Tarot Blades: Defining Magick: Tarot cards and numbers



Okay, so this is going to sound awkward. Does the tarot have a formal order? Like the first card is X, then Y, then O ect.

As far as I know, 0 is debated, I think. But the order is:

I. The Magician

II. The High Priestess

III. The Empress

IV. The Emperor

V. The…

0 could be the Fool or it could be something else.

If the Fool is zero, then it’s called the Fool’s Journey

Also, from what I was told — and I admit I never bothered to look into it more because it was never important to me, so I could be wrong — the numbering of the tarot cards came later.  Originally, the cards didn’t have numbers on them (or at least, the earliest cards we’ve found weren’t numbered).  

That being said, there is a kind of standard order that has been laid out in the tarot, as tarotblades has mentioned.  I’d also add that my personal preference for the minor arcana is Cups-Wands-Swords-Pentacles, but that doesn’t really matter very much…

That order has been rearranged in many decks.  For example, my beloved Housewives Tarot introduces The Empress and The Emperor before The High Priestess and The Magician.  (The reasoning being that one should meet their earthly parents before their spiritual ones)

In a lot schools of tarot thought, The Fool is number zero, but not in the sense that it comes “first” or “before” but in the sense that it’s outside of the whole thing altogether.  The Fool is nowhere and everywhere.  (Whenever I talk about this, by the way, Big Boss’s speech about Zero in MGS4 comes to mind…just so you know.)

Aaaand that’s all I know.

ETA:  Wait, that’s a lie.  The numbering of Strength and Justice is also a big debate amongst people.  I prefer Strength as #8 and Justice as #11, but people switch them.  *shrug*

Also “the death” is debated. In some decks it’s nameless, it has just the number (usually XIII), in other decks it comes with the name, “the death”.

I believe the Marseilles decks started the tradition of leaving Death nameless (although not all Marseilles do this, contrary to popular belief!), but at the very least it’s most well known for doing so now.  (Although there are modern decks that leave Death unnamed, such as the Deviant Moon)

From what I gathered in my time studying the Marseilles decks, this supposedly stems out of a fear of naming Death, or something like that.  I’ve seen it compared to the attitude of “speak of the devil and he’ll appear.”  I’m not sure if France had any triskaidekaphobia tendencies in that time period (early 1700s, I believe, since Noblet’s 1650 deck does name the card), but I’ve personally always assumed that L’Arcane sans nom also being “unlucky” 13 wasn’t a coincidence.