Useful Patterns: Trump Card Overseers

I’m always looking for useful patterns among the cards of the tarot to augment my spread interpretation. Lately I’ve been playing around with numerical convergence between the cards of the Major and Minor Arcana. But I like to go beyond the obvious into more oblique territory. For example, when the values of all of the minor cards are summed, the result is 55, which reduces to 10, the number of the Wheel of Fortune. If the numbers are added in an “outside-in” order (Ace + 10; 2 + 9; 3 + 8; etc), the result is always 11, the number of Justice.  These major cards bracket the midpoint of the trump series, giving the impression that if you take a chance, you will get exactly what you deserve as you try to evolve.  (Think of it as a “Ready or not, here I come” scenario.) This strikes me as what the minor cards are all about in a nutshell: a situation develops to the point that it is ripe for the next phase of its evolution, but you must often “stick your neck out” to make it happen.

These thoughts led me to a thorough enumeration of various combinations of the small cards to what I call their “trump card overseers.” The usual way to do this is to simply match the small card to the trump of the same number: Ace = Magician; Two = High Priestess, etc. But this leaves many trump cards “out in the cold” unless one resorts to numerological permutation. As I said earlier, I prefer to poke around below the surface of the obvious, so I looked at it in terms of sets: the normal paired progression; the odd-numbered sets; the even-numbered sets; and the outliers that don’t emerge in any of these patterns, such that all ten (x4) minor cards and all 22 trumps are correlated in some way. Here is the list:

Minor Card Progression:

Ace + 2 + 3 + 4 + 5 + 6 + 7 + 8 + 9 + 10 = 55 = Wheel of Fortune

Minor Card Inversion:

Ace + 10; 2 + 9; 3 + 8; 4 + 7; 5 + 6 = 11 = Justice

Paired Progression:

Ace + Two = Three, the Empress

Two + Three = Five, the Hierophant

Threes + Four = Seven, the Chariot

Four + Five = Nine, the Hermit

Five + Six = Eleven, Justice

Six + Seven = Thirteen, Death

Seven + Eight = Fifteen, the Devil

Eight + Nine = Seventeen, the Star

Nine + Ten = Nineteen, the Sun

The Turnaround:

Ten + Ace = Eleven = Two, the High Priestess

Odd Sets:

Ace + Three = Four, the Emperor

Three + Five = Eight, Strength

Five + Seven = Twelve, the Hanged Man

Seven + Nine = Sixteen, the Tower

Even Sets:

Two + Four = Six, the Lovers

Four + Six = Ten, the Wheel of Fortune

Six + Eight = Fourteen, Temperance

Eight + Ten = Eighteen, the Moon

The Fool:

Ace + Zero = One, the Magician: “He who knows nothing, knows all.”


Two + Zero = Twenty, Judgement:  “When there is nothing to lose, double down.”

“Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Priestess knows.”

The World:

Two + Ace = 21, the World: “Between them the Priestess and the Magician create a world of light and shadow.”

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