Tarot Birth Cards: Shifting Perspective

Working with the tarot through our birth cards requires a bit of an adjustment to our understanding of the archetypes and what they mean. Exploring the Major Arcana through the lens of birth cards necessarily shifts some cards away from stereotypically scary or unsettling interpretations (I’m looking at you, Death, The Devil and The Tower) and toward a more holistic understanding of the unique gifts and challenges inherent in each.

Photo by Sara Galactica

Photo by Sara Galactica


To do this, it’s helpful to reframe our interpretations of these cards from traditional upright and reversal* meanings to the qualities we show when:

  • We’re at ease or acting from our wholeness, or

  • We’re stressed or acting from our wounds.

*For tarot newbies: Some folks read a different meaning of a tarot card based on if it shows up right side up or upside down during a reading, hence “upright” and “reversal.”

I’m stubbornly optimistic for a dark-hearted Scorpio, but I tend to take a pretty realistic view of humanity. Therefore I think it’s important to note that the work I’m developing around birth cards is based on the assumption that it’s impossible to act from our wholeness or our woundedness 100% of the time.

There are some folks who gravitate toward (or even default to) one or the other, but I invite you to embrace the continuum of those experiences rather than seeing either side as being more valuable or legitimate than the other. The collection of each of our individual experiences is messy. The point isn’t to strive for perfection now that we’re aware of our “flaws,” but to better understand how we move through this world and to become more conscious of our own nature, gifts, and agency.

Therefore, there are three important supports at the foundation of birth cards as I’m framing them:

  • You have, can and will act from ease and wholeness.

  • You have, can and will act from stress and woundedness.

  • It is impossible to act from your wholeness or woundedness 100% of the time.

I’m framing these cards as an opportunity for you to explore how to become more conscious of when and why you end up operating in either state— not judging yourself for “shoulds”. I’m challenging us, collectively, to shift the goalpost from “always embracing our light” (whatever that even means) to being conscious of what the many shades of our experience teach us about ourselves and the world around us. Because fuck perfection. I want presence and clarity.

I’d love to know how these cards apply to YOU in your life. If you feel inclined to share your thoughts to further this work and research, feel free to use the form below.

And just in case you need a reminder: To find your Target birth card you’ll want to do this bit of very simple math: Birth Month + Birth Day + Birth Year = Four-digit number, then add each of those numbers together (e.g. 1+9+9+1 = 12).

  • If the number is greater than 22, add those two digits together. For example: 46 would be 4 + 6 = 10 (The Wheel). That number is your Target card.

  • If the number is 22, this corresponds with The Fool (2 - 2 = 0).

  • If the number is 21 or below, stop there. This is your Target birth card.

"Where I'm aiming."
And/or: How does this card empower you? What gifts does this archetype allow you to take ownership of?
And/or: How does does this card challenge you? What does this archetype teach you about your shadow?
I'd love to know your burning questions or ideas for what you'd like to personally get out of exploring birth and year cards.
Do you want to be contacted in the future about your birth/year cards? *
May I share your comments? *
Name *
I'd like to know if the terms I'm using are helpful or confusing (hey, that rhymed!)
The terms Climate, Ecosystem and Habitat are clear and helpful.
The terms Target, Bow and Arrow are clear and helpful.
Sara Holodnick