The Magician & The Wheel of Fortune
The High Priestess & Justice
The Empress & The Hanged Man
The Emperor & Death
The Hierophant & Temperance
The Lovers & The Devil
The Chariot & The Tower
Strength & The Star
The Hermit & The Moon
Ones & Nines
Twos & Eights
Threes & Sevens
Fours & Sixes
In The Numerical Tarot:
THREES & SEVENS
Probably the easiest to understand of all these cards would be the 3 of Cups and 3 of Swords. In the RWS 3 of Cups, we see three beautiful women dancing about, and raising their cups is a joyous celebration of life. To The Numerical Tarot they symbolize the peace and tranquility of the natural bonding force of the intangible side of existence. They express happiness, love and comfort. In the 3 of Swords, we see how the same concept of love and happiness is being traumatized by three hostile swords. Behind, storm clouds are raining tears of sorrow. There is no peace and tranquility here, the natural bonding force of the intangible side of existence is expressing its bad deteriorate aspects. To The Numerical Tarot, the 3 of Cups equals a beatific bond, while the 3 of Swords equals an afflicted bond.
Across from the 3 of Cups, the 7 of Cups deals with the fantasies and imagination of a mind connected to the light of life. The various cups, standing before the occupant of this card, represent dreams, imagination, sublime spiritual connections and peaceful fantasies, all products of a creative mind. In the 7 of Swords, however we see a different kind of creativity. In this card we see a man sneaking away with the swords of an enemy while they are left unaware in their tents. By plotting and scheming, instead of planning and dreaming this card symbolizes an aberrant connection to evil, or the workings of a bad imagination - i.e. a bad idea.
Next, in the 7 of Pentacles and Wands, we see a symbolic representations of the critical pause found in all numerical progressions at this stage (see A Significant Signature of Nature elsewhere on this site). This pause was of course seen best in the sexual progression, the creativity progression and in the formation of the cube in the geometric progression (all seen elsewhere on this site). In these progressions, the number 7 marked, with a pause, the point between the building up of the mass and the eventual expression of manifestation back to its origins. In the 7 of Pentacles, this pause is symbolized by a farmer and his crop of tomatoes, taking time out to appreciate his accomplishment. Tomatoes are also a perfect symbol for expressing the idea of a moment that is ripe! In the creativity progression, a pause of contemplation was seen as the key to a successful conclusion. In this way the contemplative mind of this farmer equates with the mind of the equidistant artist, in the 3 of Pentacles, who periodically stands back from his work to feel its expression.
Moving on, we see in the 7 of Wands how the pause of contemplation creates the bad, negative deteriorate qualities of paranoia and feelings of lost opportunity. This is symbolized by a man who is at odds with his surrounding environment - the wands below. We see how, in this man's mind, "he who hesitates is lost." Together the 7 of Pentacles and 7 of Wands show us the difference between the short and simple pause of the artist, versus the long, complicated, ponderous and agonizing pause of the paranoid.
Moving back to the threes, we see how the 3 of Pentacles shows us an expression of surface or skin, in the symbol of an artist sculpting the archway of a church. The beauty and perfection of his craft becomes a tangible expression of the intangible ideas found in the correlative 3 of Cups, that of sensitivity. This is the card, and number, of Pigmalian and Galatea, or any artist striving for perfection in a world inherently imperfect. This could also be the card of [Exodus 35:31-33].
Finally, in the 3 of Wands, we have a symbolic representation that totally eludes my perception. Most people identify this as a businessman overseeing his fleet of ships in the distance. However connections to the number three escape me. The best I can do is to assume that he is unskilled at the affairs of business, thereby opposing the talent and grace of the 3 of Pentacle's artist across from him on our matrix.
Frankly, the obvious similarity between the 3 of Wands and the Two of Wands makes me suspicious. Both card show a man looking out over a body of water, one suggests navigation with a globe, the other suggests navigation with ships in the distance. Is it possible that Ms. Pamela Colman Smith was copying ideas from a deck that had a missing Three, and just repeated the previous card with slight alterations?
ON THE MATRIX - Perhaps by comparison on the matrix of inter-related ideas used by The Numerical Tarot, the true nature of the 3 of Wands will become apparent. On the positive side of this matrix of ideas, the 3 of Pentacles equals the physical action of an artist at work, while the 7 of Pentacles equals the thoughts of a contemplative mind at work. The 3 of Cups then shows us the state of being joyful, while the 7 of Cups reveals the myriad of ideas that a creative mind will encounter as it becomes connected, in a sublime manner, to the panoramic perspective and multiferous infinity of the following 8 and 9.
On the negative, deteriorate side, we can see how the 3 of Wands is now logically forced to represent the negative equivalent to the physical action of an artist, conjuring up the notion of an inept and clumsy person, while across the way the 7 of Wands displays the hasty thought process that leads to such ineptitude. The 3 of Swords then reveals the negative equivalent to the state of being joyful, that of sorrow, while the 7 of Swords reveals the destructive emotions of a paranoid mind.
BACK TO MAJORS - In relating these cards to the Majors, we can see how the Empress becomes the Pigmalian ideal that any artist would want to express, thus relating it to the 3 of Pentacles. While on the negative side, the Hanged Man becomes the inept and clumsy person full of sorrow - or, as in older decks, a traitor, hung up to die by people who hate, relating it to the 3 of Wands and 3 of Swords. The brief pause of the farmer in the 7 of Pentacles represents the spiritual grace and poise of the Chariot card, while the anxiety and paranoia of the 7 of Wands and 7 of Swords relate these cards to the violence and tragedy of the Tower card.
IN THE ISOMORPHIC TAROT DECK, artistic perfection is seen in the hands of a craftsman sculpting perfect pentacles. While on the negative side, a grotesque groping hand points to his creation, three skulls on pikes. In the suit of Roses, love and happiness are symbolized with a bouquet of flowers for a lover. While on the negative side, an ex-lover has mutilated their former's cat in an act of brutality and hatred not too dissimilar from that of The Hanged Man of the Majors.
Physical comfort is symbolized with a bird gently placing pentacles onto satin pillows. While on the negative side, a horrible violent beating symbolizes thoughts of suffering. In the suit of Roses, a sublime connection to God is seen in rays of sunlight streaming through the trees. While on the negative side, a scary monster symbolizes horrifying hallucinations and a connection to evil.