Aeclectic Tarot
Tarot Cards & Reviews          Free Tarot Readings           What's New           Tarot Card Meanings

22 + 56 = 78

  > Aeclectic Tarot Forum > Beyond Tarot > Kabbalah & Alphabets

RLG  RLG is offline
Join Date: 19 Mar 2009
Location: United States
Posts: 318
22 + 56 = 78


The Tarot has 78 cards split into two groups: 22 Trumps (or more properly The ‘excuse’ or Fool and 21 trumps) and 56 minor cards. The number 78 has many interesting characteristics, one of which is that t is a triangular number, the sum of the numbers from 1 to 12. But creating a triangle of 78 numbers does not readily admit to splitting them into groups of 22 and 56. Another way of creating this division is by using a modified ‘Tree of Life‘ such as this:


In this arrangement, the central column has the numbers 1 - 4 - 7 - 10, which sum to 22. The remaining columns sum to 56. However, the left column sums to 26 while the right sums to 30, which seems a bit unbalanced. This can be rectified by considering the numbers as odd and even.

Eliminating the central column, the remaining even numbers are 2 - 6 - 8 - 12 = 28, and the remaining odd numbers are 3 - 5 - 9 - 11 = 28.

In Pythagorean numerology, the even numbers are considered female, and the odd numbers male. So these groups can be attributed to the 28 cards of the ‘female’ suits of Cups and Coins, and the 28 cards of the ‘male’ suits of Wands and Swords.

We can further break these down into the Court cards and numbered cards. The first two even numbers are 2 & 6, which are the eight Court cards of Cups and Coins, while the first two odd numbers are 3 & 5, which are the eight Court cards of the Wands and Swords.

The remaining two even numbers are 8 & 12, which are the numbered cards of the female suits, and the remaining odd numbers are 9 & 11, which are the numbered cards of the male suits.

The central column presents us with the numbers 1 - 4 - 7 - 10, which can be attributed to the sequence of the Trump cards rather easily.

The number 1 is the Fool card, who is the unnumbered ‘excuse’ and thus stands aloof from the 21 Trumps proper. The Fool is unnumbered.

The next number is 4, which represents the four cards of nobility and papacy - the Popess, the Empress, the Emperor and the Pope. The numbers of these cards sum to 2 + 3 + 4 + 5 = 14 = 2 x 7

The next number is 7; these are the final seven cards of the sequence, from the Devil to the World, representing the celestial or eschatological realms. The numbers on these cards sum to 15 + 16 + 17 + 18 + 19 + 20 + 21 = 126 = 18 x 7

The final number is 10, which represents the cards depicting the trials of life and the virtues which overcome them. This is the sequence from the Lover to Temperance. Included in this group is the Magician/Bagatto, who is analogous to the Ace in the group of cards numbered 1 to 10, for his number is I, and he has a special role in the game of tarot. Although he is the lowest numbered trump, he can be the most valuable if he takes the last trick. He also represents the game of chance itself, i.e., he is an embodiment of the game of tarot. The numbers on these cards sum to 1 + 6 + 7 + 8 + 9 + 10 + 11 + 12 + 13 + 14 = 91 = 13 x 7

As a short digression, we can see that each level has cards whose numbers sum to a multiple of 7. The factors are 2, 18, and 13. As trump numbers, these are the Popess, the Moon and Death. In the Thoth tarot, the Hebrew letters of these would be Gimel/3 + Qoph/100 + Nun/50, for a total of 153. The number 153 is the sum of the numbers from 1 to 17, which makes it the ‘mystic number’ of the 17th path of the Tree of Life, and this path is attributed to the letter Zain, whose value is 7. Therefore there is a continuity with the number 7 on all these levels, which is perhaps appropriate, given that Trump number VII is the Chariot, otherwise known as the Triumphal Car, while the tarot was originally known as a game of Trionfi, or ‘Triumphs’. Thus it is fitting that a key to the trump sequence can be found in the number of this card. End of digression.

So we have in this modified Tree structure four different ‘levels’:

The first level is the number 1 by itself; the Fool who stands aloof from the sequence of the Trumps.

The next level is a set of five numbers. The central number is 4, representing the four nobles and clergy. This 4 is surrounded by four numbers which represent the Court cards of the suits, which are also involved with nobility.

The next level is the number 7. Traditionally this number is somewhat inscrutable, as 7 is the only number from 1 to 10 that does not divide the circumference of a circle evenly. For this reason it was known as the ‘Virgin’. This number represents the cards of the celestial hierarchy and the afterlife that occur at the finale of the Trumps.

