The Numerology of the Number 3 in Tarot

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Numerology is the study of numbers as meaningful constructs related to human consciousness.  Numbers occupy our lives in many ways, starting with number values associated with the letters of words, especially our names. 

We have the numbers of our birthday, month, and year.  Most countries have a number sequence for citizens (in the United States, it is the 9-digit Social Security Number or SSN).  Most of us have a phone number; if we drive a car, we have a number plate.  Each word and sequence of numbers reduces to a number between 1 and 9, and each of those numbers has spiritual meaning.

This article will explore the cards of the tarot that represent the number 3.

Seven Cards Represent the Number 3 in a Tarot Deck

There are five number 3 cards and two cards that reduce to the number 3 in a tarot deck.  The Empress is the number 3 card of the Major Arcana and there are four 3s for each of the four suits (cups, pentacles, swords, and wands).  The Hanged Man (12) and The World (21) both reduce to 3. 

The Empress

The Empress tarot card Rider-Waite

Meaning: The Empress represents the feminine divine, the essence of beauty, abundance, and nourishment. The Empress archetype is the third encounter for the Fool, teaching you about the natural world, how to care for the world, how to nurture yourself, and how to care for others.

Symbolism: A regal woman sits on cushions on a stone throne out in the wilderness.  She wears a crown of stars and holds a scepter, symbols of her power and divine grace.  A heart shield with the symbol of Venus, the planet that rules the astrological sign Taurus, rests beside her outdoor throne.  Venus represents the body and Taurus represents the earth.  A field of wheat is in front of her and a healthy forest is behind her.  She symbolizes the abundance of both; the grain feeds the world and the forest provides the materials for shelter (when used to build homes).

Upright: nurturing, abundance, the feminine divine, and sovereignty over the natural order.

Reversed: Hardships, scarcity, bareness, and neediness.

The Hanged Man

The Hanged Man tarot card Rider-Waite

Meaning: The Hanged Man represents knowing sacrifice when we realize we must accept a short-term difficulty for a long-term gain. The Hanged Man archetype is the twelfth encounter for the Fool, showing us the importance of devotion, surrender, and sacrifice as ways forward that are just as powerful as the willfulness of the Chariot lesson.

Symbolism: A young man hangs upside down, but appears relaxed and calm.  He knows he must wait and learn by being patient, as well as by changing his perspective, which is what happens when you view the world from a reversed position.  The light around his head symbolizes the insight and wisdom he gains from his changed viewpoint.

Upright: knowing sacrifice, change in perspective, and patience

Reversed: helplessness, impatience, confusion, and selfishness

The World

The World tarot card Rider-Waite

Meaning: The World represents the ending of a cycle to prepare for a new, repeating journey for the Fool (us). The World, as an archetype, is the twenty-first encounter for the Fool, showing us that life is constantly changing and we are meant to build on our experiences.  In this ending is another beginning.

Symbolism: A semi-nude woman dances in the middle of a garland of vines, having reached the end of a process.  The heads of the beasts and the face of the woman represent the four fixed signs of the Zodiac: the bull for Taurus, the lion for Leo, the eagle for Scorpio, and the woman for Aquarius. These “fixed” signs symbolize the stability needed for new disruptions to begin, ushered in by the return of the Fool (the 0 card).

Upright: fulfillment, completion, conclusion, the sum of your efforts, and success

Reversed: stagnation, failure, and final obstacle

Three of Cups

3 of cups Rider Waite tarot

Meaning: Gather your closest friends and celebrate something … anything!

Symbolism: Three women dance in celebration, showing their appreciation for life.  The grapes and pumpkins represent abundance.

Upright: celebration and sharing

Reversed: overindulgence and discord

Three of Pentacles

3 of pentacles Rider Waite tarot

Meaning: Hard and consistent work is what is need to succeed and push forward currently.

Symbolism: A cleric and a merchant approach a craftsman to enlist his services, knowing he has the skills to make what they want.

Upright: creativity and teamwork

Reversed: missing skill and incompetence

Three of Swords

3 of swords Rider Waite tarot

Meaning: You are getting mixed results and must find a way to face the frustration and sorrow of the situation or relationship.

Symbolism: Three swords pierce a heart in a storm; the heart is whole but filled with pain from each sword piercing it.

Upright: sorrow and cognitive dissonance

Reversed: self-pity and anxiety

Three of Wands

3 of wands Rider Waite tarot

Meaning: The path is clear and you need to invest your time and energy to succeed.

Symbolism: The man holds one staff, while two staffs are behind him.  He has a destination charted and is ready to embark on his adventure.

Upright: adventure and optimism

Reversed: delays and broken promises

Philip Young, PhD

I am a spiritual adviser located in Cary, North Carolina. I earned my PhD in English from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in 1996 and had a career in academics until 2007, when I retired to become a stay-at-home father. In 2013 I “hung out my shingle” starting my business Black Unykorn Enterprises, LLC. I provide spiritual guidance using different tools: astrology, tarot/oracle cards, numerology, and past life regression (using muscle testing). With a home office, Zoom, WeChat, and WhatsApp, I work with local clients in person and distance clients from around the world. You can read about my practice and contact me through my website: https://www.blackunykorn.com. Philip Young, PhD Website