How to Map Out the Year Ahead: A New Year’s Tarot Spread

New Years Tarot Spread, Tarot Spread, Tarot Guide

This post is updated yearly, with the most recent writings on top. Scroll down to see past year’s writings.

New Years Tarot Spread – 2021 Reading

I don’t need to convince you, 2020 was a rough year.

I’ve been luckier than most – I didn’t lose my job, and I grew in my role doing more of what I want to do. I helplessly watched as people around me needed to pivot to what needed to be done to stay afloat. Reduced social outings meant less money spent. It also resulted in more savings than I ever had, along with guilt-free spending when I did splurge.

Listing off the things I am grateful for not changing this year makes me acutely aware that I would complain about these very things in past years.

In past years, I wouldn’t be grateful that I retained my job. I would instead be disappointed that I hadn’t moved up or onwards in my career.

How was 2020 for you?

It’s about this time of year, right after Christmas, right before New Years’, where I do a year-in-review reading. But this year, I just can’t bring myself to do it. So I’m skipping right ahead forward-facing to the future.

What does 2021 have in store for us?

At first glance, a lot of the cards are reversed, and now, I’m worried. 2021, please be kinder to us.

Let’s dig in, one card at a time.

  1. The main theme for this year: The High Priestess Reversed.
  2. Departing energies from last year: The Sun Reversed.
  3. Talents you will be expressing this year: 4 of Swords Reversed.
  4. Future opportunities: The Hermit Reversed.
  5. Upcoming obstacles: Knave of Wands.
  6. How to deal with upcoming obstacles: The Moon Reversed.
  7. How to achieve your goals and dreams: Judgement Reversed.

Our main theme for the year is the High Priestess Reversed, which means we need to make the extra effort to listen to our intuition. As you continue reading, you will see how her voice echos in each card, weaving through each message pointing to our internal selves.

We all can agree, we are set and done with 2020, and the Sun Reversed means that it’s going to be a little harder to see and recognize positivity in our day-to-day lives.
Ask yourself: This past year, have you found yourself making the extra effort to recognize the good of everyday life? Or have you used phrases like:

“…look on the bright side?”

“…at least we still have this [ little life pleasure ].”

The Sun Reversed in the 2nd position of this reading doesn’t mean we’ll be losing the little bright lights that have kept us going over the past few year months. It just means that we won’t be looking for them and holding on to them as tightly as we have this past year. Maybe this is a good sign. I tend to look for the positive things around me when I feel the “bigger” things are not going my way.

It’s snowing the day after I shoveled my really long driveway? Well, at least it was great physical activity, my arms are sore but it feels good!

So maybe, we won’t be as disappointed in our day-to-day experiences so much that we need to look for the positive points. If life gives us lemons, we make lemonade. Well maybe we won’t be making lemonade because we won’t have as many lemons to deal with. we’ll be focused on new opportunities? Let’s see what that cards have to say!

The talents we will be expressing this next year will be internally focused, according to the Four of Swords reversed. Solitary pursuits like writing, drawing or music.

The Hermit shows us that the opportunities that will come to us in 2021 will be found by looking inwards. We will need to retreat from social interactions, look inwards to our inner light for guidance here.

Knave of Wands stands in our ways as our first obstacle of 2021, explaining to us that we will have difficulty connecting with our intuition, or feeling like we fully understand those messages will be difficult. The Moon Reversed in position 6 is here to help us. The Moon in the reversed position represents the clearing up of fogginess and shines light in the dark (but not bright sunlight, it’s a low, gentle light). For us, the clearing up of the fogginess means:
– making sense of what we are scared of,
– clearing confusions that we have been hanging on to,
– and releasing emotion (expressing anger or frustration or having a good long cry).

How will we achieve our goals and dreams in 2021? Judgement Reversed directs us to tame our inner critic, work through quieting our self-doubt, and eliminating negative thoughts or inner words that hold us back.

2020 was challenging, and I am comforted by this reading because it makes me feel a little more in control.

If we follow the lead of the High Priestess and turn inwards, learn to listen to our guiding voices, develop our talents and ignore the voices of self-doubt, we’ll be better people by this time next year.

How do you think you can make your positive inner voice louder so that you can hear these important messages more clearly (and maybe even figure out how to make them louder)?

New Years Tarot Spread – 2017 Reading

  1. Twenty-seventeen is here, and it’s time for my annual New Year’s reading where I lay out cards for each of the 12 months.

Lately though I don’t want to say that I’m getting lazy, but the idea of a spread that big does not sound appealing to me this time around.

Problem: I don’t want to work on a spread that big this year. It was fun last year, I will probably want to do it next year…this time? I’d like something shorter.

Solution: Create a new spread. 7 cards, short, sweet and targeting what I want to know about the upcoming year.

The Result? A solid spread that specifically speaks to repeated occurrences and lessons to watch out for, upcoming obstacles and advice on how to handle them. Additionally, as I am always striving for growth and look for this in spreads I employ, so getting a sneak peak of talents I get to use and benefit from is very exciting.

New Years Tarot Spread, Tarot Spread, Tarot Guide


The center of spread has card #1, the main theme for this year. This card is in the middle because it is the heart of the spread. Cards number 2 -4 move along together, and I want to understand the energy flowing through it. The talents expressed this year will go hand in hand with the future opportunities that are offered to you, and understanding any past influences on this is important.

The road map for moving forward against your obstacles is set out on the bottom line with cards 5-7. Understanding how these cards work together is important. You want to know which obstacles are going to trip you up, and how. Also, a heads up on having them not affect you would be helpful in all circumstances.


Sample Reading: A New Year’s Tarot Spread


Here is what happened when I performed the reading for myself.

The deck I used was my trusty Aquarian Deck.

