A Tarot New Year
by Bonnie Cehovet
New Year's is traditionally a time for "out with the old, in with the new". It is a time when we look at our lives, try to determine what is no longer working, what needs to be released, and set the foundation for our goals and aspirations for the coming year. It is a time to put our lives in order, making sure that our priorities are aligned with our goals, and that our decisions and ensuing actions are in alignment with the path that we have chosen for ourselves.
Putting the energies of numerology and Tarot together, we can paint a very definitive picture of who we are, the skills and abilities that we carry with us, and what we are going to be facing over the next year. Some of the cards that are useful to determine through the use of numerology and Tarot are: Birth Cards (which stay with us for a lifetime), a General Year card, our Personal Year card, and our Personal Month card(s).
There are several ways to determine Birth Cards. My personal preference, and the method that I will be presenting here, is that taught by Ruth Ann and Wald Amberstone of The Tarot School. With this method, two Birth Cards are determined. (Note: If the birth date number is 19, there will be three Birth Cards: The Sun (19), The Wheel of Fortune (10), and The Magician (1).)
Our Birth Cards determine the theme of each lifetime by forming the gateway through which we enter. This is one of the primary reasons that I like this method. The qualities that determine what gifts, abilities (and yes, challenges) each person carries are present in the archetypes of our Birth Cards, and stay with us for our entire lifetime.
To determine your Birth Cards, add the Month + Day + First two digits of the birth year + Last two digits of birth year. For example, for someone born December 29th, 1948, this would read: 12 + 29 + 19 + 48 = 108. Adding 1+ 0 + 8 = 9. The Birth Card is Key #9 (The Hermit). The implied Birth Card is Key #18 (The Moon). (Number 18 = 1 + 8 = 9.)
For someone with the birth date of December 9th, 1948, the result would be 12 + 09 + 19 + 48 = 88. Adding 8 + 8 = 16. The birth cards for this person are Key #16 The Tower, and Key #7 (The Chariot). (Numbers 1 + 6 = 7.)
If the birth numbers add up to three digits, the first two digits are considered as one number, which is then added to the third digit. For the birth date of August 22nd, 1969, the numbers add up to: 08 + 21 + 19 + 69 = 117. The first two digits form the number 11. Add that number to the third digit: 11 + 7 = 18. The first Birth Card for this birth date is Key #18 (The Moon); the second Birth Card for this birth date is Key #9 (The Hermit). (Numbers 1 + 8 = 9.)
General Year Card
To determine the General Year card, add the digits of the year together. For example, the year 2006 would be: 2 + 0 + 0 + 6 = 8. A number 8 year is associated with Key #8 (Strength or Justice, depending on the system that you are using). The archetypal qualities of the General Year card are overlayed on all that happens within the next year.
Personal Year Card
To determine your personal year card, add the digits of your birth month and birth day to the digits of the year in question. For someone born on December 29th, their personal year number for the year 2006 would be: 12 + 29 + 2 + 0 + 0 + 6 = 49; 4 + 9 = 13. Key #13 (Death) would be the archetype associated with the year 2006 for this person. The lessons, challenges, and experiences for 2006 for this person are seen through the energy of Death, the energy of letting go, and of transformation.
Personal Month Card
To determine your Personal Month card, add the digits of your birth month, birth day, the current month, and the current year. For someone born on December 29th, their Personal Month for January, 2006 would be: 12 + 29 + 1 + 2 + 0 + 0 + 6 = 50 = 5 (5 + 0 = 5). The archetypal energy associated with Key #5 is that of the Hierophant. The energy of the Personal Month describes the energies that we have to draw on, the challenges that we will face, and the lessons that we need to learn.
Keeping a journal for each year of our life is one way of documenting how the energy of
our life is working. You might want to start your journal by either drawing in/or pasting in a facsimile of each of your two Birth Cards. Place the birth cards so that they are facing each other. Write down your first impressions, looking at things like:
1. Do the predominant colors of the cards compliment each other, or are they "at war"?
2. What do the positions that the figures are in tell you about the cards? Are they compatible with each other?
3. What strengths do each of the archetypes bring to you?
4. What weaknesses are inherent in each of the archetypes?
5. What energy is there for you to draw on?
6. What energy seems to be acting as an obstacle, or a block?
In their teleclass on the Birth Cards, Wald defines the following ways in which the birth cards function within an individual's life:
1. fully functional
2. reversed - resisting the qualities in the cards
3. blocked - one or both cards may be blocked, leading to frustration and the feeling of something important being missing in their lives.
