No holiday combines my love of quiet introspection with my love of eating finger food and drinking wine quite like New Years, though I could do without the resolution hubbub. I no longer make New Year’s resolutions because I’ve never kept one in my life. No one keeps New Year's resolutions. This is because no one intends to. They’re seldom about slow and steady growth or following your arrow the best you can. Whether grandiose or humble, they’re usually notions the ego takes up about changing radically, overnight and on command. We all just pretend to entertain them for something interesting to toast to.
That said, this is a wonderful time to reflect on the past year, to celebrate any progress you’ve made, and to gently nudge your mind towards whatever comes next. I love to look back on whatever’s happened in the last twelve months, to list out anything I’ve done well, and to ask myself how I want to improve in the months ahead. These exercises cover some of the same territory that resolutions do, but in a mellower and more comprehensive way.
To that end, I’ve written up a New Year Tarot Spread, comparing the passing year with the oncoming new one. This spread doesn’t ask you to make any big decisions or set any resolutions, but it does point to work you can do to move yourself forward.
1-2. Last Year’s Themes
3.-4. The New Year’s Themes
Next, I wanted to look at what themes and energies stay behind with the past year, and what themes and energies carry forward into the next year. Before I shuffled and drew any cards, I pulled Death and the Chariot from my deck to represent passing energies and continuing/developing energies, respectively. I placed Death and the Chariot on my reading cloth to set my questions’ intentions, and I pulled cards around them in a triangular pattern. The left triangle shows what has recently passed and the right triangle shows what’s developing next.
5. Something Accomplished - Something to be proud of and celebrate from the past year.
6. A New Goal to Tackle - Not a resolution or an obligation, but a nod towards a new goal that could serve you well in the next year. Something fresh you can investigate or do that complements the coming year’s themes.
7. Passing: Something to Let Go of from the Past Year - What are you done with and ready to leave behind you? What are you wrapping up now?
8. Strategies: How to Lay it To Rest - How do you do that? What tools can you use to let go of whatever needs to stay behind?
9. Continuing: Ongoing Work Began in the Past Year - What carries over from the last year into the next? What did you start last year that still needs your focus in the next year?
10. Strategies: How to Carry it Forward - How do you do that? What tools can you use to keep up the good work and get it where it needs to go?
Notice that this spread is not predictive. It won’t tell you what’s going to happen in the next twelve months. Half the spread looks retrospectively at the year behind you, and the other half examines the present as a natural turning point. It’s all about where you are and what you can do now in relation to where you’ve just been.
I tested this spread out for myself. I’ll give you a brief run-down of the cards I drew so you can see the spread in action, and I’ll try to keep it succinct. You guys don’t need all the nitty gritty details of my dirty laundry!
1-2. Last Year’s Themes
Five of Cups Rx Crosses Strength
A theme of overcoming losses, bouncing back, and regaining strength, while still navigating old setbacks.
3.-4. The New Year’s Themes
The Star Crosses the Sun
Healing and pathfinding need to continue to come into my own.
5. Something Accomplished
Page of Wands
I came up with a ton of new ideas and rallied back some of my energy . . .
6. A New Goal to Tackle
Three of Pentacles
Next, I need to hone and master some new skills to see those ideas through. I’m a bit of a jack of all trades, and I see the three of pentacles pop up a lot. Some of my most promising ideas from last year require skills I haven’t developed yet.
7. Passing: Something to Let Go of from the Past Year
Eight of Swords
It’s time to let go of anxieties that stem from feeling haunted by Things Gone Awry in the past. I’m still afraid that everything will fall apart again as soon as things start to seem like they’re going well.
8. Strategies: How to Lay it To Rest
Three of Swords
There’s a core pain or heartbreak that my current anxieties stem from. It may be something deceptively simple, but it’s drawing more of my energy than I consciously realize. I need to find it, name it, confront it head on, and put it to bed for those other fears to quiet. (I know what I’m doing for the next Mercury Retrograde!)
9. Continuing: Ongoing Work Began in the Past Year
A search for truth and wisdom continues. My primary work remains solitary. I also have some ongoing research to keep up.
10. Strategies: How to Carry it Forward
King of Cups Rx
Upright, at his best, the King of Cups is a master artist and/or a creative and compassionate leader. He balances creativity, intuition, and law and order together in his personality. Reversed, there’s an imbalance between my internal order (pragmatism, discipline, responsibilities, rules, deadlines, getting stuff done) and my chaos (intuition, subconscious, creativity, brainstorming, fun-having, mess-making). It’s easy to buy into an idea of a the artist or creator as this magical slob, whirling around in a constant state of productive mess. In practice though, we get a lot more done and create better work when we employ discipline and keep our houses in order. I need to watch that balance carefully to get the most out of my work and research ahead.
I hope this spread works well for you, too. Let me know what you think in the comments if you give it a try.