man in Black further alleges that Jacob is responsible for bringing the candidates to the Island. Those chosen as candidates appear to enjoy a special protected status among the Others. As of 2007, according to Ilana, there are only six candidates remaining. (“The Substitute”)  (“Lighthouse”)  (“Dr. Linus”) Two candidates, Sayid and either/both Jin or Sun, were subsequently killed due to a trap set up by the Man in Black. Jacob revealed that the candidates are chosen because they are flawed and the names are crossed out because they fulfill a meaning, e.g. Kate becoming a mother. However, if a candidate wanted the position then the job would be theirs and their name being crossed off is “just a line of chalk”. Due to this any one of the Candidates could have become the protector of the island. (“The Candidate”) In late 2007, Jack Shephard accepted the job to replace Jacob, becoming the new protector of the Island. (“What They Died For”) Shortly after, Jack realized that he was not supposed to protect the Island, but to die saving it, since he said himself the Island was all he had left. Before he died, he named Hurley as his successor. (“The End”)

Explained: 6×04 – “The Substitute

   

Inside Jacob’s cliffside cave, the numbers were revealing to represent the candidates.

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The Candidates

#4 - John Locke

#8 - Hurley Reyes

#15 - James Sawyer

#16 - Sayid Jarrah

#23 - Jack Shepherd

#42 - Kwon

#42 - Kwon




#4 – John Locke 

Four (#4)

The meaning of Four serves as a backbone to the anatomy of numbers we experience in our lives and in our Tarot readings.

If it were not for the number Four, we would be lifted into the energy realms like helium balloons: Unfettered, ungrounded, and hopelessly lost. We need structure, we need to be grounded, and the number Four is a necessary vibration attesting to this vital need.

To illustrate this necessity, consider just a few of the corner stones linked with the meaning of Four.

  • Four Elements: Water, Earth, Fire, Air
  • Four Seasons: Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall
  • Four Directions: North, South, East, West

Furthermore, consider the pyramids – these phenomenal temples are constructed upon a base of four. Similarly, our homes are founded upon square (four) angles. This is no coincidence. Over the ages humankind has recognized the stability presented by the number Four and has utilized it to his greatest advantage.

Likewise, as spiritual practitioners, we can utilize the philosophic meaning of Four to advance our progress on a soul-level.

We do this by recognizing the grounding energy of number Four. When we find ourselves out of synch, and feel ourselves spiraling out of control (like the helium balloon lost in forever with no clear direction) the concept of Four can get us back on the ground.

Granted, floating high above the mundane can be a pleasurable experience, but being in this state will never serve us full-time. We simply must have anchors and stabilizers in our lives in order to function.

Not only do Four’s ask these tough questions of us, Four also answers these questions with calm authority. When we are in doubt, and directionless, the energy of Four can settle us and assure us that indeed, we do have the ability to establish an energetic foundation that will enable steady progress on our path.

From a Tarot perspective, the meaning of Four is highly significant as we see its foundation represented in the four suits of the deck. The minor arcana is separated into four suits: Cups, Swords, Pentacles, and Wands. This lends further evidence of the immense stability of the Four. It is the architectural basis of a powerful oracle, and as such should be given great consideration in our spiritual practices.

Visually, the meaning of Four illustrates (inverted too):

  • Right angle – Structure, Base, Foundation
  • Cross – Faith, Source, Centering
  • Triangle – Creativity working with a plan, Union of balance
  • Straight lines – Walking the straight and narrow path

Common associations with the meaning of Four:

  • Tarot Cards: The Emperor, Hanged Man (not necessarily numerically, but consider the crossed legs of the featured hanged man – they are in the formation of a Four – food for thought), Four of Wands, Four of Cups, Four of Swords, Four of Pentacles
  • Colors: Green
  • Letters: D, M and V
  • Qabalah symbol: Daleth
  • Astrological: Mars, Mercury

Potential Personality of Four:

As we might expect, people who resonate with the number Four frequency are stable, mature, and solid leaders among us. If something needs to get done thoroughly with an eye for detail, go to a number Four personality. They will get the project done in an orderly, methodical way with casual ease (and likely it’ll get done on time, and within a nice budget too). Four people know they need structure in their lives and sometimes feel misunderstood. However, this is okay with them because they know the importance of their dispositions, and recognize the role they play in the lives of others is necessary for progress.

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The Emperor (IV) 

The Emperor (IV) is the fourth trump or Major Arcana card in traditional Tarot decks. It is used in game playing as well as in divination.

Description and symbolism

A. E. Waite was a key figure in the development of modern Tarot interpretations. However, not all interpretations follow his theology. Usually all Tarot decks used for divination are interpreted through personal experience and standards.

Some frequent keywords used by card readers are:

  • Fathering —– Stability —– Authority —– Power
  • Control —– Discipline —– Command —– Common sense
  • Status quo —– Order —– Structure —– Egocentrism
  • Tradition —– Rigidity —– Leadership —– Experience
  • Inflexibility —– Conservative ways —– Organization

The Emperor sits on his throne, holding a scepter, accompanied by the heraldic Eagle of the Holy Roman Empire. This is usually on his shield though the heraldic eagle is sometimes a free-standing statue or live bird. He symbolizes the top of the secular hierarchy, the ultimate male ego. The Emperor is the absolute ruler of the world.

History

The essential features of the design for The Emperor card have changed very little through the centuries. The Emperor sometimes got caught up in the censorship placed on the Papess (The High Priestess) and the Pope (The Hierophant), as when the Bolognese card makers replaced the Papess (High Priestess), Pope (Hierophant), Empress, and Emperor with four Moors or Turks. In the Minchiate, the first of the two Emperors are assigned number III because of the removal of the Papess (High Priestess) from the deck.

Interpretation

The Emperor symbolizes the desire to rule over one’s surroundings, and its appearance in a reading often suggests that the subject needs to accept that some things may not be controllable, and others may not benefit from being controlled.

As with all Tarot cards, multiple meanings are possible. Where the Empress is the Feminine principle, the Emperor is the Masculine. Most individuals will relate to this card in the same way they relate to their own father.

Mythopoetic approach

The Emperor is Key Four of the Major Arcana. Fours are stable numbers; four walls, four seasons, four corners. It takes a massive amount of energy, comparatively, to move them. The strength of The Emperor is the stability he brings. The weakness is the risk of stagnation.

Emblematic of the power of The Emperor is the origin of the god Zeus. After Gaea (see also The Empress) created the world, she created a consort, Uranus (sky). Uranus imprisoned Gaia’s youngest children in Tartarus, deep within Earth, where they caused pain to Gaia. She created the archetypal scythe and gave it to Kronos, who ambushed his father and castrated him.

Kronos followed in the sins of his father, only he let his children be born, then swallowed them. In the end, his son Zeus (through the good offices of another avatar of The Empress, Rhea) escapes being consumed and engineers a revolution.

Instead of eating his children, Zeus eats the Goddess destined to bear the child who will engineer his downfall, Metis. And he becomes the Emperor.

The Emperor is connected to Key 13, Death, through its cross sum (the sum of the digits). Emperors maintain their power through death and through their relationship with the other 13 of the tarot; The Queens (who legitimate their rule and bear their heirs). He is also strongly associated with Life; his scepter is an ankh, the symbol of life. But he is in the mountains, separated from the pulse of life. The sign of the Emperor is associated with the sun sign of Aries. Aries is the first sign of the zodiac and is the leader. The Emperor, like Aries, is fiery, powerful, authoritative and very egotistical.

