Tarot birth cards, also called soul cards, are cards based on the numerology of your birthday that can give you more information about who you are.
Birth cards can give you more information about your identity, your inner world, and your journey in this lifetime including your potential, key themes, strengths, and struggles.
Keep reading to learn how to calculate your cards and discover their meanings!
HOW TO CALCULATE YOUR BIRTH CARD(S)
As with most things in tarot, there is no hard and fast rule on calculating birth cards. There are a couple of methods, and here I’m going to share the method that I use personally and have found the most powerful!
1. Write out your birthday numerically. For example, if your birthday is October 19th, 1994, the digits you’ll be working with are 10-19-1994.
2. Add up each individual number in your birthday. Keeping with the example above, that means I’m adding 1 + 0 + 1 + 9 + 1 + 9 + 9 + 4 to get 34.
3. Add up any remaining digits if they are greater than 22. Since I got 34 in the step above, that means I’ll now add 3 + 4 to get 7. So the number of your birth card is 7!
If you received a number greater than 22 in step 2, like in this example, then that’s it! But if you received a number equal to 22 or less, then you’ll actually have two birth cards.
Say the number you received in step 2 was 18. The number of your first birth card will be 18, and the number of your second birth card will be 1 + 8 = 9. So you have 2 numbers to work with!
Mary K. Greer is a prominent tarot teacher who has a specific method with birth cards. In her practice, the number 18 will identify your personality card, what you are here in this lifetime to learn. The number 9 will identify your soul card, which shows your purpose across multiple lifetimes.
4. Look up the major arcana tarot card that corresponds to your number(s). I’ve made it easy for you! Keep scrolling to learn what card is associated with each number and what it means.
WHAT YOUR BIRTH CARD MEANS
1: THE MAGICIAN
The Magician, the first card of the major arcana, is a path of manifestation.You may have a lot of ideas, and you’re learning in this lifetime how to channel them, pull them down, and make them manifest in this physical reality.
2: THE HIGH PRIESTESS
In this lifetime, you are learning to embody your lunar nature. You may have a naturally strong intuition and psychic abilities, or this may be something you work to cultivate throughout your life. Working on your psychic development as well as connecting to and honoring your intuition is important for your life path.
3: THE EMPRESS
The Empress as a birth card is an invitation to connect with your creative energy and your Venusian nature. This card is about magnetizing and attracting to you, rather than pushing or forcing. It invites you to nurture yourself and to learn how to receive in this lifetime.
It can also indicate a need to explore your relationship with your mother or heal something in your matrilineal line.
4: THE EMPEROR
The Emperor is an invitation to take up space. Throughout your life, you will need to work with the theme of owning your right to take up space, to expand, to be an authority, and to build what you desire without apology.
5: THE HIEROPHANT
The Hierophant teaches us how to be a channel for the wisdom of the Universe, of our guides, of the angels and other cosmic beings. In the Hierophant, we learn to channel truth and to share it with others without overly attaching to outcomes, getting stuck in our ego, or recreating harmful systems of power and authority. Throughout your life, this is a lesson you are learning and an energy you are stepping into.
6: THE LOVERS
With the Lovers as your birth card, you will be learning how to honor and unite duality within you. Throughout your life, you learn how to accept and love all the different, sometimes conflicting, parts of yourself. Evolving through relationship with others is another big theme of this card, inviting you to allow your relationships (platonic, romantic, business, family, etc.) to trigger you, open you, and evolve you for deeper healing.
7: THE CHARIOT
The Chariot brings an energy of fierce will and determination. But it’s also the number 7 and is ruled by Cancer, adding a more watery flavor and indicating a deeply spiritual path. With the Chariot as your birth card, you’re learning to explore sacred action, action as spiritual practice, and to trust in the power of your will to bring you where you want to be.
There’s this idea of success and victory with this card as well, indicating that you’ll need to continually redefine over your life what success means to you and what you’re actually moving towards. Is it based in your ego? Or is it truly based in your soul’s mission and purpose?
Strength as you birth card means that you are learning about your relationship to your own power in this lifetime. Strength invites us into a deep knowing of our own power, but it’s a soft, subtle power – not one that dominates, that harms, or is in your face.
It’s a more lunar sense of power, a deep trust in your power that allows you to surrender, to open, to be vulnerable, and to trust yourself and the universe. Stepping into this energy and this sense of power is an important theme on your life’s path.
9: THE HERMIT
The Hermit teaches us how to integrate our own knowing. The Hermit isn’t looking for teachers or knowledge outside of themselves, they know they have a path where deep internal seeking is required.
This isn’t about having a lonely life, it’s about knowing that your evolution comes when you allow yourself the time alone to go inside of yourself, to close off from the external, to integrate and process whatever has come up for you.
