I first came across tarot birth cards when I was part of a regular class with the folks at The Tarot School, a little weekly meet up hosted by the incredibly insightful Wald and Ruth-Ann Amberstone in Forest Hills. It’s been a long time since I’ve attended. I moved to Brooklyn last year - making the commute to Queens pretty terrible.
Out of the many things I took away from those little workshops, was the concept of birth cards. If you are familiar with the zodiac, they offer a similar function: they give us a feeling of being part of a larger whole, of having a place in the world and a role to play. In these systems, everyone has a unique strength and weakness. With the ability to embrace our own blessings and faults, we can learn to appreciate all the strange and beautiful wonders that other humans bring to our world as well.
They give us a feeling of being part of a larger whole, of having a place in the world and a role to play.
Birth cards are meant to describe a facet of yourself that is constant (unlike our moods, events in or lives, or states of being). These can be used to give insight on the energy present during birth, and through them, you can discover what your challenges, roles, and greatest potentials in life are.
How to Calculate Your Tarot Birth Card
This is the method that I was introduced to, and one that I am most familiar with, the same one that was developed with The Tarot School.
- We start by breaking your birthday into 4 groups of 2 digits each such that you can add these two digit numbers together like so: MM + DD + YY + YY
- If the sum is a 2 digit-number, add them together. This is your first birth card. Reduce this to a single digit to get your second birth card.
- Ex: 11 + 22 + 20 + 00 = 53
- 5 + 3 = 8: Strength - First Card
- 8 = 1 + 7 = 17: The Star - Second Card
- If the sum is a 3 digit-number, add the first 2 digits with the 3rd digit. This is your first birth card. Reduce this to a single digit to get your second birth card.
- Ex: 07 + 20 + 19 + 89 = 135
- 13 + 5 = 18: Moon - First Card
- 1 + 8 = 9: Hermit - Second Card
- One exception to all these rules is when your sum equals 19. Most people will have 2 cards, but those with this sum will have 3. This is because 1 + 9 = 10, and 1 + 0 = 1, effectively making your cards The Sun, The Wheel and The Magician
The folks at the Tarot School also have a handy little calculator to do all the math for you: http://www.tarotschool.com/Calculator.html
Calculating Tarot Birth Card Infographic
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Chart of Tarot Birth Card Combinations
The following is a short explanation of each birth card’s path, what each pair (or triplet’s) purpose and role in life is to be. If we get enough requests, we’ll go ahead and put together something a little more in-depth!
|Numbers||Tarot Birth Card Combination|
|21 > 3||The World, The Empress|
|20 > 2||Judgement, The High Priestess|
|19 > 10 > 1||The Sun, The Wheel, The Magician|
|18 > 9||The Moon, The Hermit|
|17 > 8||The Star, Strength|
|16 > 7||The Tower, The Chariot|
|15 > 6||The Devil, Lovers|
|14 > 5||Temperance, The Hierophant|
|13 > 4||Death, The Emperor|
|12 > 3||The Hanged Man, The Empress|
|11 > 2||Justice, The High Priestess|
|10 > 1||The Wheel, The Magician|
Tarot Birth Card Meanings (Brief)
Your path is one of self-actualization, to bring together all the disparate parts of yourself in order to feel completely at home in this world (The World). Throughout this path, you will be guided by love - both giving and receiving love (The Empress). This loving and caring aspect within you will be your compass towards fulfillment, and is the gift you give to all others.
Judgement, High Priestess
This path is one of breaking limitations, of releasing oneself from established modes of thought, and rebuilding them anew (Judgement). You will be guided by your intuition (The High Priestess), and it is through learning to trust your inner voice that you will create your most important work.
Sun, Wheel, Magician
Like the Wheel and Magician birth cards, this path is about adapting to change, and moving alongside nature’s cycles resourcefully. It is about recognizing and understanding the natural shifts of the universe (The Wheel of Fortune) while using your inner powers of manifestation and creation to move along with those cycles with grace and success (The Magician). The Sun gives an air of contentment, joy and peace to this path, giving you the cue to enjoy the abundance that your path brings you.
Your path is about finding the clarity in the darkness, about finding truth in an uncertain world. The Moon presents us with phantoms, dreams and illusions. It is about the hidden facets that are just below the surface. The hermit is the seeker, who uses their internal truth to light the way to finding your own personal wisdom.
This path is one of hope - of the choice to look at all that life brings you with optimism (The Star), requiring of you great inner Strength. Yours is the choice of moving away from sorrow, towards regeneration, which takes great resilience in times of suffering. To have hope is the source of your action, to have Strength is assurance that you will succeed.
Yours is the path of restoring balance in the face of violent transformation. In the face of groundbreaking change, it is your sense of balance that will be your guide. The Tower destroys foundations and structure ruthlessly in order to reveal a new path forward, but this energy will be guided by the Chariot’s deliberate and careful control of impulses.
Deep sensuality is indicated by this birth card pair - for the Devil is the combination of both the divine and the beastly. He is playful in the realm of the material, but his pure enjoyment can lead some to be enslaved. The lovers however bring an element of love to his passionate animalistic nature. His beauty in the horror is redeemed.
Your path is one of guidance - of using your great wisdom (The Hierophant) to bring calm and peace to conflict (Temperance). Having these two cards come together is akin to having two great advisors - one bearing the keys to long established knowledge, and the other equipped with the gentle serenity to unify disparate groups.
In this path, the Death card represents the ending of cycles - of closing doors to open others anew. It is here where the Emperor’s power, authority and structure are needed in order to create stability and security. For the new cycle to be ushered in, a strong and willful hand will be needed to steer its movement.
Hanged Man, Empress
This path represents gentle progress during moments of delays, and the willful sacrifices of the Hanged Man made with the nurturing care of the Empress. When faced with the Hanged Man’s deliberate choice to remain in his suspension, the love within the empress guides him to continue his spiritual path.
Justice, High Priestess
Your path unites clarity, fairness and harmony with deep intuitive understanding and knowledge. Justice and the High Priestess are concerned with two different sides in life - the transactional and the spiritual. Your insights tend to go deeply, a powerful compliment with Justice’s objectivity and sharp decision making.
Like it’s 3 card cousin, these birth cards deal with following the cyclic change of the universe and the random hand of fate (The Wheel of Fortune) using the manifestation powers and resourcefulness of the Magician. Wherever the wheel shifts, you will be ready.
Tarot Birth Card Meanings - Full Infographics