# Tetractys and the Suit of Pentacles

In a previous post (https://bonniecehovet.wordpress.com/2011/06/23/the-tetractys-and-the-four-suits/) I introduced the Pythagorean concept of the Tetractys – a triangle consisting of the numbers one through ten (ten being the most significant number). In this post I am going to look at the concept of the Tetractys as applied to the Pips (numbered cards) in the Tarot. We are going to look at each suit separately, starting with Wands.

Following is a schematic of the Tetractys. A good visual aid would be to take out your deck of choice, and place the cards from the suit of Pentacles in this format:

1
3      2
6     5     4
10      9      8      7

Following the pattern of the numbers will create a facsimile of the lightning bolt path that we see on the Tree of Life. Something else that we need to remember is that the number ten (1+2+3+4) is considered by Pythagoreans to be a pure number. The Tetractys triangle itself represents creation … form coming into being. Each of the four suits represents another world coming into creation.

With the suit of Pentacles, we are looking at the Qabalistic world of Assiah, the Manifest world. The first row, number One, represents the Monad. The second row, numbers Two and Three, represent the Dyad, or essential principles. The third row, numbers Four, Five and Six, represent the Triad, or spiritual forces. The bottom row, the Tetrad, represents the material world.

The suit of Pentacles represents the world of Assiah (manifestation), and the element of Earth. Through Earth, and its connection with the physical world, we enter the world of manifestation. Here the Seeker manifests their literal physical health, as well as that “safe place” that consists of their home environment, along with financial stability. Here is where the Seeker experiences prosperity in a physical and material sense. The number One in the suit of Pentacles acts as the potential, or the seed, for the Seeker using their inherent skills and talents to manifest a supportive environment for themselves and those that are close to them.

Numbers Two and Three represent the Dyad, or opposing forces. For the suit of Pentacles, the number Two indicates a need for patience, as all the facts are not in, so a decision cannot yet be made. Time is on the Seeker’s side – they do not have to make an immediate decision. The number Three in the suit of Pentacles is considered the card of the Master Craftsman. It is the manifestation of great thought into the physical world.

In the suit of Pentacles, the number Four represents the need for deliberate thinking and action, the ability to assess risk, and the need for the Seeker to not allow the comforts that they have worked so hard for to lull them into a false sense of security.

The Five’s are always a little chaotic. The Five of Pentacles brings with it a sense of loss … loss that was brought to the Seeker through their own actions. The loss here can be on a spiritual, as well as a physical/material level. The Seeker needs to bring a balance to their outer physical/material world and their inner spiritual world.

The Six’s are all about the Seeker’s own personal truth, and their own personal version (and vision) of success. Six’s are celebration and victory. The Six of Pentacles represents balance, fairness, and equilibrium, especially in regard to finances. There is an indication that the Seeker is headed into a cycle that represents generosity and things of a positive nature.

The final row – numbers Seven through Ten – represents the material world, and the four elements (from right to left – Fire, Air, Water and Earth). The Seven of Pentacles shares it’s place with the element of Fire. The Seeker has a passion for nurturing the seeds that he/she has sown in their life. It is a time to pause, reflect, and evaluate.

The number Eight share’s its place with the element of Air. The nature of the number Eight is all about change, and keeping up with change. Change in the physical world, the world of formation, is brought about by the Seeker making best use of their skills and abilities. This is indeed a time of intense focus, and intense work. The Seeker needs to be clear on what they are trying to accomplish, as working just to be working sends the Seeker down a rabbit hole of their own making.

The number Nine shares its place with the element of Water. One cycle is coming to an end, and another is about to begin. There is a sense of security in the life of the Seeker because of their efforts, their hard work, and the result of that hard work.

The number Ten shares its place with the element of Earth. Ten’s talk about endings and new beginnings, but they also talk about putting all of the energy, focus and will power that you have into your project. The Ten of Pentacles represents a time of prosperity and happiness, of celebration and sharing with family/community.

Summary:

This is not meant to be the final word on the Tetractys and the Pips. It is actually a mere whisper, as seen through my eyes. Place your cards in the pyramid shape of the Tetractys. Move your hand over the lightning path, and see what feelings/knowing come to you. Treat the numbers as rows, instead of a straight line. See how they work together, instead of focusing on individual meanings.

