Tarot and Numerology: Life and Career Path System

Tarot and numerology are a natural partnership. This runs from the numerological correspondences for card numbers and the Major Arcana (and Minor Arcana to some extent) through to a range of other numerology systems.

One way to combine them is to consider how your birth date and numerology relate to the Major Arcana.  I first came across a system like this more than two decades ago in a book about Crowley’s Thoth Deck which unfortunately I no longer have (and don’t remember the name and author to reference). Even sadder, I don’t remember the specific numerology calculation system the author used any more.

More recently I’ve found a great book that explores this type of system from the perspective of ‘archetypes’. The book is Tarot-Numerology Archetypes by Joy Kingsborough (available on Amazon) and it uses a system to calculate primary (and for some people secondary) Major Arcana archetypes to show mental, emotional, spiritual and physical archetypes/characteristics and challenges/obstacles, blessings/gifts relevant to the cards. If you are interested in looking at all types of systems for tarot/numerology of this type I very much recommend this book and its approach. 

There is also another great life path tarot system outlined on the YouTube channel ‘Roseology’ where the highly gifted reader/spiritualist who runs the channel uses a slightly different numerology calculation system (possibly similar to the Thoth system – I don’t know if she had a source or developed this system herself). She focuses on ‘pairings’ of Major Arcana cards to show the spectrum of a life path experience across the key attributes of the pair. I recommend checking out her channel as she is an excellent and very knowledgable reader.

My System

I’ve also developed and used my own version of a tarot numerology system over the years to highlight life path energies – primarily focussed on issues such as careers/life purposes.

What all the systems have in common is using birth data and reducing this down mathematically to align with one or more of the Major Arcana cards.  

My system is similar in many ways to Ms Kingsborough’s – except that I assign a second pathway to all results, not just some. This is more similar to Roseology’s approach except I do it for a different reason and interpret it differently. Rather than seeing these as ‘pairs’ I do this to show what the life path/career/natural talents and approaches may be (primary card) and then how these may be manifested in practice (secondary card). Including specifically through the prism of career/vocation as this is a key area where we live out our life path.

So, let me outline my system for you and give you a table for results with some general correspondences.   Once you have your calculations and see the way the system works you can also look at your own tarot books and work out what resonates for you.  

The Calculation System

The Major Arcana has 22 cards (the first having the  value of ‘0’ – The Fool – so for this system it is assigned the power number of 22).

Primary Number Calculation

Take your birth date and reduce it down mathematically to its first ‘total number’. Examples might be:

10/10/1992 – 1+0+1+0+1+1+9+2 = 15

22/11/1988 – 2+2+1+1+1+9+8+8 = 32

1/1/2000 – 1+1+2 =4

The first and third example reduce to a number between 1-22 – so this becomes the primary card in the Major Arcana. For example 1, you do not reduce further to 6 because 15 is a Major Arcana card. For example 3, this is one of the few dates for those alive today that will reduce to a number between 4 and 9 in the first reduction addition. 

For the second example it reduces to a number above 32 (higher than any Major Arcana card number), and so you add the two numbers together (3+2) to get 5 as the primary number. 

Few dates for those alive today will get 4-9 in the first addition. Even more tricky – none will get 1-3 in the first addition, and for many the second reduction will also put them in the 10-19 range.  So where the second reduction gets a 10-19 number you reduce one more time to get the primary.  For example, the following date can get number 1 as a primary number:

25/02/1999 – 2+5+2+1+9+9+9 = 37

3+7 = 10 = 1

Similarly if the first addition was 38, which leads to 11, it would reduce to 2, and 39 as 12 reduces to 3. 40 of course reduces to 4 in one reduction.

The highest number for the first edition anyone alive today could get is 42 – arising from the birthdate 29/12/1999. So perhaps Douglas Adams (author of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy) was onto something mystical when he said 42 was the answer to life, the universe and everything…

Last but not least, if your first addition adds to 22 then your primary number is not 4, but ‘0’ in this system.