King Minos is another aspect of this archetypal image. He was, mostly, a good king who increased and protected Crete for many years. But he took his kingdom by means of a trick. He and his brothers disputed who should rule, and he prayed to Poseidon to send a sign from the sea that he was the chosen of the gods, which he promised to immediately sacrifice to the god. Poseidon sent a magnificent bull, and Minos was proclaimed king. But he balked at fulfilling his promise to slay the animal, and substituted a bull from his own herds. In so doing, as Joseph Campbell put it he “converted a public event to personal gain, whereas the whole sense of his investiture as king had been that he was no longer a mere private person. The return of the bull should have symbolized his absolutely selfless submission to the functions of his role.” And the consequences were catastrophic; Poseidon afflicted the Cretan queen, Pasiphae, with an unquenchable desire for the bull. Their coupling produced the Minotaur, who was fed on human flesh.

The Emperor’s power and apparent stability bring great comfort, self worth, power. But the danger, as Minos discovered, is that we may gain a sense of personal entitlement beyond our actual rights. That way leads to corruption, material or spiritual.

Generally, when the Emperor appears in a spread, he is something to be overcome. Some rigidity of thinking, some inflexibility of approach, some external force keeping us from our destiny. A comforting myth the Querent has outgrown.

Sometimes, he represents the exterior forces we must accommodate. Sometimes, he is the superego.

The two rams on each sides of his throne represent Aries presenting him as a powerful dictator for his time and showing his potential thirst for conquering in war.

Image & Source 

Associated Deities & Mythological Figures

ZEUS

GAIA

URANUS

CRONUS

RHEA

MINOS

Charles Widmore

PASIPHAE

MINOTAUR


The Hanged Man (XII) 

The Hanged Man (XII) is the twelfth trump or Major Arcana card in most traditional Tarot decks. It is used in game playing as well as in divination.

Description and symbolism

Modern versions of the tarot deck depict a man hanging upside-down by one foot. The figure is most often suspended from a wooden beam (as in a cross or gallows) or a tree. Ambiguity results from the fact that the card itself may be viewed inverted.

In his book The Pictorial Key to the Tarot, A. E. Waite, the designer of the Rider-Waite tarot deck, wrote of the symbol:

The gallows from which he is suspended forms a Tau cross, while the figure—from the position of the legs—forms a fylfot cross. There is a nimbus about the head of the seeming martyr. It should be noted (1) that the tree of sacrifice is living wood, with leaves thereon; (2) that the face expresses deep entrancement, not suffering; (3) that the figure, as a whole, suggests life in suspension, but life and not death. […] It has been called falsely a card of martyrdom, a card a of prudence, a card of the Great Work, a card of duty […] I will say very simply on my own part that it expresses the relation, in one of its aspects, between the Divine and the Universe.

He who can understand that the story of his higher nature is imbedded [sic] in this symbolism will receive intimations concerning a great awakening that is possible, and will know that after the sacred Mystery of Death there is a glorious Mystery of Resurrection.

Waite suggests the card carries the following meanings or keywords:

  • Sacrifice —– Letting go —– Surrendering —– Passivity
  • Suspension —– Acceptance —– Renunciation —– Patience
  • New point of view —– Contemplation —– Inner harmony
  • Conformism —– Non-action —– Waiting —– Giving up

Interpretation

The Hanged Man’s symbolism points to divinity, linking it to the Passion in Christianity, especially The Crucifixion; to the narratives of Osiris in Egyptian mythology, and Mithras in Ancient Persian mythology and Roman mythology. In all of these archetypal stories, the destruction of self brings life to humanity; on the card, these are symbolized respectively by the person of the hanged man and the living tree from which he hangs bound.

The Hanged Man is also associated with Odin, the primary god in Norse mythology. Odin hung upside down from the world-tree, Yggdrasil, for nine days to attain wisdom and thereby retrieved the runes from the Well of Wyrd, which in Norse cosmology is regarded as the source and end of all sacred mystery and knowledge. The moment he glimpsed the runes, he died, but the knowledge of them was so powerful that he immediately returned to life.

Image & S0urce

Associated Deities & Mythological Figures

OSIRIS




#8 – Hugo “Hurley” Reyes 

Eight (#8)

The meaning of eight rolls into our consciousness with the momentum of all the numbers that came before it. We just stepped out of the aspects of structure and perfection in the number seven, and that paved the way for yet another evolution in the magic of numbers.

As an evolved child of structure, the number eight seeks balance with non-structure. Number eight is about cycles, revolutions, and progress gained on the invisible level.

Eights most obvious symbolic tell is its written Arabic form (“8”). When we recognize is voluptuous curves, we also identify the lemniscate or infinity symbol. This symbol deals with balance, time, and more interestingly, the recycling travel path of energy.

Visually, the meaning of Eight illustrates:

  • Cell mitosis – reminiscent of the process of joining, dividing, evolving
  • Lemniscate (infinity) symbol
  • Eyes – (tipped on its side) seeking out higher wisdom

Common associations with the meaning of Eight:

  • Tarot Cards: Strength card or the Justice card depending on which deck you’re using. Eight of Wands, Eight of Cups, Eight of Swords, Eight of Pentacles
  • Colors: Brown, Red
  • Letters: H, Q and Z
  • Qabalah symbol: Cheth
  • Astrological: Uranus

Potential Personality of Eight:

Those who resonate with the vibration of eight are extremely successful – particularly in business where success relies on a period of time that allows progress to unfold. These people see trends and the bigger picture, and are able to ride a wave to their great gain. Conversely, they know when to pull out of engagements too, they have a special sense that gives them insight into the cyclical nature of things. These people are great at games of chance, stock markets, and anything that deals with playing the odds or working with statistics.

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Strength (VIII) 

Strength is a Major Arcana Tarot card, and is numbered either XI or VIII, depending on the deck. Historically it was called Fortitude, and in the Thoth Tarot deck it is called Lust. This card is used in game playing as well as in divination.

Description and usage as in divination

A. E. Waite was a key figure in the development of modern Tarot interpretations (Wood, 1998). However, not all interpretations follow his practice. Tarot decks, when used for divination, are interpreted by personal experience as well as traditional interpretations or standards.

Some frequent keywords are:

  • Self-control —– Being solid —– Patience —– Compassion
  • Composure —– Stability —– Perseverance —– Moderation
  • Kindness —– Gentleness —– Slowness —– Softness
  • Serenity —– Comprehension —– Discipline —– Inner strength

The design of this card is fairly constant across tarot decks. The key characters are that of a woman and a lion, with the woman looking calm and gentle, yet dominant over the lion. Many cards, including that of the Rider-Waite-Smith deck, have the woman clasping the lion’s jaws. Another feature of the RWS deck is a lemniscate (a kind of geometric form) hovering over the woman’s head. Other decks have the woman sitting upon the lion, or merely with one hand upon it. Some decks feature just one of the characters; flowers are often presented on this card.

History of Tarot

The Strength card was originally named Fortitude, and accompanies two of the other cardinal virtues in the Major Arcana: Temperance and Justice. The meaning of Fortitude was different from the interpretation of the card: it meant moderation in attitudes toward pain and danger, with neither being avoided at all costs, nor actively wanted.

The older decks had two competing symbolisms: one featured a woman holding or breaking a stone pillar, and the other featured a person, either male or female, subduing a lion. This Tarocchi del Mantegna card (image, left), made in Ferrara around 1470, illustrates both. The modern woman-and-lion symbolism most likely evolved from a merging of the two earlier ones.

Interpretation

The modern interpretation of the card stresses discipline and control. The lion represents the primal or id-like part of the mind, and the woman, the ‘higher’ or more elevated parts of the mind. The card tells the Querent to be wary of base emotions and impulse. For example, in The Chariot card, the Querant is fighting a battle. The difference is that in Strength, the battle is mainly internal rather than external.