It’s all good!

Here are a couple of links that will allow you to use the Tetractys as an actual Tarot spread: Aeclectic Tarot Forum (www.aeclectic.net/tarot), http://www.experiencefestival.com/a/Tetractys/id/578326.

# Tetractys and the Suit of Swords

In a previous post (https://bonniecehovet.wordpress.com/2011/06/23/the-tetractys-and-the-four-suits/) I introduced the Pythagorean concept of the Tetractys – a triangle consisting of the numbers one through ten (ten being the most significant number). In this post I am going to look at the concept of the Tetractys as applied to the Pips (numbered cards) in the Tarot. We are going to look at each suit separately, starting with Wands.

Following is a schematic of the Tetractys. A good visual aid would be to take out your deck of choice, and place the cards from the suit of Swords in this format:

1
3      2
6      5      4
10      9      8      7

Following the pattern of the numbers will create a facsimile of the lightning bolt path that we see on the Tree of Life. Something else that we need to remember is that the number ten (1+2+3+4) is considered by Pythagoreans to be a pure number. The Tetractys triangle itself represents creation … form coming into being. Each of the four suits represents another world coming into creation.

With the suit of Swords, we are looking at the Qabalisticworld of  Yetzirah, the formative world. The first row, number One, represents the Monad. The second row, numbers Two and Three, represent the Dyad, or essential principles. The third row, numbers Four, Five and Six, represent the Triad, or spiritual forces. The bottom row, the Tetrad, represents the material world.

The suit of Swords represents the world of Yetzirah (formation), and the element of Air. Through Air, and its connection with intellect, the mental realm, and logical thinking, we enter the world of formation. Here the formation is specifically that of beliefs and values, expressed in our personal lives, and through our actions in the larger realm of society. Number One, the pure energy of Swords, and of formation, also represents the Seeker’s mental/intellectual life, and their ability to see things clearly and express themselves well.

Numbers Two and Three represent the Dyad, or opposing forces. For the suit of Swords, we are looking at the number Two as representing conflicting ideas that need to be brought into harmony. This duality needs to be seen before any action can be taken. The number Three in the suit of Swords indicates a breakup, or dissolution of some type of relationship. Looking at the point of conflict that precipitated the break-up will ease the process.

In the suit of Swords, the number Four represents the need for a time out away from worldly concerns. This is a time of contemplation, with a focus on roots, values and goals.

The Five’s are always a little chaotic. The Five of Swords is associated with the process of cleaning up after a battle. Modern battles are fought with words and actions, but seldom with active elements such as guns or knives. The process of cleaning up t he largely mental/emotional damage left after this type of battle has to do with looking back and determining where things went wrong. What could have been done differently, and how can a battle of this type be avoided in the future.

The Six’s are all about your own personal truth, and your own personal version (and vision) of success. Six’s are celebration and victory, with the Six of Swords carries a sense of objectivity and insight to it.

The final row – numbers Seven through Ten – represents the material world, and the four elements (from right to left – Fire, Air, Water and Earth). The Seven of Swords shares it’s place with the element of Fire. The nature of this Seven is that of mental preparedness, of being able to visualise success and goals reached. This is a stime of studying, of working smarter, not harder.

The number Eight share’s its place with the element of Air. The nature of the number Eight is all about change, and keeping up with change. In respect to the Tetractys, this change is evidenced in the world of Air (the mental realm). The Eight of Swords represents our experiences, and what we learn from them.

The number Nine shares its place with the element of Water. One cycle is coming to an end – in the case of Swords, we are looking at the consequences of our actions. It is a time of grief and sorrow, and facing our worst nightmares.

The number Ten shares its place with the element of Earth. Ten’s talk about endings and new beginnings, but they also talk about putting all of the energy, focus and will power that you have into your project.  The Ten of Swords represents an ending, where there is no turning back. We come to this time when we have exhausted all of our alternatives. It is time to find another path, as this one has brought us to burnout.