At first glance, four Major Arcana cards appeared in the reading which is really intense. This means that these cards are telling me that the messages they carry will be long term, they might reflect different areas of my life or might be repeated throughout the year and onwards.

The only suits that appear in the spread are Pentacles and Rods, so I feel pretty confident in assuming that my career is going to be a huge part of the next upcoming year and this reading addresses this.

1. Seven of Pentacles Reversed – The main theme for this year

This card means that I will get some return on investments that I’ve made, but the success is limited. Because this is the main theme for the year, this means that I will experience this repeatedly – meaning that I will achieve success, but I might not hit the mark that I am aiming for. This sounds great but also discouraging, right off the bat. While achieving goals is awesome, I know I am prone to considering half-wins losses. Have you ever heard the phrase by Les Brown, “Shoot for the moon, even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars”? Well, I am severely prone to considering this a loss and a personal failure. Landing among the stars is not an adequate consolation prize, as it might be reassuring and encouraging to other people. If I aim for the moon, then I want the moon and I will upset if I don’t get the moon.

This card also is leading me to think that I need to make sure that my goals are clear and determine whether or not I am investing my time in the right areas. This means, over the next few months, I need to (A) clearly state my goals (B)  evaluate how I am spending my energy to best reach those goals. Now that I have received this warning from the Seven of Pentacles, I think it’s time I also redefine what a win is, and what a loss is, and minimize the chances that I confuse them with each other. Easier said than done!

In readings using this spread, this is the card you’ll want to spend the most of your time on. Really take the time to contemplate and develop the message, as themes by nature, manifest themselves in different ways over time.


2. Four of Rods – Departing energies from last year.

Four of Rods is a positive card that makes me feel like I am coming home whenever I work with it. Understanding this card in the role of the spread is tricky, and I am uncertain about what I need to learn from it.  I tend to not put much weight into cards that refer to the past if it is not a Major Arcana or if it isn’t negative in energy.  I will swing back after looking at the other cards if I feel i need to pull more from this.

Not understanding the message in the card when you are doing a reading is ok.  A lot about understanding tarot spreads is understanding how the cards work together. Putting a card aside to revisit later is practical, and a preferred strategy of mine.

3. Nine of Rods – Talents you will be expressing this year.

This speaks to rising anxiety and stressful situations. It calls for remembering to be calm, stay focused and push forward. The card points to setbacks, and adversity. How does this relate to the talents I will be expressing? Well, since this is a future looking card, I will interpret it two ways and make sure to articulate it well in my tarot journal.

(1) I do feel I am a determined person by nature, and pushing forward, being productive and staying focused despite pain or setback is something I know I’ve been able to do in the past. I will need to pull on this in the upcoming year.

(2) When you are warned about setbacks, it’s easier to plan for the worst, and examine every possible scenario and be prepared for it. Therefore, my analytical abilities will probably be something that I pull from to help me in the upcoming year.  

Looking at the two most likely ways that a card can be interpreted in the spread is handy strategy to aid in reflection. Articulate both clearly, that way when you come back to it to reflect and see what you’ve done, you have ideas already formed to reflect on.

4. The Hermit – Future opportunities.

This is one of those cards that just pulls me. I feel safe and calm whenever I see this in a reading. There are many reasons for it, and I think it’s because it’s associated with Virgo, and I am a proud and strong Virgo. This card means alone time, reflection, and exploration of spirituality. I feel that this card is encouraging me further to make a career from one of my passions and to continue to develop my spirituality and love for tarot into my career goals.

5. Upcoming obstacles – The Chariot Reversed

This is interesting. The card means movement. Years ago I learned or understood the Chariot Reversed is like a real chariot with the wheels moving through mud- you are still moving forward but slower, and more resistance, and you need to push through. Sometimes, I even have images of me in a pool and feeling the resistance of the water as I move about. This card resonates really well with the Nine of Rods, and the other interpretations I noted of determination and persistence coming through as driving talents. While they might slow me down, and while I might face these obstacles repeatedly, my obstacles slow me down but not bring me to a standstill.

6. How to deal with the upcoming obstacles –

The World means completion and accomplishment. But how do we work this meaning to derive the message necessary to guide me through my upcoming obstacles that are going to slow me down in achieving my goal? Could the advice in this card be a reminder to stick to it and remember that I am near completion of the goal? Is the way to overcoming my obstacles (which will be repeated slow downs) to put my head down and keep moving forward?

7. The last card, the Magician, will explain how to achieve your goals and dreams.

The Magician is a call to action to use all of my power. I will have everything I need in the expression of my talents and skills. This card is an incredibly encouraging card to have pulled in this position. It confirms that I have everything that I need to achieve my goals, and I just have to use my skills to achieve what I want.


8. Reading Conclusions

I like to take time to step back and look at the cards again, know that I have all of the messages and interpretations in mind, and understand the images on a different level.
Cards 3 and 4 work hand in hand together, but now that I am paying attention to the body language of the figures of the cards, I noticed that you young man in the nine of Rods is looking towards the four of Rods, and not the Hermit. The talents that I may be expressing will have less to do with my spiritual development and might have more to do with skills I’ve developed over the last year.

The seven of Pentacles is looking at the Hermit drawing attention to it, and I feel this is a hint at an area that the card is pointing to.

Lastly, all of the figures on the bottom row are all pointing at me. This underlines that all that I need is internalized, and I only need to look at myself and my skills and talents to get me through my obstacles and achieve my goals.

Would you like to order a reading like this for yourself or your loved one? Reach out! I’d love to help you.

I encourage you to try this spread this year, instead of OR along with the traditional yearly projection spread where a card is assigned to each upcoming month. Post your reading and insights below. I’d love to hear your thoughts!