The subject of how long a tarot prediction can be considered reliable is a fascinating one. This becomes especially interesting when an attempt is made to forecast circumstances and events an entire year into the future. In general I will use the Lenormand Grand Tableau for this purpose because its numerous “departments of life” can be analyzed both independently and in combination where they overlap. With tarot there is seldom a sufficient amount of depth in the narrative to cover all of the possibilities, mainly because a reading is the signature of a particular moment in time, and the farther away we get from that moment the less dependable the augury becomes as different opportunities and challenges present themselves. This arises most conspicuously when more than one “life-line” or personal destiny is involved in the projection, since it seems to me that people stay “on the same page” for shorter periods of time than was once the norm.
“Chaos theory” is instructive in contemplating this phenomenon: the concept that all things become more disorganized and less predictable over time. In this instance I might describe it as an expression of “metaphysical entropy.” I deal with this by treating a year-long tarot outlook as a broad overview and then performing smaller update readings at the beginning of each month to adjust and refresh the details. However, one of the more precise spreads I’ve come across for long-range divination is the “Wheel of the Year” with its twelve monthly “data points.” This has worked most effectively for me in depicting monthly weather patterns over an extended time-frame.
I know there are people who claim that their prognoses have “come true” more than a year after the date of a reading, by which they conclude that the “window of validity” is entirely elastic with no arbitrary limit on its duration. That said, I believe it is advisable in professional reading scenarios to adopt certain rules of thumb, since nobody wants to be told “Your situation could change next week, next month or a year from now.” (A cynic might say that if we don’t do this we might never get repeat business from our paying clients, but that’s another subject.) I will usually describe a ten-card Celtic Cross reading as being “good” for a period of three-to-six months; while I seldom do them for other people, three-card and five-card spreads are likely to be potent for a shorter span, perhaps on the order of a couple of weeks to a month. A compelling case can be made for the “lunar month look-ahead” reading as a practical approach to near-term prognostication because it is regulated by the phases of the “lunation cycle.” Astrologically, the Moon is a fleeting influence that changes its “face” approximately every 3.5 days, creating a fast-paced developmental track that doesn’t cut very deep, perfect for a more routine forecast since entropy can’t gain a foothold in that galvanic environment.