In numerology, all numbers are believed to be meaningful symbols, each carrying a unique vibration and application to our lives. Our personal numerology charts can help to shed light on our destinies, our passions, and even our subconscious struggles. While everyone has certain core numbers in their charts (such as life path numbers), some people also have what are known as karmic debt numbers. The meaning of karmic debt numbers relates to the trials and tribulations that continually show up in our lives — and they’re there to help teach us valuable spiritual lessons.
Karma in numerology refers to a sort of spiritual cause-and-effect that can span throughout lifetimes. The idea is that our souls carry forth both wisdom and burdens from circumstances we faced or mistakes we made in previous lives — and that these karmic conditions can be clarified to us through the magic of numbers.
“A karmic debt is something that occurred in a previous lifetime that you're now making amends for,” numerologist Kaitlyn Kaerhart, author of You Are Cosmic Code: Essential Numerology, tells Bustle. Once we acknowledge and begin to understand the karmic debt that we must settle this lifetime, we have an opportunity to break old cycles and stop making the same mistakes over and over — which can bring a deeper sense of freedom and wisdom to our lives.
While not everyone has a karmic debt number, they’re actually pretty common and nothing to be afraid of. Here’s the scoop on the meaning of karmic debt numbers and how you can use them for personal growth.
The Meaning Of The Karmic Debt Numbers 13, 14, 16, & 19
There are four karmic debt numbers in numerology, and those are 13, 14, 16, and 19. Each of these four karmic debt numbers holds a significant meaning and indicates a specific set of difficulties that a person would need to work through in this lifetime.
- Karmic debt number 13: “A karmic debt of 13 is about past abuse of morals for material gain — or in other words, any abuses dealing with work life,” Kaerhart says. “This karmic debt signifies you’ll have to work harder and learn more lessons in order to achieve career success.” People with this number may run into repeated road blocks when it comes to reaching personal goals, but can often overcome this by avoiding shortcuts and putting in a more grounded and methodical effort.
- Karmic debt number 14: “14 indicates there was an abuse of freedom in a past life,” Kaerhart says. “With this karmic debt, it’s important to strengthen the positive traits of being a free spirit while maintaining boundaries and limitations so you don't totally go off the rails.” Because a karmic debt of 14 is related to escapism, it’s important to maintain moderation and self-control in order to overcome a karmic debt of 14.
- Karmic debt number 16: According to Kaerhart, the number 16 relates to past life transgressions when it comes to love. This could manifest as repeated cycles of having your heart broken or breaking others’ hearts. It’s important to address toxic relationship patterns and commit to honesty and loyalty.
- Karmic debt number 19: “A karmic debt of 19 is related to the abuse of power in a past life,” Kaerhart says. People with this karmic debt must learn lessons regarding their independence and how to support themselves throughout life’s struggles. It’s important to not fall victim to ego-based behavior or stubbornness with this number present.
How To Find Your Karmic Debt Number
Our numerology charts include a variety of symbolic core numbers, each of which are calculated in different ways and hold a unique significance to our lives. Karmic debt numbers can appear amongst any of them, but they’re most powerful when they appear within your life path number. Find out how to calculate your life path number.
No one’s life path number will be one of the karmic debt numbers in its final form (as life path numbers are always reduced to either the numbers 1-9, or one of the master numbers). Instead, they’re something that can come up during the process of calculating our life path numbers, before they’re reduced to a single-digit number. “You only have karmic debts if you come across 13, 14, 16, or 19 while you’re calculating out your core numbers,” Kaerhart says. For example, if the sum of your three month, date, and year numbers totaled out to 16, you would need to reduce that number by adding 1 + 6 in order to get to a life path number of 7 —but you’d carry a karmic debt number of 16, since that showed up during the process of calculating the final life path number.
It’s actually more common to have karmic debt numbers in a numerology chart than it is not to have them, so discovering one doesn’t mean you’re doomed to struggle with bad karma forever. It simply means your soul has some obstacles to work through on its current journey — and once you identify these debts, you have a better idea of how to clear and overcome them.
How Do I Pay Off My Karmic Debts?
The concept of past life karma can be intimidating, as no one wants to be punished for some mystery mistakes that their soul may have made in a potential previous incarnation. But like all debts, karmic debts in numerology can be settled and cleared from your spiritual credit. “A lot of people get freaked out when they realize they have karmic debt, but actually most people have it, and it’s not a big deal,” Kaerhart says. Once you know what your karmic debts relate to, you can start settling them and releasing yourself from the karmic cycle.
What’s most important is that karmic debts can be used to help us grow out of limiting behavioral patterns or personal struggles. Often karmic debt numbers manifest as people grappling with the same themes or facing the same challenges over and over again throughout their lives. If we ignore our karmic debts, it’s believed that they’ll continually show up as roadblocks that hold us back from reaching our true potential or goals. But if we acknowledge them, they can help show us what we’re meant to learn and overcome throughout our lives.
“Sometimes it takes people a lifetime to move through karmic debt, but a lot of people move through it when they’re younger in life, too,” Kaerhart says. “Either way, the point is to transmute it.” In order to do that, we have to address the karmic issues head-on and identify the cycles and patterns of behavior that we seem to be stuck in. It’s also helpful to lean into the positive qualities of the karmic debt number’s corresponding life path number — which you can find by adding together the two digits of the karmic debt number until they equal a single-digit life path number — in order to counter the negative effects.
What If I Don’t Have Any Karmic Debts?
If you don’t have any karmic debt numbers, it simply indicates that your soul’s quest holds a different meaning — one that doesn’t involve repaying past life debts. “It is possible to not have any karmic debt, but it’s rare,” Kaerhart says. “I believe this means you chose to come here and be here at this time for a specific purpose that was not necessarily tied to karma.” Neither scenario is better or worse, as everyone is fighting their own battle and working through patterns, whether they’re karmic or not.