10: THE WHEEL OF FORTUNE
The Wheel of Fortune as a birth card indicates that in this lifetime, you are learning the balance between action and surrender. You’re learning to trust the balance of fate and free will, of control and trust. Major changes may tend to be a pattern for you, but know that they’re always in your highest and best good.
Justice as a birth card is all about truth. You are learning to believe not what you wish was true but what is actually true – a difficult and powerful lesson. Justice holds a sword to cut away that which is not true – inviting us to look at the truth of who we are, the truth of who others are, and the truth of injustice in our personal lives and in the greater systems that overlay it all.
In the more literal sense, your life might be involved with law, contracts, and partnerships in some way.
12: THE HANGED ONE
The Hanged One is an invitation to step into a new perspective and to get comfortable with discomfort. You are learning how to surrender to what is, to be in the liminal space between where you’ve been and where you desire to be, and to sit with uncomfortable situations, emotions, and thoughts without judgement.
Death, ruled by Scorpio, is a path of transformation. Your life is about death and rebirth, about shedding the snakeskin of the ego, continuously evolving into the most soul-centered version of you.
Temperance is a path of alchemy and magic. Temperance teaches us how to alchemize our pain, our trauma, our shadow into our greatest gifts, into our purpose, into our unique magic. This is what you are learning in this lifetime with Temperance as your birth card.
15: THE DEVIL
The Devil teaches us how to see, claim, and love all the darkness within us. When we see, claim, and love all of our shame, our fear, and our shadow, it becomes a source of our power. With the Devil as your birth card, your invitation is to get deeply acquainted with your shadow rather than letting it run as unconscious programming, controlling your life.
16: THE TOWER
The Tower is a path of cleansing and burning down old structures- internally and externally. The burning down of internal structures can look like: deprogramming unhealthy ways of talking to the self, releasing old emotional patterns like codependence or manipulation, or finally releasing self-hatred and loving yourself. The burning down of external structures can look like moving homes or cities, fighting for restorative justice, ending unhealthy relationships, changing jobs, etc.
This is an energy you are moving through throughout your life.
17: THE STAR
The Star, ruled by Aquarius, is a healing path. The Star is an invitation for deep personal healing of core wounds and traumas (from this lifetime and past lifetimes) that has a ripple effect into the collective, into your ancestral line, into your descendants.
With the Aquarius ruling of the card, your path could also involve humanitarian work and efforts, helping facilitate healing for humanity.
18: THE MOON
The Moon is a path of re-wilding. With this birth card, you are learning to tap into and connect to your wild, primal nature – who you were before the world told you who and how to be. Connecting with your wildness is a sacred path of connecting with yourself, your needs, and your desires – and being brave enough to claim and step into them.
19: THE SUN
The Sun is a path of being seen. With this card as your birth card, throughout your life you are learning how to allow yourself to be seen – not as you have been, or think you should be, or wish you were – but how you actually are in each and every moment.
Bringing all the parts of you – even the parts of yourself you don’t love yet – into the light to be honored and witnessed is how you release shame and step into your fullest potential.
Judgement, ruled by Pluto, is a path of breakthroughs around judgement and criticism. You are learning that every judgement we have for someone else is just a mirror of what we don’t love within us. With this card, you’re learning to release judgement and criticism towards yourself first and foremost, and all beings everywhere.
21: THE WORLD
The World is a path of endless potential, of closing karmic loops. With the World as your birth card, there is the potential to end painful cycles that may have gone on through generations in your ancestry or through many past lives by doing your own healing work.
22: THE FOOL
Technically, the Fool card is actually 0. But in this practice, you can use the number 22 to identify the Fool card. With the Fool as your birth card, you are learning to release the ego mindset of “I know” or “I should” and step into a curious mindset or “what if?” Or “I could.”
The Fool is the embodiment of a seeker, willing to take leaps into the unknown, trusting that they are fully guided and supported.
The meaning of your birth card will likely evolve over your lifetime. At certain points in your journey, you may relate to the card in different ways or feel into a different aspect of it. That’s great! Like life, each tarot card is complex and multifaceted.
You can start to get to know your birth card on a deeper level by meditating on it, journaling with it, putting it on your altar, and working with embodying it.
Interested in learning more about birth cards? I recommend getting Mary K. Greer’s famous workbook Tarot For Yourself and diving in!
About Eryn Johnson
Eryn Johnson is a breathwork facilitator, tarot reader, and Reiki Master based in Fishtown, Philadelphia. She is also the host of the Living Open podcast for mystics and seekers, a storytelling tool here to help facilitate soul evolution. The foundation of her work is energetic and based on the belief that there's nothing wrong with you- we are simply programmed from a young age to forget the truth of who we are. She uses energy work, storytelling, and breathwork to guide you back to you - your heart, your power, your magic. Find her work at www.living-open.com and @erynj_ on Instagram.