The symbolism of Numbers
By: Dominic Tufo
Greetings Brethren! Welcome to what will hopefully be a monthly devotion to each of the Tarot Cards featured in Brother Paul Foster Case’s deck as approved by B.O.T.A. (Builders of the Adytum). For those of you who don’t know, PFC (I will refer to Paul F. Case this way) was born October 3rd 1884 and moved to that celestial place on March 2nd, 1954. He was an American occultist and was well versed on Tarot and the Kabbalah. His roots started from his childhood which involved finding a deck of his dad’s playing cards and in his youth made it a point to uncover their meaning with some help from his fathers collection of books, in addition to making it a lifelong study of his. Later PFC created the BOTA deck, which was a correction to the Rider-Waite deck
PFC wanted to create his own mystery school, and after creating one in Boston, PFC created BOTA in LA around 1925. Like his earlier programs, BOTA claims to be a mystery school and has a correspondence course (approx. 1 per month) that is part of the curriculum that spans to over 47 courses as long as you pay every month for those lessons. I am very fortunate to have partnered with a English brother of my lodge who had specialized in Tarot as well as the Quabalah and upon the conclusion of our last meeting when he found out I was moving and knew I was a sincere brother that desires esoteric knowledge, he parted with me his completed course book which covers all 47 lessons and is nearly over 4 years of BOTA material which is my hope to share with all of you every single month.
Each of the cards in the BOTA deck have a # as well as picture associated with them which we will discuss in detail card by card each month. I want to first start off by discussing the symbolism of numbers. Number symbols represent truths immanent in all things and manifest in all phenomena. The science of number is the foundation of every other department of human knowledge. The numeral symbols, from 0 to 9, represent successive stages in every cycle of the Life-power’s self-expression, whether on the grand scale of the cosmos, or on the smaller scale of personal unfoldment. The order in the numeral series reflects an order, which prevails throughout creation. Even if the symbols were purely arbitrary (which they are not), you must know their traditional interpretations in order to understand the esoteric language of the mysteries. This is why two people who can’t even understand each other’s native tongue can carry on a conversation which a simple drawing of a few lines or figures. By these means, an adept can express more meaning than he could pack into pages of words. So with that said, let’s talk numbers so we can understand.
#0 = No-Thing; the undifferentiated Power preceding all manifestation; absence go quantity, quality, or mass; freedom from every limitation; change-lessness; the unknown, immeasurable, unfathomable, infinite, eternal Source, the Rootless Root of all creation; the sacred ellipse representing the endless line of Eternity; the Cosmic Egg; Super consciousness.
#1 = Beginning; first in the numeral series, because 0 stands for that which precedes manifestation and is therefor not included in any series; inception, initiative, the Primal Will; selection; unity; singleness; individuality; attention; the indefinable Source; Self-consciousness.
#2= Duplication; repetition; Wisdom and Science; Opposition; polarity; antithesis; succession; sequence; continuation; diffusion; separation; radiation; secondariness; subordination; dependence; Subconsciouness.
#3 = Multiplication; increase; growth; augmentation; expansion; amplification, extension, productiveness, fecundity, generation; the response of subconscious mental activity to self-conscious impulse in the generation of mental image; hence, understanding.
#4 = Order; system; regulation; management; supervision; control authority; command; dominance; the classifying activity of self-consciousness (this is induced by conscious response to sub-conscious mental imagery) the Cosmic Order, considered as the underlying substance manifested in every form; reason.
#5 = Mediation (an idea suggested by the fact that 5 is the middle term in the series of signs from 1-9) adaptation; intervention; adjustment; hence Justice; accommodation; reconciliation; result of classifying activities symbolized by subconscious elaboration of these classifications and the formation of deductions the reform. Projected into the field of self-conscious awareness, these deductions are what are termed Intuitions.
#6 = Reciprocation; interchange; correlation; response; coordination; cooperation; correspondence; harmony; concord; equilibration; symmetry; Beauty.
#7 = Equilibrium; (the result of equilibration; the concrete application of laws of symmetry and reciprocation); mastery; poise; rest; conquest; peace; safety; security; art; Victory.
#8 = Rhythm; periodicity; alternation; vibration; pulsation; flux and reflux; involution and evolution; education; culture; the response of sub-consciousness to everything symbolized by 7.
#9 = Conclusion; (literally “closing together,” which implies the union of elements which are separate until the conclusion is reached, and has special reference to meanings attached to 9 through the Tarot Key bearing this number); goal; end; completion; fulfillment; attainment; the final result of the process symbolized by the series of digits; perfection; adeptship; the mystical “three times three” of Freemasons and of other societies which preserve some vestiges of the ancient mysteries.
The meaning of a number consisting of two or more digits may be ascertained by containing the ideas indicated by each symbol, beginning always with the digit on the right-hand or units place. Thus the number 10 combines the ideas of 0 and 1, with 1 considered as being the agency expressing the power represented by 0. Furthermore, since 10 follows 9, it implies that 9 stands for a finality, which refers to a single, cycle of evolution only.
The completion of a cycle is always a return to the Eternal No-Thing, 0; but since 0 is essentially changeless in it’s inherent nature, the Eternal Source is eternally a self-manifesting power. Consequently, a new cycle begins as soon as the preceding cycle ends.
Thus the number 10 symbolizes the eternal creativeness of the Life-power; the incessant whirling forth of the Self-expression of the Primal Will; the ever-turning wheel of manifestation. (We will discuss #10 in future submissions) This makes 10 the number of embodiment; of the kingdom; of Law in action. 10 is also a combination of a characteristic feminine symbol, 0, with another, which, the world over, is a sign of masculinity, 1.
Now that we have a basic introduction to how to read the numbers on the deck, next issue we will discuss how to inspect the picture. Lastly, we will begin to go through each card of the deck every issue of the TB till we complete the deck. Hope you enjoy this journey as I have (and still) some of my best discussion are on the meanings of the cards to each individual person. DT .:.