An “Envelope of the Year” Example Reading

This is a practice reading using my new “Envelope of the Year” Life-Reading Spread; the querent here is an imaginary male sitter and the full-year layout was used with the Waite-Smith Centennial Pocket Edition, including reversals. In doing this for myself I will probably go month-by-month and do a series of weekly readings for each month rather than aiming for a longer period. However, the 9-card quarterly option is also intriguing for its sense of progress that can reveal opportunities for meaningful intervention.

All images copyright U.S. Games Systems, Inc, Stamford, CT

The first thing of note is that the monthly “theme” cards through July include five trump cards, of which three are reversed. The querent could feel like a “human football” being kicked around by circumstances outside of his control. After July things settle down until the end of the year, but until then it looks like a real roller-coaster ride for him.

January and February could bring financial instability and mental disarray (three Earth cards and one Air card, all reversed, along with the upsetting 3 of Swords), perhaps as a result of an unfortunate choice in which the individual acts without sufficient forethought (3 of Swords and Ace of Swords rx) and fails to live up to his own standards and values (Empress rx and Hierophant rx). The two Swords as the “+” cards suggest that he will rationalize his errors as a way to live with himself. They also could show a legal decision in which he doesn’t get everything he wants. The Empress rx and Tower rx as the “-” cards imply extreme discomfort bordering on desperation. The reversals turn what are for the most part neutral cards into more nettlesome difficulties. More prosaically, maybe he just overspent on holiday gifts in December and is now facing a solvency meltdown.

March shows him getting things under control (World) ostensibly through diligent effort and willpower (10 of Wands), although he will have to considerably tighten his belt (Ace of Pentacles). Somehow I get the feeling that this scenario is too good to be true.

In April, May and June, he again strays into careless behavior in “balancing the books” (10 of Pentacles rx, Temperance rx and Fool rx), suggesting that he didn’t learn anything from his earlier dilemma. He may try to “tough it out” through sheer grit (Strength) but all of the  frantic flailing about (Ace of Wands rx) may leave him emotionally exhausted (5 of Cups and 4 of Cups rx). Judgement calls him to account in July, and the Hanged Man rx leaves him with little traction to mount a recovery. In retrospect, the World in March may have only been a sign that he was mortgaging his future to fend off the inevitable.

The Sun as the “theme” card for July shows a miraculous turn-around, but there is a whiff of Machiavellian resourcefulness about it, with the Devil rx indicating some shady manipulation of creditors and a possible bankruptcy proceeding to absolve him of debt. His past irresponsibility and indiscretion have brought him to the brink of collapse and he has to essentially “sell his soul” to escape it. But the Sun has its merciless side as well, leaving him no place to hide, and the 9 of Cups rx conveys the toll this takes on his heretofore insouciant self-image.

The 7 of Pentacles in August displays him keeping his nose clean and his head down, although he is clearly chaffing at the inconvenience. The Hermit exemplifies this enforced austerity, but the Ace of Cups gives the impression that there are idle notions afoot in his mind about regaining that 9 of Cups nonchalance.

Things start to slip again in September, where the 7 of Swords suggests that he once again resorts to some “fancy footwork.” The 6 of Cups has him emotionally reliving his past indulgences and the 2 of Cups puts him in a “let’s make a deal” mindset. Alarm bells should be going off at this point.

In October, the 6 of Pentacles looks like he will return to living beyond his means and spending extravagantly. The 2 of Swords rx shows that he will refuse to look at himself critically, while the Queen of Cups reflects his misconception that everything is once again “rosy” for him.

The 9 of Wands in November implies that he is “up against the wall” once more, fighting off the consequences of his financial peccadilloes in October. The Knight of Cups declares that he will attempt to “ride over it,” but the 5 of Swords gives the lie to that cavalier attitude. This guy seems to enjoy courting disaster at every turn.

The High Priestess rx in December is unsettling since it hints strongly that he has something to hide. The reversal makes me think he might have to “go away for a while.” Perhaps the events of August will come home to roost. The Queen of Pentacles suggests that he will be able to hang onto some of his gains, while the Emperor signifies the “long arm of the law” bent on his undoing.

If I had this individual as a client, I think I would recommend financial counseling and perhaps keeping the services of a good lawyer close at hand.

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