In the Crowley deck this card is entitled Lust, and receives a different focus, as a sun sign (zodiac), namely Leo, implying a potency that is sexual, creative, and intuitive, which are all attributes of the element Fire. The other Leonine quality of generosity, or mercy, is also an aspect of this power or strength. There is a further connection with the heart chakra in kundalini yoga.

If inverted, the Querant is in danger of losing control to impulses and desires. Pride and unwarranted anger are also often associated with the inverted card.

Some refer to it simply as a challenging situation requiring persistence and effort.

Mythopoetic approach

Hercules, the son of Zeus, is an archetype of strength. He is a Solar Hero, as shown by his archetypal 12 labors – each one standing for one sign of the Zodiac.

Strength can manifest itself in unexpected ways. One of Hercules’s adventures was to clean the Augean Stables, which had been filling with horse excrement for as long as anyone could remember. Hercules diverted a river, washing the manure into the surrounding fields, renewing the land.

Cybele is associated with large cats, and is often depicted either enthroned with one or two flanking her, or in a chariot being pulled by large cats. Some contemporary sources have associated Cybele and Artemis with this card.

Moreover, it is associated with Gilgamesh, the King of Ur, who abused his power and his people. The people prayed to the goddess Ishtar (see also, The Empress) and she sent Enkidu to teach Gilgamesh to be human. The two of them bonded, and fought monsters. Unfortunately, they overreached themselves, and Enkidu died.

In the myth, Gilgamesh is horrified by the death of Enkidu and goes on a quest to defeat death. He fails, but in the process, he learns what he needs to become a good king. Here, strength is symbolized as mastering the challenges presented.

Additionally, this card is associated with the suit of Wands. Fire, a generative masculine force, is leavened somewhat by the fact that it is dominated by a feminine figure.

Strength is associated through the cross sum (the sum of the digits) with The Star. The Star is often interpreted as paradoxical and a bad omen. While the comet is associated with foretelling the birth of kings, the Star signaled to Dante that he had found his way out of the Underworld.

The Lion in the standard card represents the Sun, making Strength a solar hero, much like Hercules or Herakles, with whom lions are associated.

Because it is usually the eighth card, it is associated with Arachne. Arachne challenged Athena to a weaving contest and was victorious. Then, Athena transformed Arachne into the eight-armed spider, to punish her for the victory. (In some versions, Arachne was not turned into a spider immediately, as Athena was able to accept defeat. However, when Arachne began bragging to everyone around her that she had defeated Athena, the goddess turned her into a spider – punishing her not for her victory, but for her [excessive] pride.) The danger of challenging the mysteries is that we may be destroyed or transformed by them.

Eight is also associated with the Great Goddess because it takes eight years for Venus and Earth to sync up against the zodiac.

When Strength appears in a throw, it may be a signal that The Querent is facing a challenge that requires a strong response, rather than brute force. Occasionally, strength comes by diverting forces, diverting rivers, or fighting on a new battleground. It is a sign that the Querent has left home and needs to start drawing on all of his or her resources to meet the challenges of the exterior world.

The danger of Strength is that it can work against the Querent.

In Gnosticism, Demiurge is symbolised as Lion-headed serpent, and his mother is Sophia.

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Associated Deities & Mythological Figures

HERACLES

ZEUS

CYBELE

ARTEMIS

ATHENA




#15 – James “Sawyer” Ford 

Six (#15)

15 Reduced: 1+5 = 6

The meaning of six is both delicate and mammoth as it walks into the realm of cosmic creation. We see this most evidently in the texts of the ancient Pythagoreans, who were legendary numerologists of their day (and otherwise).

These numerological theologians used all manner of perspectives to assist them in reaching the core meaning of each prime number. They understood that numbers are multi-dimensional, and so recruited geometry as teaching aids for unlocking the secrets of numbers. The number six is aligned with the: Cube, Hexagon, and Hexagram.

Each of these shapes is created from perfectly equal parts. This mirrors the underlying meaning of six as a symbol of perfect union, and the energetic emblem of soulful integration.

I rather like the simplicity nature provides in our understanding of number six through the symbolic language of bees. Their labyrinth-like homes are neatly formed hexagons.

The use of diagrams or models can prove crucial for clarity, particularly when delving into the intricate meaning of six. Hold the shapes of the six (cube, hexagon and hexagram) in your mind’s eye while ruminating over the following attributes of the number six.

Visually, the meaning of Six illustrates:

  • Spiral
  • A comma or apostrophe – a metaphor to take pause to see the connection between spaces.
  • An eye – reminding us that divine sight sees no error for divine eyes see with love

Common associations with the meaning of Six:

  • Tarot Cards: The Lovers, Six of Wands, Six of Cups, Six of Swords, Six of Pentacles
  • Colors: Indigo, Red
  • Letters: F, O and X
  • Qabalah symbol: Wav
  • Astrological: Venus

Potential Personality of Six:

People who resonate with six energy are naturally creative, have discriminating tastes, and will often be called upon to reconcile matters. They are good with numbers, are very intelligent and are able to get along with others easily. Six people have harmonious dispositions and would rather make love, not war. These people are pacifiers and like to nurture. They recognize their responsibility to others and take their role as helpers seriously.

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The Lovers (VI) 

The Lovers (VI) is the sixth trump or Major Arcana card in most traditional Tarot decks. It is used in game playing as well as in divination.

Interpretation

In some traditions, the Lovers represent relationships and choices. Its appearance in a spread indicates some decision about an existing relationship, a temptation of the heart, or a choice of potential partners. Often an aspect of the Querent’s life will have to be sacrificed; a bachelor(ette)’s lifestyle may be sacrificed and a relationship gained (or vice versa), or one potential partner may be chosen while another is turned down. Whatever the choice, it should not be made lightly, as the ramifications will be lasting.

The Lovers is associated with the star sign Gemini, and indeed is also known as The Twins in some decks. Other associations are with Air, Mercury, and the Hebrew letter ז (Zayin).

A. E. Waite was a key figure in the development of modern Tarot interpretations. (Wood, 1998) However not all interpretations follow his theology. Please remember that all Tarot decks used for divination are interpreted up to personal experience and standards.

From Suite101: Tarot Card Symbolism – The Lovers of the Major Arcana: “The Lovers are the image of the first true challenge of the Fool’s life — a choice in love. This does not only mean a choice between two women, or two men. It also is a reflection of chosen values, of the decision the Fool must make, which will define him as a person. The Fool is not yet fully mature, and so has difficulty separating his physical desires from what is right.

The consequences of the choice he must make are far-reaching, affecting every part of his life. This choice is thrust upon him before he is ready, as are many choices in life, and so a mistake may be inevitable. This situation cannot be avoided, and a choice must be made; abstaining from this choice is not an option.

The Fool, not yet ready for this, does not fully understand that all choices — good and bad — carry consequences. This is an important lesson for the Fool, for he must realize that all things have a cost associated with them.”

Some frequent keywords used by tarot readers are:

  • Love relationship —– Union —– Passion —– Sexuality
  • Pleasure —– Humanism —– Desire —– Personal beliefs
  • Individual values —– Physical attraction —– Connection
  • Affinity —– Bonding —– Romance —– Heart

Following the Marseilles Tradition, also there are:

  • Choice —– Doubt —– Difficult decision —– Dilemma —– Temptation

Mythopoetic approach

The Lovers represent the impulse that drives us out of the Garden, towards adulthood. Sometimes, that impulse manifests as curiosity (Eve, Pandora, Psyche); sometimes it manifests as sexual desire (the basis of much great literature, as well as ordinary romances, most teen movies, and even horror films); sometimes it manifests as duty (a soldier heeding the call). Whatever it is, once we have stepped past the threshold, there is no returning to the garden.

