8_maids8 Maids a-Milking: Cow-nting (counting) those cows!

Pardon me for appearing to slack off on this series. A rare headache on Friday turned into a head cold by Saturday, which is where I am today. Thinking has been a challenge, let alone writing. I’ve been trying to prepare for Christmas, and this cold cancelled some anniversary celebration plans. Still, one must soldier on! As I noted last year, the Twelve Days of Christmas actually refer to the twelve days after Christmas, so it’s okay if I continue this series into early January. Phew!

Today’s topic is going to be a quick and dirty look at numbers in terms of reading cards. [After writing this, it’s not as “quick” as I’d expected, but I enjoyed writing it and hope you enjoy reading it.]

It all starts with the meaning of numbers, which makes some people think of numerology, a stand-alone divination tool that works by calculating numerical data to learn about people through the meaning of their numbers. I’m not too keen on numerology, because the generation of numbers seems fairly arbitrary with too much variance for my taste.


There are different methods of name calculation, and we have to consider people who use nicknames or shortened forms of their given names. Are zip codes and house numbers really worth analysis? Phone numbers are popular, but the phone companies own them, they are mutable, and we have to consider whether to use area or international codes. Some systems stop at 10; some includes “master numbers” 11 and 22; and some tarot-focused systems count up to 78!

In contrast, I look at astrology which calculates to a specific point of time for a specific location, which seems more “solid” and unique to me when determining a chart. This is not meant to denigrate anyone who finds value in numerology as a method of divination, as I’m sure it can give valuable insights or people wouldn’t bother with it. It just doesn’t resonate with me.

For card reading purposes, it’s useful to have meanings in mind for 1 through 10. I’ve evolved my number meanings over time, based on what I’ve been exposed to in study and practice, and what makes sense to me. I don’t sit around thinking what 5 means to me, or if 7 shows an unhappy childhood nor declaring that a 1 always indicates someone who is arrogant.

So, my quick and dirty guide to numbers:

1: beginning, impetus, raw energy, an idea
2: duality, the other, exploring an idea3: foundation, expression
4: stability, values
5: changes, challenges, “halfway point; don’t give up!”
6: harmony, a new foundation, some success
7: testing or trials (as in, time of testing/trials); chance or luck; second chances
8: greater stability, success, manifestation, reworking
9: “almost there!”, general success or completion
10: definite completion, material world, transition to next cycle

Of course this may change if you ask me later. You may have different ideas. For example, some people assign family to 6. Really, it doesn’t matter what anyone says, the question is how do YOU see the numbers? And that’s what I’ve done here in listing them.

If you use tarot or playing cards, you can combine your general meaning of a number with the general meaning of the suit and that gives you a meaning for a card. If your hearts are about love and friendship, and your 5’s are as above, then the 5 of Hearts may mean challenges in love. If your tarot coins (pentacles) are about money and possessions, while your 8’s are as above, then the 8 of Coins can show manifesting money.

You can use this in conjunction with the pictures on tarot or other illustrated cards, which may show the meaning and additional nuances. For example in the Playing Card Oracles, the 5 of Hearts is the Fata Morgana, where a deceptive magical spell masks the crone — one way of illustrating trouble in love (or other things).


Or many of you are familiar with the Waite-Smith deck and variants, such as the Lo Scarabeo Tarot below. In this card, a diligent young man (smiling in this deck) is busy crafting his pentacles as he engraves onto large gold discs. Arguably, manifesting money!

Lo_Scarabeo-Coins_08If you know the numbers and suits, you can quickly read any card deck whether you’ve “learned” it or not. Simply combine number and suit meanings. Usually this will explain a card’s picture or relate to it in some way. (Assuming your numerology is close to the deck creator’s.) This also means you can wow your friends and relatives by reading an unassuming deck of regular playing cards!*

Another way to enhance your understanding of numbers is one I credit to Marcus Katz. Consider an activity you enjoy and are familiar with, that has an end goal or creation involved, such as cooking, knitting or woodworking. Then break the overall activity down into ten steps, where the first step is the idea and the last step is the completed product. Five is the halfway point. When you are done, you will have a list of activities that are steps from inception to completion of your chosen activity. This should give you an intuitive understanding of the numbers that you can apply to readings. I used computer programming when I did this exercise and got some useful insights so I do recommend this exercise.

There are many different ways to view numbers, and you will likely come across many. It’s okay if your understanding changes over time. I found Leo Martello, for example, to enhance my use of numbers, especially the 7’s. The previous exercise particularly added to my understanding of 7 and gave me a new twist on 8. You’ll likely find numbers become more meaningful to you, the more you use them in your readings.

Who knows, you may even branch into numerology or some day write your own quick-and-dirty guide like this one! If you enjoyed this post, you might also like to look up what I had to say about the Vitruvian Square.

What do you think of numbers when reading cards, or outside of them? Any tips you’d like to share? Let me know in the comments.

* Face cards, like batteries, are not included in this post.