How to Calculate Your Personality, Soul and Shadow Cards

There are a couple of different methods for calculating your Tarot birth cards (personality, soul and shadow) but I’ll describe the method Mary K Greer uses, and that you can read more in-depth about in the superb book Tarot for your Self.*

Let’s first take a look at you calculate your personality and soul cards. According to Mary K Greer you add the numbers of your birth date like this:
Example: 13th of April, 1975

13
4
+1975
1992

You then add each digit in the sum: 1+9+9+2=21, keeping any number from 1-22.

In this example, 21, The World, is your personality card. As this is a double digit number, you can reduce it further to a single digit number by adding 2+1=3. 3, The Empress, is your soul card.

If the sum is greater than 22, you reduce the digits until you have a smaller number. If the sum then becomes a single digit number, the personality card and the soul card are one and the same.

In one instance, a person can have more than two personality cards, and this happens when the sum is 19. Cards 1, 10 and 19 then all become both personality and soul cards.

Number 22 corresponds to 0, the Fool, with number 4, the Emperor as the soul card. According to Mary K Greer, these two cards also work more as a unit rather than as a separate soul and personality cards.

In the table below, you will find some key words for each numerological constellation, and also see which card is your Hidden Factor or Shadow Card. The term “Shadow” here is used in the Jungian sense to refer to those aspects of ourselves that we’d rather keep in the subconscious and therefore tend to project onto others.

Personality & Soul Card Patterns Hidden Factor,
Teacher/Shadow
Constellation Principle
1-1

10-1

19-10-1

10 + 19

19

10

Magician
(Sun, Wheel of Fortune, Magician)
Will and Focused Consciousness
2-2

11-2

20-2

11 + 20

20

11

High Priestess
(Judgment, Justice, H.P.)
Balanced Judgment through Intuitive Awareness
3-3

12-3

21-3

12 + 21

21

12

Empress
(World, Hanged Man, Empress)
Love and Creative Imagination
4-4

13-4

22-4

13 + 22

22

13

Emperor
(Fool, Death, Emperor)
Life Force and Realisation of Power
5-5

14-5

14

*

Hierophant
(Temperance, Hierophant)
Teaching and Learning
6-6

15-6

15

*

Lovers
(Devil, Lovers)
Relatedness and Choice
7-7

16-7

16

*

Chariot
(Tower, Chariot)
Mastery through Change
8-8

17-8

17

*

Strength
(Star, Strength)
Courage and Self-Esteem
9-9

18-9

18* Hermit
(Moon, Hermit)
Introspection and Personal Integrity

The Personality Card tells you how you tend to respond to others based on past experience, as well as how others perceive you (roughly corresponding to your Zodiac Rising Sign). The Soul Card describes your inner drive and motivation, roughly corresponding to the Soul urge in a Numerology reading.

Do a reading with your Birth cards to find out what lessons they are currently bringing into your life.

Calculate your Tarot Year card.

Blessings,

Lisa

*I have been told that this method is older than the book and does not originate with Ms Greer. If anyone can confirm the origins, I would be very grateful

Comments 32

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      Hi Judith, there is no hidden teacher/shadow card for your combination. That’s not to say there is no shadow but in your case it is more integrated with the personality.

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  1. Pingback: The Reader’s Reading | KERDIN EXPLORES THE TAROT

  2. My old teacher Arthur Norris was talking about this method in the early 90’s, but its older than that. Angeles Arrien’s Tarot Workbook details the bones of the system and that is copyrighted 1987.

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      Author
      1. Mary K. Greer in an interview (https://marykgreer.com/2011/09/) says “I learned the Birth Card technique from Angeles Arrien in 1977 and have been using it ever since. When it didn’t look like her own tarot book would be coming out soon, I asked permission to write my work using her technique, for which Angie graciously gave me permission.”

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  3. Hi Lisa I was born January 19, 2000, I got 4 as my soul card I just wanted to make sure I got it right.

