Tarot card reading is one of those simple rituals that can provide major insight, advice and wisdom. Many tarot readers think of their decks as a roadmap to life! Whether you’re an experienced reader, a baby witch or even a skeptic, there’s something to be gained in the act of reflecting on the cards. And what better time to do that than as the New Year approaches? Here, I share my 2022 at-a-glance tarot spread—and the very best advice the cards have to offer on how to thrive in the coming year.
Read cards yourself? You can try this at home! While this article will give you a tarot overview of the world-at-large over the coming year, you can repeat the spread with your own cards to get more specific guidance for your personal situation. (Don’t own a deck yet? See what tarot cards we recommend for each zodiac sign.)
The central card in this spread is the general theme for the year. Then, starting at nine-o-clock and going counter-clockwise, each of the twelve remaining cards represents one of the twelve months. When reading your cards, before you go running to your reference booklet, see what trends you can identify for yourself: Does one of the suits show up more than others? Are any of the suits absent? Do the numbers on the cards increase or decrease as the year plays out? Do any images repeat themselves?
All of these can be clues to help you decode the cards—and the year ahead.
Lay down your cards in the order specified in this picture. Cards 1-12 are the 12 months. Card 13 is the theme of your year.
Our central card, the theme of our year, is the Four of Pentacles. On it, a figure sits alone, clutching at his four pentacles (sometimes called coins, and often representing material wealth and money) ignoring the beautiful landscape and ripe fruit around him.
Like him, this will be a year in which many of us still feel isolated. In all but one of our cards, there is only one figure on the card, standing alone. The central concerns of the year are practical and personal: They are related to work, money, household, striving and shoring up your own life to be resilient to challenges.
As far as love goes, there’s a golden opportunity for a summer fling (with our Two of Chalices in June), but in general, this year is about working on ourselves, rather than our partners (or lack thereof!).
But the Four of Pentacles also shows us our golden opportunity: if we can be creative, flexible, and open to the non-traditional, we can build wealth this year instead of feeling pinched or anxious, the way he does. The central advice? Take a good, hard look around you. See where your opportunities really lie. Sometimes, knowing when the time isn’t right is just as valuable as knowing when it is.
The early part of the year is the thorniest, with three out of our first four months represented by swords cards. Sharp cutting swords represent hardship and challenges. The advice of the cards? Keep your head down for now, like the figure on our Eight of Swords. The time isn’t right yet for jumping into something new or untangling big problems.
Trying to do so is likely to end with you waving your (metaphorical) sword around in the dark, like our King of Swords, or being tied up in a bind, like our Knight of Wands. It’s OK: Nothing blooms in all four seasons, and this period of winter hibernation will prepare you for opportunities later in the year.
The turning point comes with the Knight of Swords, in April, where our figure is able to effectively take up his sword and confront a major challenge. In May, we see our only major arcana card in the whole spread, The Magician. Major arcana cards are extra important, and signify big events. On a world level, it may mean something happening with an authority figure or shift in power.
On a personal level, it can signal a claiming of personal power. While this shake-up can be frightening, it ultimately shifts the spread—and the year—from the more challenging swords suit to the gentler pentacles and chalices.
June-October is the most promising time of the year, with doors opening (Ace of Pentacles) to opportunities to build something new (Three of Pentacles), connect with a romantic partner (Two of Chalices) and finally turn inwards and work on yourself as a person (Nine of Wands and Six of Chalices).
This turning inwards period during September and October (one of the most magical times of the year) is about equal parts relaxation—look at our Six of Chalices figure relaxing in the river!—and genuine work, with our Nine of Wands figure questing through the woods. Try to strike that same balance for yourself: Set a manageable personal goal for yourself or plan to cross something off your personal bucket list, but balance that effort with good sleep and self-care.
Finally, we return to some challenges in November and December, with the Two of Swords and the Ten of Wands, where a figure bears a heavy load on her back. However, these challenges are not as big as those faced at the beginning of the year (two swords is a lot less than eight!) and, after a period of inner work, we may feel more prepared for them.