Birth Cards and Year Cards

By Tabitha Chamberlain 

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Allan Ritchie wrote a great article a few months ago about his Death Card year. Some people may actually be unsure what exactly this is, how to do it, and the purpose of doing it. We thought we should show you step-by-step how to do this, to help you use and explore them for yourself.

Calculating your Birth Card is to learn what your lesson in this life is supposed to be. My Birth Card is the Lovers, for me this has manifested into an inability to find a stable healthy relationship. Meaning this is what I’m spending this life trying to “fix this” as it were.

Year Cards, as Allan pointed out, helps you define your coming year. If you read the article, it’s not always a happy playful year. Those bad or scary Year Cards are just as important as the good or positive ones. Don’t be too shocked when either type of year give you an unexpected reality check.

To find your Birth Year Card, you just need your birthday. I’m going to use one of my boys birthday to help illustrate this (American format):

12/17/2002: 1+2+1+7+2+0+0+2=15

You could add up the month, day, and year-the math should work out the same, but this is actually easier.

The Birth Card should only be a number between 1-9*, so in my example 15, would be broken down again:


The Birth Card is pretty straightforward, really not much reading involved other than figuring out how it applies to your life and what lesson you’re supposed to be learning in this lifetime. Which is sometimes a long drawn out reading unlike any you’ve ever had. Word of warning, you do need to be realistic and honest with yourself to do this.

Now for the Year Cards, this is going to help you determine your year ahead of you. This can either be the start of the exact year or starts on your birthday. As my birthday is in the beginning of the month it isn’t surprising that I find my Year Card usually starts a month or so before my actual birthday.

To calculate your Year Card, take your birthday (month and day) and the current year. For me this year:

9+1+2+0+1+5=18 or broken down again to: 1+8=9

While the Birth Card is needs to be under 9*, the Year Card can be up to 22 (Fool).You can also break this down into the single digit if it’s easier. I honestly see reflections of both aspects throughout my year.

This year I can see the Moon’s presence as I start on a journey to a new position (yes, I got my promotion). I’m unsure of what I’m getting myself into, the path isn’t quite lit as well as I would normally like. Also a bit emotionally uncertain as I’m still with the same company that I have been with for 8 years through ups, downs, and questionable behavior surrounding me. So yes, I can see the Moon here. Yet, I can also see the Hermit’s influence of learning, exploring, and basic finding myself within this new position.

One card maybe stronger link than the other or they both maybe equal parts of throughout your year or only one card resonates with you. Use whatever makes the most sense to you. Take time to meditate on Year Card. Sometimes the cards make perfect sense right from the start; others may take a bit to make sense to your year.

I know this seems vague, but no one knows better than you what's going on in your life better than you do. It's up to you to make sense out of these cards.

The book that Allan also mentions,Tarot for Yourself goes into great detail on birth, year, and some other types of cards that define us, if you would like to read more about this particular subject.

Editor’s Note:  *Some people may calculate the Birth Cards a bit differently and reducing until you get to a card under 22, noting that card, then reducing again. Some people might even have 3 Birth Cards for example:

Birthday: 1/22/1967 = 1+22+1967 = 1990
Reducing to 1+9+9=19 =
Reducing to 1=9=10 = Wheel of Fortune
Reducing to 1+0=1 = Magician

Or in the example above:
Tabi's son's Birth Cards would be 15 Devil – and 6 Lovers

Find a way that works for you and then stick to it.

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