The Numbered Cards (1-10)

The numbered cards are part of the Lower Arcana, a division of the deck whereby the trumps are the Major Arcana. The truth is, there are more suit cards (56) than trumps (22), and if the whole deck is to be put to use as a creative tool, it isn’t enough to revere the trump cards, we’ll want to understand how to make a story of the bulk of the deck to make good use of reading it.


The suits are usually arranged with cards number 1-10 and 4 court cards.  Because the medieval Kabbalah is influenced by earlier Neoplatonic schools in the use of a tree of degrees to explore any concept, from origin to reality, many believe and teach that Kabbalah is the origin of the cards.  From my understanding, the present occultist idea of Kabbalah was developed well after the cards and applied later, because the ten points on the Tree of Life fits neatly over the system of emanation taught in Greece, Egypt and Rome as an academic staple more than two millennia.  While you can learn the Jewish mystic system over top of the Tarot, and many do, or write as though that is the one true way, Kabbalah is a separate system and there is no requirement, especially not to read the cards the way I recommend in this book.

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Maybe you are the type that has a rabid, fleet, borderline savant mind and you need three layers of culture to contemplate a top ten list.  I do not mean to exclude you, but have to consider after perusing popular decks in the U.S. – faeries, UFOs, cartoons, and erotic themes abound – tradition and history are quite beside the point.  Though my approach to reading is not the most popular by a long shot, it is more honest.  The mystery we’re after is an internal, personal one, the mystery of our lived interface, the territory between thought, sense and reality.