The Lovers is associated through its cross sum (the sum of the digits) with The Devil, Key 15. He is often the source of the impulse, or that thing inside of us that responds to it. The Devil’s energy is absolutely necessary, absolutely deadly.

The Lovers also represent raw desire.

Hajo Banzhaf suggests that if the Major Arcana is seen as a map of the Sun’s circuit of the Sky, The Lovers is high noon. Consciousness is at its fullest. Frequently, cards show the Sun in the position of noon. Two trees, bearing fruit and flame, represent the intoxication of the material world.

When The Lovers appear in a spread, it typically draws the Querent’s attention to whatever impulse drove her from home, to whatever impulse made him move out, reject the faith of his fathers, made him accept the call. That original impulse should be honored, but if it dominates the Querent’s life, it will grow tiresome. The call must be renewed.

It can signal that an examination of the Querent’s relationship with the garden is needed, be it exile or absence. Sometimes, it can be useful to go beyond Eden and talk about other gardens: the bittersweet Kingdom of Logres built by Arthur to keep back the rising dark for a generation, the idyllic Hobbits’ Shire in The Lord of the Rings, or just a happy childhood. Look for misty eyes of memory, or bitterness at the lack of a past paradise.

The Lovers are also a reminder that we need others to become fully human. Lovers, friends, adversaries–each one teaches us, each one stretches us.

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Associated Deities & Mythological Figures

PANDORA


The Devil (XV) 

The Devil (XV) is the fifteenth trump or Major Arcana card in most traditional Tarot decks. It is used in game playing as well as in divination.

Symbolism

In the Rider-Waite-Smith deck, the Devil sits above two naked human demons—one male, one female, who are chained to his seat. The Tarot Devil card is derived in part from Eliphas Levi’s famous illustration “Baphomet” in his Dogme et Rituel de la Haute Magie (1855). Baphomet is winged and horned, combining human and bestial features. Many modern Tarot decks portray the Devil as a satyr-like creature. In the Tarot of Marseilles, the devil is portrayed with facial features in unusual places, such as a mouth on his stomach, eyes on his knees, and with female breasts and male genitalia.

According to Waite, the Devil is standing on an altar. In his left hand, the Devil holds a great flaming torch inverted towards the earth. A reversed pentagram is on his forehead.

Eliphas Levi says in his book, Transcendental Magic, its Doctrine and Ritual that:

“A reversed pentagram, with two points projecting upwards, is a symbol of evil and attracts sinister forces because it overturns the proper order of things and demonstrates the triumph of matter over spirit. It is the goat of lust attacking the heavens with its horns, a sign execrated by initiates.” In Native American tarot, the attribution is often more complex than this.

Divination usage

Some frequent keywords used by tarot readers are:

  • Materialism —– Ignorance —– Stagnation —– Self-bondage
  • Lust —– Egoism —– Obsession —– Anxiety —– Anger
  • Hedonism —– Passion —– Instincts
  • Sexuality —— Temptation —– Doubt —– Vice
  • Futility —– Physical attraction —– Pessimism —– Insight

Please remember that all Tarot decks used for divination are interpreted according to personal experience and standards.

Interpretation

The Devil is the card of self-bondage to an idea or belief which is preventing a person from growing or being healthy—an example might be a belief that getting drunk each night is good for you. On the other hand, however, it can also be a warning to someone who is too restrained and/or dispassionate and never allows him or herself to be rash or wild or ambitious, which is yet another form of enslavement.

The Devil is the 15th card of the Major Arcana, and is associated with earth and Capricorn. Though many decks portray a stereotypical Satan figure for this card, it is more accurately represented by our bondage to material things rather than by any evil persona. It also indicates an obsession or addiction to fulfilling our own earthly base desires. Should the Devil represent a person, it will most likely be one of money and power, one who is persuasive, aggressive, and controlling. In any case, it is most important that the querent understands that the ties that bind are freely worn.

Mythopoetic approach

The Devil is both the Ur-Adversary, and a tremendous source of strength. He represents nearly an inexhaustible source of energy. Battling him gives us strength. Submitting to him completely is ego-death.

As with The Magician (Tarot card), the iconography of most of the standard Tarot suits appear. His wings represent Air, the suit of Swords. The torch in his hands, and the flames in the tail of the male devil represent Fire, the suit of Wands. The grapes in the tail of the female devil invoke Earth; the same grapes appear in most of the cards in the suit of Disks. Only water, Cups are missing. On one level, this is curious; water is of the unconscious, and The Devil dwells in the subconscious. On another level it is heartbreaking; what is missing from the Devil’s realm is The Grail, the kindly blessings of the Cup.

Perhaps to make up for the lack of water, the kindlier aspects of this card can be seen in the Two of Cups.

If the Major Arcana is analogized to the Sun’s circle across the sky, The Devil governs the Sun at midnight, when it is most vulnerable to the Old Night. The ancient Egyptians tell of the serpent demon Apophis, Chaos, who would sometimes lay in wait for Ra as he piloted the boat of the Sun down the Nile to be born again in the morning. Sometimes, Apophis would swallow the sun. Mercifully, the reversals of the night brought Set to an unlikely rescue; he ripped Apophis open and let the Sun escape. Set, The Devil, is the adversary but sometimes, he is our best and only ally.

In Jungian terms, he is The Shadow: all the repressed, unmentioned or unmentionable desires that lurk beneath.

The Devil is related both through his cross sum (sum of the digits) and his iconography with Key VI, The Lovers. Both cards speak to our drives; the drives that take us out of the garden; the drives that make us hard, make us warm, make us live. The central character in each is winged; each lives in the archetypal ether. Each is crowned: the Angel in The Lovers with fire, The Devil by a Pentagram and ram’s horns. Above each rides a naked man and a naked woman. But in The Lovers, there is still some sense of newness, wholesomeness, and hope; in The Devil they are chained by the neck and partially transformed into creatures of the underworld; transformed by their taste of the darkness; by the fruit of the underworld.

The chains are loose. They can be slipped. The Devil’s own torch can light the way out and light the return, back to the surface.

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Associated Deities & Mythological Figures

APEP

RA

SET




#16 – Sayid Jarrah 

Seven (#16)

16 Reduced: 1+6 = 7

The meaning of seven dealing with perfection can be traced back to the steps taken by early astronomers (and astrologers). These stargazers identified seven dynamic celestial orbs:

Sun, Moon, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, Saturn

Identification of these seven heavenly beauties gave way to an army of correlations that march through our every day life even today.

For example, these “planets” were associated with deities who were said to govern the ways of the universe in many cultural accounts.

From there we see the formation of time delineation as each of these “planets” correlate with the days of the week.

The meaning of seven deals with perfection because we see a specific unfolding in its evolution. As mentioned before, each consecutive number inherits a bit more depth than its predecessor. Seven is the embodiment of all the attributes of each number that existed prior to it. Its association with the initial planets identified by the human senses is an indication of how expansive its vibration is.

Concepts of perfection, evolution, structure and manifestation come into further focus when we recognize the presence of seven in cosmic building blocks. To wit, there are seven colors in the rainbow which, alchemically speaking, is a bridge that spans the gap between mundane and enlightened.

Furthermore, there are seven musical tones, which correlate with each of these colors. Esoteric wisdom indicates manipulation and utilization of these notes and colors will serve as a progressive path to the evolution of consciousness.

The meaning of seven reminds us that there is symmetry, reason, and order within the structure of the Universe. Even when things seem chaotic, there is a pervasive network of structure that is comfortingly consistent in its behavior.

