Spiritual Health

Your Tarot Birth Card Describes Your Life Path—Here’s Yours and What It Means

Photo: Getty Images / Olena Ruban
Reading tarot cards is a great spiritually aligned practice that can help you understand yourself better. Most tarot decks are made up of 78 cards that represent themes common to the human experience, and adopting a card-reading practice can help you contextualize any given life situation and even boost your relationship with yourself. And, by understanding just one single card—your tarot birth card—you may be able to harness certain pieces of knowledge about yourself.

Your tarot birth card reflects information about your essence, similarly to the way your astrological sun sign might. Though a tarot birth card has no direct ties to astrology, it can inform different areas of your life based on when you were born, similarly to that of your sun sign. “A tarot birth card…is seen similarly to how we interpret our astrological signs,” says Ryan Trinh, tarot reader at Los Angeles-based metaphysical shop House of Intuition. “They point to different facets of our self, such as strengths, lessons to learn, and goals to aspire to.”

"[Tarot birth cards] point to different facets of our self, such as strengths, lessons to learn, and goals to aspire to.” —Ryan Trinh, tarot reader at House of Intuition

But not just any card can be your tarot birth card. Though the typical tarot deck is made up of 78 cards, tarot birth cards can only be one of the 22 Major Arcana cards (minus the Fool, because that card’s number is zero). Major Arcana cards are known for holding wisdom to life's lessons and reflecting long-term effects. The remaining 56 Minor Arcana cards, on the other hand, deal mostly with the day-to-day.

In addition to providing you with more insight into your personality and life in general, your tarot birth card can help you identify what your life purpose might be, uncover potential recurring themes in your life, and put things into perspective when you’re experiencing difficulty.

Ahead, learn the most common (read: easiest) way to determine your tarot birth card.

How to determine your tarot birth card

Using a similar process to that used in numerology, a tarot birth card is determined by adding the numbers of the month, day, and year you were born. “With that number, you will find the corresponding Major Arcana tarot card as your birth card,” says Trinh.

For example, if someone’s birthday is February 1, 2003, they’d add 2 (because February is the second month of the year), 1 (because that’s the day they were born), 2, 0, 0, and 3 (because you want to add the digits of the year you were born). In this case, the total number is 8, and the person’s corresponding birth card is the Strength card—which can represent fortitude and courage.

If, however, you have a birthdate that adds up to more than 21, you’ll determine your birth card by adding the digits of the resulting number. Let’s say your birthday was January 19, 1989, and your numbers add up to 38. “Because that is more than 21 [and doesn’t have a corresponding Major Arcana card], you will take the extra step of adding 3 and 8, resulting in 11, which corresponds to the [tarot] card Justice,” says Trinh.

Best practices for interpreting your card

It’s important to know the meaning behind the Major Arcana card before applying it to your life. There’s another, perhaps more crucial, component of interpreting your tarot birth card, though: figuring out which meaning most applies to you.

“Every tarot card comes with multiple meanings, so go through all of the definitions and pick out the ones that really speak to you,” says Chinggay Labrador, tarot reader and author of Practical Magic: A Tarot Newbie’s Guide & Journal. You might consider reading books about tarot to find something that’s fully aligned with you and your values.

Trinh adds that one of the beautiful components of tarot is that the same card can have different meanings depending on when you’re reading it. This is especially relevant with regard to a tarot birth card, considering that it’s determined when you’re born. For that reason, he says that it's “always a good idea to journal your tarot readings and exercises, as it provides one the ability to reflect on their journey.”

Perhaps you’ll take a page out of Labrador’s playbook and think about your birth card on your birthday, to consider the progress you’ve made since the last time you were a year older. Or maybe, you’ll take a look at your tarot birth card every few months to ground yourself. No matter how you interact with your tarot birth card, though, becoming familiar with and calling on it for grounding knowledge is a powerful tool to have in your wellness arsenal.

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