Tarot Birth Cards

Tarot Birth Cards, like one’s ‘Sun Sign’ in Astrology, or Enneagram ‘Life Number’,
indicate your foundational archetype energy (or ‘life path’, if you will). They function as a guiding statement,
much in the way a Coat of Arms provides an individual with a sense of collective identity.



The Basic Formula:
(provided by Tarotschool.com)

You can determine your Birth Cards by doing a numerological reduction of your birth date in the following manner: MM + DD + 19* + YY.
* For people born from January 1, 2000 – December 31, 2099, the constant will be 20 instead of 19.

For example, let’s say that your birthday is February 21, 1950. Add the numbers like this:



Then add 9 + 2 = 11.

Key 11 is Justice, the first Birth Card for this date. 11 reduces to 2 (The High Priestess), which is the second Birth Card.

Three-Digit Sums:

Here’s how to handle a birth date that adds up to 3 digits. The first two digits of the three are considered as one number, which is added to the third digit. Let’s look at August 20, 1969, for example. The formula would be 08 + 20 + 19 + 69 = 116.

Or you can look at it this way:



Then add 11 + 6 = 17.



Key 17 is The Star, the first Birth Card for this date. 17 reduces to 8 (Strength) which is the second Birth Card. If the three numbers are 103, for example, add 10 + 3 = 13 (Death) = 4 (Emperor).

Single-Digit Sums:

Almost everyone should have 2 birth cards. One of the cards will have a single digit and the other a double digit. If your birth date sum reduces to a single digit (e.g. 90 = 9 + 0 = 9) its pair is implied, in this case, 18 (The Moon) = 1 + 8 = 9 (Hermit). See the table below for a complete list of Birth Card Pairs.

The Exception to the Rule:
The one exception is if your birth date sum = 19. In that case, you will have 3 Birth Cards: The Sun (19), The Wheel of Fortune (10) and The Magician (1).

Confusion about calculating Birth Cards is very common. Even though the math is simple, the concept can be difficult to grasp. In case we’ve lost you, consider the following:

If a birthday adds up to a digit plus a zero, it reduces immediately to a single digit. But each single digit is paired with a double digit between 10 and 21, from which it is derived. The numbers 1 through 21, of course, are the complete universe of positive numbers that make up the Major Arcana. So all Birth Card pairs must be a combination of two of these numbers. 9, for instance, can only be arrived at, within the numbers of the Major Arcana, from the number 18 (1+8=9).

If you begin with a single digit and you search for the double digit that is its pair, you will find that there is only one possibility, with a single exception. If your birth date adds up to 30, it reduces to 3. Three can be arrived at by a reduction of either 12 (Hanged Man) or 21 (World), but we have found that where this choice exists, 12 works best.

Table of Birth Card Pairs:

18 reduces to 9 (1+8)
Moon / Hermit

17 reduces to 8 (1+7)
Star / Strength

16 reduces to 7 (1+6)
Tower / Chariot

15 reduces to 6 (1+5)
Devil / Lovers

14 reduces to 5 (1+4)
Temperance / Hierophant

13 reduces to 4 (1+3)
Death / Emperor

12 reduces to 3 (1+2)
Hanged Man / Empress

11 reduces to 2 (1+1)
Justice / High Priestess

10 reduces to 1 (1+0)
Wheel of Fortune / Magician

Again, there is one exception where you will have three Birth Cards.
If the birth date sum = 19, it will reduce first to (19), then to (10), and finally (1).
Sun / Wheel / Magician


20 reduces to 2 (2+0)
Judgement / High Priestess

21 reduces to 3 (2+1)
World / Empress

What About The Fool?

In most decks, The Fool is either un-numbered, or is assigned the digit 0. Since no sum of positive numbers ever equals 0, we do not consider The Fool as part of a Birth Card pair. Likewise, we do not accept the sometimes-used convention of assigning the number 22 to The Fool since there is no such trump. However, we do consider The Fool to be the universal birthright of us all.