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Meaning of the Tarot Numbers

 

tarot numbers

 

The Minor Arcana numbers may be understood using Medieval Number Symbolism. Pythagorean Number Symbolism offers the Tarot Marseilles reader with a number system of antiquity. This system of number symbolism was certainly well known at the Tarot de Marseille’s popularization. We offer here a summary of number symbolism, mainly Pythagoras, but also informed by other Medieval Number Symbolism sources where in harmony.

  • Tetraktys
  • Active/Passive
  • Papus’ Overlay
  • Alchemy & Three Stages/Three Operations
  • Sacred Geometry

Examining the 10 Numbers in the Tetraktys

 

tetraktys
 
  • The Monad, Les As, One, 1
  • The Dyad, Les Deux, Two, 2
  • The Triad, Les Trois, Three, 3
  • The Tetrad, Les Quatre, Four, 4
  • The Pentad, Les Cinq, Five, 5
  • The Hexad, Les Six, Six, 6
  • The Heptad , Les Sept, Seven, 7
  • The Octad, Les Huit, Eight, 8
  • The Ennead , Les Neuf, Nine, 9
  • The Decad, Les Dix, Ten, 10

Every numbered card in the Tarot (Minor Arcana) embodies the number that governs it. All Aces embody the Monad, all Fours embody the Tetrad, and so forth.
 
tete hermite tarot 

∆ One is the beginning, and the generator of all numbers.
∆ Two is the first polarity, first female number, creating opposites, pause, gestation.
∆ Three combines the one and the two and creates a first harmony.
∆ Four solidifies the triangle, seeking to complete it.
∆ Five brings change and creativity to the four. It is the masculine marriage (2+3=5).
∆ Six brings the second harmony. It is the feminine marriage (2x3=6).
∆ Seven signified opportunity for intelligent, creative, and unique action. (No number factors 7 or produces 7).
∆ Eight is the Cube, doubling solidity and checking the push of the Seven.
∆ Nine brings the third harmony to near completion.
∆ Ten completes, there is the rest that accompanies accomplishment.

 

 



Examining the Numbers in groups of Two:
Written by Paul   
Tuesday, 29 April 2008

Numbers are ACTIVE or PASSIVE; or MASCULINE or FEMININE.

 

active passive tarot numbers

 

ACTIVE Masculine
 PASSIVE Feminine
 1 2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
As well, within each number, there is a polarity of ACTIVE/PASSIVE. For example, the MONAD -> ACTIVE MONAD & PASSIVE MONAD.

 

 

active passive tarot numbers

 

MONAD
Active / Passive

 

              

 Pythagoras:

1
One, Les As
The Monad

For example, The Monad expresses an Active element and a Passive element. All of the numbers may be viewed as Active in their nature or expressing their Passive nature.

 

tete hermite tarot

 

How do we apply this to derive a meaning of a Minor Arcana? Like the Court Cards, we combine elements together within the context of the question in order to arrive at a meaning that is most appropriate.

Minor Arcana Card’s Meaning =

              

 Suit Attributes:

The attributes of the Suit
provide specific Meaning



               Pythagorean
Number
Meaning


               Context of Question

The Context of the
Question focuses
the meaning.


For example, the Quatre de Deniers is drawn as a 1-card illustration of this method within the context of the sample question: “What is the intention of the XYZ Gallery to take my artwork on consignment?”

The answer is that the Gallery intentions are practical or fiscal. The Tetrad stabilizes, solidifies and circumscribes. The Gallery here found that its current collection was innovative, but too avante garde. They required a wider spectrum of work to generate more income from the mainstream public.
 

tarot 4 of deniers

              

 Suit of Coins:

Earth, Materiality, Money,
Property, Practicality,
Business, Body/Aesthetics,
Health (cells), Time (clocks)

               Pythagoras:
4
Fours, Les Quatre
The Tetrad


               Context of Question

The Context of the
Question focuses
the meaning.

tete hermite tarot

 

We can also examine the Numbers in groups of Three, The Triptych Model:

Gérard Encausse Papus

Commencement
Opposition
Equilibrium


Or

Thesis
Antithesis
Synthesis

 

 

French occultist Gérard Encausse (Papus) offered a similar Triptych model, grouping the minor numbers into Threes:

Specifically, he offered a model of three sets of three numbers. We present Papus here, because he is a French occultist who was a major contributor to the French School of the Marseille popular tarot.