The next level is another set of five numbers. The central number is 10, representing the cards of the allegories of life and the virtues. The number 10 is also the number of small cards in the suits, and it is surrounded by four numbers representing those small cards of the suits, which are numbered from 1 to 10.

So we have four levels; a single number - 1 -; followed by a set of five numbers. Then another single number - 7 - followed by another set of five numbers. This creates a nice balance in the overall sequence, and may help explain how the Fool (as number 1) is sometimes placed near the end of the celestial sequence of 7 cards, just below the World. For these two groups stand alone from the other sets on this Tree.

Much of the above is pure speculation. Whether the designers of tarot were influenced by such numerical sequences it would be impossible to say. But it is interesting that this Tree provides a very simple way to divide the number 78 into groups of numbers that resonate with the groups of cards found in the tarot.

Top   #1
venicebard's Avatar
venicebard  venicebard is offline
Join Date: 31 Mar 2005
Location: California, USA
Posts: 935

Originally Posted by RLG View Post
Another way of creating this division is by using a modified ‘Tree of Life‘ such as this:

You might be interested in the fact that this Tree arrangement represents the relation of the numbers (and the Sefirot they represent, albeit only in the first or Atzilut world, which preserves the pristine pattern) before the Fall, that is, before the doer lost its balance by following sensation rather than the inner guidance of its thinker and knower. For the ten Sefirot represent the ten signs from straight up or aries—the One, the Totality—to straight back or capricorn—the one individual self (straight back from other); hence 1-4-7-10 are the cardinal or neutral signs (aries-cancer-libra-capricorn), 2-5-8-11 the male signs (which astrology has misnamed 'fixed'),* and 3-6-9-12 the female signs (which astrology has misnamed 'mutable').* This pattern of Tree is important because in what has survived of the Kabbalah, we have a Tree pattern after the Fall where the numbers from 4 on are all one notch lower—Lurianic tradition speaks of the 'breaking of the vessels', in which Sefirot 4-10 break (cannot hold the Light)—while in place of the original 4 is Da'at, 'knowledge' (gnosis): this last is simple acknowledgement of the fact that the sign cancer is still there even though the number occupying it was carried by the angle that begins there down to the next sign (leo, which is male).

The reason there are ten Sefirot is that the Sefirot represent the stages that lead from the One Whole to the one individual, hence in their pristine beginnings they conclude with the 10th sign, which is straight back towards self (towards the horizon within, which is opposite the horizon without or straight ahead). Yet they are but the first 10 of 13 middot or divine attributes, which are the twelve signs plus the return to the first at aries. Yet a Tree that stops at 12 does have a pointer in the fact that in the distribution of functions amongst planetary cycles—the Tree as it operates in the fourth or Asiyah world—10, the day (earth, the equator), has three aspects: that wherein it is acted on by water, by air, and by fire. Since 10, 11, and 12 have digital sums of 1, 2, and 3, respectively, and since fire, air, and water are the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd elements, respectively, they might well represent this subdividsion of earth or 10 (since 11 and 12 are both supernumerary to the Sefirot and thus free to be 'tacked on' to 10).

* Male and female in the zodiac arise in the context of the tetrads, since there must be a place for neuter or neutral too; whereas what astrology calls male and female are actually the macrocosmic and microcosmic hexads: the hexad based on the vertical (aries-libra) axis is macrocosmic because that axis extends indefinitely out into space, while the hexad based on the horizontal (cancer-capricorn) axis is confined to the region of the body, since as it gets farther and farther away from the body it becomes less and less horizontal (being tangent to the great circle on which the person to whom the zodiac is applied stands).
Top   #2



Tarot Cards & Reviews          Free Tarot Readings           What's New           Tarot Card Meanings
Aeclectic Tarot Forum Links
· Tarot
· Tarot Special Interest
· Beyond Tarot
· Forum Library

Aeclectic Tarot Categories
· Angel Decks
· Dark & Gothic Decks
· Goddess Decks
· Fairy Decks
· Doreen Virtue Decks
· Beginner Decks
· Cat Decks
· Pagan & Wiccan Decks
· Ancient Egyptian Decks
· Celtic Decks
· Lenormand Decks
· Rider-Waite Decks
· Marseilles Decks
· Thoth Decks
· Oracle Decks
· List All Decks
· Popular Tarot Decks
· Available Decks
· Tarot Books
· What's New

Copyright © 1996 - 2020 Aeclectic Tarot. All rights reserved. Privacy Policy. Contact us.