Hello Tarot Nerds!
I’m here to talk to you about a Year Ahead spread, why you would choose to use it and how to lay it out as well as a little on how I put it in my bullet journal. I also include a couple variations of essentially the same spread. This isn’t a spread to use daily or weekly, but as the name implies, yearly. Because it’s a yearly spread you should expect to take a little extra time to do it compared to a regular Tarot reading.
Why a year ahead?
With this spread, you can get a general idea of the energy and/or themes of the following year to come. There are different ways of when to do it. Some people do it around New Years Day to prepare for the new year to come. Some do it on their birthday for their next year of life and some do it on the new year day of their culture like Celtic or Chinese New Year.
There are also different ways of reading it. Some read it by month, some by sun sign, some by moon cycle or season. Whatever way you choose to do is okay. Just be mindful of which way you choose and what it means to you to read it this way out of many. If you don’t pay attention to the moon cycles then it wouldn’t make sense to read it according to that for example, unless you plan to incorporate it in the year ahead.
I’ll start off with a general 12-month yearly spread, and then 2 variations of it. One smaller version and one bigger version. While you can perfectly use the first 2 versions mentioned as a beginner, I don’t recommend doing the 3rd version if you are still easily overwhelmed with tying the meanings together in a spread.
I added an example interpretation for the 12-month version and you can see my extended version interpreted into keywords in my planner at the end.
The General Yearly Spread – 13 cards
The General version is a good one for someone wanting a little more work compared to the Seasonal version. Can still be good for beginners, but be sure to take your time as its 13 cards.
In this version, you lay out 1 card for each month and 1 card for the general feeling of the year. Usually, you lay them out in a circle, but this takes up a lot of room so you can choose to lay them out in 2 rows of 6 or 4 rows of 3.
You can replace the names of the months with the sun signs or moon cycles, although there can be 13 cycles in a year, in which case you would need to add 1 card.
Using the Ostara tarot. Generally, I read them as a sort of story, some introducing new challenges, some the progress of it.
General impression: Death
This year will be all about getting rid of things that no longer serve you. Transformation. Closing doors in order to open new ones.
January: The Hanged Man
This signifies that you need to let go of something to obtain a new perspective on a situation, maybe even need to sacrifice something for your desired goal.
February: 9 of Coins
You can taste the fruits of your labour. There’s a reward to be found during this time.
You’ll need to be patient to find the right way to keep on going. Something may be stirred up and you need to find the middle path between things.
April: 10 of Wands
10’s are the end of cycles, an accomplishment. And with accomplishments come responsibilities, burdens. Don’t let these burdens weigh you down.
May: The Devil
It’s okay to revel in material pleasures from time to time, make sure it doesn’t stop you from working on your higher purpose. Enjoy but be mindful.
June: King of Swords
Kings are the master of their element and this one brings you the mastery of the mind. Speak your truth and find the power within words
July: Page of Wands
Pages are curious expressions and the page of wands embodies the passion of fire. It’s all about exploration, excitement and freedom of the self and your passions.
August: 5 of Swords
Sometimes we can get a bit too high up in our ambitions, which turns into sneaky behaviour, where we want to win no matter what. It’s good to be ambitious but try to keep it fair.
September: 8 of Wands
This one indicates you need to keep moving and make decisions. No time for doubt or to wait it out. The time for action is now.
October: Page of Coins
Time to work on your dreams and desire! There’s a new opportunity around the corner.
November: 10 of Swords
Something is not working out for you, maybe someone makes you feel betrayed, maybe there’s a defect in your plan. Take time to reassess.
December: The Star
Don’t let November’s message make you lose hope, the Star brings you hope and rejuvenation. Perfect to end the year with.
The Seasonal Yearly Spread – 5 cards
The Seasonal version is probably easiest for beginners, new to reading spreads as it’s small counting only 5 cards.
The seasonal version is essentially the same but smaller, although it can also be a different way to look at the general yearly spread. In this version, you lay out 1 card for each season, or you place the cards from the one above in 4 rows of 3, each row to represent a season.
This is what a seasonal could look like. 1 card for each season, to represent a theme present in that period of time. The interpretation is similar to the previous version but in a much more general/less specific way.
The Extended Yearly Spread – +/-50 cards
In the extended version, there are 4 cards/coins per month. The extra 2 cards are to get a general feel of the energy and lessons/challenges of the year as a whole. Here are my positions and used tool.
- The general theme (I used Astro Glyphs)
- The general themes and energies to be dealt with. In this case, I used astrological correspondence. Since I’m also an aspiring astrologer I was able to tie some of these to placements in that timeframe.
- Something to take note of (I used the Moonology Oracle)
- Anything noteworthy apart from the general theme. Can be used as a clarifier or deeper insight into the general theme.
- The lesson or challenge you’ll encounter (I used Prisma Visions Tarot)
- This is what will come on your path to deal with and go through. Lessons and challenges help us grow mentally and spiritually.
- Supportive energies (I used the Wild Unknown Animal Spirit Oracle)
- Energies that will be supportive in relation to the challenges presented. Please remember that if it seems positive or negative this is all relative to the point of view and even negative things can help support us to learn what we need.
Tracking your reading
Now getting an idea about your year is nice, but to me, it seems useless if you don’t come back to it later or keep track of it.
Some people like to do it, take notes, and don’t come back to it till the end of the year when doing a new reading. This way you can look back on your year and how the cards applied to it. Purely reflecting on your year.
I personally record it in my planner. I look at the cards at the start of the month and write small notes on how my previous month went. What I noticed from it is that the cards are very accurate especially when I read back at the end of the month. Now I don’t think this is a “you know it so it happens” kind of thing because it usually was accurate in a very surprising way.
In case you’re interested in my planner, I’ll be making a post about it at some point what I put in it and how it serves my craft, as well as how a bullet journal system may be a good basis for a research Grimoire or Book of Shadows.