For each year of your life, you have a card from the Major Arcana called the Tarot Year Card, which represents the tests and lessons you’ll experience in any given year. Your Tarot Year Card indicates the kind of archetypal energies that are constellated in that year, suggesting personal qualities you can work with.
In Archetypal Tarot (Weiser, 2021), Mary K. Greer connects astrology and numerology to the tarot to create an in-depth personality profile that can be used for self-realization and personal harmony.
This video workshop will explore Chapter 14 from Greer’s text. We’ll reflect on your Tarot Year Card from 2021 and write out forecasts for the year to come in 2022.
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By the way, I think I might be calculating the year card a bit differently, though it depends on where you think the parentheses in the math formula goes and thus order of operations.
My approach is to isolate three sums for a spiritually significant trinity. Your month and day of birth is added together for one sum. Then separately, add the digits for the given year, whether that’s your year of birth or a transiting year for a Tarot Year Card calculation.
Now you’ve done two orders of operation. The third order, for that nice, neat trinity, is when you add the two together. Only after you’ve done three operations for the trinity do you then do the theosophic reduction (i.e., if the sum is over 22, add the digits together for a single digit sum).
Differing Calculation Methods
That’s the fun conundrum with metaphysics—there are many different approaches and differing correspondence systems. Case in point, a previous blog post in which I explore elemental directional correspondences and reconciling the conflicts.
What’s important is to understand your rationale, and to go with the method or a correspondence system that aligns with your own philosophy, per the rationale.
Parentheses in math problems indicate separation of ideas, so you want to do those operations separately, before adding together (left to right). Since we have established the concept of a Base Year, calculating the Base Year as a separate order of operation just makes sense. It echoes the philosophy that every Base Year is “predetermined” to the extent that we already know what the Base Year tarot card will be just by adding up the numbers.
In astrology, the month plus day is the degree of the sun. That’s then its own unit of a concept. Our birthday (month plus day and sun sign degree) is what “modifies” the global generalities of a Base Year determination. It then stands to reason that the sun sign degree, as in independent concept converted to numerology for this purpose, would be its own separate idea, warranting another set of parenthesis. To me, it makes sense to do this as a separate predetermined order of operation, and then add the two predetermined sums together for the third and final order of operation.
When you run the calculation method this way, you end up with three operations for a trinity, aligning the method with Hermetic and Neo-Platonic philosophy, which in esoteric tarot, are deeply influential concepts.
So that’s the rationale for my approach. However, it’s not the majority approach as espoused in Archetypal Tarot or as might more commonly find in tarot birth card literature.
My recommendation is to explore the different approaches, determine which one works the best for you, and then stick with it, i.e., remain consistent. Ultimately, it’s personal consistency that’s key.
What to do with The Fool Card
In Archetypal Tarot, 22 = The Fool card. So Key 0: The Fool can be one of the birth cards, and in the case of this workshop exercise, one of the Tarot Year cards.
My personal approach is to opt for the continuity of trinities and the sacred sevens, so I don’t observe 22. If the sum is over 21, I do the theosophic reduction. Instead, I think of The Fool card as a significator. But this is a totally personal stylistic thing. There’s no wrong or right here– just what seems to work for you.
Commencement of the Tarot Year
|Birthday is between…||Tarot Year Card cycle|
|January 1 – June 30||January to January|
|July 1 – December 31||Birthday to birthday|
In Archetypal Tarot, it’s noted that if your birthday falls between January 1 and June 30, your Tarot Year Cycle is more likely to be felt from one January to the next, so cleanly aligned with the calendar year.
However, for those with a late calendar season birthday, i.e., you were born between July 1 and December 31, then your sense of the Tarot Year per the corresponding Major Arcana card is more likely to be felt from your birthday to the next birthday, or solar return.
Although you’re encouraged to approach the journaling prompts in any way you like, I gave the recommendation of a three-card oracle reading when thinking about what lessons your Tarot Year Card will teach you. Sure, you can use a tarot deck for this, but I just found it works a lot better when you’re using a non-tarot deck. Go for a Lenormand or Kipper, or any favorite contemporary oracle deck.
Study Your Tarot Year Card from Different Decks
This is an especially fun exercise when you extract your Tarot Year Card from different contemporary decks, because the range of artistic interpretation is greater. 2021 was a Key 20: Judgement year for me, so if I’m exploring the Judgement card, I’ll pull out Key 20 from the multiple tarot decks I own and set those Key 20s out in a spread for study.
If you’ve got quite the tarot deck collection, pull out your Tarot Year card from seven, eight, heck up to ten different decks and lay the cards out in a spread while you go through the journaling prompts in the handout.
Read the layout of Tarot Year card versions as its own spread, i.e., scan the landscape for symbols that stand out to you, and note which symbols or signs are calling to your focus. Synthesize the different interpretations of that Major Arcana card. Take a photograph of the spread and revisit it throughout the Tarot Year.
Archetypal Tarot (Weiser Books, 2021)
This workshop skates the surface of what you can do with the Tarot Year Card, not to even get into Birth Cards, Personality Cards, Soul Cards, and more. Read about your Karmic Year, learn more about Base Years, Cycle Themes, and then there’s an incredible reference in here on how to interpret your Year Cards.
If you want to work with the tarot for self-exploration, journaling, and more introspective psychology-based work, get yourself a copy of Archetypal Tarot: What Your Birth Card Reveals About Your Personality, Path, and Potential. This 2021 edition has a Foreword by Theresa Reed, the Tarot Lady.
This is a new edition of the previous 2011 Who Are You in the Tarot: Discover Your Birth and Year Cards and Uncover Your Destiny. I have and love both.