The Great Question
Who are we and why are we here? This is one of the great unanswerable questions. In truth, nobody truly knows. However, as a species, most of us have a sense that it goes well beyond the Big Bang theory and evolution. Scientific research helps describe why we are physically here (according to George Carlin, the Earth needs us to make plastic (Click here for that!), but why is it necessary for our everlasting soul to be trapped in a fancy meat suit? What’s the spiritual reason we are here? Although the entire answer may be beyond our capacity to grasp, I believe that there are many ways to help us discover parts of that answer and using the Tarot to discover our birth number and which of the twelve paths we are traveling is a great place to begin.
The twelves paths are the twelve possible combinations of Tarot cards using cards one through twenty-one of the Tarot’s major arcana. Card zero, The Fool, is not used since The Fool describes the beginning of all our journeys. You arrive at your number by converting your birthdate into a one- or two-digit number using a simple calculation, or click on the following link to use a birthdate calculator: Birth Number Calculator.
Birth Number Formula
Keep in mind this formula is designed for the Tarot and differs from life path numbers or other modalities. The first part of the formula for calculating your birthdate is as follows: MM+DD+(19 or 20 depending on beginning of year born) +YY (last part of the year).
For example, if your birthday is November 25, 1969, the expression will look like this: 11 + 25 + 19 + 69 = 124. To reduce this further: 12 + 4 = 16, and 16 reduces to 7. (1 + 6). 124 becomes 12 + 4 because the calculation requires us to use pairs of numbers.
The first card in this example would be card 16 or The Tower. The reduced number would be 7 or The Chariot. So, the birth card pairing is The Tower and The Chariot.
Some people may wind up with a single digit number after the first reduction. For example, if you wound up with 50 as your first sum, it reduces to 5+0, or 5 (Hierophant.) Your second card would be the cards that equal 5. In this case it would be card 14 (Temperance), because 1 + 4 = 5.
There is an exception for those who end up with 19 as your sum. 19 reduces to 1 + 9 = 10 or 1+0 which equals 1. In this case, you would have three cards, 19 (The Sun), 10 (The Wheel) and 1 (The Magician).
Clear as mud? Don’t sweat it! Just click the link to the birth number calculator above and save yourself the headache!
The Birth Number Pairs
11/2 Justice/High Priestess
12/3 Hanged Man/Empress
20/2 Judgement/High Priestess
After looking at your pair, ask yourself the following questions;
1. What do each of these cards mean to me individually?
2. What symbols are in each card?
3. Are the people in the cards standing? Sitting? Riding? What might that mean?
4. What are the prominent colors in these cards?
5. What might be the strengths and weaknesses of each card?
6. How are these cards the same and how are they different?
7. In what way do I see myself and my overall life in these two cards (or three)?
8. What can I do to use my strengths to compensate for my weaknesses?
9. What else comes to mind while meditating on these cards?
10. Do you notice a theme or dichotomy in these cards?
The keywords that are in your deck may spark some ideas about the meaning of each card, but your intuition is just as valid, if not more so. I would encourage you to come up with your own meaning for these cards before you Google them or look them up. You may find deeper meaning than the “established” keywords.
If you are having trouble coming up with meanings, here are a few brief examples for each pair to get you started!
Birth Number Card Sample Interpretations
10/1 Wheel of Fortune/Magician: You have the ability to take whatever life throws at you and create something wonderful from it. You are intrigued with manifesting new things and creating opportunity from chaos.
11/2 Justice/High Priestess: You use your intuitive abilities to see what is really going on in a situation and deal with it fairly and appropriately. You have a good sense for when to follow the rules and when to bend them in order to do what is right.
12/3 Hanged Man/Empress: You are a very thoughtful and soulful person. Your compassion and creativity add magic to everything you touch. You have a unique way of viewing the world.
13/4 Death/Emperor: The theme for your life is about eradicating what doesn’t work and establishing something newer and better to replace it. You are a respected leader with unique vision.
14/5 Temperance/Hierophant: You are all about creating balance in your life, and helping others achieve balance in their own lives. You would be a great teacher or mentor.
15/6 Devil/Lovers: You are an extremely passionate person. You are here to love and be loved. You must watch out though, passion easily converts into obsession if not moderated.
16/7 Tower/Chariot: You are not one for maintaining the status quo. You are here to shake things up and get people moving in the right direction.
17/8 Star/Strength: You are an inspiration for others and source of great strength. People are attracted to your healthy optimism and ability to accomplish what you set out to do,
18/9 Moon/Hermit: People may view you as quiet and aloof, perhaps even sullen at time. But still waters run deep. You are very intuitive and have a talent and unraveling life’s greatest mysteries.
19/10/1 Sun/Wheel/Magician: You may be one of the most optimistic people on the planet. It takes a lot to bring you down. In the darkest of clouds, you can see the smallest of silver linings. People rely on you to turn tragedy into triumph.
20/2 Judgement/High Priestess: You are practically a spirit guide! You are here to help people find their passion and purpose and to give them hope. You are intuitive and compassionate.
21/3 World/Empress: You are here to bring something new into the world. What is your gift? What would you like to manifest? The world is ready for you to birth your new creation!
In some formulas the Fool (card 0 or 22) is included. I have opted to leave it out as the Fool describes us all at the beginning of our journey.
Each one of us is a unique individual and no one modality can sum up who we are and why we are here. However, knowing your Tarot Birth Cards and recognizing its theme in your life can give you an advantage when navigating your spiritual journey. Spend some time with your Birth Cards. Meditate on them. Ask them how they can help you with your next goal, project, or when trying to manifest.