cards for the old, cards for the new

Here is a lovely new year tarot spread from Beth at Little Red Tarot.

At the end of an exhausting December, I’ve had a quiet day. I’ve taken tiny dog for a walk in the hills, gathering springwater for the houseplants and the altar; and now I’m cozied up at home, where I plan to watch White Christmas with a gin in memory of my old grandpa, while cutting out the pictures I’d like to keep from last year’s calendar, and possibly playing with some crochet patterns.

But before I hit the gin, it’s time for some reflection.

I’m using my favourite friendly-but-straight-talking tarot deck, the Everyday Witch – the artist, Elisabeth Alba, seems to have been as influenced by Tamora Pierce as I was, growing up.


  1. Centre – where I am: Knight of Wands, 8 of Pentacles, Page of Wands
  2. Dusk – what is leaving: 9 of Wands, 3 of Swords
  3. Dawn – what is arriving: Strength, The Hermit
  4. Focus – where my energy should go: The Emperor, Page of Swords
  5. Tools – what I can use: The Chariot

2017 was a difficult year. But here, at the end of it, I’m stronger and happier, perhaps more so than ever before: the struggle has changed me. In the long night of the solstice I sat reflecting on all these experiences, formulating my intentions for the year to come: to take the space I need, and stop living as though my life were an apology for my existence. And though these intentions may seem selfish, they come from a place of wanting to offer everything I can. As 2017 taught me, no-one can pour from an empty cup. I’ve spent the past year patching up the leaks, and now I need to focus on refilling.

Those intentions are all here, reflected more powerfully than I was honestly expecting.

Where am I, right now?


In progression. The 8 of Pentacles could signify so many things that I’m in the middle of doing, getting better as I go: learning crochet, having a home (something I’m still settling into, after so many years of being a nomad), being a student and becoming an archivist, gardening, writing… all part of the larger work of being myself, I guess, and I’m still figuring that out as I go along. The Page echoes that sense of still being a novice, still learning, still working things out – but wanting to progress.
The Knight & Page of Wands are full of movement and ideas, a more dynamic ‘centre’ than I was expecting to find, given my exhaustion – but I do have a tendency to want to plan my next adventure as soon as the last one has ended…

What is leaving my life?


The embattled 9 of Wands and the heartbroken melodrama of the 3 of Swords, here to remind me that the habits we pick up during hard times can sometimes stick around long after circumstances have moved on. It’s time to let them go. Things have got & are getting better.

What is arriving, with the dawn of a new year?


Strength & The Hermit. A big consolidation. My intentions to take the space I need, to prioritise my own self-care and finally start acknowledging & meeting my needs are reflected here in no uncertain terms.
I know that this coming year will pull me in all sorts of directions, because that is the shape of my life: two jobs, a postgraduate course, a house in need of work, a marriage, friends with little ones and (occasionally demanding) family in faraway places… oh, and some writing commitments which I really, really want to meet! Being pulled in so many directions puts strain on the faultlines in my mental and emotional wellbeing. I’ve learned a lot about that dynamic this past year. In the coming year, I’m going to answer these calls from a place of strength, and answer them according to what I can honestly do, not what I can push myself to do. I’m a terrible people pleaser – terrible because I never manage to please others, and terrible because I can’t stop trying. This year is the time to stop trying, and do (or do not).

Where should my focus be?


The Emperor and the Page of Swords.

I am not used to seeing myself as powerful. But it is high time to own my power and to use my will. The Emperor is expressed in astrological terms as the sun in Aries, my natal sun sign, and I sometimes struggle to make sense of this. As an archetype, it seems too dispassionate, too cool and controlled. But maybe that’s my shadow: that’s what I need to learn. I can’t always be a lamb, skipping in and butting heads with everyone, blithely unaware of the consequences.

I have an uncomfortable inkling that this reflects the year ahead – a year in which politics is likely to divide us even further, in which truth is rapidly becoming whatever the dominant voices in our culture make it. I had thought I should take a step back from challenging everything… and maybe I should, maybe the point is to pick my battles. But these cards suggest that I shouldn’t – or can’t – completely withdraw from the struggle.

The Page suggests I have a lot to learn; The Emperor suggests that my power is not conditional on mastery of the subject, whatever it is, but on mastery of myself.

And, finally, what tools do I have?


The Chariot was a talisman for me in 2017: I had various versions of it saved as the background and lock screen on my phone as I was leaving my last ‘career’ job, a reminder that I could leave behind things which made me unhappy, and work towards things I actually wanted – once I’d remembered how it felt to want. My first thought on seeing this card was ‘maybe I should learn to drive’ and… ugh… maybe I finally should. But I should also remember, when life pulls me in different directions, that I am the one with the power to decide which way to go.

The 7/8/9 progression from the ‘tool’ of The Chariot to the ‘dawning’ influences of Strength and The Hermit is interesting too… a nudge to steer my life in this direction. Or a reminder that I have the power to steer my life in this direction, and I need to act on it.

I have a feeling that Things Are Going To Happen in 2018. Well, things always do have a habit of happening… But now I’m more here than I have been in a long time, and I’ll be ready for those Things.

Happy new year!

Author: angharadlois

"I'm only interested in everything."

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