Summary:

This is not meant to be the final word on the Tetractys and the Pips. It is actually a mere whisper, as seen through my eyes. Place your cards in the pyramid shape of the Tetractys. Move your hand over the lightning path, and see what feelings/knowing come to you. Treat the numbers as rows, instead of a straight line. See how they work together, instead of focusing on individual meanings.

It’s all good!

Here are a couple of links that will allow you to use the Tetractys as an actual Tarot spread: Aeclectic Tarot Forum,http://www.experiencefestival.com/a/Tetractys/id/578326.

Next week we are on to the final suit in this series – Pentacles! See you all there!

# Tetractys and the Suit of Cups

In a previous post (https://bonniecehovet.wordpress.com/2011/06/23/the-tetractys-and-the-four-suits/) I introduced the Pythagorean concept of the Tetractys – a triangle consisting of the numbers one through ten (ten being the most significant number). In this post I am going to look at the concept of the Tetractys as applied to the Pips (numbered cards) in the Tarot. We are going to look at each suit separately, starting with Wands.

Following is a schematic of the Tetractys. A good visual aid would be to take out your deck of choice, and place the cards from the suit of Wands in this format:

1
3      2
6      5      4
10      9      8      7

Following the pattern of the numbers will create a facsimile of the lightening bolt path that we see on the Tree of Life. Something else that we need to remember is that the number ten (1+2+3+4) is considered by Pythagoreans to be a pure number. The Tetractys triangle itself represents creation … form coming into being. Each of the four suits represents another world coming into creation.

With the suit of Cups, we are looking at the Qabalistic world of Briah, the creative world. The first row, number One, represents the Monad. The second row, numbers Two and Three, represent the Dyad, or essential principles. The third row, numbers Four, Five and Six, represent the Triad, or spiritual forces. The bottom row, the Tetrad, represents the material world.

The suit of Cups represents the world of Briah (creation), and the element of Water. Through Water, and its connection with the unconscious and intuition, we enter the world of creation. Number One, the pure energy of Cups, and creation, also represents the Seeker’s emotional life, connection with the mysteries and dreamtime. It is here that we create our emotional “safety net”.

Numbers Two and Three represent the Dyad, or opposing forces. For the suit of Cups, we are looking at the number Two as representing a union or partnership, especially a romantic union (or a union of opposites). This can also represent a karmic tie. The number Three relates to working with others, giving and receiving support and encouragement. In the suit of Cups, the number Four represents a time of restlessness, where the Seeker feels dissatisfied with life in general, and emotional entanglements in particular. Life feels stagnant, and everything is being questioned.

The Five’s are always a little chaotic. The Five of Cups can be associated with the emotional quagmire left after a tantrum, argument or literal fit of rage. There are consequences … and this is it! To restore balance, focus needs to be placed on the Cups that remain upright.

The Six’s are all about your own personal truth, and your own personal version (and vision) of success. Six’s are celebration and victory, and the Six of Cups carries a gentle sense of optimism with it. Remember that we do not ever succeed on our own – our victory celebration needs to include those that helped us get there. In this the suit of emotions, we need to be able to trust, and to allow life to flow freely.

The final row – numbers Seven through Ten – represents the material world, and the four elements (from right to left – Fire, Air, Water and Earth). The Seven of Cups shares it’s place with the element of Fire. The nature of this Seven is that of our dreams and desires – the world of our imagination. There is real magic in awakening the imagination, and the passion of Fire is an absolute plus! We need to release our fears and dream (and act on) the big dreams!

The number Eight share’s its place with the element of Air. The nature of the number Eight is all about change, and keeping up with change. In respect to the Tetractys, this change is evidenced in the world of Air (the mental realm). The Eight of Cups can be seen as walking away from emotional disappointment. The manner in which the Seeker is dealing with this is through stepping into the realm of logic. In very simple terms, the Seeker is being told to watch out for themselves, to not automatically trust all that they see,

The number Nine shares its place with the element of Water. One cycle is coming to an end – in the case of Cups, the Seeker is being advised to accept the fruits of their labors, to appreciate all that life has to offer and to find happiness within it. Emotional satisfaction and personal recognition are inherent in this card.

