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What’s Your Hero’s Journey? Part I: Finding Your Year Card

Rider-Waite tarot cards

What’s Your Hero’s Journey? Part I: Finding Your Year Card

  |   Articles, Tarot Exercises

The major arcana of the tarot—those 22 “trump” cards with names like The Magician, Strength and The Sun—tell the story of the hero’s journey. The very first card, The Fool (numbered 0), is our hero and protagonist, the next 4 cards are the supporting characters, and the rest of the cards are a progression of phases, events and challenges our hero meets on his/her journey.


But, reading the tarot as someone else’s heroic legend is not the point. The point is that you are on your own hero’s journey! In fact, your life will pass through—sometimes multiple times—each phase and card of the major arcana.


So, where are you on your journey? Sometimes it may be obvious. If you know the tarot well, then you know, for example, that if you’ve just been fired from your job, you are in the phase of the Tower, which brings unexpected upheaval. If you’ve just starting your first post-college job, then you know you are in the ambitious, strong-willed phase of the Chariot.


But for the rest of who may not be coping with events that make it obvious, there is another way to discover the stage of your hero’s journey: by calculating it! Start by writing down the month and day you were born, followed by the current year. Since it’s almost the New Year, we’ll be looking at 2016 instead of 2015:


[Birth Month] [Birth Day], [Current Year] June 12, 2016


Then assign a number to the month (6 for June in this instance), and add each of the numbers together (add each digit separately):

6+1+2+2+0+1+6 = 18 = The Moon


If your number is higher than 21 (22 or higher), add the two numbers together again. For example:


May 9, 2016
5+9+2+0+1+6 = 23
2+3 = 5 = The Hierophant


Your number corresponds with a card in the major arcana, and that card is the current stage of your hero’s journey! During your tarot readings for the next year, pay extra attention if your year card shows up in a reading. As this means the card is showing you that there is a larger message and opportunity for growth.


1 = Magician
2 = High Priestess
3 = Empress
4 = Emperor
5 = Hierophant
6 = The Lovers
7 = The Chariot
8 = Strength
9 = The Hermit
10 = Wheel of Fortune
11 = Justice
12 = Hanged Man
13 = Death
14 = Temperance
15 = The Devil
16 = The Tower
17 = The Star
18 = The Moon
19 = The Sun
20 = Judgment
21 = The World


(I don’t have a reference guide to tarot card meanings on my site yet, but a quick and easy resource to understand the themes of your year’s card can be found here. )