 

 

 

This Triptych repeats itself three times throughout the Minor Arcana, providing us with 9 numbers and then a 10th final number that complete the series.

 

1 = Commencement
2 = Opposition
3 = Equilibrium

Commencement

4 = Commencement
5 = Opposition
6 = Equilibrium
 Opposition
7 = Commencement
8 = Opposition
9 = Equilibrium
 Equilibrium
10= Realization
 

For example:

  • The (1) is “Commencement of Commencement,” that is to say the earliest Beginning of a matter. 
  • The (5) is the most active number, being the “Opposition to the Opposition”. The Pythagorean number symbolism of the (5)-Pentad is a positive crisis, novelty, alteration.
  • The (7) is the “Commencement of the Equilibrium” stage, or a beginning of the most sophisticated forces. The Pythagorean number symbolism of the (7)-Heptad is opportunity, victory, critical point, intelligent action.
 
tarot sphinx

It is important to note that the word “Opposition” here is value neutral and more “chemical” than “emotional” in nature. Opposition is really just a counterforce to that which comes before it, and not a “bad” force.

 

 

 Similar terms are Thesis -> Antithesis -> Synthesis:

 

1 = Thesis
2 = Antithesis
3 = Synthesis

Thesis

4 = Thesis
5 = Antithesis
6 = Synthesis
 Antithesis
7 = Thesis
8 = Antithesis
9 = Synthesis
 Synthesis
10= Realization
 

How do we apply this to derive a meaning of a Minor Arcana? Like the Court Cards, we combine elements together within the context of the question in order to arrive at a meaning that is most appropriate.

Using the Papus Rubric, the 4’s stand for Thesis of the Antithesis or Commencement of the Opposition. The reader may note that sometimes, Papus’ Rubric corresponds to the Pythagorean meanings, but other times, his method parts. At the very least, the method offers the Tarot de Marseille reader a system of reading the Minors. We note that the Pythagorean method most closely resembles the iconography of the corresponding Major Arcana.  


tarot 4 of swords

              

 

Suit of Swords

Les Épées
Air, Intellectual,
Psychology, Problem-solving,
Politics, Legal, Government,
Paperwork, Studies

               Papus:
4
Fours, Les Quatre
Thesis of the
Antithesis

               Context of Question

The Context of the
Question focuses
the meaning.

 

In Papus’ system, the Four of Swords will indicate the start of opposing forces in the Suit of Swords. To be honest, Papus associated the Suit of Swords, per se, with struggle and effort. He saw the Swords as decidedly negative, as compared with the other (3) Suits. But, within the system we put forth here, Swords (upright) are still decidedly positive, while Papus viewed Swords as inherently negative. Thus, a modified-Papus interpretation of the Four of Swords would be “the beginning of struggles with the mind, politics, government, paperwork, and studies,” for example.  

 

tete hermite tarot

 

 

 
The Triptych rubric may also be seen using the Three Substances of Alchemy
Written by Paul   
Wednesday, 07 May 2008

alchemy

 

alchemical sulphurSULPHUR: Begins the Triptych

alchemical saltSALT: Counterbalances the Start
alchemical mercuryMERCURY: Harmonizes the conflict

 

 

 

The Three-Substances Model of Alchemy
Viewing the Minors in Phases of Threes

 

mercure sulphur salt
  SULPHUR  SALT MERCURY

Thesis
Antithesis Synthesis
Thesis
1 2
3
Antithesis 4
5
6
Synthesis 7
8
9
   {1,2,3}  {4,5,6} {7,8,9} 
  {Sulphur series} {Salt series} {Mercury series}

 

 In this system, Sulphur starts the Alchemical Operation, which is then countered in the Salt phase, and these are then synthesized in the Mercury phase.
This Operation repeats three times {1,2,3…4,5,6…7,8,9} and then results in the Philosopher’s Stone of completion in the 10. Multiple associations may be made by studying the table, which may be of use when determining the meanings of numbers (and then Pip cards).

tete hermite tarot

The Three Stages of Alchemical Operations – Viewing the Minors in Stages of Three

alchemical operations

Within the three stage model, the person or matter at hand goes through three stages, each stage bringing a more intense fire.

Within each stage are Operations. This suggests dividing the numbers of the Minor Arcana in three parts and then obtaining the correspondences.

