Birthday Tarot Spreads Explained

Understanding Birthday Tarot Spreads

Happy solar return! The sun has completed another cycle in your astrological transit chart and you’ve gained another year’s worth of wisdom.
Today I’ll talk you through how birthday tarot spreads work and we’ll look at a sample reading.

Birthdays are a deeply reflective time when we have the chance to grieve and celebrate the previous year while also looking toward the future. Birthdays may be accompanied by a sense of dread.

You’re getting older. You detect more grays in your head than you did on your last birthday. Your collection of night creams is growing and getting more expensive. This sort of anxiety around birthdays is common. However, just because it’s common, doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t seek guidance or reassurance.

That’s why I suggest setting time aside to look inside of yourself. Before being showered with gifts, well wishes, and social media shoutouts, begin your special day with a birthday tarot spread.
If you don’t want to do one yourself, you can consult with one of the many online tarot sites.

What Is A Birthday Tarot Spread?

A birthday tarot spread is a card layout optimized to answer questions relevant to your special day. The birthday tarot spread below helps querents who are searching for guidance regarding their life goals and lessons. Please note that guidance is not the same thing as instruction. This reading shouldn’t be used as a step-by-step manual for the following year.

Your life will always be in your hands. What a birthday tarot reading can do is apply the wisdom you’ve gained up to this point in time to the context of growing older.

This spread can also shed light on your near future, provided you continue down your current path. The predictive portion of the birthday tarot spread is the most likely scenario out of infinite possibilities. If you don’t like what that near future holds, all you have to do is change direction. Your future is in your hands. 

The birthday tarot spread below is designed to look like a birthday cake because this is a time for celebration. Your existence adds value to the world, and we’re happy to have you. Let’s celebrate YOU.

How To Do A Birthday Tarot Reading

If you’re an enthusiast of astrology, numerology, or other divination methods, then you understand that timing is everything. Your birth date and even your birth time are infused with an energetic imprint that is specific to you. That’s why it’s recommended that you conduct a birthday tarot reading on your actual birthday. Try to do this early in the morning in a space where no one will disturb you.

Get started by using your favorite method to cleanse the tarot deck, especially if another person has ever used it. This reading is all about you. We want to avoid other people’s energetic fingerprints. Some cleansing methods you can use are:

  • Knock on the deck with your knuckles three times. This disperses remnant energy.
  • Blow hard on all sides of the deck. On top of blowing away the remaining energy, you are also adding a bit of your life force with your breath.
  • Lightly spray the deck with Florida Water or homemade cleansing spray. If you don’t want to spray the deck directly, you can spray the air and pass the deck through the falling mist.
  • Organize the deck in numerical order (major arcana 0-21, minor arcana by suit). This will “reset” the energy in the deck. You will need to shuffle for a lot longer afterward, though.

Once you’ve cleansed the deck, you can shuffle cards. Traditionally, shuffles are done by holding the deck in one palm and gripping the top and bottom of the deck with your hand, and randomly changing their place. Newer tarot readers have adopted the riffle shuffle that is used in popular card games.

This is where you split the card deck, hold half on either hand, bend the cards back to apply pressure, then let them fall from the thumbs individually, one after the other. Some people don’t like the riffle shuffle because it bends the deck. As long as it’s your own tarot deck, you may shuffle the cards however you please.

While you shuffle, make sure to focus on yourself and your concerns regarding your birthday. If you don’t have any specific thoughts to pull from, it may help to repeat your name and birth date over and over again until you’re in a trance or at least feel like you’re “in the zone.”

Now that you’ve cleansed and shuffled your tarot deck, you may begin placing the cards into the birthday spread. Cards 1-3 is the base of the birthday cake. They represent the foundation your life is standing on. Set the cards down from left to right.

Cards 4 and 5 are on the second row. This is where the reading’s near future/predictive element is discussed. They should be placed in the spaces between cards 1-3.

Birthday tarot spread

How To Read The Birthday Tarot Spread

CARD 1: Lessons From Childhood

As I mentioned above, the bottom row represents your foundation. What can be more foundational than the lessons you learned in childhood? For better or worse, your formative and teenage years contribute to your present-day perspectives, dreams, and willpower. Which of these lessons will help you the most in the upcoming year?

Sample card placements:

  • The Emperor indicates lessons learned from your father figure or the authority in your childhood household. What did you learn about the traditionally masculine principles? What did you learn about strategy and follow through?
  • The World asks you to look back on your childlike wonder. Did you see the world as a place full of adventure? Did you believe in heroes? Can you believe in those things now? These are also lessons regarding completion and achievement. 
  • The Hermit recalls the value of silent introspection and of processing information by yourself before sharing it with others. This is also about trusting your own inner wisdom.