Secondary Number Calculation

The secondary number in my system is effectively the nearest reverse direction calculation number within the 1- 22 range– so for those with number 1, the secondary is 10; for those with number 15 the secondary is 6 etc.  In most cases for this it creates a kind of mirroring effect but not in all. I have put these in the table below for ease of reference. For those whose primary number was 22 (the Fool) the secondary number is 4 (the Emperor).

This results in the primary/secondary pairings which describe types of career or aspiration/paths. Examples below are the Justice/High Priestess: Lawyer with a social justice focus; and Magician/Wheel: Entrepreneur with finger on the pulse of trends.

The full pairings from the system are in the table below.

Primary NumberCardSecondary NumberCard
1Magician10Wheel of Fortune
2High Priestess11Justice
3Empress12Hanged Man
10Wheel of Fortune1Magician
11Justice2High Priestess
12Hanged Man3Empress
19Sun10Wheel of Fortune
20Judgement2High Priestess
Tarot/Numerology Life and Career Path Card Correspondences

At some stage I will do some videos on YouTube going into how I interpret these pairings in more detail (and post these back here on the blog), but below there are some concepts for each to give the general idea. These are illustrative, not exhaustive.

These demonstrate the system’s conceptual framework and how mirrored pairings show different emphases/approaches depending on whether a card is primary or secondary (ie how the main path and secondary influence concept works):