But, a three-stage model doesn’t neatly fit with a 10-base model of the Minor Arcana (1-10 pips). Thus, the (10) stands for the final completion of the stages as they go through Three stages, Three times. 

  • Nigredo (1) (4) (7)
  • Alebedo (2) (5) (8)
  • Rubedo (3) (6) (9)

 

   alchemy nigredo  alchemy albedo  alchemy rubedo
  Nigredo 
Albedo  Rubedo 
 Nigredo 1
 Albedo
 Rubedo 9 
  {1,2,3} {4,5,6}
{7,8,9}
  {Nigredo series} {Albedo series} {Rebedo series}

 

Obviously, this Triptych system doesn’t neatly fit with a 10-base model of the Minor Arcana (1-10 pips). We propose that this Operation “triples” and reiterates through the remaining numbers, with the final Gold being the 10.


cautionCAUTION: The correspondence of individual Major Arcana and Alchemical Operations is a Herculean Study! Our model suggested here is a stepping off point for further speculation and disagreement.

The Philosopher’s Stone (1,4,7,10): The One, the Four and the Seven are all preliminary Stones because they all have a finality to their nature.
empereur tarotchariot tarot

  • For example, the solidity of 4-L’Empereur is impressive, but mundane and temporary.
  • The victory of 7-Le Chariot is invigorating, but fleeting.

 

 

Their finality is delusional, but at each of these points, there is a feeling of “having arrived”. Notwithstanding, they must progress upwards towards greater sophistication. Thus, they become the beginning of the next series of 3 and start the next cycle at Nigredo. The stage of Nigredo is a blackening stage, wherein one’s precious substance must die.

  • Nigredo – Mundane
  • Albedo – Spiritualization
  • Rubedo – Integration

nigredo mundane
Nigredo – Mundane {1,4,7} The cards picture the terrestrial sphere: A common man, an Emperor, and a Warrior.

albedo spiritualization
Albedo – Spiritualization {2,5,8} All the cards herein picture higher knowledge guiding the earthly realm. A Priestess, a Pope, and a Judge.

rubedo integration
Rubedo – Integration {3,6,9} The Empress’ throne suggests wings or a portal to a higher dimension. Cupid inspires the man on VI. The Hermit’s book is integrated into his cloak; he is an elder who has integrated knowledge and experience.

alchemical operations
roue de fortune

 


alchemy nigredoNigredo, The Blackening. The fire is mild. The primary matter is heated. There is a blackening of the matter through heat, which is a type of death of the old substance which prepares the way for something new. In the mundane world, the human becomes disenchanted with the material world and the prosaic, routine, and repetitious pursuits of life. In terms of projects, the project begins, but all projects cannot last indefinitely and need some kind of fertilization and inspiration later on. The first alchemical marriage takes place between an idea and its materialization. The Stage of Nigredo corresponds to the Monad (or Aces). But, the stage repeats itself in each new Triptych beginning, in the Tetrad (4) and the Heptad (7).

 

alchemy albedo

Albedo, The Whitening. The fire is moderate, like the Summertime. This stage brings the integration of opposites. More alertness is needed, more attention to detail, more contemplation, study, and consideration is required. A second alchemical marriage must take place between first Solar idea and the modifications. There is more gestation and interchange. The Albedo stage corresponds to the Dyad (Twos). But, the stage repeats itself in each new Triptych polarity, such as the Pentad (5) and the Octad (8).

 

 

alchemy rubedoRubedo, The Reddening. The human realizes that the realization of any projects and plans (via the stages of Nigredo, Albedo) is not ultimately satisfactory. In terms of the stage of any project, the project can live or die, it has completed is course, and will be beneficial if it continues or even if it doesn’t. There is a sense of reaching the Horizon, harvesting what can be harvested from the experience. A higher intention is present that is no longer dependent upon the realization of any particular project. There is a harmony, but it is not yet complete. The Rubedo Stage corresponds with the Three Harmonies (3,6,9). The Rubedo stage corresponds to the Triad (Threes). But, the stage repeats itself in each new Triptych integration, such as the Hexad (6) and Ennead (9).

 

 

tarot sphinx

 

alchemy citrinatis Transitional stage (between Albedo & Rubedo) Citrinatis, The Yellowing. The fire is calcinating. This is an intermediary stage between Albedo and Rubedo. Opposites are integrated. The human more directly and intuitively lives life and does what is natural as “God’s will”. In terms of projects, there is more trust on Oneself to make the right decision, right action, and so forth. The project maintains itself to a large degree, building on its own momentum.

