The number two is quite simple. It is perhaps the most common and understandable number that we interact with.
As with all of the Tarot numbers, we can choose to make them as complicated as we want or as relevant as we want. I choose relevancy over complexity every time. Always ask first “Why do you believe that? What makes more sense to you, a mysterious meaning… or a function that you use each and every day?” Meaning only exists when a number is organic and relevant.
The number two helps us compare things, and also helps us provides contrast between related elements. We experience twos in terms of light and dark, top and bottom, left and right, and right and wrong.
The number two also describes duality, where something can be either in one state or another. A lightbulb can be on or off. A binary digit is either 1 or 0. A personality trait can be two-faced. Dualities are common and can be seen everywhere. Humans have a distinct preference for two-valued logic—yet another duality, true or false. This natural preference makes the twos the easiest number to apprehend.
The number two also may be polar. It describes opposite ends of the same thing. Think of a battery with positive and negative poles; or the earth, where you can travel in one continuous direction and run across the north and south poles and back again without changing direction.
Duality and polarity of the twos are often confused or blurred together, or may be conditional based on the subject matter. For example, the idea of male and female can be thought of in terms of polarity OR duality, depending on your frame of reference. In the Alchemical Marriage, male and female is a duality; but in the sexing of animals, male and female is a polarity.
The number two may be relational. In relationships, we are not looking at differences between two elements, rather we are defining the bond that connects them. For example, a relational two may be contractual as in a marriage or business agreement. Best friends would share a unique bond of two, but could also be seen in a romantic connection. A two could also be an arms length transaction in which something is exchanged. It may be a dependency, where the two elements are not equal but must relate to one another to exist. Think of an employer and an employee, a match and fire, a dog and its owner, or a reflection in a pool of water.
Another type of relational two is the concept of unity. Two different qualities, when bound together, form a new single unit. Each of the two qualities are unique, but their unity forms something greater than the sum of their parts (this concept can be sometimes be seen in the transformation to three). Some negative sides of unity are redundancy and duplicity. A bond of two is often strong, and does not easily allow for a third element or the loss of one of the partners. An oxygen molecule is an example of this cohesion.
You may also see the number two in terms of degrees; such as an indefinite small quantity, or perhaps two simply paired items such as pen and paper. If you need to take care of a “couple of things,” you have more than one task, but certainly not many. And having two of something gives you the perfect opportunity to either share, or withhold.
Remember that the Tarot suits follow the numbers, and may be primary, secondary, or equal to the importance of numbers depending on the context of reading the cards. If you want to get esoteric with the twos, go for it. But please always ask yourself if it makes sense first. The twos should feel natural, familiar, and accessible to us. Complicated does not always equal better.
Stay tuned for the Threes.