For the last several years I have performed or received a massive Tarot reading whose purpose is to give me some idea how the coming year will pan out. This year’s reading is … less auspicious than those previous.
Two years ago, this annual divination was part of what gave me the courage to leave my mall bench in favor of full-time school. Last year, it gave some indication of how my transitionary process would go.
This year … well, it looks like I’ve got some rough times up ahead. My annual reading consists of two parts: an inner circle laid out with the Crowley-Harris Thoth deck in a slightly modified version of the Twelve Houses spread, giving me a thematic view of the year; and an outer circle laid out with the Robin Wood deck, giving me a chronological view.
1st House – general outlook – 10 Wands “Oppression” – fix with IX the Hermit
10W—Blocked development, problems with authority, fear of life, “straightjacket”. Encourages recognizing one’s limitations and acting responsibly. Warns against demonstrations of power, intolerance, and suppressed aggressions.
IX—Contemplating what is essential, defining one’s position, seclusion, seriousness, retreat, getting to the bottom of things, life experience. Encourages letting something mature, taking oneself seriously. Warns against embitterment, cranky solitary ways, unworldliness. As card for the year: advises using the coming phase to think about life and what one wants out of it. Periods of retreat and isolation may be necessary and even for the good, but one should do so in moderation.
This is not a good way to view the world. I’m going to feel like I’m being blocked by the cock of the universe, and the worst possible reaction is going to be to start flailing my own cock around in response. The Hermit clarifies what 10W encourages: keep my zen, take these struggles as lessons, and maintain a proper balance between my inner and outer worlds.
2nd House – finances & communication – XV the Devil
Shadows, instinctiveness, lack of moderation, greed, thirst for temptation, unconscious forces. Prohibited activities, exploitation, intrigues & shady dealings. Encourages bringing light into darkness. Warns against the destructiveness of natural drives which have been suppressed.
This card in this place speaks less about circumstances and more about decisions. I’m going to be strongly tempted to either make very foolish decisions with my money … or possibly to do very bad things to get my hands on more. Given my ceremonial experiments and some of the other things that have been going on in my life, I think that the latter is much more likely that it would have been a year ago.
Hexes? Love philters? Evicting relatively harmless ghosts? Can’t say I won’t ever be tempted to do these things. Money is only a tool, but it’s a damn handy one at times.
3rd House – daily experiences & immediate influences – 8 Cups “Indolence” – fix with VII Adjustment
8C—Weakness, broken hopes, disheartenment, resignation, necessity of changing one’s ways, stagnation, depression. Recognizing personal responsibility. Encourages leaving the disastrous morass. Warns against clinging to what has decayed or starting something with no prospects of success.
VII—Objectivity, clarity, balance, justice, karma, sober perception, personal responsibility, self-criticism. Recognizing personal responsibility. Encourages viewing things objectively and soberly as well as recognizing one’s personal responsibility in it. Warns against becoming unable to act after too much careful consideration.
You’ll notice a repeated phrase between these cards: “personal responsibility”. And both cards connect solidly with the undying theme of the House: immediate influence and experiences. These things tell me that the key to surviving the coming year is to keep my perspective and to never blame my situation—or, at least, to be deeply skeptical of seeking solutions—outside of myself.
4th House – home-place & family – 2 Wands “Dominion”
Eagerness to fight, courage, willingness to take risks, willpower, becoming inflamed about something, spontaneous assertion, violent forging ahead, inconsideration. Encourages risking something, asserting something, conquering something. Warns against inconsiderate aggressiveness, destructive actions, and hollow demonstrations of power.
This is my second warning against “demonstrations of power”, and that makes me nervous.
5th House – fun & pleasure – X Fortune
Changes, shift, new beginnings, happiness, fateful events, task in life. Encourages recognizing one’s destiny and shaping as the task in life. Warns against fatalistic resignation.
Not really sure how to process this card in this House, unless one interprets “fun” as “lover(s)”, in which case it’s still a little out-of-place.
6th House – work, illness, & duty – XIV Art
Finding the right proportions. balance of powers, harmony, relaxation, overcoming differences, healing. Resolving conflicts, joyful and productive teamwork, making progress, dissolving contradictions and resistance, finding the balance between work and leisure time. Encourages giving one’s best to overcome contradictions or differences. Warns against underestimating the difficulty of a plan or the depths of a problem. As card of the year: “This is the year of the great work…”
Given that my greatest problem so far this year has been achieving a balance between various passions and obligations, I find it no surprise that it will be a major feature of next year as well. School, sleep, socialization, magic, working for money … I’m struggling to juggle all these things, and it’s already overwhelming. I either need to get a whole lot better at juggling, or start giving things up.