 

 

As an overlay to understand the meaning of the Minor Arcana numbers, we may imagine this Threefold Operation repeating three times, and then culminating in the Tens. {3 x 3 = 9, + 1 = 10}
Thus the Aces may be seen as a Nigredo Stage in the First (Nigredo) Operation.
The Fours may be seen as Nigredo State of the Second (Albedo) Operation.
The Fives may be seen as an Albedo Stage in the Second Operation.
The Nines may be seen as a Rubedo Stage in the Third (Rubedo) Operation, just about complete.

We offer no specific lexicon of interpretations of the Minors using this rubric, but encourage the reader to use the imagination and the context of the reading in order to generate appropriate meanings.

businessAs an example, if we analyzed a business’ growth potential according to this rubric, and drew a Minor card to answer the question of the business’ potential, we might speculate the following:
If we drew a Four-pip, we might imagine that the business has grown to a preliminary solidity, but it will need future inspiration if it is to survive. In fact, as a second Nigredo, it will inevitably blacken and die without something new.
If we drew a Five-pip, we might imagine that the business is in the Albedo stage (in the Second Operation). Thus, the business has a track record behind it and is going to enter into a Whitening phase of new ideas. This is a bright and shining phase for the company. The company can ride this wave, but more will be expected.
If we drew a Nine-pip, we might imagine that the business is in the final Rubedo stage of integration. It has matured, numerous kinks have been worked out. It is almost on its way to auto-pilot or perhaps being able to be sold for a profit!

 

An example of a Tarot divination question: “Will I get married to Raul?”

 

4 of cups

              

 

                Alchemy

                Nigredo
       Albedo Cycle

               Suit of Cups:
Les Coupes
Water, Emotions, Family,
Relationships, Ceremony,
Spirituality

               Context of Question

The Context of the
Question focuses
the meaning.

 

The Number Four is the beginning (Nigredo) of the marriage of opposites (Albedo stage). Or, in other terms, this is the Sulphuric phase of the Salt cycle. This is the first solidification. This is the beginning stage, thus conversations or dialogues will begin in regards to the marriage. The couple may even move in together. But, there is not a marriage, yet.  

tarot le pape

 

 
We would expect a (5) Pentad for the integration of opposites, signifying an actual marriage. Perhaps by no accident, the (5) is also V-Le Pape, which pictures an official ceremony.

 

 

reversed 4 of cupsThe negative aspects of the number appear when the card is REVERSED. It indicates a Problem.

In this case, the number may be preceded with the phrase “Problem with…” [4-Four/Quatre] within the Suit of Cups/Coupes.


Thus, knowing the meanings of numbers and the meanings of the suits allows the reader to simply combine elements to determine a meaning that is salient given the context of the question.

 

 

 
Sacred Geometry and the Minors
Written by Paul   
Thursday, 15 May 2008
luca pacioli

Luca Pacioli (1445 - 1517) is the central figure in this painting exhibited in the Museo e Gallerie di Capodimonte in Napoli (Italy).

We propose Sacred Geometry principles to the Numbers, just as Cathedrals were built with careful attention to sacred proportion, so as to invite Divine Energy into the space, so too perhaps the Tarot de Marseille is arranged with careful divine proportion to accomplish the same.
 
tarot cathedralThe Cathedral of the Le Tarot of Marseilles
 
Cathedrals used to be built with care—not only care, but with careful precision. In fact, sacred geometryCathedrals were built with geometric principals of such symmetry that it could be said to be Divine, thus it was called Sacred Geometry.
 
Sacred Geometry refers to the science of space and number that was not simply the business for carpenters, but a of matter of Masons.
 
Sacred buildings were carefully designed and built to adhere to the particular laws of divine number. The principal of “as above, so below” dictated that sacred spaces adhere to careful geometric proportions so as to attract or be a natural portal for divine energies. Why just build a building? A Cathedral exemplified divine blueprints!
 
bridge
 
Do we not do this in our lives? Certainly, the practice of Feng Shui concerns itself with space and proportion.proportion
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
cathedral aestheticsEven a chef carefully considers how to present the carefully prepared dish. Do we not also scrupulously wrap a gift for a friend or lover with particular attention to aesthetics?
 
These sacred dimensions to the Tarot de Marseille provide it with a natural symmetry and inspired aesthetic that the viewer can “feel,” even if not exactly identify.
 
