Sunday, January 31, 2010


When I wrote about Year Cards yesterday, I fired off my post in too much haste, so I didn’t adequately explain the method for calculating year cards, and that in combining numerology with tarot, you can experience year cards going up to the number 21. That is because in the narrowly focused technique I was describing, I was just concerned with the most basic building blocks of peoples’ experience, as personal year experiences are informed by the year as a whole, which is an Empress year, and hence my reason for distilling the birth date and Year Card numbers to between 1 and 9.

So, to clarify the basic year card technique, the way you get your personal year card is you add your birth day and your birth month to the current year. So, for a person born on January 4th, he/she would add 1 + 4 + 2 + 0 + 1 + 0, which gets 8, and corresponds to the Strength card, while a person born on June 23rd would get 14 (6 + 2 + 3 + 2 +0 + 1 + 0 = 14), which corresponds to Temperance. However, if a person was born on January 4th and the current year happened to be 2098, his or her numbers would add up to 24, (1 + 4 + 2 + 0 + 9 + 8 =24), which takes us outside of the tarot deck. In that case, he or she would have to add 2 + 4 to get 6 (the Lovers) for a personal year number. Because 2010 gives us such a low number (3) with which to do magical numerology, most of us won’t have to break our numbers down too many times to get a number below 22.

So that is how you find your personal year card, though there are other nuances. Angeles Arrien, who as I have said I believe invented the technique, reckons the year from birthday to birthday, as opposed to the calendar year. However, others go by the calendar year, and I tend to go along with that, because in our cognitive perception and memory, we tend to experience years as entities. Thus, when Queen Elizabeth had had a particularly bad year, she described it as her “annus horribilus,” and a lot of us think of 2001 in a certain way, due to 9-11.

Now, getting back to yesterday’s exercise that involved looking at 2010 as an Empress Year, and thinking about how that could combine with our personal year card experiences: for the purposes of that particular exercise, I was having everybody condense their year card numbers to one digit between 1 and 9, because as I have said, we were looking at the most basic building blocks of the experience. Also, when you have a year card number or other type of number of 10 or above, you have one of the 1-through-9 numbers as a seed or shadow factor at work. So, a person whose Year Card number is 13 (Death), has 4 (the Emperor) as a background influence--and when you think about it, both Death and the Emperor are concerned with consolidation and setting limitations as a way of forming structures; (a “terminus” is necessary in laying out and defining a structure). Looking at the lower numbered cards as factors in the higher numbered cards, in fact, viewing them as “tarot constellations” is another Angeles Arrien innovation introduced in “The Tarot Handbook,” and further developed by Mary K. Greer in “Tarot Constellations.”

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