CARD 2: Lessons From the Previous Year

This card summarizes the wisdom you’re bringing into this new season. If your personal life is anything like current events, then you might’ve felt like a video game character going from one quest to quest, never really pausing to reflect on what just happened. Here is your chance to process. What did this past year teach you?

Sample card placements:

  • The Chariot alludes to lessons around moving forward in your journey. Did your determination help you achieve a life goal? If you struggled with literal transportation, how did you get from Point A to Point B? Did you learn to bargain for rides? Did you learn about friendship and gratefulness when people stepped up to drive you to work?
  • The Hierophant points to lessons about tradition, ancestry, and spirituality. This can be as small as continuing to replicate a family recipe, or as big as reconnecting to a form of spirituality that has been lost for generations. Or, as is popular these days, learning family secrets after someone takes an ancestry DNA test.
  • Temperance is the picture of balance, moderation, and patience. Are you eating, drinking, and exercising in moderation? Were there any times that you lost your patience, or gained perspective by being patient?

CARD 3: Wins From Previous Year

Celebrate your victories. The gratefulness you carry with you should embolden you to continue to pursue your dreams. Your wins can be as monumental as saving up enough money for a downpayment on your first home, or an important first step, such as scheduling your first therapy appointment.

Sample card placements:

  • The Seven of Wands in this position would tell you to remember the times when you had the upper hand. The methods you used to get there will come in handy in the upcoming year.
  • The Queen of Swords reminds you of the triumph of your intellect and truth-seeking. Remember when you were bold and straightforward. People respected your opinion and came to you for advice.
  • The Page of Wands represents the time when you were inspired to do new things and felt the elation that comes with freedom.

CARD 4: Tips For The Following Year

Following the lessons learned and personal wins, Card 4 provides a suggestion for how you can apply them to your following year. Make sure to consider the context of Cards 1-3.

Sample card placements:

  • The Three of Cups would recommend using your wisdom to network or check in with family and friends more often.
  • The Tower, usually a frightening card, would advise you to use your newfound wisdom to choose change over predictability
  • The Moon would advise you to reach deep into your subconscious throughout the year and pull information to the forefront of your mind. It also reminds you that secrets don’t stay secret for long. Be careful of what is done in the dark and what you keep to yourself.

CARD 5: Challenges in the Upcoming Year

Fortune favors the prepared mind. This card is meant to alert you to potentially challenging situations further along your path. It is not meant to frighten. If anything, challenges carve out our core personalities to reveal our strengths and weaknesses.

Sample card placements:

  • The Four of Pentacles would tell you to expect limited resources. Think of the phrase “prepare for winter.” On an emotional level, you may experience the consequences of being closed off from opportunities. Remember this any time you find yourself literally crossing your arms.
  • The Sun, one of the most positive cards in the tarot, might indicate the burden of constantly being under a spotlight. Or the consequence of too much exposure to the literal sun. Remember, the sun can both feed and burn plants.
  • The Wheel of Fortune reminds you that sometimes you’re up and sometimes you’re down. Anything can happen. Ensure that all of your basic needs are met. Expect the unexpected. But like a wheel, keep rolling forward. Roll with the flow of the cobblestones.

CARD 6: Theme of the Year

What will be the overall theme in this new age? For example, your last year in high school might’ve felt like a series of endings. Your last high school football game. Your last homecoming dance. Your last marching band performance. The theme in this example is finality. Card 6 is both a theme and a summary of the birthday tarot spread because all of these lessons have culminated in the theme of this new year.

Sample Card Placements:

  • Four of Swords would indicate recurring situations where the solution is to rest or wait. It predicts a year of friends, family, and spirit guides repeating the phrase “please be patient.”
  • Three of Pentacles lets you know that you will constantly learn through collaboration. It’s a year of learning to value different opinions and expertise.
  • Two of Swords predicts a year of learning to make decisions even when you don’t have all of the necessary information. It’s relying on your intuition and intellect to trust that you will make the correct choice with the information you do have.

Tips For Birthday Spread Readings

  • It’s recommended that you conduct this reading on the morning of your birthday while you’re still groggy. It will be easier to connect with your subconscious and intuition.
  • Take notes. You will want to look back on this reading in a couple of months.
  • Make the reading special. Your birthday is a special occasion. Try lighting your favorite scented candle or playing soft music in the background.

I hope this birthday tarot spread gifts you with useful guidance. Make the most of this new year.

You may also find our beginner’s guide to tarot useful. Or find out more about tarot history and its fascinating past.

Happy birthday!


Can I still do this tarot spread if my birthday has passed?

Yes, it’s recommended that you do your birthday tarot spread any time during your birthday week. The day of your birthday is preferable.

Do I need to use a specific tarot deck for this spread?

Using a deck you’ve already built a personal connection with is preferred.

Can I only do a birthday reading once?

Usually, the first reading you conduct with a freshly shuffled deck is the one you accept. However, you’re welcome to start over if you were distracted while shuffling or feel disconnected from the reading.