What do Cathedrals have to do with the Tarot de Marseille? We propose that the Tarot de Marseille offers a Sacred Proportion in its artwork, an aesthetic that is supernaturally proportional.   
Like standing in the Notre Dame cathedral in Paris, the viewer of the Tarot de Marseille senses a Feng Shui balance to the Marseilles Tarot that is not evident in, for example, the free-drawn Rider-Waite Tarot. The ancient masons constructed their cathedrals according to Sacred geometric principles. Then, as one stood in the sacred space, the devotee could “feel” or appreciate the divine energy. The principle of “as above, so below” applies in that masons believed that adhering to divine geometrical proportion would invite divine energies into the space.
 
So too with the Tarot de Marseille, each card image (especially the Majors as we present herein) contains within in it divine proportions that appropriately exemplify the geometric representations of its corresponding number.
 
imperatrice geometricFor example, the III-L’Imperatrice embodies the geometric symmetry and proportion that perfectly illustrates the numerical properties of the 3, the Three, or Triad.
 
Within each of the Tarot numbers, we offer images of the sacred graphic representations each of the numbers and how the Tarot de Marseille’s imagery exemplifies these geometric shapes. 
 
We leave the more esoteric analyses of the geometric shapes behind the Tarot Majors for our readers for now, but the reader will hopefully appreciate the natural and sacred proportion are not possessed by the Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot and the Crowley Thoth-Tarot (as well as all of their clones). Instead, they are imitations, variations of the Tarot de Marseille.
 
 
Only the Tarot de Marseille is the Cathedral of Tarot, because it offers iconic art.

tete hermite tarot
 
              

 Pythagoras:

1
One, Les As
The Monad
 
 
  bateleur force tarot
 
 
 
 
 The dot or center of the circle in I-Le Bateleur falls cleanly at the golden coin (or tiny sun) in his hand. Within I-Le Bateleur’s counterpart, XI-La Force, the dot falls in the eye of the lion. The lion is a symbol of the sun.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
tarot major sequence
 
 
 
 
Later in the Tarot Majors sequence, the small sun of I-Le Bateleur becomes glorified in XVIIII-Le Soleil.
 
 
 
 
 

About the Monad

monadecathedral monade
 
 
 
The Monad is the parent of all numbers. Any number divided by (1) or multiplied by (1) provides the same number. The Point is the center from which all creation comes. We seek the center, in that we seek in All that which Begins Everything.
 
 
 
 
 
 
The Rose Window, Notre Dame, Paris.
 
 
 
tarot la force
 
ACTIVE MONAD:
Generation
Beginnings
Initiation
Opening
Communication
 
 
 
The woman actively takes control of the lion. La Force illustrates the Active Monad, taking things into one’s hands and generating something.
 
tarot bateleur
PASSIVE MONAD:
Potentiality
Prima Materia
Creativity
Intelligence
Seed
Matrix
 
 
The man’s tablewares lay on the table, with the potential of performing a trick. His tablewares are in their primitive state, refined and glorified in the Suits of the Tarot. Le Bateleur illustrates the Passive Monad, with ideas or potentialities on the table.
 
Divine Number: Gods & Goddesses associated with The Monad
Written by Paul   
Thursday, 15 May 2008
apollosacrificial tripod
 
 
Apollo was the god of prophecy, seeing things to come. He was a beardless youth. He was a god who could bring plague or cure. A common symbol was his SACRIFICIAL TRIPOD used to deliver oracular messages, as well as a bow and arrow.
 
 
 
 
 
 
tripod prometheus
 
Alchemy and The Monad
Written by Paul   
Thursday, 15 May 2008
alchemical sulphuralchemyALCHEMICAL SULPHUR
As the first of the Tria Prima (Three Primaries) alchemical principles, Sulphur begins the Trinity, analogous to the fiery impulse. The Monad begins the impulse of the first creation. The Three Primaries are Sulphur, Salt, and Mercury.
 
Sulphur is the Thesis, Salt is the Antithesis, and Mercury is the Synthesis.
 
2 nigredo The Tria Prima repeats itself three times [1,2,3…4,5,6…7,8,9…] before resulting in the the Philosopher’s Stone of the Decad or 10. Each Triptych (series of Three) becomes more complex and sophisticated. Any project, matter, or issue that is under consideration in a Tarot reading, may be understood using the evolution of Alchemical Operations.
 
