Tarot and oracle cards are powerful tools for exploring your inner development, getting an insight about people and situations in your life, and critical thinking. Since the 1990s decks have been published in staggering abundance and there are hundreds in print and currently available through mainstream online and bricks and mortar retail outlets. Thousands more can be found through online used items resellers and bricks and mortar new age shops and used bookstores. They have found their way, though rarely, into psychological practice and high art gallery presentations. More often than not they will appear at some point in the story in a fantasy TV series or movie.
Doing a reading for yourself, getting a reading for yourself, or doing readings for others is and should be a sacred process. This article, and others I write on this subject, will explore the very serious and helpful process of using tarot and oracle cards, both personally and professionally. I have been reading cards professionally since 1992 and have done thousands of readings. Over the period of my professional work, scholarly study, and personal use, I have learned many forms of knowledge about the cards and their use that I want to share with you.
When I first learned to read tarot cards back in 1989, the deck I purchased was the Mythic Tarot. In the workbook that came with the deck, one exercise involved getting your personal card and using it to guide personal readings. Having the card that represents you is a good way to focus a reading because you can pull that card out of the deck and use it as an anchor for pulling the other cards for a reading. If you do not pull out the personal card, but do personal work with your deck and your card appears, then you should focus on the placement of the card and consider the reading somehow significant to you at the time you did the spread.
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Court Cards, the Easy Method
One of the easiest ways to find your card is to select the court card associated with your Zodiac Sun sign. Most traditional decks use the knight, queen, and king to represent mutable, fixed, and cardinal astrological signs. Each element is represented by a minor arcana talisman: sword/air, cup/water, pentacle/earth, and wand/fire. So, for example the Knight of Swords would be mutable air which would be Gemini. If your Sun sign is Gemini, then your personal tarot card would be the Knight of Swords. Below is a table with all 12 signs and their corresponding card:
|Aries||Cardinal Fire||King of Wands|
|Taurus||Fixed Earth||Queen of Pentacles|
|Gemini||Mutable Air||Knight of Swords|
|Cancer||Cardinal Water||King of Cups|
|Leo||Fixed Fire||Queen of Cups|
|Virgo||Mutable Earth||Knight of Pentacles|
|Libra||Cardinal Air||King of Swords|
|Scorpio||Fixed Water||Queen of Cups|
|Sagittarius||Mutable Fire||Knight of Wands|
|Capricorn||Cardinal Earth||King of Pentacles|
|Aquarius||Fixed Air||Queen of Swords|
|Pisces||Mutable Water||Knight of Cups|
I am an Aries Sun; so my card is the King of Wands.
Numerology and Your Personal Major Arcana Card(s)
Another way to determine your personal card, from the Major Arcana this time, is to calculate the numerology of your birth date and your birth full given name. By adding the numbers of my birthday, April (4) 12, 1968, I get 4+1+2+1+9+6+8=31=4. My card is the Emperor. If I calculate my full birth name (Philip Franklin Young) using Pythagorean numerology, I get the number 3, which is the Empress. If I happen to use the Chaldean system or the Gematria system (a la Marty Leeds), I still get 3 for my full name each time.
However, if I use each of the systems and use only my first name, Philip, I get a 7 with the Pythagorean system, the Chariot. In the Chaldean system, my first name calculates to an 8, which is Strength. And with the Gematria system, my first name produces a 6, which is the Lovers. Interestingly enough, if we take just the month of my birth, April, it is a 4, and the Emperor again. My day of birth is the 12th, the Hanged Man, which can be reduced to a 3, which is the Empress again. My birth year 1968 totals 24, which reduces to a 6, which is the Lovers.
Guided Meditation with the Cards
A final and “non-calculating” method for determining your card or cards is some form of guided meditation using the Major Arcana and the Court cards of the Minor Arcana, including the Pages. We all start out the Fool; that is the one card that belongs to all of us. Other cards describe concepts that are impersonal, so we can leave out The Lovers, Chariot, Strength, the Wheel of Fortune, Justice, Death, Temperance, the Tower, the Star, the Sun, the Moon, Judgment, and the World. You want to focus on the “actors” of the tarot.
Lay out the remaining cards in a single row beginning with the Magician, then the High Priestess, Empress, Emperor, Hierophant, Hermit, Hanged Man, Devil, the Pages, Knights, Queens, and Kings. If you wish to make a gender distinction, whether actual (I am genetically male or female) or felt (I fully identify as male or female), you certainly can, but it is not necessary. We are all really some combination of masculine and feminine energy.
Spend time with each card, pick it up, hold it, and imagine yourself acting as the archetype of that card. You may quickly realize that some cards resonate, while others clearly do not. Put aside any that do not first. I have never really identified with the Pages, except as parts of my life cycle, but not as the cards from which one could represent me. I was also able to rather quickly eliminate the King of Cups, King of Pentacles, Knight of Wands, Knight of Pentacles, Knight of Swords, Queen of Swords, and Queen of Pentacles. Among the Majors, I was able to quickly eliminate the Empress, Emperor, and Devil.
Left with the Magician, High Priestess, Hierophant, Hermit, Hanged Man, King of Wands, Knight of Cups, Queen of Cups, and Queen of Wands, I began to feel my order of importance for each one. The Court cards fell to the end of the list fairly quickly. I realized that I encountered plenty of High Priestess types, but that was not really my type. I strived to be the Hierophant (and got there eventually), but never really felt truly scholarly. I can be a Hermit, but I am not THE Hermit, which brought me down to the Magician and the Hanged Man. As I relaxed further and further into the process, I eventually felt my deepest connection with the Magician.
Consider All Methods
I would certainly recommend using all methods and actually going through them in this order since the Sun Sign = Court Card method is so quick and easy. Then “run your numbers” and see what cards emerge, and see if you notice a pattern. I have certainly seen an on again/off again dance between the Lovers and the Hanged Man! The guided meditation is perhaps the most personal and intense; you may surprise yourself with the final card. When I started out, I very much wanted to be the King of Wands or the Emperor, but the deeper I worked the more clearly these were not my cards. Enjoy your journey into the tarot as you search for your personal card!