Lifetime Lesson Card & the Year Card cycles

Many tarot readers are aware of and actively use the so-called Personality, Soul and Year Cards. These cards are based on counting your birth date numbers together (or in the case of the Year Card, adding the numbers of the day and month to the current year), then adding each digit in the resulting sum to finally get a number from 1 to 22. This number (or numbers) corresponds to the Major Arcana card of the same number.

According to Mary K. Greer, “Personality Card indicates what you have come into this particular lifetime to learn. The corresponding Soul Card shows your soul purpose through all your lifetimes.”, while the Year Card “representing the tests, lessons and experiences you will go through this year.” (Tarot for Your Self, 1984. P. 11 & 14). Angeles Arrien writes, “The Personality Symbol [Personality Card] represents your expression in the outer world, your talents, gifts, resources; and how others see you… the Soul/Spiritual Symbol [Soul Card] represents the deepest core of who you are. This symbol provides an internal base of energy and natural resource for you to draw upon for your personality expression… Your Growth Symbol [Year Card] reveals all the possibilities for growth, opportunities, expansion, and challenge during the current year from birthday to birthday.” (The Tarot Handbook, 1997. P. 230).

There are a couple of ways to find out your Personality, Soul and Year cards. Using my birth date, July 21st 1977:

a) 21 + 7 + 1977 = 2005 -> 2+0+0+5 = 7. Seventh card of the Major Arcana = the Chariot.

b) 2 + 1 + 7 + 1 + 9 + 7 + 7 = 34 -> 3+4 = 7, the Chariot. My Personality and Soul Card is the same.

However, if the person’s birth date would happen to be May 11th, 1946:

a) 11 + 5 + 1946 = 1962 -> 1+9+6+2 = 18 -> 1+8 = 9.

b) 1 + 1 + 5 + 1 + 9 + 4 + 6 = 27 -> 2+7 = 9. You can see the first method gives you a bigger number, which you can still reduce to get a smaller one. In this case 18 or the Moon is the person’s Personality Card while 9, the Hermit, is the Soul Card.

With the Year Card:

a) 21 + 7 + 2011 = 2039 -> 2+0+3+9 = 14, which in tarot is Temperance. You can also reduce 14 to get 5, the Hierophant.

b) 2 + 1 + 7 + 2 + 0 + 1 + 1 = 14, Temperance.

Some sites which tell you more about Personality, Soul and Year Cards:

http://tarothealingbylisa.blogspot.com/2007/09/how-to-calculate-your-personality-soul.html

http://thetarotroom.com/?page_id=5244

http://www.aeclectic.net/tarot/learn/reading/year_soul_personality.shtml

But wait, there’s even more!

What I find interesting (among other things) is cycles, and themes repeating themselves. If you have already counted your Year Cards for a longer time period, you will most likely have seen that they don’t follow a simple pattern of 1 to 100. Instead, they suddenly go back from 13 to 5 (from Death to the Hierophant, that is) and then begin ascending again, until they might reach 14, Temperance, before jumping back to 6, the Lovers. I know it is not the same as what the term signifies in astrology, but I call these “going down to climb up again” cards and years as retrograde. I find it incredibly fascinating to monitor these “peak years followed by a base-jump” years and experience all that goes into them.

So, one day I decided to find out all my Year Cards up to my 100th birthday. I’m aware it is unlikely I’ll ever live that long, but I thought it might be interesting to see what kind of cycles the Year Cards form. So, starting from my birth all the way to the year 2077 when (hopefully not!) I will turn 100, the cycles go as follows:

7 (1977), 8, 9, 10, 11 -> 3 (1982) so in tarot that is from Justice to the Empress.

4 (1983), 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 -> 4 (1992, from the Hanged Man to the Emperor)

5 (1993), 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13 -> 5 (2002, from Death to the Hierophant)

6 (2003), 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14 -> 6 (2012, from Temperance to the Lovers)

7 (2013), 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15 -> 7 (2022, from the Devil to the Chariot)

8 (2023), 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16 -> 8 (2032, from the Tower to Strength)

9 (2033), 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17 -> 9 (2042, from the Star to the Hermit)

10 (2043), 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18 -> 10 (2052, from the Moon to the Wheel)

11 (2053), 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19 -> 11 (2062, from the Sun to Justice)

12 (2063), 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20 -> 3 (2072, from the Judgement to the Empress)

4 (2073), 5, 6, 7, 8 (2077).

Important thing: with a two-digit Year Card I always take into account the reduced number and the corresponding card as well. So now that I’m in my 14 / Temperance Year, I also keep in mind the Hierophant, number 5.

I find it strangely comforting and almost school-like, that with each and every cycle I’ll be able to go one step further, and also get to start (again) one step further compared to the previous cycle. It is also interesting to note where your Personality / Soul Card travels in these cycles.

And now for the Lifetime Lesson Card, which is a term I believe I made up – if you have seen it somewhere else, please do let me know. By Lifetime Lesson Card I mean one single card, which comes up most often during a supposed 100-year life cycle. So, after you have found out your Year Cards all the way from the year you were born up to the year when you would turn 100, do a bit of statistical fun! Find out which number / card appears the most often. If, and when, the Year Card represents “the tests, lessons and experiences you will go through” during that particular year, I find it very logical that the card which appears most often during our entire lifetime would hold the most important test, lesson and experience. Here’s my Top 5:

9 / the Hermit: 8 times

10 / the Wheel: 9 times

11 / Justice: 10 times

12 / the Hanged Man: 9 times

13 / Death: 8 times

So the winner is 11, Justice! Now you count yours and tell me what is your Lifetime Lesson Card. Go on, do it!

This entry was posted in Tarot, Tarot Psychology, Tarot Spreads. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Lifetime Lesson Card & the Year Card cycles

  1. ctam says:

    I tried and find it amazing to going back and move one card forward in each cycle. Surprisingly, my last cycle reach up to 20 and I don’t have the world card in my life!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*