 
The Monad is the Nigredo Stage of the first Nigredo Operation. It signifies the very first beginning.
 
 
 
 
               Papus:
1
Aces, Les As
Thesis of the
Thesis

French occultist Gérard Encausse (Papus) alluded to this quality of the Monad. Grouping each Triptych of Three into an overall Triptych: he called the Monad the Commencement of the Commencement phase, or the Thesis of the Thesis. It indicated the beginning of a matter as signified by the Tarot Suit.
tete hermite tarot
               Pythagoras:
2
Twos, Les Deux
The Dyad
 
the-dyad.jpgtarot papesse pendu
XII-Le Pendu looks like a foetus, in gestation, ready to give birth through the door of the Vesica Pisces. He is the Passive Dyad, hanging and hands tied. In the Tarot de Marseille tradition, he signifies waiting, doing nothing but with purpose. He is often termed “willing sacrifice”. The line formed by the Dyad splits him in two parts.
 
His counterpart, II-La Papesse, also sits within the Vesica Pisces. The Dyadic Line separates above and below; below she holds the book, above she contemplates. She is gestating knowledge. Her book is open, hands holding the book, perhaps turning its pages. Le Pendu’s hands are hidden.
 
cathedral dyadAbout the Dyad
 
 
The “I” must generate the “Thou”. The overlapping space of two circles forms a Vesica Pisces and then creates a line between two points. The Dyad simultaneously divides and attracts at the same time, thus it is unified difference, or polarity, even joining.
 
 
The Vesica Pisces was use symbolically for doors or portals. Therefore, the Dyad is the potential for greater action, thus is symbolizes gestation, fluctuation, consideration (and of course conflict, negatively).
 
 
 
 
 
tarot papesse
ACTIVE DYAD:


Fluctuation
Differentiation
Exchange
Relationship
 
 
 
La Papesse illustrates the Active Dyad. She is throned, but she is reading and awaiting her acoloytes. She is actively receiving.
 
tarot pendu
PASSIVE DYAD:

Gestation
Balanced
Polarity
Waiting
 
 
 
Le Pendu illustrates the Passive Dyad. He is hanged, with his hands tied behind his back. He hangs like a foetus, gestating.
 

In Tarot reading, interpreting the numbers follows a Monad -> Dyad -> Triad system, wherein the Number must combine with the Suit Meaning and then give birth to an ultimate interpretation given the Context of the Question, which gives the abstract principles of the Number and Suit concrete salience.
 
dot
the dyad
triad pythagoras
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
The first two numbers (Monad and Dyad) were not actually considered true numbers by Pythagoreans, but really the parents of the truest first number (3-Triad). Through their polarity, the Monad and Dyad birthed the Triad.
 
gods and goddesses

 
Divine Number: Gods & Goddesses associated with The Dyad
 
goddessesjupiter junon tarotJuno was Queen of the Gods, wife of Jupiter. The peacock and the cowry shell were her sacred symbols.
 
Interestingly, the Swiss 1JJ Tarot Deck substitutes Junon for II-La Papesse; this deck is similar to the Tarot de Marseille and once excited the American Tarot enthusiast Stuart Kaplan who is most responsible for bringing the Tarot to America.
 
 
 
 
   
 
 
heraTHE MOON
Hera(Greek) She is typically portrayed as majestic and solemn, as the goddess of marriage of two things.
 
The goddess of the Moon, with her cloak billowing above her head. By antmoose from Rome, Italy
 
 
erato
 
 
 
Erato (one of the Muses evoking charm by eloquence) “The Dyad is called ‘Eratos’ for having attracting through love the advance of the monad through form…” from Waterfield, R. (1988), translator. The Theology of Arithmetic. Phanes Press.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
alchemical saltalchemyALCHEMICAL SALT
 
As the second of the Tria Prima (Three Primaries) alchemical principles, Salt counters the sulphur of the Trinity, analogous to physical matter. The Dyad counters the impulse of the Monad. It has a slowing, but not stopping, effect.
 
Sulphur is the Thesis, Salt is the Antithesis, and Mercury is the Synthesis.
 
The albedo nigredoTria Prima repeats itself three times [1,2,3…4,5,6…7,8,9…] before resulting in the Gold of the 10-Decad. Each Triptych (series of Three) becomes more complex and sophisticated. Any project, matter, or issue that is under consideration in a Tarot reading, may be understood using the evolution of Alchemical Operations.
 
