We’ve all heard of karma – what goes around comes around. If you do good things then good things will happen to you and vice versa. But what about karmic debt?

It is a little more complicated concept. Karmic debt is the negative patterns and themes that run through your life. They are said to accumulate from past lives, prevent us from moving forward in this life.

To understand what the karmic debt is, we have to go back to the beginning – karma.

What Is Karmic Debt, Karma, and Reincarnation?

If you believe in karma, then it pays to have an understanding of karmic debt. So first, let’s examine karma and its origins.

Most people recognise that positive karma comes from doing good things and negative karma comes from being bad. What is interesting about karma is that as we progress through life, we build up a ledger if you like, of credits and debits of good and bad karma.

Therefore, on one side of our karmic ledger we have our positive credits, and on the other side are our negative debts. The other important factor to know is that these credits and debts have a numerical value and this is known as our karmic debt.

But how do we know if we owe any karmic debt and how can we repay it? Well, the whole concept of karma comes from the Buddhist belief in reincarnation. Your soul returns time and time again to learn the lessons from your previous life.

According to these beliefs, as you continue through your spiritual journey, you will acquire karmic debt and credit, not only from your own deeds and actions but from others.

It is only when your ledger has a zero balance that your spiritual journey is complete. Those who believe in reincarnation claim that you may have to travel through many lifetimes to achieve this zero balance.

What Are Karmic Debt Numbers and How to Calculate Them?

One way to identify whether a karmic debt is affecting your life is to work out your karmic debt number. Don’t worry, it’s not as difficult as it sounds. When I worked out my number, it made a lot of sense.

Here’s what you do.

There are four karmic debt numbers – 13, 14, 16, and 19. Each number represents an area in your life where lessons need to be learned.

To see whether you are affected by these karmic debt numbers we use three areas of numerology:

  • Day of birth
  • Personality number
  • Life path number

In some cases, you can see that a karmic debt number crops up in your life. For example, my day of birth is 14, so immediately I know I have the karmic debt number of 14.

But what if you were born on the 2nd or 5th? Many of us have a single number, or the calculation may arise in a single-digit number. The question is, can you make a double-digit of either 13, 14, 16, or 19?

This is what I mean.

These are the single digits that add up to the karmic debt numbers:

4 = 13 (1+3)

5 = 14 (1+4)

7 = 16 (1+6)

1 = 19 (1+9=10=1+0=1)

Day of Birth

If you were born on the 13th, 14th, 16th, or 19th, then this is automatically your karmic debt number.

Otherwise, add the number of your birthday, for example, if you were born on the 5th, 5 = 1+4 so your number is 14. If you were born on the 8th, you do not have a karmic debt number.

Personality Number

Our personality number represents the way we present ourselves to the world. It is calculated by adding the day we were born with the number of the month we were born.

For example, a person born on the 14th of February would add:


7 represents the karmic debt number 1+6 = 16

Life Path Number

Finally, calculate your life path number by adding the day, month, and full year of your birth.

For example, a person born on 22nd January 1971 would add


5 relates to the karmic debt number of 14.

One important point to note; if your life path numbers calculate as 11, 22, or 33, you should leave them as they are. These numbers are master numbers and are believed to be highly significant and powerful and not be related to karmic debt.

What Do Karmic Debt Numbers Mean?

13 = Laziness

The number 13 represents laziness in a previous life. Maybe you let others do the work for you, or you benefitted from the hard work of other people.

This number is telling you the time for shirking is over. You have to do the hard work, not take the credit from others, and finish a project when you start it.

14 = Control

This is my number and resonates with me as I have issues with feeling out of control. I have anxiety and panic attacks and the one thing I say when every therapist asks me what I want is control.

I feel embarrassed when I am in the middle of a panic attack and I don’t like to think of myself as vulnerable. If the number 14 crops up in your life, you could have controlled and manipulated others in a previous life. Now, in this life, you have to learn to let go of control.

16 = Ego

The number 16 relates to the ego. It represents narcissism, entitlement, over-estimating your abilities, and looking down on others in your previous life.

In this life, you have to practice a more humble and graceful approach. Learn not to judge people, or put some on a pedestal whilst dismissing others without knowing them.

19 = Selfishness

In previous lives, you could have been concerned only with your own needs. This may have manifested itself in using other people to attain your goals, fraudulent activity, excessive use of alcohol or drugs, or taking advantage of family or friends.

In this life, the number 19 is the hardest to overcome. Start by counting your blessings and being grateful for what you have and the people in your life. Volunteer for those who are struggling, learn about the causes of famine and war, and use your time to highlight these struggles, not to benefit yourself.

4 Signs Karmic Debt Might Be Affecting Your Life

The easiest way to see if a karmic debt is affecting your life is to look for patterns or themes that crop up again and again in your life.

Do you always end up in the same abusive relationships? Are you stuck in a cycle of anxiety or do you have a phobia that you can’t get rid of?

Once you identify these patterns, it becomes clear where your karmic debt lies. Then you can do something about it.

  1. Obstacles in Your Life

If you took shortcuts or the credit for other people’s hard work in previous lifetimes, the chances are you are paying for it now. Despite what you do, there always seems to be an obstacle in your way.

At times, you feel like giving up. After all, what’s the point? No matter what you do, something always gets in your way or goes wrong. You are frustrated, you feel stretched to the maximum. And this is how it should be.

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Now is the time for focus, hard work, and perseverance. You can succeed, just don’t take any shortcuts and don’t give up.

  1. Addictions

Enjoying freedom at the expense of others in your previous life has now come back to haunt you. In the past, you lived to excess and enjoyed being free, from responsibilities and by behaving irresponsibly.

In this lifetime you are being asked to curb your freedom. You are restricted in your movements. This can lead to an unhealthy dependence on people or substances. Instead, get some structure into your life and learn to face your fears.

  1. Self-Sacrificing

Are you drawn to people that need help? Those with a karmic debt number of 16 can often gravitate towards the needy without knowing why. According to reincarnation beliefs, this is because they are repaying the selfish ego debt from a previous life.

Another sign of karmic debt relating to the number 16 is soul-searching. This is the number of out with the old and in with the new. If the ego is willing to let go of the arrogance of the past, it can learn to advance through its spiritual journey.

  1. Abusive Relationships

The number 19 represents a need for independence and learning to stand alone through personal strength. If you find that you end up in toxic abusive relationships, then now is the time to recognise that this is something within your control.

You can ask for help, you don’t have to put up with offensive behaviour and you are strong enough to leave.

Final Thoughts

Do you believe that knowing your karmic debt number can shed light on problems you have in this life? I’d like to believe so.


  1. goop.com
  2. yourtango.com

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