We see this consistency in the drive of the Charioteer who is unwavering in his goal as he utilizes the septenary forces of the cosmos to navigate his way to his destination. When we see these structures of planets, days, time, measurements, harmonies, and hues, we begin to understand why number seven resonates with the Chariot card in the Major Arcana.

The esoteric scholar who learns the way of these foundational resonances is the master of the perfection he seeks in the Universe. Let your own scholarly studies further unfold by contemplating these attributes of seven:

Visually, the meaning of Seven illustrates:

  • Arrow tip – seeking the point
  • Greater than/Less than signs
  • The top is a smooth plane connected to a curved body – symbolic of structure fused with pliability

Common associations with the meaning of Seven:

  • Tarot Cards: The Chariot, Seven of Wands, Seven of Cups, Seven of Swords, Seven of Pentacles
  • Colors: Violet
  • Letters: G, P and Y
  • Qabalah symbol: Zayin or Zein
  • Astrological: Saturn

Potential Personality of Seven:
People who resonate with number seven are scholars and poets. They are intelligent with amazingly analytical minds. Yet, their minds are usually in a dream world where they can move things and events to their liking. Although their reality in much different than other’s – it is a reality of their own making. These people have the ability to bring the perfect people, places, and events in their life experience that lead them on a path of consistent revelation.

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The Chariot (VII) 

The Chariot (VII) is the seventh trump or Major Arcana card in most traditional Tarot decks. It is used in game playing as well as in divination.

Description

A. E. Waite was a key figure in the development of modern Tarot interpretations. However not all interpretations follow his theology. All Tarot decks used for divination are interpreted through personal experience and standards.

Some frequent keywords are:

  • Conquest —– Honor —– Victory —– Energy
  • Egocentrism —– Self confidence —– Conviction —– Anxiety
  • Willpower —– Self assertion —– Hard control —– Discipline
  • Inflexibility —– Success —– Wealth —– Recognition
  • Impulsivity —– Command —– Bravery —– Pride

A powerful, princely figure sits in a swift chariot, pulled usually by two sphinxes or horses. There is often a black and white motif, for example one of the steeds may be black and the other white. The figure may be crowned or helmeted, and is winged in some representations. He or she may hold a sword or wand, or other masculine symbol. The Thoth Tarot deck has the figure controlling four different animals, representing the four elements.

Interpretation

It has been suggested the square on the charioteer’s chest is a representation of the earth tattva.

Another view is that the mood of the card may be characterized as that of conquest. It represents a battle that can be won if the Querent has the willpower for it. The battle is usually an external one, with a clear goal and plan of action. Qualities needed to win the battle include self-reliance, righteousness, conviction and plain hard work. The steeds represent powerful forces, internal or external, that can be controlled to achieve the goal.

The chariot is one of the most complex cards to define. On its most basic level, it implies war, a struggle, and an eventual, hard-won victory; either over enemies, obstacles, nature, the beasts inside you, or to just get what you want. But there is a great deal more to it.

What does this all mean? It means a union of opposites, like the black and white steeds. They pull in different directions, but must be (and can be!) made to go together in one direction. Control is required over opposing emotions, wants, needs, people, or circumstances; to bring them together and give them a single direction, your direction. Confidence is also needed and, most especially, motivation. The card can, in fact, indicate new motivation or inspiration, which gets a stagnant situation moving again. It can also imply, on a more pragmatic level, a trip (usually by car), a vehicle – in the shop for repairs if the card comes up reversed – or a message.

The Chariot is a fascinating card, but also frustrating. It is armored, but also cut off – a charioteer fights alone. It moves from one plane to the next (water to land and back again) – conscious and unconscious, earthly and spiritual. It succeeds by attacking from the side, rather than straight on.

On one hand, the Chariot indicates loyalty faith and motivation; a conviction that will lead to victory no matter the odds. But on the other chariot can also signal a ruthless, diehard desire to win at any cost. The Querent should be reminded to save his energy for what comes after.

If inverted, the meaning remains the same, but the Querent is in danger of losing the battle due to a lack of control.

The Chariot has many allusions to the kabbalistic Ma’asei Merkavah. According to Waite, the figures on the charioteer’s shoulders are supposed to be the Urim and Thummim, which were divinatory tools often used by the Israelites for guidance during times of war. Waite describes the charioteer as conquest on all planes — in the mind, in science, in progress, and thus able to reply to the riddles of the sphinx, even though he is not of priest and thus unable to answer to the High Priestess.

Mythopoetic approach

Structurally, the Chariot follows The Lovers. After the impulse that pulls us out of the Garden, we get on our chariot and depart. At that point, we are the Hero of our own story; maybe the Hero of everyone’s story. That Hero might represent Helios, the Greek god who drives the Sun’s chariot across the sky, bringing light to the earth. The danger of this card is well illustrated by the myth of Phaëton. Among other things, this story illustrates the danger of reaching too high, unprepared.

The Chariot is Key Seven of the Major Arcana, it represents the possibility of traveling through the mysteries of the universe. It also evokes the seven gates of hell that Inanna passed through, required to partially disrobe at each one before finally being presented to the Queen of the Underworld, her own sister, Ereshkigal.

Ra from Egyptian mythology piloted the boat of the sun across the sky and back to the gates of dawn down the Nile every night. One night, Apophis, Chaos and Old Night swallowed the river to keep the sun from rising. Fortunately, Ra’s usual enemy, Set, took it upon himself to save the day by slicing Apophis open, allowing Ra to escape. This story bespeaks the reversals of the night, where our deadly enemies may be our best friends.

Another famous chariot driver was the god Krishna who in the Bhagavad Gita drove Arjuna’s chariot and gave him illumination.

The Chariot is related through cross sums (the sum of the digits) to Key 16, The Tower. Much like the Chariot takes us from our womb, our happy home, our happy village, or our planet, the Tower carries us from either what we have constructed for ourselves, or what has been constructed for us.

Some authorities say that he is the God of Spring, the Son of the Queen of Heaven. The canopy of his chariot is her starry gown; he wears the waxing and waning moon on his shoulders; the circle of the Zodiac is his belt. He channels energy from the world above (signified by the eight pointed star on his brow, eight here representing Venus) to the world below (signified by the square on his chest, the four corners of the Earth). The star can also represent the infinite, the square the earthly spheres of time and space.

He is fueled by contradictory impulses, represented by the black and white sphinxes that pull his chariot.

When this card appears, it evokes the Querent’s own path – calling, exile or random journey. The danger is getting on the wrong path – being overwhelmed and dying before our due time.

He may warn that we are in danger of being pulled to pieces by forces we do not control and do not understand.

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Associated Deities & Mythological Figures

HELIOS

RA

APEP

SET


The Tower (XVI) 

The Tower (XVI) (most common modern name) is the sixteenth trump or Major Arcana card in most cartomancy Tarot decks. It is not used as part of any game.

History

This card follows immediately after The Devil in all Tarots that contain it, and is considered an ill omen. Some early painted decks such as the Visconti-Sforza tarot do not contain it. Also, some Tarot variants used for game playing omit it.

Early printed decks that preserve all their cards do feature The Tower. In these decks the card bears a number of different names and designs. In the Minchiate deck, the image usually shown is of two nude or scantily clad people fleeing the open door of what appears to be a burning building. In some Belgian tarots and the seventeenth century tarot of Jacques Vieville, the card is called La Foudre or La Fouldre, (“The Lightning”) and depicts a tree being struck by lightning. In the Tarot of Paris (17th century), the image shown is of the Devil, beating his drums, before what appears to be the mouth of Hell; the card still is called La Fouldre. The Tarot of Marseilles merges these two concepts, and depicts a burning tower being struck by lightning or fire from the sky, its top section dislodged and crumbling. Two men are depicted in mid-fall, against a field of multicolored balls. A. E. Waite’s version is based on the Marseilles image, with bits of fire in the shape of Hebrew yod letters replacing the balls.