The Dyad is the Alebdo Stage of the first Nigredo Phase. It signifies a small gestation.
 
 
  
 
 
               Papus:
2
Twos, Les Deux
Antithesis of the
Thesis

French occultist Gérard Encausse (Papus) alluded to this quality of the Dyad. Grouping each Triptych of Three into an overall Triptych: he called the Dyad the Opposition of the Commencement phase, or the Antithesis of the Thesis. The two signified the opposition of a matter as signified by the Tarot Suit.
               Pythagoras:
3
Threes, Les Trois
The Triad
 
triad pythagoras
tarot imperatrice arcane 13

The Triad is the first perfection, because it makes the first form from the Monad and Dyad. (The second perfection is the 6-Hexad; the third perfection is the 9-Ennead.) The point of the Monad moved to a line in the Dyad and now a triangle in the Triad.
 
  
venusian scallop
 
eagle wing tarot

In III-L’Imperatrice the triangle connects her crown with the eagle with the Venusian scallop. She is the intelligent (Crown) realization (scallop) of thought (eagle). She sits in the vulva of the Vesica Pisces of II. But, the wing of the eagle is undeveloped. Thus, she is not the complete solidification.
 
 
 
In XIII-L’arcane sans Nom, the triangle connects skull with the pelvis with the hand of the skeleton, all working in unison to move the scythe. The cycle of life, death, and fertility are illustrated, showing the fertility that is born of death and putrefaction via fermentation. The vulva mirrors the curve of the scythe.
 
The Threes signify fermentation, fruition, first completion (but not solidification). Results are seen in the Threes, much like Spring follows Winter. The growth and activity are small, but sure.
 
arcane 13 tarot

ACTIVE TRIAD:

Transformation
Tilling
Pruning
Fermentation
 
L’Arcane sans Nom or L’Arcane Treize illustrates the Active Triad, as the growth is dying but preparing a fertile bed for new growth in Spring. We prune a rose back to encourage more robust growth.
 
imperatrice tarot
PASSIVE TRIAD:

First fruits
Mediation
Joining
Flow
Growth
Commerce
 
L’Imperatrice illustrates the Passive Triad. She is enthroned. She maintains harmony, flow, and growth.
 

Divine Number: Gods & Goddesses associated with The Dyad

aphroditevesta Aphrodite, Rising from the Sea, Louvre. The scallop shell is a symbol of fertility, but also spiritual pilgrimage through this lifetime.
 
Vesta (Gk. Hestia), Roman goddess of hearth and home. In the Tarot de Marseille tradition, III-L’Imperatrice is the mother of household commerce.
 
 
The Hestia Tapestry
The Hestia Tapestry "Hestia full of Blessings" 44 x 53 inches Egypt, 6th century
 
 
Botticelli's The Birth of Venus
 Botticelli's The Birth of Venus
 

The uniting of the Lion and the Unicorn, opposites, via the Virgin.

The uniting of the Lion and the Unicorn, opposites, via the Virgin
 
 
alchemical mercuryALCHEMICAL MERCURY
alchemyAs the third of the Tria Prima (Three Primaries) alchemical principles, Mercury unites the sulphur and salt of the Trinity, analogous to ether. The Triad unites the impulse of the Monad with the counter force of the Dyad. It has a growing effect, but not fully solidified.
 
Sulphur is the Thesis, Salt is the Antithesis, and Mercury is the Synthesis.
 
rubedo nigredo The Tria Prima repeats itself three times [1,2,3…4,5,6…7,8,9…] before resulting in the Gold of the 10-Decad. Each Triptych (series of Three) becomes more complex and sophisticated. Any project, matter, or issue that is under consideration in a Tarot reading, may be understood using the evolution of Alchemical Operations.
 
The Triad is the Rubedo Stage of the first Nigredo Phase. It signifies a first fruition.
 
 
               Papus:
3
Threes, Les Trois
Synthesis of the
Thesis


French occultist Gérard Encausse (Papus) alluded to this quality of the Triad. Grouping each Triptych of Three into an overall Triptych: he called the Triad the Equilibirum of the Commencement phase, or the Synthesis of the Thesis. The Three signified the synthesis of a matter as signified by the Tarot Suit. As falling within the first Triptych (1,2,3) which was the first Thesis or Commencement phase, this new synthesis was a first fruit and not a solidification of a matter.
 
 

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