A Hypothesis for the Number of Cards in the Tarot Deck

I had an insight a few months ago about the Tarot that, to my embarrassment, I did not write up a post about. It is a hypothesis about why the Tarot deck has 78 cards.

There are, of course, 22 major arcana cards, often called trump cards, in the Tarot. This, of course, is the same as the number of letters in the Hebrew alphabet. And Frater RC’s interview with Stav Appel suggested that in one early Tarot deck, there was a lot of Judaic symbolism to the pictures (which has been altered).

It occurred to me–somehow–that this might relate back to Dee’s use of “Kabbalah” in adding up the cross-sums of Dee’s values of the the divine name YHVH in the Monas Hieroglyphica. Dee’s approach made this add up to 24 because he used the following starting values (which don’t match the typical gematria values): 1 for Yod, 2 for Heh, and 3 for Vav. Yet what happens when the actual values of the 10 for Yod, 5 for Heh, and 6 for Vav?

10 (Yod) + 5 (Heh) = 15
10 (Yod) + 6 (Vav) = 16
10 (Yod) + 5 (Heh) = 15
5 (Heh) + 6 (Vav) = 11
5 (Heh) + 5 (Heh) = 10
6 (Vav) + 5 (Heh) = 11

The values, interestingly, add up to a grand sum of 78, which matches the total number of cards in the Tarot deck. I believe that this is compelling, if perhaps not conclusive, evidence that the number of cards in the Tarot deck–as with the number of major arcana cards in the Tarot deck–is 78: it shows the Judaic influence on the Tarot itself.

Interestingly, the number of letters in each Watchtower tablet is 156, which is double 78. The black cross of the Great Table uses each 5-letter name of God (EXARP, HCOMA, BITOM, & NANTA) twice, which suggests that the 156 itself is a doubling of 78. The Daughter of Fortitude (whom Crowley dubbed Babalon) is Herself associated with the 156 as well. Finally, it should be noted that the Tetragrammaton value of 26 (10+5+6+5) is one of the 32 words associated with a unique Enochian word (OX).