Numerological Counterparts: “Pips-as-Trumps” Revisited

Although I posted my original thoughts on this subject some time ago, I have since come across further discussion in the literature on the concept of numerological counterparts for the trump cards, both within the 22-card major series and among the 40-card minor population. This model was first proposed as a way to make sense of the non-scenic “pip” cards of the older decks by correlating them to the first ten trump cards, but it can also shed considerable light on the more recondite or “inner” nature of the trumps themselves.

My current thinking brings me to the following arrangement. Many parallels can be drawn between the tiered numerological relationships, some of them not all that obvious at first glance. The Hierophant is a good example of this; the Fives are mainly about change, often disruptive and upsetting, while the Hierophant (Trump V) is the traditional (and often “hide-bound”) guardian of the status quo. It takes some mental gymnastics to realize that the implied change is of a higher order of consciousness, linking the human to the divine in a transformative way. On the other hand, both the Hierophant and Temperance (Trump XIV, reducing to 5) have an association with learning, the former more dogmatic and the latter (with its Sagittarius correspondence) more academic and  philosophical.

The Fool (0) is a force unto itself and has no ancillary associations. Consider it the supernal origin of the latent power invested in the Aces.

The Magician (I) relates to the Wheel of Fortune (10 = 1+0 = 1), the Sun (19 = 1+9 = 10 = 1+0 = 1), the four Aces and the four Tens.

The High Priestess (II) relates to Justice in the RWS system (11 = 1+1 = 2), Judgement (20 = 2+0 = 2) and the four Twos.

The Empress (III) relates to the Hanged Man (12 = 12 = 3), the World (21 = 2+1 = 3) and the four Threes.

The Emperor (IV) relates to Death (13 = 1+3 = 4) and the four Fours.

The Hierophant (V) relates to Temperance (14 = 1+4 = 5) and the four Fives.

The Lovers (VI) relates to the Devil (15 = 1+5 = 6) and the four Sixes.

The Chariot (VII) relates to the Tower (16 = 1+6 = 7) and the four Sevens.

Strength (VIII) relates to the Star (17 = 1+7 = 8) and the four Eights.

The Hermit (IX) relates to the Moon (18 = 1+8 = 9) and the four Nines.

The rest of the trump card counterparts are a mirror image of those already listed. For example, the association of the Wheel of Fortune (X) to the Magician (I), the Sun (XIX), the Aces and Tens has already been given.

The companion book to the Druidcraft Tarot by Philip and Stephanie Carr-Gomm includes excellent coverage of the numerological counterparts for the Major Arcana, but it stops short of equating them to the numerically equivalent Minor Arcana. The only other place I’ve seen this addressed systematically is in the course material for the Voyager Tarot by James Wanless. Personally, I find as much or more value in bringing esoteric number theory (both Pythagorean and Qabalistic) as applied to the minor cards into the realm of the trumps as I do in trying to superimpose the inherent qualities of the major cards onto their minor counterparts.

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