Tables for the Pythagorean Tarot

Keywords for the Decad

The Pythagorean meaning of each number in the Decad is suggested by one or two key words or phrases. This list is intended only as a memory aid, since the archetypal numbers have much more meaning than can be captured in a phrase or two.

IInitial Unity
IISeparation, Goal
IIIFirst Completion (First Perfection)
IIIIConsolidation, Order
VIReconciliation (Second Perfection)
VIIHidden Unity
VIIIIHigher Completion (Third Perfection)
XHigher Consolidation (Final Unity)

The Alphabet and the Decad

The first ten letters of the Greek alphabet were used as numerals for the numbers of the Decad. The meaning of each number is expressed by several (Ancient Greek) words beginning with that letter. The Greek words are shown in Roman and Beta-code transcription. (Note that "H" was not written as a letter in Ancient Greek.)

1 Alpha A
Archê {A)RXH/} Beginning, First Cause, Principle, Origin.
Haploon {A(PLO/ON} Singleton, Simplex, Unitary, Onefold, Noncompound.
2 Beta B
Boulê {BOULH/} Plan, Design, Determination.
Boulêsis {BOU/LHSIS} Purpose, Intention, One's Will.
3 Gamma G
Gignomai {GI/GNOMAI} to Become, to Come to Pass.
Genesis {GE/NESIS} Production, Generation, Creation, Manner of Birth.
Gamos {GA/MOS} Wedding.
4 Delta D
Dikê {*DI/KH} Right, Judgement, Justice.
Diathesis {DIA/QESIS} Arrangement, Disposition, Mind.
Dis {*DI/S} Zeus (Deus), Jove (Diouis).
Dunastês {DUNA/STHS} Ruler, Master.
5 Epsilon E
Ek, Ex {E)K, E)C} Out Of, Forth From, Changed From.
Exô {E)/CW} Outside, Beyond, Outwards.
Existêmi {E)CI/STHMI} to Put Out of its Place, Change or Alter Utterly, to Derange; to be Beside Onself, Lose One's Senses.
Hermês {*E(/RMHS} Hermes, Mercury.
Eris {*E)/RIS} Strife, Discord.
Eros {*E)/RWS} Love, Desire.
6 Wau (Digamma) F
Wisos {VI/SOS} Equal, Same, Equally Divided, Fair, Impartial.
Wruomai {VRU/OMAI} to Cure, Heal, Redeem, Deliver, Save.
Wmegathumos {VMEGA/QUMOS} High-minded, Generous.
7 Zeta Z
Zêteô {ZHTE/W} to Seek, Inquire, Search, Desire, Require, Demand.
Zeô {ZE/W} to Boil, Seeth, Bubble Up.
Zaô {ZA/W} to Live, Be Alive.
8 Eta H
Êôs {*H)W/S} Daybreak, Dawn, Aurora (Goddess of Dawn).
Hêbê {*H(/BH} Youth, Daughter of Zeus.
Hênis {H(/NIS} Yearling.
9 Theta Q
Thuraios {QURAI=OS} At the Door, Just Outside the Door.
Thurôn {QURW/N} Antechamber, Place Outside the Door.
Thura {QU/RA} Door, Gate; as in epi thurais tên hudrian - "(to break) the pitcher at the very door" {E)PI\ QU/RAIS TH\N U(DRI/AN}
Thrasos {QRA/SOS} Courage, Boldness, Confidence, Audacity, Rashness, Impudence.
10 Iota I
Ichôr {I)XW/R} Blood of the Gods.
Hidruô {I(DRU/W} to Establish, Found, Dedicate.
Hieros {I(ERO/S} Holy, Mighty, Super-human, Sacrificial.

Keywords for Major Arcana

The first number is the position of the trump in the Pythagorean Tarot order. It is followed by the common name of the trump and a single keyword suggesting its meaning. Finally, the trumps position in its Hendecad (group of 11) is indicated by a parenthesized Roman numeral after the keyword; this will aid correlation with the meanings of the Decad. Needless to say, these keywords can hardly do justice to the rich meaning of the Major Arcana.

Trump KeywordRank in
0. FoolManiai
I. MagicianImpulseij
II. EmpressNurtureiij
III. EmperorControliiij
IV. High PriestessStrivingv
V. High PriestAuthorityvi
VI. LoveUnionvij
VII. TemperanceBirthviij
VIII. FortitudeFortitudeviiij
IX. VictoryVictoryx
X. WheelFortunexi
XI. Old ManAgei
XII. Hanged ManSacrificeij
XIII. DeathDeathiij
XIV. DevilTemptationiiij
XV. TowerCrisisv
XVI. StarHopevi
XVII. MoonInstinctvij
XVIII. SunIlluminationviij
XIX. AngelJudgementviiij
XX. JusticeBalancex
XXI. WorldUnityxi

Keyword Meanings of Quadriliterum

The Quadriliterum, or four letter name of Jove, which is IOVE (in which I=J and U=V) represents the meanings of the first four numbers as a formal Descent by Emanation through the elements Fire, Water, Air and Earth, and a developmental path of Ascent back through them. (A fuller description of these tetrads can be found in the introduction to the court cards of the Minor Arcana.)

Quadriliterum I O V E
Tetractys I II III IIII
Basic Meaning Impulse Object Union Effect
Elements Ignition Ocean Vapor Earth
Gods Jove Ops Venus Eros
Complementary Gods Juno Ocean Vulcan Eris.
Functions Iactus
Relations I Other Volition Effect
Faculties of
Intuition Openness
Understanding Energy
Dialectic Idea Opposite Unification Entirety
Process Impetus Objective Venture End
Gestation Insemination Ovum Uterus Emergence
Growth Integral
Qualities Just
Ranks King Queen Knight Page
Suits Wands Cups Swords Pentacles

Quadriliteral Analysis of Court Cards

The Quadriliterum IOVE (or IOUE), the four-letter name of Jove, is a mnemonic for the interpretation of the ranks and suits of the court cards:

King of Wands Imparting Inspiration
King of Cups Imparting Openness
King of Swords Imparting Understanding
King of Pentacles Impetus to Effect
Queen of Wands Overflowing Intuition
Queen of Cups Overflowing Openness
Queen of Swords Overflowing Understanding
Queen of Pentacles Organic Energy
Knight of Wands Vitality of Impulse
Knight of Cups Vitality of Openness
Knight of Swords Vitality of Understanding
Knight of Pentacles Vitality of Effort
Page of Wands Emerging Inspiration
Page of Cups Emerging Openness
Page of Swords Emerging Understanding
Page of Pentacles Energy of the Earth

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Last updated: Tue Jan 20 18:21:01 EST 1998