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:
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.
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.
© August 2011 Bonnie Cehovet