The number Ten shares its place with the element of Earth. Ten’s talk about endings and new beginnings, but they also talk about putting all of the energy, focus and will power that you have into your project.  The Ten of Cups takes the personal sense of happiness found in the Nine of Cups and expands it to a more global level.

Summary:

This is not meant to be the final word on the Tetractys and the Pips. It is actually a mere whisper, as seen through my eyes. Place your cards in the pyramid shape of the Tetractys. Move your hand over the lightening path, and see what feelings/knowing come to you. Treat the numbers as rows, instead of a straight line. See how they work together, instead of focusing on individual meanings.

It’s all good!

Here are a couple of links that will allow you to use the Tetractys as an actual Tarot spread: Aeclectic Tarot Forum, http://www.experiencefestival.com/a/Tetractys/id/578326.

Next week we are on to the suit of Swords! See you all there!

# Tetractys and the Suit of Wands

In a previous post (https://bonniecehovet.wordpress.com/2011/06/23/the-tetractys-and-the-four-suits/) I introduced the Pythagorean concept of the Tetractys – a triangle consisting of the numbers one through ten (ten being the most significant number). In this post I am going to look at the concept of the Tetractys as applied to the Pips (numbered cards) in the Tarot. We are going to look at each suit separately, starting with Wands.

Following is a schematic of the Tetractys. A good visual aid would be to take out your deck of choice, and place the cards from the suit of Wands in this format:

1
3      2
6      5      4
10      9      8      7

Following the pattern of the numbers will create a facsimile of the lightening bolt path that we see on the Tree of Life. Something else that we need to remember is that the number ten (1+2+3+4) is considered by Pythagoreans to be a pure number, The Tetractys triangle itself represents creation … form coming into being. Each of the four suits represents another world coming into creation.

With the suit of Wands, we are looking at the Qabalistic world of Yetzirah, or formation. The first row, number One, represents the Monad. The second row, numbers Two and Three, represent the Dyad, or essential principles. The third row, numbers Four, Five and Six, represent the Triad, or spiritual forces. The bottom row, the Tetrad, represents the material world.

The suit of Wands aptly represents the world of Yetzirah (formation), and the element of Fire. Through Fire, and passion, we create form. Number One, the pure energy of Wands, and form, also represents will and desire. In creating this world, we are giving form to qualities such as boldness, ambition, competitiveness and ambition. It is here that we develop will, and are motivated to take action.

Numbers Two and Three represent the Dyad, or opposing forces. For the suit of Wands, we are looking at the number Two representing a situation that is deadlocked due to opposing energies that are involved, and the number Three, as representing an inner balance. As Two moves into Three, the situation in Two has been resolved, and balance restored. The number Three gifts us with the energy we need to take calculated risks and move forward with our ideas. Christine Payne-Towler, in her article on Wands – http://noreah.typepad.com/tarot_arkletters/2005/06/suit_of_wands_m.html – notes that sometimes in more esoteric decks a winged wand with two snakes twined around it appears. This is a caduceus, which is Mercury’s wand, and an ancient symbol of a healer or shaman.

Numbers Four, Five and Six represent a Triad, or spiritual forces. Four is a foundation number – it carries the energy of working with others to manifest a dream into physical reality. The stronger a four manifests, the more solid the literal foundation is for whatever is being built. Wands is a highly creative suit, indicating that the Four of Wands will set a foundation built on creativity and passion.

The Five’s are always a little chaotic. The Five of Wands takes the foundation of the number Four and let’s the ambition found there run rampant. Ambition … and the competitive spirit! The balance here is between personal success, and not taking away from someone else. The ideal here is to fit fair, to not make a mess in the sandbox of life. Ego finds its place in humility here.

The Six’s are all about your own personal truth, and your own personal version (and vision) of success. Six’s are celebration and victory. Remember that we do not ever succeed on our own – our victory celebration needs to include those that helped us get there.

The final row – numbers Seven through Ten, represent the material world, and the four elements (from right to left – Fire, Air, Water and Earth). The Seven of Wands shares it’s place with the element of Fire. The nature of this Seven is that the passion, will and determination of the individual places them at the head of the pack. The elemental nature of Fire adds strength and impetus to this.

