Tarot for the Year, Part Two: The Deep Dive

We’re now a week into 2022, and it’s already been … interesting and it seems like the joke that 2022 is pronounced “2020, too” is already an all too accurate description.  2019 and 2020 saw some major changes in my life, mostly involving loss. 2021 was all about coming to terms with those changes, a process that will continue in to 2022, which brings me to reflecting on Tarot readings for the year. My year cards for 2020 and 2021 were challenging, indicating some upheaval and sacrifice, as well as a need for me to withdraw. As it turns out, upheaval wasn’t all bad; I did land a really cool job that was just what I needed.

Moving into 2022, the year cards indicated something more encouraging, although at first The Lovers and The Hierophant combo confounded me. As I wrote last week, this combination of cards indicates that while following my heart is good, I need to ground myself in tradition to build a solid foundation. I wanted to explore a little deeper, so I went to the Interwebs to look for different year spreads. I found one that resonated with me at Angelorum (The Year Card Tarot Spread (angelorum.co). My personal year card, The Hierophant, is the starting point for this divination.

Seven card Tarot spread using the Rider-Waite-Smith deck.

1. Year Card – V. The Hierophant (top center)

This card is firmly grounded in tradition and established practice. The person depicted on the card even looks like a Catholic bishop, or even the Pope, and it’s hard to find anything more rooted in institutional traditions than the Roman Catholic Church. For many of us, this type of tradition represents an oppressive religion with strict rules about how to stay in the good graces of the institution, one reason many Pagans reject attempts to codify our beliefs. Tradition can be a good thing, though. It gives us a framework on which to build our practice and our spirituality. At times, we need a teacher. At other times, we are the teacher. In this spread, the Hierophant sits between the Six of Cups and the Three of Cups, Father Time’s Scythe and The Young Child, respectively.

2. Father Time’s Scythe – The Six of Cups (top left)

The card in the number 2 position represents what needs to be cut away to make room for new growth. I drew the Six of Cups. The Cups suit is associated with the element of Water and represents emotions, relationships, dreams, and so forth. The Six of Cups represents memories, the past, old relationships, nostalgia. What from my past is present here? This card in the second position in this spread indicates that something in my past is holding me back from growth and I need to, in the immortal words of Elsa, “let it go.”

3. The Young Child – The Three of Cups (top right)

The Young Child represents the mental attitude I need to cultivate in order to take full advantage of what The Hierophant is telling me. The Three of Cups exudes joy. There are symbols of abundance all around and the three women pictured are celebrating with a pretty exuberant toast. They’re practically throwing those chalices up in the air. From their posture, they are dancing! Joy! I need to cultivate joy. There are likely some deeper ideas involved, but they will reveal themselves in time. In the meantime joy is a good starting point.

4. The Hour Glass – Eight of Wands (bottom left, underneath)

I can stop right now and have a pretty good notion of the direction I need to be going. But let’s keep going. The card in the Hour Glass position is what will bring the energy of the year card front and center. I pulled the Eight of Wands for this position. This card presents eight wands (or staves) in flight with the implication of speed and forward movement. The angle suggests they are about to land. It’s important to note that the staves are not guided; they were aimed and then launched, but there’s no real control where they’ll land and what will happen when they do land. Forward motion is good, and I’m glad that it looks as if it will happen but being overwhelmed and at the mercy of whatever other forces are acting to alter the trajectory is probably not so good. So, it looks like there is potential for me to move forward rather quickly, but I need to be careful that I don’t move too fast.   And that brings me to the next card, The Moon in the Challenge position.

V. The Challenge – The Moon (bottom left, crossed over)

This position is exactly what it sounds like; what is going to challenge the circumstances suggested by the Hour Glass? My Hour Glass card presents its own challenges, but how will that energy be affected by the card in the Challenge position? The Moon card is in the Challenge position in my reading. The challenge of the Eight of Wands is to move forward without losing control and becoming overwhelmed. The challenge of The Moon is the opposite; fears, inhibitions, lack of goals or clarity, and old patterns of thinking and acting can arrest forward motion and actually send backwards, right back into that Six of Cups. Instead of allowing Father Time’s Scythe to cut away those past attachments, I might find myself wallowing in them and avoiding any growth at all. What advice do I need; what action can I take?

VI. Advice/Action – Seven of Swords (bottom center)

How can the Seven of Swords possibly present any advice or appropriate action? I mean, this card is all about sneaking around, deception, theft … you get the idea. Am I supposed to lie and pretend I’m learning and growing? Should I present a fake face to the rest of the world? Not at all. While this card can be, and often is, interpreted negatively, there is another possibility. It takes a lot of work to be sneaky and deceptive; one really has to think through the deception and carefully plan how to carry it out. There needs to be a strategy and one needs to be proactive and plan for contingencies to pull off a successful scam. There’s also a need for stealth; it’s not good to broadcast what you are doing. The lesson to be taken here is to set a goal and make a plan to reach it. Plot out the steps and plan for when life happens and the universe seems to be laughing at your plans. Just be careful not to let the Moon energy get you so bogged down in planning that you forget to execute. The instructions for the spread say to read this card in conjunction with the number 3 card. According to that card, I need to cultivate joy. Luckily, I enjoy setting goals, planning, and organizing. I don’t always enjoy the execution, so maybe it’s time to take that on.

VII. Father Time’s Gift – The High Priestess (bottom right)

Father Time’s Gift is what out come I can expect at the end of the year if I follow through with all of this. Enter the High Priestess. She is a woman who is confident in her own strength and knowledge. She is a powerful figure who trusts her intuition to provide the answers she seeks. The title of High Priestess implies that she has some responsibility for the training and development of others; it also implies some sort of community leadership. I need to become more confident in my own ability, knowledge, and inner strength. A priest whose fears and insecurities make him unable or unwilling to lead, teach, or advise is not going to be effective in anything. So my goal, or one goal, is to become more confident and trust in my own power.

Conclusion – Tying it all together

As I mentioned earlier, the tone for 2022 seems to be more encouraging for me, indicating that the time for withdrawal and sacrifice is coming to an end. The Hierophant indicates a need for a firm grounding in traditional teachings and practices – maybe time to actively embrace formal coursework I keep putting off. I can be a powerful practitioner and priest if I quit sabotaging myself. The first step is to let go of the anger and resentment because of stuff that happened two years ago. I’m in a much better place now, and don’t need that shit dragging me down. I’m learning to take joy in simple, everyday things: kittens playing, the wind moving through the trees, the laughter of children, and sitting around the table with family. I have recovered my love of music-making.

Moving forward, I want to concentrate on deepening my knowledge and skills in my chosen spiritual path. I need to be deliberate in my approach to my coursework and spiritual practice and I need to enjoy the process and not just rush headlong to the end result. I look forward to seeing where I go this year.

Bright Blessings for a happy and prosperous 2022!

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