Every year on the Winter Solstice I perform my “Wheel of the Year” spread for the coming year. This a 17-card layout with one trump card for the annual focus, 4 trump cards for the four quarters, and 12 minor cards (including courts) for the twelve months, moving clockwise from the Solstice. I use the Anna K Tarot, which strikes me as perfectly suited for pagan rituals. Rather than starting on the 1st of January, I begin on the 21st of December (“10 o’clock” position), and each month rolls over according to the date of the zodiacal sign change. All cards are drawn randomly.
Justice came up as the annual focus card. This implies that 2018 will be a year of “balancing the books” and receiving my “just desserts” for the various creative initiatives I undertook during the previous year (which had the Sun as focus card). The four quarterly trump cards were Strength, the Sun, Death and the Devil. The minor cards were dominated by six Rods (Wands), which together with the 9 of Cups and the 6 of Pentacles, promise an increasingly inspiring experience as the year progresses.
The interesting thing about this spread is that the two quarterly trump cards for the Winter-Spring period are both bright solar cards, contrary to the dimness of the ambient light during this period, while the minor cards are mostly dour as befits the season where I live, with only the 6 of Pentacles in the January-February time-frame offering a welcome note of accomplishment. This seems to be suggesting that I should just hunker down and keep that “inner glow” going until things open up with the Ace of Rods at the end of May and into June. Late June into July looks like a flat period with the 5 of Pentacles, but after that it’s all cheerful through mid-Summer and on into November, with a slight tapering off of the fiery exuberance being introduced by the 9 of Rods and 8 of Rods in October and November.
A word about Death and the Devil as the quarterly cards for Summer and Autumn. The emphasis is diametrically opposite to that of the Winter-Spring cycle (which injects a warming light into the darkness), imparting a sober feel to the otherwise buoyant last half of the year. The undercurrent here suggests that one or more of my very elderly relatives may pass during this time. The overtones for the period are mostly upbeat, but there is something of a hollow note to the enthusiasm that would be perfectly in tune with the two disheartening trump cards.
I discovered when I began working with the Anna K Tarot for this purpose last year that it is a near-perfect deck for weather forecasting. The Rods are bright, the Swords and Pentacles are muted and the Cups are varied, suggesting warm and sunny, cool and dry and intermittently wet seasonal conditions. The minor cards created a reasonably accurate monthly weather outlook for 2017, so I’m paying attention to it again next year. For the second year in a row, Swords dominate in the cooler half of the year in my temperate climate, and Rods are in the ascendancy during the hotter half, indicating a good correlation between the cards and the expected climate trend.