Monday, February 27, 2017

Reading Runs of Numbers

Last summer, during one of my  daily 3-card spreads, I pulled the cards you see below.  Do you notice anything about them? What is the common pattern?

All three of these cards are numbered ten.  On the left and right, we have pentacles and wands from the minor arcana, and in the center, the major arcana's Wheel of Fortune.  In addition to making for a visually impacting spread, tarot also uses its numbering system to convey deeper meaning. 

Now, you know that I don't like to add complicating factors to my tarot readings when I don't have to; seventy-eight card meanings is plenty on its own, thank you very much! However, when you get a spread with a pattern as striking as this, it can be fun to introduce a little more flavor to your reading.

I've written before about how to read a run of suits--meaning, three or more of the same suit in a given spread. Similarly, finding three or more of the same number can be read as a run of that number.  I would call my daily 3-card here a run of tens.  This pattern told me to pay attention to cycles of completion in my life, and the process of turning accomplishment into new beginnings. 

Here is a list of the general significance of each number.  You will notice that I only list ace through ten, and not the court cards; court cards are notoriously tricky for tarot readers, and I've discussed my approach elsewhere on this blog.

Ace - Beginnings, the seed of the essence of the suit
Two - Balance, partnerships with others
Three - Growth, interacting with others
Four - Stability, accomplishment
Five - Change, conflict
Six - Resolution, harmony, balance
Seven - Looking inward for resources
Eight - Desire for forward momentum
Nine - The pause before completion
Ten - Completion, the essence of the suit come to fruition

You may find the shades of meaning offered by runs of numbers deepens your interpretation of any given spread; alternately, you may just find yourself saying to the querent, "Look at that, you have several eights in this spread. It seems like you're looking for some forward energy in your life." I like having the knowledge of runs because it is a simple way to add more depth to your reading without requiring a ton of memorization.  It's especially helpful when you realize the progression of number meanings is meant to represent the progression of a life's story. We start as a seed, then grow in our communities, face various hardships and resolution, before arriving at the essence of completion.

Do you see yourself incorporating runs of numbers in your readings? Does the narrative progression of number meanings enhance your appreciation of tarot?  Is this just way to complicated for your personal practice? Let us know in comments!

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