Primary/Secondary Number CombinationCardsLife Path Key Words/Concepts
1 + 2Magician/WheelMagician: Creator/inventor and manifester +/or influencer; Wheel: able to predict or work with trends, data – business analysis/forecaster. This combination could start new businesses, invent new tech or help predict trends and/or be or support entrepreneurial spirit. Likely careers: entrepreneur, trends forecaster, business consultant, media/journalist
2 + 11High Priestess/ JusticeHigh Priestess: A spiritual approach, whether non-conservative/ hidden/esoteric or more traditional. If not in spiritual careers will have a strong ethical/values approach which may be hidden/private depending on role; Justice: the spiritual emphasis creates balance and fairness – healing arts would emphasise balance and ethical alignment; also could be manifest in social justice issues – healing the world/community through advocating the rules and power systems in place for better outcomes. Likely careers: healers, pastoral care, politicians, community activists, social/community lawyers.
3 + 12Empress/Hanged ManEmpress: Nurturing, creative and abundant life path with close ties to earth. The emphasis is on bringing emotional maturity, environmental consciousness and knowledge to support others actually or creatively; Hanged Man: Will understand and be able to help others navigate delays and/or the price/sacrifice involved in pursuing their goals. Is likely to give to others before self but with Empress as primary should find material blessings as a foundation for this generous approach. Likely careers: Teacher, care giver, therapist, health worker, parent, counsellor, gardener, farmer, creative artist focussed on natural beauty, scientists
4 +13Emperor/DeathEmperor: Leader/business or people manager or new enterprise supporter – primarily in private sector/corporate areas. Comfortable in power roles (including military/political) and destined for senior roles in chosen field; Death: a change focus, able to predict and manage organisational, political or other transformations; capacity to constantly move a business/enterprise forward and manage fall out of change. Likely careers: CEO/senior leader in a corporate business; senior change leader of business consultant/strategist. Sometimes senior roles in military or political system.
5 +14Hierophant/TemperanceHierophant: Can be spiritual or religious focus – if so normally in traditional organisations/religions; also other traditional environments such as universities and government. Brings wisdom and experience to well established systems and tends to protect principles and values of organisation; Temperance: provides balance and temperament to integrate the new or changing into established systems and processes; softens the potentially cold or distant side of traditional environments. Likely careers: government, tertiary/higher learning, traditional religious roles, policy advisors/legislators.
6 + 15Lovers/DevilLovers: Life path/career will focus on relationships in some form – could be in creating contacts/matches through to therapists or even legal support for relationship matters. For some this combination could also mean ‘giving up career’ for love for some reason. Devil: this card as a secondary means that in some way issues such as attachment or bondage will influence career of life path choice, and will often mean the role is to help others see and manage their own shadow in relationships. Likely careers: match makers, relationship counsellors/therapists, family law lawyers, alternative therapy healers, romance/relationship writers.
7 +16Chariot/TowerChariot: Life path about forward motion, travel, transport, balancing extreme energies, emotional supports – anything that takes us forward from the old into the new. Tower: bringing the forward momentum and balance to major changes and upheavals; helping others navigate the extreme or disruptive. Likely careers: any form of transport or travel, change agents in organisations, therapists working on significant trauma issues and in the material/business world merger and acquisition specialists, human resource leaders, media/journalism.
8 + 17Strength/StarStrength: On a generic level in anything you do as a life path/career you will lead, persevere through and guide/support others. You will often be drawn to functions where physical or mental/emotional strength and/or fearlessness are required. You may also excel in areas where physical strength and dexterity are necessary. Star: Your work will shine a light to others and present an example. You may also be a pioneer in new areas because you have the grit to birth new ideas. Likely careers: anything from athletes to military leaders to entrepreneurs.  This combination is less about topic/type of career and more about your approach to it. 
9 + 18Hermit/MoonHermit: Your life path is likely very spiritual or ethical – you would be uncomfortable anywhere where this does not align; you are also likely to work alone or prefer periods of isolation, learning and contemplation. You may channel spiritual knowledge into your day to day life: Moon: Highly psychic and in touch with elemental energies and also very emotionally empathic. You may be a healer or counsellor but if so the Hermit energy requires that you find periods of self-care and isolation otherwise your empathy may drain you. Likely careers: spiritualist/medium; counsellor/therapist; inventor; academic
10 + 1Wheel/MagicianWheel: understands and can navigate/help others surf trends, business and financial markets/new paradigms. Also could be involved in businesses specifically related to luck/experience knowledge: gambling, stock market etc. Magician: Helps others (and self) manifest financial and other outcomes from trends and economic/world systems. Can also bring the esoteric/spiritual to new ideas, trends and influences. Likely careers: Stock market trader, wealth management, influencer, strategic/data consultant, media/journalism
11 + 2Justice/High PriestessJustice: life path will be involved with the legal or ethical systems of society in some form – will also generally require a deep alignment between values and actions. High Priestess: some aspects of work may be hidden or esoteric; knowledge used in this life path is not easily acquired and may take many years to develop. Likely careers: lawyer, politician, policy advisor/strategist, community activist