4. latent - the person does not recognize the qualities in their cards (they have yet to manifest in their lives)
If you look at your Birth Cards, and don't relate to them at all (or if you are laying them out for a client, and the client does not relate to them at all), Wald's suggestion from the teleclass was to redo the math - they may not be the right cards! If the math is right, and the Birth Cards are right, my personal thought would be that they are not fully functional in your life (or in the life of your client). Here it would be obvious that some personal work needed to be done, perhaps starting with journeying with the cards.
Write down what you see in your life that reflects the archetypes in your cards. You may see challenges that you were not aware of, strengths that you can draw on to overcome these challenges, and weaknesses that can be worked on so that they are either overcome or negated by your strengths. Each year of our lives we grow on every level, so each year what we see in our Birth Cards will be just that little bit different.
One last note on Birth Cards: it can be a great help to take a second deck, when doing a reading, and take your Birth Cards (or the Birth Cards of your client) out and place them above the reading. These are the pillars that define the life of the person being read for, and they are the lenses that the reading should be seen through.
General Year Card
The next card that I would include in my journal would be the card that represents the year the journal covers. I would include a drawing (or scan) of the card, and my impressions of the archetypal energy. For the year 2006 we are looking at Key #8 (Strength or Justice, depending on the system you are using). (Numbers 2 + 0 + 0 + 6 = 8.)
The attributes associated with Strength (which reflects the system that I use) will be attributes that will be in force for the entire calendar year. In her book Tarot Constellations, author Mary K. Greer notes that in the year of Strength, we need to be asking ourselves where our passions lie, and whether our heart is truly in the work that we are doing. What emotions are helping move you in your chosen direction? This is a year in which creativity and self-expression will become extremely important. Greer also notes that in a Strength year we are challenged to keep going, to stay on our path. We have to access our inner strength to follow our dreams. In a Strength year, it is also important that we balance our personal needs with the needs of those around us. We discover that which we truly want in a Strength year.
I would ask myself the following questions about the General Year card:
1. What is the overall energy of this card?
2. How do I personally feel about it?
3. What strengths can I look to over the coming year?
4. What challenges can I look for over the coming year?
5. How can I use the energy of this year to help me accomplish my goals?
Personal Year Card
The card that represents my Personal Year would be the next item that I would include in my journal. As with the other cards, I would place a drawing or other facsimile of the card in the journal. I would follow that with my impressions of the card.
I would ask the same questions of my Personal Tear card that I asked of the General Year card.
Remember that the energies of both cards will be in force for the next twelve months!
Personal Month Card
The last card that I would include in my journal would be my personal month card. By definition, there will be twelve of these cards - one for each of the coming twelve months. You can determine all twelve months at the beginning of the year, or you can determine them as they come up. I would include a drawing or other facsimile of the card in my journal, as well as my personal impressions of it.
The same questions that were used with the General Year and Personal Year cards apply here, with the understanding that the energy is applicable for that month only.
We can empower ourselves in an infinite manner when we combine the tools of Tarot and numerology. What I have presented here is just a beginning. For more in depth work, see Mary K. Greer's books Tarot Constellations and Tarot For Yourself, and the taped presentations from the Tarot School.
Wishing you all a New Year filled with Peace, Light, and Joy!
References: Amberstone, Ruth Ann and Wald. The Tarot School
Amberstone, Ruth Ann and Wald. Tarot Tips.
Greer, Mary K. Tarot Constellations. Newcastle Publishing Company. 1987. Greer, Mary K. Tarot for Yourself. New Page Books. 2002
© Bonnie Cehovet
Bonnie Cehovet is Certified Tarot Grand Master, a professional Tarot reader with over ten years experience, a Reiki Master/Teacher and a writer. Bonnie has served in various capacities with the American Tarot Association, is co-founder of the World Tarot Network, and Vice President (as well as Director of Certification) for the American Board For Tarot Certification. She has had articles appear in the 2004 and 2005 Llewellyn Tarot Reader.