A variety of explanations for the images depicted on the card have been attempted. For example, it may be a reference to the biblical story of the Tower of Babel, where God destroys a tower built by mankind to reach Heaven. Alternatively, the Harrowing of Hell was a frequent subject in late medieval liturgical drama, and Hell could be depicted as a great gate knocked asunder by Jesus Christ, with accompanying pyrotechnics. The Minchiate version of the deck may represent Adam and Eve’s expulsion from the Garden of Eden.

Divination usage

Some frequent keywords used by card readers are:

  • Chaos —– Sudden change —– Impact —– Hard times
  • Crisis —– Revelation —– Disruption —– Realizing the truth
  • Disillusion —– Crash —– Burst —– Uncomfortable experience
  • Downfall —– Ruin —– Ego blow —– Explosive transformation

Upside down :

  • To be currently in a harsh and chaotic situation but exiting in a good manner. Indeed you are falling but landing with your feet over the soil.
  • The same of the normal position but less negative because their incorrect position can block some powers of the card.

Interpretation

Many differing meanings are attributed to the card:

  • To some, it symbolizes failure, ruin and catastrophe.
  • To others, the Tower represents the paradigms constructed by the ego, the sum total of all schema that the mind constructs to understand the universe. The Tower is struck by lightning when reality does not conform to expectation.
  • Epiphanies, transcendental states of consciousness, and Kundalini experiences may result. In the Triple Goddess Tarot, the card is named “Kundalini Rising”.
  • The Tower further symbolizes that moment in trance in which the mind actually changes the direction of the force of attention from alpha condition (pointed mindward) to theta condition (pointed imaginal stageward). A Theta condition (especially in waking versions of theta states) is that moment when information coming into the ego-mind overwhelms external or sensory stimuli, resulting in what might otherwise be called a “vision” or “hallucination.”
  • Each card in the Major Arcana is a related to the previous ones. After the self bondage of The Devil, life is self correcting. Either the querents must make changes in their own lives, or the changes will be made for them.
  • The querent may be holding on to false ideas or pretenses; a new approach to thinking about the problem is needed. The querent is advised to think outside the box. The querent is warned that truth may not oblige schema. It may be time for the querent to re-examine belief structures, ideologies, and paradigms they hold to. The card may also point toward seeking education or higher knowledge.
  • Others believe that the Tower represents dualism, and the smashing of dualism into its component parts, in preparation for renewal that does not come from reified, entrenched concepts. The Ivory Tower as a parallel image comes to mind, with all its good parts and its bad parts.

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#23 – Jack Shephard 

Five (#23)

23 Reduced: 2+3 = 5

Now as we approach the meaning of Five we begin to extend ourselves even further into the outer reaches of numerology. Each number expanding out from One represents a container holding all its predecessors within its vibration.

Meaning, the number five is a container that holds the energy of One, Two, Three and Four. All of the tumultuousness and beneficence found in these numbers mixed up into the Five. Yeah, it’s a head-trip to consider the godly digits embodied into one number.

And so the meaning of Five expresses that expansiveness and its ability to know itself as a whole through the interaction of its essential parts.

Essentially, Five is the first of digits that is in a constant (sometimes driven) state of balancing its own equation.

The meaning of Five gets more dicey when we recognize its association with humankind. Five fingers, five toes, five tactile senses. These associations give number Five a link to the physical, and a grounded vibration that is similar to Four, but on a much more intricate scale.

But this grounding physicality must play a co-starring role in the essence of Five when we consider the Greek concept of the fifth element. The Greeks marveled over the philosophy of Five, and recognized the pentagram as a perfect symbol to represent the four elements (water, air, earth, and fire) PLUS the fifth element as a unifying factor. This fifth element, as Plutarch observed, is the ether or quintessence that instills harmony and unity to all elements.

Indeed, the Greeks held the number Five as a representation of dispensing spiritual knowledge (Sound familiar? Hierophant resonates with number Five) and considered it a vehicle for gaining proper spiritual understanding.

Perhaps that driving effort for more expansion lends the tendency for Five’s to be the number of travel, unpredictability, instability, and dismay. Consider each of the five cards in the minor Arcana – each may illicit a sense of loss by the interpreter – at the very least a feeling of insecurity is perceptible.

Whether we choose to inappropriately use Five energy, causing loss for ourselves (as indicated in some minor Arcana five card interpretations), or we harness the wild ways of the Five for our benefit, one thing is clear: Fives have the best of all worlds.

Five energy represents that element in each of us that seeks out more expression, more unification, and more understanding of who we are amongst the balancing tides of the universe. In essence, Five is the numerical manifestation of our own desire to balance our own internal equations.

Visually, the meaning of Five illustrates (inverted too):

  • Half Circle – Desire to be whole, united (also, the erratic push of half-moons come to mind although Five is associated with Jupiter).
  • Flag – Waiving a banner of victory or surrender.
  • Table Top – Laying it out on the table, honest, to the point (candor).
  • Arrow (pointing down off the semi circle arch) – Aim for grounding, point to the earth for stability, move by land in travel.

Common associations with the meaning of Five:

  • Tarot Cards: The Hierophant, Five of Wands, Five of Cups, Five of Swords, Five of Pentacles
  • Colors: Blue
  • Letters: E, N and W
  • Qabalah symbol: Hay
  • Astrological: Jupiter, Aries

Potential Personality of Five: 

People who resonate with the energy of Five have a genuine interest in other people, and often take active roles in the community. They are high-spirited, and love to travel too. They do not require routine or structure, and are able to adapt well in most situations. They deal with challenges with cleverness and unorthodox solutions. Five people have many projects and ideas going on at the same time and are sometimes strapped for time. This causes them to lose out on some opportunities too, but this is irrelevant as the Five personality will always come out ahead in his/her endeavors.

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The Hierophant (V) 

The Hierophant (V), in some decks named The Pope, is the fifth trump or Major Arcana card in most traditional Tarot decks. It is used in game playing as well as in divination.

Description and symbolism

Some frequent keywords associated with The Hierophant are:

  • Education —– Knowledge —– Status quo —– Institution
  • Conservatism —– Discipline —– Maturity —– Formality
  • Deception —– Power —– Respect —– Duality
  • Social convention —– Belief system —– Group identification
  • Experience —– Tradition —– Naïve

In many modern packs, the Hierophant is represented with his right hand raised in what is known esoterically as the blessing or benediction, with two fingers pointing skyward and two pointing down, thus forming a bridge between Heaven and Earth reminiscent of that formed by the body of The Hanged Man. The Hierophant is thus a true “pontiff”, in that he is the builder of the bridge between deity and humanity. The Hierophant is typically male, even in decks that take a feminist view of the Tarot, such as the Motherpeace Tarot.

In most iconographic depictions, the Hierophant is seen seated on a throne between two pillars symbolizing Law and Liberty or obedience and disobedience, according to different interpretations. He wears a triple crown, and the keys to Heaven are at his feet. Sometimes he is shown with worshippers, as his alternate title is the Pope or, sometimes, Jupiter. The card is also commonly known as, “The High Priest,” as a counterpart to, “The High Priestess” (which itself is also sometimes known as, “The Popess,” as counterpart to “The Pope”).

History

The papacy was not just a religious force, but was a political and military force as well. When the tarot was invented, the Pope controlled a large portion of central Italy. Renaissance culture did not question the abstract ideal of the Pope as God’s human representative on Earth. In Tarot of Marseilles, he wears a red cape and a blue robe, in contrast to The Papess, who wears a blue cape and blue robe.