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      Author
      1. Hi Lisa. I get 4 for Jesus as well … 1+1+9+2+0+0+0=13/4. Could you please advise how you got it to be an 8, because now I’m confused 🙂 Thanks

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          Author

          No, you’re totally right. Not sure how I did it now but I must have worked off the wrong original numbers. Sorry about the confusion!!

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  4. Hi Lisa,

    The method was created by Angeles Arrien but first published by Mary Greer (with permission). Arrien published it later in her Tarot Handbook.

  5. That is so helpful Lisa! Thank You! I will try out the Birth Cards reading and let you know how it works out for me.

    Bless You! 🙂

  6. Yes, your personality and soul cards are both 8/Strength and your Shadow is The Star. The Star will bring you lessons around working with groups of people, humanitarianism, innovation and detachment. How that will express itself to you as an individual is something, we would need to do a reading on.

    I don't see the Soul/Personality card as a 'karmic influence' necessarily. If anything, the Shadow will express more of that side of things. Your Soul/Personality cards show more of your strengths and talents.

    If you struggle with creating a whole spread, you can just focus on one specific question at the time and pull one card to answer that question. Once you have answered all your questions, pulling one card for each, you will have created a spread by laying the cards out intuitively.

    Don't be afraid to experiment with spread creation! You can't really fail. Every spread you make will give you some information and you will soon learn what works best for you.

    You may also like to try the Birth Cards spread, I created: http://www.tarotize.com/2012/05/birth-cards-reading.html

    Don't pay any heed to the Chariot-related numbers in brackets above your numbers – that's just because the table is a bit messed up!

  7. hi Lisa! Thank you for your timely response. You were right, I re-calculated them using my D.O.B (5th December, 1989) and I still get 2006 as the total which reduces to 2+6 = 8. Am I on the right track? So, according to the above chart, then Star is my shadow self while Strength is my constellation? Could you tell me why you have the put the Tower and Chariot in brackets above Strength? Also, my karmic lesson in this lifetime is to learn courage and improve my self-esteem? Do you have a spread where one could use the cards to (approximately) determine what the karmic lesson and baggage from the past life/lives are, and what purpose do we need to fulfil this time around, on Earth?

    I tried fashioning spreads of my own but it really does not work out all that well. I guess you need some years of tarot practise before you can come up with your own spreads?

  8. Sorry, I quite obviously made my previous reply before I was adequately caffeinated. The total *can't* be 44 when you do the do the calculation according to the instructions above… You must have done it length-wise, rather than stacking the date and month above the year, right?

  9. Strength is then your Soul card and The Star would be your Personality. 44 is a Master Number and worth looking into as well. You're on an 8 Life Path Numerologically. Going into exactly, how your life would be affected by all this is a bit too involved to comment on in this format.

  10. Lovely post, Lisa! I just want to know… What does it mean if both soul card and personality card are the same (Strength as my D.O.B total adds up to 44 which is 4+4 = 8 or Justice if you take it as per the older tarot systems, in which case do I take it as strength or Justice?)
    Also, what does this mean for one's lifepath? Does it mean that life would be filled with events whose ultimate purpose would be to tame my Inner Beast and turn me into that Strength lady (one of quiet strength and sophistication)? Numerologically speaking, which of these numbers correlate with life Path number and Destiny Numbers? Because, my Life Path number is 8 too. I am a Sagittarian INTP in the legal profession, so I am curious to know how exactly this card and these numbers (would) affect/impact me.

  11. Thanks MandMaud, apparently the birth cards system didn't originate with MKG, although I have yet to find out its exact origins. If anybody knows, please let me know. I suspect the system is as old as associating Tarot cards with Numerology though. I've just amended this post to better resonate with my current understanding with the meanings of the Soul, Personality and Shadow cards (see last paragraph). Enjoy your studies!

  12. Thank you Lisa! I knew this could be done but haven't been able to find out how (I haven't got Mary Greer's book yet). After searching for ages, I happened upon this article while looking for something else. I'm downloading it now to study. 🙂

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