The number Eight share’s its place wit the element of Air. The nature of the number Eight is all about change, and keeping up with change. In respect to the Tetractys, this change is evidenced in the world of Air (the mental realm). It is through the process of logic that the individual learns to accept change and work with it in the creative, competitive world of Wands.

The number Nine shares its place with the element of Water. One cycle is coming to an end – in the case of Wands, a high energy, very active, creative cycle. Time to take a break, time to sit back and listen to our intuition. Bring your projects together, and release that which will hold you back.

The number Ten shares its place with the element of Earth. Ten’s talk about endings and new beginnings, but they also talk about putting all of the energy, focus and will power that you have into your project. I think of this card as “Burden of Responsibility”. It is a burden, as the activity is taking place on the physical plane. The passin of the Wands is presented full force in this card.

Summary:

This is not meant to be the final word on the Tetractys and the Pips. It is actually a mere whisper, as seen through my eyes. Place your cards in the pyramid shape of the Tetractys. Move your hand over the lightening path, and see what feelings/knowing come to you. Treat the numbers as rows, instead of a straight line. See how they work together, instead of focusing on individual meanings.

It’s all good!

Here are a couple of links that will allow you to use the Tetractys as an actual Tarot spread: Aeclectic Tarot Forum, http://www.experiencefestival.com/a/Tetractys/id/578326.

Next week we are on to the suit of Cups! See you all there!

# The Tetractys and the Four Suits

In this article I’m going to be looking at the concept of the Tetractys, a mathematical pyramid conceptualized by Pythagorus that consists of four rows of 1, 2, 3, and four numbers respectively. Not being a mathematician, I am not going to go too deeply into this, but I want to present a basis for looking at the numbered cards in the Minor Arcana of the Tarot, and how they relate to each other.

Some interesting background on the Tetracty (from Wikipedia):

1. The Tetractys symbolize the four elements – earth, air, fire and water.
2. The first four numbers also symbolized the harmony of the spheres and the Cosmos.
3.  The four rows add up to ten (1+2+3+4=10), which is a unity of higher order mathematically,
4. The Tetractys represents an organization of space: (1) the first row represents zero-dimensions (a point), (2) the second row represent a one-dimension (a line with two points), (3) the third row represents two-dimensions (a plane defined by a triangle of three points), and (4) the fourth row represents three-dimensions (a tetrahedron defined by four points).

There is an actual spread entitled the Tetractys (Tetraktys) spread. It is in the form of the ten position Tetractys triangle, and is defined as follows:

1

3          2

6          5          4

10          9          8          7

The bottom row, the Tetrad, represents the material world. From right to left, the positions represent the elements of Fire, Air, Water, and Earth. This row represents the opportunities and conflicts between the different areas of the Seeker’s life.

The second row from the bottom, the Triad, represents spiritual forces. This line presents the back story, or the explanation for what ha happened in the bottom line. The three positions are, from right to left, the Creator, the Sustainer, and the Destroyer.

The third row up from the bottom represents the Dyad, or the essential principles. The right hand card represents light, and yang, while the left hand card represents dark, and yin. Here we see the heart of the issue of the reading.

The fourth row up, from the bottom, represents the Monad, or the whole, the unity of the principles in he Dyad. It represents the theme of the issue being addressed.

Over the next four weeks, we will take a look at the four suits of the Minor Arcana, and see how they fit into the principle of the Tetractys. Some of the things that we will be looking at are masculine/feminine polarity, which cards are operating “behind the scenes”, and fate versus free will. Wish me luck on this!

In the meantime, take a look at the Tetractys – as a unified triangle, and as a triangle made up of many smaller triangles. Lots of inter-relationships here!

Here are a couple of links that will allow you to use the Tetractys as an actual Tarot spread: Aeclectic Tarot Forum, http://www.experiencefestival.com/a/Tetractys/id/578326.

To end this on a high note – a little video that I found on You Tube. It is a reflection on the Kabbalistic Tetragrammaton and the Tetractys, so not directly related to the Tarot, but well done and interesting, none the less.

Bibliography