The more commonly encountered modern name “Hierophant” is due to Antoine Court de Gébelin. According to de Gebelin, “hierophant” was the title of the chief priest in the Eleusinian mysteries (an ancient Greek ritual).

Interpretation

The card stands for religion and orthodox theology. It also represents traditional education or a “Man of high social standing”. These interpretations merely scratch the surface of the card. The Pope card also represents the Biblical story of God’s creation of man and woman. He is also strongly associated with the Deceiver and with Power over others.

Some interpretations also suggest a link between the card and the myth of Isis and Osiris, a claim made about many cards.Some say the card corresponds to the astrological sign of Taurus; others Sagittarius or Leo. Yet another association is with the sign Cancer. In non-Western cultures (Native American, Siberian) the Hierophant retains the role as spiritual guide, wearing here the mask of a shaman who is also the teacher of holy things. In Native America, the mythological association is with the Coyote or Trickster God, one who is a teacher, a benefactor for the spiritual student, but who is often playful or mischievous.

The Hierophant is the card representing organized religion — any organized religion. Its positive and negative aspects are those associated with that religion.

“Hierophant” literally means “the one who teaches the holy things”. Ideally, the Hierophant prepares the Querant spiritually for the adventure of life. The card also represents individuation or the point where a child starts to understand the boundaries between Self and Other, family and the community. This is the point where the individual starts constructing his or her own identity, consciously, unconsciously, or as shaped by exterior forces.

The Hierophant is usually Key 5 of the Major Arcana. Five represents the essence of things as they are, as in the word “quintessence” from the Latin words for five and for nature. It is also the number of the senses: sight, hearing, taste, feeling, and smell. The Hierophant sits on a throne straddling the world of the senses and the world of meaning.

It is related through cross sums (the sum of the digits) with Key 14: Temperance. The Hierophant presents the lessons of heaven to earth. Temperance guides the soul from this world to the underworld.

Some authorities say that the Hierophant generally represents assistance, friendship, good advice, alliances (including marriages), and religious interests. Reversed; it often refers to bad advice, lies, and persecution.

Others say that it represents the first level of understanding. When it appears in a tarot spread, it is a warning to the Querant to reexamine his or her understanding of the meaning of things; of the structure of the world; of the powers that be. Watch out for hypocrisy.

The negative aspect of The Hierophant is well illustrated by the myth of Procrustes. Procrustes was a man (or a monster) living in the mountains of Greece. He invited weary travelers into his home, washed the dust off their feet, provided a meal, and let them lie on his bed. If they were too big for his bed, he cut them to size. If they were too small, he stretched them to fit. At last, Theseus came through the mountains and accepted Procrustes’s seemingly kind offer. When Procrustes tried to cut him to fit, Theseus killed him, making the road safe. In this way, the Hierophant is like Freud’s superego. It shapes us, sometimes brutally. This shaping is necessary for us to become who we are. Sometimes, it’s merely the replication of historic cruelties. Freud theorized at one point that the superego is an internalization of one’s parents. The Hierophant may represent the parents, living in the Querant.

The Rider-Waite-Smith deck explicitly connects the Hierophant with the Ten of Swords. The dead man lying face down on the beach, penetrated by ten swords, has his hand in the same position of blessing as the Hierophant, perhaps hinting that the artist believed that the path of the Hierophant leads ultimately to death; a sanctified death, but death nonetheless.

Common Interpretation

The Pope card when upright commonly suggest to seek guidance, to follow a positive advice endorsed to the querant, to do the right thing, to have faith, to keep on the right side of God, to be a positive role model, to be disciplined in your approach to matters and to clear off negative karma.

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Associated Deities & Mythological Figures

OSIRIS

ISIS

THESEUS




#42 – Kwon (Jin & Sun) 

Six (#42)

42 Reduced: 4+2 = 6

The meaning of six is both delicate and mammoth as it walks into the realm of cosmic creation. We see this most evidently in the texts of the ancient Pythagoreans, who were legendary numerologists of their day (and otherwise).

These numerological theologians used all manner of perspectives to assist them in reaching the core meaning of each prime number. They understood that numbers are multi-dimensional, and so recruited geometry as teaching aids for unlocking the secrets of numbers. The number six is aligned with the: Cube, Hexagon, and Hexagram.

Each of these shapes is created from perfectly equal parts. This mirrors the underlying meaning of six as a symbol of perfect union, and the energetic emblem of soulful integration.

I rather like the simplicity nature provides in our understanding of number six through the symbolic language of bees. Their labyrinth-like homes are neatly formed hexagons.

The use of diagrams or models can prove crucial for clarity, particularly when delving into the intricate meaning of six. Hold the shapes of the six (cube, hexagon and hexagram) in your mind’s eye while ruminating over the following attributes of the number six.

Visually, the meaning of Six illustrates:

  • Spiral
  • A comma or apostrophe – a metaphor to take pause to see the connection between spaces.
  • An eye – reminding us that divine sight sees no error for divine eyes see with love

Common associations with the meaning of Six:

  • Tarot Cards: The Lovers, Six of Wands, Six of Cups, Six of Swords, Six of Pentacles
  • Colors: Indigo, Red
  • Letters: F, O and X
  • Qabalah symbol: Wav
  • Astrological: Venus

Potential Personality of Six:

People who resonate with six energy are naturally creative, have discriminating tastes, and will often be called upon to reconcile matters. They are good with numbers, are very intelligent and are able to get along with others easily. Six people have harmonious dispositions and would rather make love, not war. These people are pacifiers and like to nurture. They recognize their responsibility to others and take their role as helpers seriously.

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The Lovers (VI) 

The Lovers (VI) is the sixth trump or Major Arcana card in most traditional Tarot decks. It is used in game playing as well as in divination.

Interpretation

In some traditions, the Lovers represent relationships and choices. Its appearance in a spread indicates some decision about an existing relationship, a temptation of the heart, or a choice of potential partners. Often an aspect of the Querent’s life will have to be sacrificed; a bachelor(ette)’s lifestyle may be sacrificed and a relationship gained (or vice versa), or one potential partner may be chosen while another is turned down. Whatever the choice, it should not be made lightly, as the ramifications will be lasting.

The Lovers is associated with the star sign Gemini, and indeed is also known as The Twins in some decks. Other associations are with Air, Mercury, and the Hebrew letter ז (Zayin).

A. E. Waite was a key figure in the development of modern Tarot interpretations. (Wood, 1998) However not all interpretations follow his theology. Please remember that all Tarot decks used for divination are interpreted up to personal experience and standards.

From Suite101: Tarot Card Symbolism – The Lovers of the Major Arcana: “The Lovers are the image of the first true challenge of the Fool’s life — a choice in love. This does not only mean a choice between two women, or two men. It also is a reflection of chosen values, of the decision the Fool must make, which will define him as a person. The Fool is not yet fully mature, and so has difficulty separating his physical desires from what is right.

The consequences of the choice he must make are far-reaching, affecting every part of his life. This choice is thrust upon him before he is ready, as are many choices in life, and so a mistake may be inevitable. This situation cannot be avoided, and a choice must be made; abstaining from this choice is not an option.

The Fool, not yet ready for this, does not fully understand that all choices — good and bad — carry consequences. This is an important lesson for the Fool, for he must realize that all things have a cost associated with them.”