12 + 3Hanged Man/EmpressHanged Man: brings a sense of willing sacrifice and capacity to deal with delays and challenges with great equanimity. Often has deep spiritual or religious overtones -work has a higher purpose. On a very practical level may also involve roles which help address and lift delays or issues in client/business relationships: Empress: brings a nurturing, environmentally conscious and supportive approach to work/career. Likely careers: Client Support providers/managers; business process improvers, organisational Communications/PR, scientists
13 + 4Death/EmperorDeath: A change agent in some form; one who helps identify and transition people, relationships, organisations etc though disruptive/necessary change for growth/sustainability. Emperor: Likely to have a leadership role in these areas though less likely to be CEO level than other combination (Emperor/Death); a leader who understands how to keep teams/organisations/causes vital and positive as they evolve. Likely careers: Change Strategist/Manager; Organisational Psychologist; Mergers and Acquisitions.
14 + 5Temperance/HierophantTemperance: Natural mediator and organisational culture expert; also health and other modalities that require balance. Hierophant: likely to work in more traditional areas or roles or take traditional learnings and apply to new environments to develop something solid/grounded but innovative. Likely careers: Meditator, Lawyer, Organisational Psychologist, Diversity Strategist, healers/doctors
15 + 6Devil/LoversDevil: Life path is about understanding and shedding a light on attachments and boundaries; might work with clients re addictions or maladaptive behavioural tendencies and in some circumstances work in areas of legal release/mediation. Lovers: the attachments and boundaries for the Devil are primarily focussed through relationship based issues and expertise. Likely careers: Therapist/counsellor/ psychiatrists, family law, divorce law, domestic/abuse shelter managers/staff; rehabilitation centre manager/staff
16 + 7Tower/ChariotTower: The major change agent primary life path – the one able to foresee and manage major change and trauma across a variety of environments or issues. Sometimes also the cause/initiator of major change or disruption. Chariot: provides a balance and momentum to change, a kind of relentless inevitability combined with the skill to bring the required/positive solution. Likely careers: Change agent, Crisis Management, Hostage negotiator, Mergers and Acquisitions, business restructure
17 + 8Star/StrengthStar: May literally mean being a star/celebrity and/or influencer; for others it is above shining a light on issues, opportunities and goals. Strength: gives a robust energy and capacity to reach any goal/ help others to do so. Can also mean shining/being celebrated for athletic or physical ability. Likely careers: Celebrity/influencer/ creative artist, athlete, motivational speaker or life/career coach.
18 + 9Moon/HermitMoon: lifepath is about empathy/psychic ability, depth psychology, the issues hidden or beneath environments, or literally connected to the environment and phases of the moon. Hermit: much of the life path will be done in isolation or privately, this is not a showy combination but is very deep. May also be very spiritual – particularly paths that involve the moon (such as Wicca.). Likely careers: spiritual leaders/advisors; tarot readers, weather/environment roles; academics, scientists
19 + 10Sun/WheelSun: very powerful and positive impact on a broad variety of roles – the Sun does not appear as a secondary card in this system. This is the natural leader, celebrity, influencer and creator. Wheel: with the Wheel as the secondary card this combination gives luck, a very fine instinct for fortune and how to navigate it, a great sense of trends and influences in whatever field is pursued. While the Wheel in other combinations can work behind the scenes, the Sun brings this out – the skill and luck is destined to be recognised in some form. Likely careers: creators/celebrities; motivational leaders, trend analysis and prediction; nurturers on a large scale.
20 + 2Judgement/High PriestessJudgement: life path will be about balance of ethics, laws and political/cultural systems in some form. High Priestess: this provides for the work of Judgement to be done in either esoteric/highly specialised fields and/or behind the scenes. Likely careers: Political or legal strategist, cultural and political influencer, Communications and PR; policy and legislative developer
21 + 3World/EmpressWorld: the World is not secondary to any path in this system. Those with the World have a destiny/path that is in some sense linked to the greater collective, to major political, cultural or environmental concerns and are in touch with the zeitgeist in some way. Empress: the Empress provides a firm grounding to the major focus of those with the World and a sense of deep connection to Earth. The focus becomes of creating and sharing abundance and furthering social causes such as diversity and inclusion. Likely Careers: Environmentalist, Major Influencer roles, Creative artists, Social and Cultural leaders; Politics, Academics, Scientists, Diversity Strategists
22/0Fool/EmperorFool: The Fool is not a secondary path in this system. The Fool is the archetypal inventor/bringer of the new, the adventurer and the one who can see possibilities where others see impossibility. Emperor: this system focuses on life and career paths so the combination of the Fool with the Emperor shows those paths where creativity and genius/innovation is married to/supported by an understanding of and capacity to work with the powers and authorities of the world. This ‘Fool’ is not naïve – they come with real force to make a change and birth the new. Likely careers: entrepreneurs, inventors, futurists, AI/tech, scientists.

(c) Helen Valentina 2021

Published by iotaserpentis

Hi, I'm Helen, a tarot reader of over thirty years' experience who juggles spiritual learning and life with a very secular day job and a creative passion for writing in all forms: novels, stories, poetry and theatrical productions. I hope to help others seeking the guidance of tarot: to learn its secrets and other spiritual traditions. Especially those looking for practical guidance on relationships, career and creativity and other readers looking to unlock and connect the wisdom of their daily life with their spiritual insight.

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