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.”

Saturday, January 30, 2010


As we get farther into 2010, we can also think about its tarot card correspondence, which is The Empress (2 + 0 + 1 + 0 = 3, the number of the Empress card). Last year’s card was Justice, and at that time I wrote about how that might have pertained to the new Obama administration and other world trends. As the Empress stands for abundance, as well as the ability to nourish creative visions, let’s hope that this is good news for the economy, as well as a good year for “cultural creatives.”

To get a notion of what an Empress year could mean for you personally, add the day and month of your birth, and then break that number down, if necessary, to a number between 1 and 9. So, March 7th = 3 + 7 = 10 = 1 + 0 = 1. Now, consider how traditional numerological symbolism harmonizes your number with the Empress qualities. So, if your birth day plus month equals 1, the pioneering impulse of the Number 1 unites with the Empress’s creative abundance (3). Adding those numbers, 1 + 3 = 4, we see that your initiative combined with the Empress’s creative abundance will lead to the Number 4’s stable foundations. Because the Number 4 also corresponds to the Emperor card, that brings additional nuances to the interpretation; in this case, the Emperor’s ability to “make it so.” So, in this particular example, while The Empress is the year card for 2010, the Emperor is the year card for the individual whose birth day and month add up to 1. (You get your year card by adding your birth day and month to whatever the current year is, and then reducing those numbers as described.)

What we are doing is looking at how larger Empress Year qualities shape the individual’s experience of his or her personal year card.

I don’t know for sure who came up with the original idea of linking birth date numerology to tarot cards, but I believe it was Angeles Arrien, because in Mary Greer’s 1984 book, “Tarot for Your Self,” Greer demonstrates a number of these techniques, including how to find Personality and Soul cards, and credits Arrien as having taught this to her. You can learn a lot more about creating your “tarot profile” in Greer’s book, as well as in Arrien’s, “The Tarot Handbook.”

To continue with how the Empress year might be experienced by the other numbers:

For the person whose birth day and month add up to the number 2, the Empress’s creative abundance combines with the value you place on relationships, leading to more stimulating and meaningful ways of engaging larger groups of people, (#5). The additional energy of the Hierophant as your year card can help you communicate these things.

For number 3, the Empress’s creative abundance combines with your natural creativity, doubling the benefits and leading to the easy expression of good energies, (#6), often in a community of celebration. The additional energy of the Lovers as your year card can help you harmonize these energies.

For #4, the Empress’s creative abundance combines with your ability to create structure, leading to a workable creative vision (#7). The additional energy of the Chariot as your year card can help you take control of your life.

For #5, the Empress’s creative abundance combines with your versatility in channeling multiple energies, enabling you to achieve critical mass in your ability to influence larger communication networks (#8). The additional energy of Strength as your year card can help you grapple with these energies.

For #6, the Empress’s creative abundance combines with your ability to promote social harmony, leading to a wealth of opportunities, (#9). The additional energy of the Hermit as your year card can help you discriminate, to focus on the more meaningful paths.

For #7, the Empress’s creative abundance combines with your visionary ability to see ahead of your time, leading to pioneering innovations (#1). The additional energy of the Magician as your year card can help you identify resources.

For #8, the Empress’s creative abundance combines with your ability to organize your world, leading to rewarding relationships and your ability to nurture others (#2). The additional energy of the High Priestess as your year card can help you gain the necessary insights.

For #9, the Empress’s creative abundance combines with your ability to multiply your options and resources, leading to even greater creative abundance (#3). The additional energy of the Empress as your year card can help you nurture your dreams.

In the above examples, I arrived at the potential interpretations by blending and harmonizing the qualities of the different numbers and cards involved. Each new year will be different of course, because it involves new numbers and tarot archetypes that are blended in a different mix in a different way. For people who are really into numerology, there are additional levels of complication that could be brought in, but I won’t get into that.

Finally, you can also use your numbers for this year to create a personalized “tarot spell of the year.” So, in the example of a person whose birth day and month add up to the #1, you could lay out The Magician (which is card 1), the Empress (the card of 2010), and the Emperor (your personal year card), and visualize yourself bringing about the changes you’d like to see through actions associated with these cards. Similar principals apply for the other numbers, unless your birth day and month add up to #3 or 9, because then your spell would require two Empress cards; however, it’s OK to just make do with one Empress, or raid another deck.

Friday, January 29, 2010


Belated New Years greetings to everyone! I have been using my time to work on what will eventually be a book on activating the magic within individual tarot cards. I actually started on that book many years ago, but then the project stalled, so for the month of January 2010, I was really keen to renew my efforts and make some headway on that. (And I have a bunch of other projects in addition to that one.) The writing is slow going, due to the demands of work, school, and family. I work as a transcriber, so when I come home after eight hours in front of the computer and a long commute, I’m feeling pretty stiff, and it’s hard to force myself to get back in front of the computer to do my programming and other homework, let alone to write. On top of that, I have certain relatives who need my undivided attention, so I seldom have free weekends. I take various evening classes, weekend seminars, and online classes working towards developing skills in multimedia and web development, but I’ve had to cut back on the classes due to the family obligations.

Actually, when I am writing, I don’t do my composing in front of the computer. All of my stuff for books and articles I write by hand, on scratch paper, while sitting in bed, or at lunch, or whatever. Consequently, I have thousands and thousands of notes that I have yet to transcribe to disk and integrate into article and book projects. I can’t compose in front of the computer because that causes me to fall into a trance, due to the brain disorders I have as an Asperger’s person. I’d like to say I see fairies while in trance, (like the Victorians believed you could do when you fell into in a “brown study”), but I only experience it as a temporary form of non-existence. Transcribing does not cause me to go into trance, because it involves different sensory functions, and programming is also different, especially as I’m a new learner.

Looking back on the beginning of this year, people often make New Year’s resolutions, and it is often joked that half of those resolutions are broken by the end of the first day. For this reason, I think we should also celebrate January 2nd, as a day for second chances, and to affirm that we all need and deserve second chances. By the same token, if January is the month for new beginnings, February could be considered the month for second chances. This is make all the more meaningful by the fact that Chinese New Year falls in February. Even if you aren’t Chinese, you can seize on this as a chance to celebrate anew, and to renew your commitment to improvement.

Indeed, if we look at the world’s New Years festivals, we see that they fall throughout the year: Iran and some other Middle Eastern societies start the year at Spring Equinox, Thai New Year is in April, Jewish Rosh Hashanah is in September, and the Celts had two new years—May 1st and November 1st . There’s always another New Year coming along. I’m not suggesting, here, that we get lazy about our resolutions for self betterment. Rather, I look at it in the spirit of that old 1970’s cliché, “Today is the first day of the rest of your life.” With each dawning, we are renewed.