Some frequent keywords used by tarot readers are:

  • Love relationship —– Union —– Passion —– Sexuality
  • Pleasure —– Humanism —– Desire —– Personal beliefs
  • Individual values —– Physical attraction —– Connection
  • Affinity —– Bonding —– Romance —– Heart
  • Following the Marseilles Tradition, also there are:
  • Choice —– Doubt —– Difficult decision —– Dilemma —– Temptation

Mythopoetic approach

The Lovers represent the impulse that drives us out of the Garden, towards adulthood. Sometimes, that impulse manifests as curiosity (Eve, Pandora, Psyche); sometimes it manifests as sexual desire (the basis of much great literature, as well as ordinary romances, most teen movies, and even horror films); sometimes it manifests as duty (a soldier heeding the call). Whatever it is, once we have stepped past the threshold, there is no returning to the garden.

The Lovers is associated through its cross sum (the sum of the digits) with The Devil, Key 15. He is often the source of the impulse, or that thing inside of us that responds to it. The Devil’s energy is absolutely necessary, absolutely deadly.

The Lovers also represent raw desire.

Hajo Banzhaf suggests that if the Major Arcana is seen as a map of the Sun’s circuit of the Sky, The Lovers is high noon. Consciousness is at its fullest. Frequently, cards show the Sun in the position of noon. Two trees, bearing fruit and flame, represent the intoxication of the material world.

When The Lovers appear in a spread, it typically draws the Querent’s attention to whatever impulse drove her from home, to whatever impulse made him move out, reject the faith of his fathers, made him accept the call. That original impulse should be honored, but if it dominates the Querent’s life, it will grow tiresome. The call must be renewed.

It can signal that an examination of the Querent’s relationship with the garden is needed, be it exile or absence. Sometimes, it can be useful to go beyond Eden and talk about other gardens: the bittersweet Kingdom of Logres built by Arthur to keep back the rising dark for a generation, the idyllic Hobbits’ Shire in The Lord of the Rings, or just a happy childhood. Look for misty eyes of memory, or bitterness at the lack of a past paradise.

The Lovers are also a reminder that we need others to become fully human. Lovers, friends, adversaries–each one teaches us, each one stretches us.

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Associated Deities & Mythological Figures

PANDORA




#9 – The Ennead (4+8+15+16+23+42 = 108 = 9) 

Nine (4+8+15+16+23+42 = 108)

108 Reduced: 1+0+8 = 9  [The Ennead]

It is fitting that we now come full circle with the meaning of nine. Indeed, even the visual depiction of the Arabic “9” spirals in on itself to indicate the completion of a cycle.

Nine’s hold energy of attainment and completion, but with that closure, we understand we are also faced with renewal. There is no ending without a beginning (indeed the Latin word for nine is novem which shares its root with novus, meaning ‘new’).

I like to call upon the imagery of the alchemical Uroboros when discussing the meaning of nine because of its relation to that concept of completion versus initiation.

Alchemists were also quite keen on movement and behavior of nature, and would often indicate the Uroboros as a conveyance of rebirth and regeneration. Most importantly, this powerful symbol stands for the maxim “one is all.”

The Uroboros, and the number nine sets the soul’s intention on fathoming the idea of meeting Ourselves to make a connection, and making strides for acceptance (completion) of the endless cycles of life.

Undertones of connection and completion rise to the top of our understanding when we consider the nine as a triplication of the ternary triad. Thus, the meaning of nine reflects three realms of experience (in no order):

  • Body
  • Mind
  • Spirit

Nine’s further solidify the completion via evolution as evident in adding all of the numbers on our numerological journey through the Tarot: 1+2+3+4+5+6+7+8+9=45/reduced: 4+5=9. Here we would find ourselves right back to the beginning.

Furthermore, multiplication by nine always produces digits that add up to nine; more symbolism of that “all is one” concept – completion/connection.

Visually, the meaning of Nine illustrates (inverted & sideways too):

  • Uroboros
  • Comma (just like the six, establishing a pause from one phase to the next
  • Spiral
  • Stick balloon – be light and be grounded simulateously. This image is also akin to the “hobo” bag of the Fool – a journey of experience and understanding with a goal to completion.

Common associations with the meaning of Nine:

  • Tarot Cards: The Hermit, Nine of Wands, Nine of Cups, Nine of Swords, Nine of Pentacles
  • Colors: White
  • Letters: I and R
  • Qabalah symbol: Teth
  • Astrological: Neptune

Potential Personality of Nine:

Those who resonate with nine vibration are magnetic, charming, and conduct themselves with ease and confidence. The are versed in a myriad of topics, and express skills in seemingly countless arenas. When given a channel of expression, these people create amazing feats of accomplishment. Nine people are influencial, and easily manage groups of people. These individuals are perfect for leadership and places of power when they utilize their nine strengths in a healthy manner.

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The Hermit (IX) 

The Hermit (IX) is the ninth trump or Major Arcana card in most traditional Tarot decks. It is used in game playing as well as in divination.

Description

A. E. Waite was a key figure in the development of modern Tarot interpretations. However, not all interpretations follow his theology.

Some frequent keywords are:

  • Introspection —– Silence —– Guidance —– Reflection
  • Solitude —– Looking inward —– Reclusion —– Being quiet
  • Inner search —– Deep understanding —– Isolation
  • Distance —– Retreat —– Philosophical attitude

The Waite version of the card shows an old man carrying a staff in one hand and a lit lantern in the other. In the background is a wasteland. Just beyond the wasteland is a mountain range.

Interpretation

The Hermit has internalized the lessons of life to the point that he is the lesson. The Hermit, as a kind of shamanistic hero, has made the complete journey – both the withdrawal and the return. As Joseph Campbell said, “A hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder: fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won: the hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man.” (The Hero with a Thousand Faces)

There are two possible ways this card can be interpreted:

  • First, the need to withdraw from society to become comfortable with himself.
  • Second, the return from isolation to share his knowledge with others.

Mythopoetic approach

An old hermit walked around the village and the area day and night, and even in daylight still carried a lit lantern. One day the villagers had enough curiosity to ask him “Sir, why do you carry your lantern lit in daylight?” He said, “Because I’m searching for an honest man.”

This is a story most often attributed to Diogenes of Sinope, one major contributor to the Cynic school of philosophy.

There are several different cycles embedded in the Major Arcana. One of them is 1-9, 10-19. The Magician to the Hermit; the Wheel of Fortune through The Sun. The Fool gains knowledge of the external world, meets the mysteries, finds the initial object of desire, finds mastery, finds knowledge, finds a new object of desire, leaves home, gains some strength, and withdraws for a time to integrate the lessons learned before starting on the next turn of the spiral, where the Wheel of Fortune spins us into a new adventure.

Alternatively, The Hermit may be the old man or woman, metaphorically, that we meet who gives us the insights or tools or training we need to confront the beasts of the forest, the sealed cave, the gated castle, the wormhole.

The Hermit is related through a cross sum (the sum of the digits) to The Moon. While The Hermit mostly integrates the lessons of the sunlit world, the Moon stands at the threshold of light and dark and churns the waters of life. In both cases, treasures can be uncovered through contemplation of what is brought forth. In both cases, monsters may be found.

Some say that The Hermit is a Threshold Guardian, representing an obstacle the Querent, the hero of the piece, must overcome to move on.

A potentially dangerous aspect of The Hermit is his retreat, his isolation. We all need to retreat sometimes; retreat and renewal are necessary for growth. But The Hermit may be tempted to completely withdraw from the world, not because the journey is done, but because the dragons of the real are too daunting, or because the trivial pleasures of the cave are too intoxicating. Withdraw at the wrong time, stay withdrawn too long, and growth stops.

The cowl The Hermit wears protects him and isolates him. Hopefully, at some point, he casts it off and rejoins the world.

Some say that The Hermit represents the time we learn our true names, who we really are. The Greek philosopher Thales is reported to have been asked, “What is the most difficult of all things?” To which he is said to have answered “To know yourself.” The Hermit is given time to obey the Delphic Oracle’s demand: know thyself.

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