images from Kris Hadar’s Tarot www.krishadar.com
A year’s spread:
(click to enlarge)
Often, January becomes one of those busy reading times, with many making use of Summer (here in the Southern Hemisphere) to take the opportunity to have a year’s spread, or a more general reading for the year ahead.
There are indeed many spreads used for a year’s prognosis – and there are some, of course, who plainly do not use the Tarot in this way whatsoever. The spread which graces these pages is a modification which I have at various times used, save that I have included, in addition to a central card, a ‘top’ card as my wife does.
In an actual reading, other cards, to connect various positions, may also be drawn. Drawing additional cards, though oft useful, is also a temptation which beginners are especially wont to do, rather than allowing the card, no matter how difficult, to speak and unveil of its own accord.
The cards used to illustrate are from a Marseille designed along classical lines in 1996 by Kris Hadar in Canada. They are amongst the most beautifully illustrated and expressive of the Marseille – the deck is also available worldwide through Tarot Garden.
But looking at the cards here depicted, how would one interpret such a spread? The arch is made from twelve cards, reflecting, in order, January through to December. The top card shows the influences or over-riding pattern for the year with regards to the spread, and the central card that which the person, state, agent, body or institute may repeatedly refer to or draw from during the year. The spread depicted was drawn as I typically would a twelve month spread, except I did not have any individual, nation nor specific intent in mind – save to use it for illustrative purposes in these pages. Certainly what arose in the reading of it, only partially captured in my written description, is its application to various international events – I suppose apt for a Newsletter spread to the four winds of the globe – but I’ll let this sit as background without further ado.
Before reading each of the cards sequentially, it is worth stepping back to observe and see what patterns emerge. For example, the two ends of the arch, and the central card, are each sword cards – the year begins and ends, and permits the drawing of forces from this suit. Moving up one from each end – to the February and November positions, are not just two cards from the suit of Coins, but the Three Coins is reversed – the only reversal in the spread – and as a result echoes the top portion of the Seven Coins. The next two, moving up, are Major Arcana, depicting virtually opposite qualities of intuitive reflection and, on the other side, controlled thought.
Again moving up, on the left is the Queen of Wands in April, and on the right the Ace of Coins in September. The two equinoctial months. Whereas the Ace connects, via its suit, to the two cards two layers below (the Seven and the Three Coins), the Queen connects to the two Wand cards two layers above (the Two and the Three Wands – in June and July).
Next we again have a pair of Major Arcana cards, and each dealing, in different ways, with what has sometimes been connected with Karmic consequences – the one as immediate and immutable Law, the other as golden opportunities. Finally, we have, as the keystones of our arch, the Three and the Two Wands.
Above is XV the Devil, and centrally is the Knight of Sword.
So let us move on through the year…
January sees the possibility of contracts or documents which are overdue being finally signed. The central flower, being upright, also shows that there is hope that the more military-like resources drawn from the Sword Knight is placed at the disposal of providing a secure enclave (the flower is within the double vesica piscis formed from the blades of the swords). It may be that various countries finally accept interim measures which, though not satifactory to anyone, accords a semblance of peace.
February seeks to build on the previous month’s achievements, but the resources are not there to be found, and quibblings about how to move mountains seem to lead nowhere. In other words, there seems to be more time spent on trying to change major issues, rather than focussing on the small everyday details which could be attended to.
March seems to bring not only some reflections of the past, but bring to the fore what has many years past been agreed upon. Here what is called for is simple but open reflection and acceptance, without drawing on forces of change. Given the next cards, there is danger that too much emphasis will be placed on the distant past during March, and not on seeking to understand and open oneself to the current situation as is.
April brings possibility of making decisions and acting on them with might. Given that here the Queen has her back somewhat turned to the previous card, she may make decisions without considering the various strands brought forth by the High Priestess.
May sees both the consequences of this, but also brings fresh Karmic consequences from ‘out-of-the-blue’. This will be a trying time – a time when what is called upon is the radical acceptance of Divine Justice.
June and July show conflicting wills which engage in seeking to bring action to what has come to be. June sees the willingness to discuss and communicate important emerging issues, though it is not until July that the possibility of bringing these to some kind of choice is reached.
August brings with it some major changes – some overdue. The unprecedented alteration of certain events seem to work themselves quite rapidly. Major changes, though appropriate and positive, bring with them a sense that some of what comes is ‘unfair’ – yet it is precisely the movement which is needed.
September brings a major new stability – the danger is that it seems to have much potential, but struggles to find its place. Different positions – and those holding them – are brought together for the sake of working in unison.
October gives the impulse of the previous month grounded stability, with a sense that the stability is being overseen and permitted to prosper. One should not become complacent, however, for the next two cards show peculiar movement.
November brings either some stockmarket problems, or an unexpected loss in financial security. Yet what is called for especially here is to be open and assist, not try to control and tighten.
December sees again a call for what seems to have been successful achievement in past struggles. What is called for, however, is decisive, reasoned, but also carried out, action, as the Sword King already looks into 2005.
In this, what may at all times be easily drawn on is the Knight of Swords – what can too easily be drawn upon, then, is the military Knight, who ‘solves’ problems with the might of the sword. In the first half of the year, it seems that he does have the captive audiences of the months January through to June, with only March turned away from him. The second half of the year seems to be more oblivious to his resources, and more may be achieved with considered peaceful but powerful forces. Only December seems to call for drawing again on his skills.
As XV the Devil is hovering above the year, one of the predominant features playing through is that feeling of being bound and hoodwinked – one’s freedom restricted at every opportunity – yet the shackles are easily removed, and the sense of freedom found by simply looking the other way, and by not hesitating to seek guidance at each entry to what appears as cul-de-sacs.
Overall, the cards show quite powerful forces at play, with Karmic and historical forces dominating over the personal.
Drawing a twelve month spread is a wonderful way through which to not only record cards for the year ahead, but reflect later and see in which form the cards depicted manifested… irrespective of one’s initial interpretation.
To trust one’s reading, whilst at the same time being sensitive (and sensible) to the influence one has upon, and the needs of, others is certainly a skill which can be forever improved with practice and sensitivity. Each of these may be developed with time. Best wishes for 2004… and may any guidance reflected in the cards assist each to better meet and deal with emerging and developing situations.
Kris Hadar’s website, which has many wonderful resources, is well worth visiting. If you intend on purchasing either this or other decks from Tarot Garden, remember to mention either this Newsletter, the Association for Tarot Studies or the 2005 International Tarot Conference – Tarot Garden has kindly offered to assist the Conference by making contributions when mention is made with orders… members to the Association may instead obtain discounts.