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Thursday, February 9, 2012

Take a Number: Five!

I am working my way through the numbers, comparing the ways in which I have used them in Tarot readings with observations and comments from numerologists and occultists. I welcome your comments and observations about this fascinating subject!

My key words for the number Five: struggle, instability, flexibility, opportunity for change

Tarot Cards: The Hierophant, Fives of all suits


Writing about the occult meaning of numbers, Paul Foster Case gives the following keywords for Five: "mediation... adaptation, means, agency, activity, process, and the like." Case also writes, "5, then, is the number of versatility, because it shows the changing aspects of the One Law. . ." (The Tarot: A Key to the Wisdom of the Ages, Macoy Publishing Company)

In his book Numerology: Key to the Tarot (Whitford Press), Sandor Konraad writes that Five is "the number of the senses and thus the number of humanity. . . It is the number of the adventurer, the explorer, the merry rover. On the negative side, 5s can be restless and leave behind them a pile of unfinished projects and broken love affairs in their endless quest for fresh adventures." I think the idea of five as the number of the senses sometimes gets lost in our attempts to interpret the number five. I'm going to try to keep it in mind.

Quoting from Numerology and The Divine Triangle by Faith Javane and Dusty Bunker (Whitford Press): "Five is freedom, change and adventure. Curiosity and constant activity produce a resourceful, adaptable and versatile entity always read to take a chance." Key words for Five: "versatility, resourcefulness, adaptability, change, activity, travel, adventure, promotion, speculation."

Gary Meister, CTM offers the key words "Changes, Sometimes Crises" for the number Five. He writes: "In every life, indeed in the life of every creation of any kind, change is inevitable.  Five is the number of change.  The Universe changes as a matter of course and keeps itself balanced through it all."

The web site Numberquest.com provides a much longer string of key words for the number Five: "Adventure, change, freedom, exploration, variety, sensuality, unattached, curious, experienced, periodicity, knowledge seeker, knowledge teacher, traveler, imagination, child-like, playful."

In Anna Burroughs Cook's Tarot Dynamics system (based in large part on Javane and Bunker): "Subject Card Five denotes conflict."


Konraad writes, "The Hierophant is concerned with spiritual matters, and because 5 is a number of change, there will often be spiritual change. And while there may be changes also in the material realm, it is the inner changes that will be most important."

Concerning The Hierophant (Card 5), Cook writes: "Card five means conflict between what you feel, what you know and what you want." To this I can only say, Wow. That is the perfect description for this card, based on my personal experience anyway!

According to Javane and Bunker: "The Hierophant represents our inner teacher, our inner hearing, our intuition."

In astrology, the Fifth House is known as the House of Creativity, Procreation, Recreation, and Pleasure. It is ruled by the zodiac sign Leo, known as a creative, exuberant, egocentric sign.

Most of the above seems consistent and makes sense to me, although some of the references are clear to me than others. Five is at the center of the range from 1 to 10, which suggests a pivot point or "halfway" point that offers opportunity for change or adjustment.

Personally, I don't view The Hierophant as a "flexible" character. I see him as a representative of belief systems, conformity, societal "norms," and tradition. The way you're *supposed* to do things. All of that *feels* inflexible to me and, of course, it can be. However, it doesn't have to be. The Hierophant has been described as a vehicle for religious knowledge. What do vehicles do? They move. They transport. They take us from one place to another, and not always on the same road. It depends on who's driving.

I hope you enjoy these quotations I found that include the number Five:
Five exclamation marks, the sure sign of an insane mind.
~ Terry Pratchett

The main facts in human life are five: birth, food, sleep, love and death.
~ E. M. Forster

Time is everything; five minutes make the difference between victory and defeat. ~ Horatio Nelson

God made man merely to hear some praise of what he'd done on those Five Days. ~ Christopher Morley


  1. Nice post, Zanna! I've struggled to reconcile the extreme flexibility of the 'rolling stone' 5 with the supposed rigidity of the Hierophant too. Reading Jodorowsky's chapter on The Hierophant in 'The Way of Tarot' helped me dig a bit deeper. Also, remembering that Mars and Venus meet in the Hierophant helps. Mars by virtue of the 5 of the 5th Sphere on the Tree and Venus by virtue of association with Taurus. Hierosgamos, the sacred alchemical wedding, is the hidden meaning of this card... and this makes this card anything BUT rigid. There are many layers to the Hierophant. 5's are interesting to me because both my first and last names vibrate to 5. I think this is relevant in terms of taking a VERY long time to settle down and find stability. In the process, I see the influence of the Hierophant as a POSITIVE stabilising influence. He rocks as far as I'm concerned. Thanks for sharing and opening up to dialogue!

  2. Excellent insights, Lisa! Thanks for stopping by!

    I had not thought about the 5th sphere connection -- I need to do a better job of incorporating that aspect of Tarot into my interpretations! Sounds like I would enjoy The Way of Tarot...


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~ Zanna