7th House – partnership – 3 Swords “Sorrow” – fix with XI Lust
3S—Bad news, disappointment, weakness, sorrow, helplessness, chaos, disillusionment, renunciation, loss. Pangs of love, fear of loss, injuries, end of relationship, failed hope. Encourages opening up to an unwelcome but totally necessary insight. Warns against wishful thinking that inevitably leads to disappointment.
XI—Courage, vitality, love of life, strength, passion, intrepidity. Powerful relationship, passionate connection, fascination, sexual debauchery, excess. Encourages passionate devotion to a person, a task, an experience. Warns against just following the pleasure principle and trampling on other people’s feelings.
“Sorrow” isn’t quite the worst card one can get in the 7th House, but it’s definitely one whose meaning is relatively easy to interpret. For those who work exclusively with Crowley: the 3S in more traditional (Waite-Smith) decks is an image of a heart pierced by three swords. There’s actually a lot going on with the three of swords, but particularly in terms of romance … well, long story short: heartbreak and drama. Given the realities of my situation – nine or ten years older than most of my peers, the nymph who’s been keeping me company so far graduating in May, and the strangely fragile and puritanical/performative nature of the sexual culture on campus, among so many other things (and as I write this paragraph I realize that I’ve started writing some of my personal journal entries with an eye to posting them on this blog) – this is hardly a surprise.
What is surprising is the solution. Fix the 3 of Swords with XI Lust? Is that best read as “power through”? Share the love? Fuck ’em ALL? I think that only time will tell, but I’m pretty good at Lusting, so I suspect that I’ll pull through better than most.
8th House – hidden, taboo, & crisis – Knight of Disks
Firmness, sobriety, persuasiveness, stable values, reliability, straightforwardness; mature, sensual man; relist pragmatist, guarantee of security. Encourages enjoying what has been achieved and using one’s means and possibilities in a responsible manner. Warns against stubbornness and meaningless hoarding.
Again the theme of “responsibility”. And here in crisis, too. Hrmmmmm.
9th House – higher perception – XVI the Tower
Sudden perception, upheaval, breakthrough, liberation, blow of fate. Recognizing fixed ideas and exploding old concepts that have become too constrictive. Encourages going beyond a framework that is too narrow. Warns against incalculable risks and dangers that radical upheaval brings with it. As card for the year, this may be the year of liberation. Take the risks.
No surprise here. I will be progressing and eventually completing my year of studying ceremonial magic over the course of the coming year, and if that doesn’t culminate in a Tower I haven’t actually done the work.
10th House – recognition & career – Princess of Swords
Young, intellectual woman; female rebel who is nimble minded and knowledgeable; esprit, clarity, mental renewal, provocation, restlessness, quarrelsome nature. Conflicts at work, battle for position, clarifying conflict, rebellion. Encourages cooly and decisively clarifying a situation. Wars against “head wind” attacks and sharp-tongued criticism.
Does this card speak of me or of someone I’m going to have to deal with? Both, probably. As a Prince of Cups Scorpio, I have the capacity to manifest a lot of the qualities of swords court – particularly some of their more negative aspects.
11th House – friendships – Queen of Disks
Fertility, sense of security, sensuality, serenity, endurance; a mature, experienced woman; being calm, stable, patient, trustworthy. Trusting each other, perseverance, mature relationship, loyalty, starting a family, sense of security. Encourages dedicating oneself to concrete tasks with endurance and patience. Warns against meaningless drudgery and unimaginative striving for possessions.
Given the placement, I am inclined to take this Queen as a person I need to look out for. Someone I need to impress.
12th House – secrets & fears – Ace of Wands
Hopeful new beginning, initiative, willpower, decisiveness, electrifying idea, surge of creativity, opportunity for self-development, becoming inflamed about something. Encourages initiative and decisive progress. Warns against hotheadedness, impatience, and arrogance.
Of course I want these things. Who doesn’t?
Underlying Theme = 10 Swords “Ruin”
The “underlying theme” of my readings – the bottom card of the deck – is often the least reliable part of the readings. But I continue to make use of it because when it does mean something, it is often very helpful.
Here it appears to be reiterating a theme found in several of the other cards: be careful what you think you know. My preconceived notions are going to be a source of trouble in the coming year, and if I can’t balance or explode them, they could lead to ruin.
+2 = Princess of Wands X Knight of Swords
More people. I don’t know what to do with this yet.