5 Tips for Divining the Year Ahead
A very common practice for many witches, pagans, and tarot readers is to perform a year ahead divination reading either at the end of a year or the start of the new year. Sometimes these sort of divinations are even performed on or near one’s birthday or whenever there is a major transition in one's life.
Whenever you decide to do a reading for yourself, here are some tips and tricks for your yearly divination readings.
Why Do One?
If you are new to card reading or divination in general, you may be wondering why even do a reading like this. Well here are some reasons you might want to try one:
- Practice reading and reviewing how cards play out in your life
- Gives you a heads up on challenges and successes you might have ahead of you to better prepare
- Practice with larger spreads
- As a way to focus your energies from month to month
Personally, I like to use it as a guide for what to expect and how to focus my energies. It has become such a part of my new year ritual that it feels weird if I forget to do it. I will also reflect on it frequently throughout the year to see how things have played out.
The Year Ahead Spread
The most common card reading for the year ahead is actually pretty simple. All you need to do, once you have shuffled your deck and focused on the year ahead, is pull a card for each month of the year. Each card for each month can represent a theme or challenge or success you might encounter that month.
Some folks will lay them out in a circle, like a big Wheel of the Year. Others, like myself, just lay them out in rows, sometimes broken down into the quarters of the year or seasons.
Additionally, many like to draw a 13th card for the overall feel, vibe, or focus for the year ahead. This represents the year as a whole that can guide the whole reading.
Here is how to do a Year Ahead Spread Reading: LINK
Here is an alternative Year-Ahead Spread to try: LINK
Here is another alternative spread: LINK
Tip #1: Hidden Influences
Something that I have done for many years with many different types of readings, is to look at the bottom card of the deck after the cards are laid out. This card represents hidden or buried influences. This could be something that you are not aware of yet or something subconscious that might pop up throughout the year (or whatever else the reading might represent).
I always mark this card down when I do a year ahead reading and take it into consideration each time I do a monthly tarot reading as well.
Tip #2: Monthly Readings
After your Year Ahead Reading, you might choose to do a monthly reading at the beginning of each month. This is usually more detailed and focused on each month. I will often note down the card I pulled from my Year Ahead Reading as an “Overall” card when I do these individual monthly readings. It makes it particularly interesting when that card comes back up in that month, reinforcing that card’s message.
There are several ways to do a monthly spread reading. One is to pull a card for each week. Then you can review at the end of each week or month how that card played out that week.
Another spread, the one I use these days, is to pull five cards total. One for the theme of the month energy-wise, one for what I should focus on, another card for advice on how to stay focused or overcome any obstacles, then the challenges or obstacles that might arise, and finally a card of what to release from the previous month.
The Theme card could be replaced by the card you pulled for that month in your Year Ahead Spread rather than as a separate Overall card.
Doing a monthly reading helps you review the card you pulled for the Year Ahead spread and see how they play out in different ways for you
Here is an alternative spread you can try for each month: LINK
Tip #3: Write it Down
One of the most practical tips here is to just write down your year ahead spread and any others you do for month or weekly readings. This allows you to remember and review what you drew and better remember the meanings and your interpretations later on down the year.
I will usually write down the month, the card pulled, and any keywords from the book or that popped up for me when looking at the card imagery. Sometimes, for extra practice, I will write out what I think that means for that given month.
Later I go back and compare it and bring it into focus with my monthly readings as well. You can add a section in your notebook you are keeping track of about how that card relates to the month you actually had. If it influenced the way you saw things happening and maybe prepared you for the challenges that came up better.
Tip #4: Look at Numerology
I often like to add in a quick numerology calculation into the mix of my Year Ahead Spread. I will calculate what my personal year number will be and often connect it back to what cards were pulled. If a card number matches my personal year number, I will pay more attention to that month.
For example, my personal year number for 2023 is 13/4 after adding my month, date and the year 2023 together to get 13 and then 4. I look at both these numbers because of the way I learned numerology. Both January and November have cards that pop up related to these two numbers. These two months may end up being highly influential in this coming year.
To calculate your Personal Year Number, check out this LINK.
Tip #5: Look at Types of Cards
If you are using Tarot for your readings, you might want to take a look at the type of cards that came out in your spread. Do a quick count of how many Major Arcana cards and Minor Arcana Cards. How many cards of each suit came out in the spread. How many court cards.
If you have a lot of Major Arcana you might have a very big year full of a lot of transitions and big changes. Those particular months may be more influential to your overall goals and progress over the year.
A lot of cards from one suit of Minor Arcana may indicate a lot of energy dominating the year ahead. Wands might mean a lot of creative projects and social engagements over the year. A lot of Swords could mean a lot of ideas, communication, and even general trouble over the year. An abundance of Pentacles could mean a lot of money or work related issues. And Cups can mean a lot of the year is a focus on emotions and relationships.
If there is a good balance between each suit then you will probably find all these areas will be touched upon. However, if there is a total absence of one or more suits, you might find those areas could either be lacking and underdeveloped this year, or else just not a major focus.
If you have a lot of Court cards, you might find there are others in your life that may impact your progress over the course of the year. During a particular month, the individual that card represents may be the center of attention or be heavily influencing where you focus your time.
Also pay attention if any of your significator cards show up in the spread. That month may be a very important one to pay attention to. That may end up being a pivotal month in your journey.
Year ahead forecast spreads are a great way to get some practice with your cards each year. It gives you a nice preview of what to expect and what to avoid as well. If you haven’t done one yet for 2023, you might want to go ahead and try it today!
Grab your deck and get shuffling!