What’s Your Tarot Year Card?

Modern witch movement blog tarot for year

One of my favorite, most centering witchy rituals is reading tarot cards for myself. Whether it’s through tarot, astrology, philosophy, or psychology, I’m always up for a moment of introspection. In fact, I wholeheartedly believe the world would be a better place if everyone committed to at least one practice of self-reflection—and to doing their shadow work that comes up in the process. 

With or without such a practice, though, the events of the year 2020 have been so intense that it would be hard to miss this opportunity to slow down and reflect. As I write, 6 planetary bodies are in retrograde, the west coast of the United States is burning, overt racism is on the rise, and everyone’s daily life is still hugely affected by COVID-19.

On a global scale, the call to awaken is obvious, but possibly overwhelming. The good news is, each year also has a theme for you as an individual. Calculating your tarot year card can show you which part of the fool’s journey told in the story of the major arcana applies most to your life this year, and where to focus your attention.

Calculating your tarot year card

To calculate your year card, add your birth month and date to the current year. Then, add the digits of that number together. If the new number is greater than 21, add those digits together, too. 

For example, my birthday is August 31. 

8 + 31 + 2020 = 2059.

2 + 0 + 5 + 9 = 16.

Once you have your number, check out the corresponding card from the Major Arcana to learn more about your theme for the year. This website offers keywords associated with each one as you hover over the card and more details if you click on the card. Think of the reversed meaning as the shadow side of each card’s energy.

The 16th card of the major arcana is the Tower. It’s resonant for me not only because of the external events we’ve all been facing as our expectations crumble around us, but also because of the high degree of connectivity I’ve been feeling with humanity at large so far this year. Su torre es mi torre.

It’s also resonant for me because it means last year, in 2019, my card was 15—the Devil. To me, the Devil is about following temptation into a dark place and not realizing the consequences until we’re kind of stuck there. It’s like the idea of boiling a live frog. We construct false realities to protect ourselves from cognitive dissonance when we ride with Devil energy. That’s why the Tower has to come next. The Tower must burn so that the Star, the 17th card, can rise from its ashes.

Journal prompts: What’s the card of your year this year? What about the year before and after? Pay attention to how these three cards fit together in the story of the major arcana and look for similar patterns in your life. What have you noticed last year and so far this year that fits the narrative? How do you feel about what lies ahead?

The experiential and integrative phases of your year card

So far, we’ve talked about how your year card can give you a clue about the themes of the external events that occur in your life during a given calendar year. But, the reason I’m considering this blog topic now, in September, is because our birthdays are also a good time to clock a new year.
Measuring from birthday to birthday, our year card indicates the kinds of life lessons we’re integrating into our being from the medicine of the life experiences we face during the calendar year. So, in my case, my birthday is August 31. That means I spent the calendar year 2019 having external experiences characterized by Devil energy, but did not really begin my period of integrating those lessons until 9 months into the year. That tracks—I’m a longterm processor and I value having a LOT of context before I make decisions.
On January 1, 2020, my external experiences shifted to my year of the Tower, but until the end of last month, I’ve still been integrating the lessons I learned from my Devilish experiences. It took me until about the end of that integration period to wrap my head and heart around the depression that characterized my Devil year enough to write about my process of ​healing depression through shadow work​. And now, my birthday has just ushered in 3 months of double Tower energy until the new calendar year begins and brings with it the medicine of the Star. Time to kick shadow-burning and tower-toppling into overdrive!
Journal prompts: Based on the timing of your birthday, how long is the overlap of your experiential year versus your integration period? How does that track with how you process new information?
I learned about this exercise from Mary K. Greer’s book, T​arot For Your Self.​ Check it out if it resonated with you and you’d like to learn more!

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