Performing a year ahead tarot spread is an incredibly insightful journaling tool to help you plan out your coming year and get an idea of the common obstacles that you might face. Tarot readings can’t really tell you your future. Tarot cards are only a mirror to what you already know about yourself and the shared life experiences and themes we all go through.
A year ahead tarot card reading can be done at any time of year and consists of one card that describes the overarching theme for the year and 12 additional cards that describe each month laid out in a circle in a clockwise order with the yearly theme card in the center of the circle.
Like I said, tarot cards can’t tell you your future; rather they are binoculars or a magnifying glass that allows you to view a situation through a different lens. Because we are so set in our ways of living, thinking, and doing things, we might not realize this point of view / perspective is available to us. OR you might discover that you are subconsciously avoiding looking from this P.O.V.
How To Do A Year-Ahead Tarot Layout
Step 1: Choose Your Tarot Deck & Shuffle
Shuffle your tarot deck three times or whatever feels good. One of my favorite decks is “The Wild Unknown Tarot Deck” because of the animal imagery (I grew up on a farm and have a strong connection to animals). See my opinion of The Wild Unknown Tarot Deck below.
Step 2: Draw
Then draw one card as your overall theme for the year. Now draw one card for each month and lay them out in a circle with the yearly theme card in the center of the circle and the monthly cards forming the circle. My layout is clockwise starting with the noon position in my moon themed bullet journal. You can see this in the image below.
Step 3: Reflect & Record
Next record the layout of the cards and meaning of each card, plus any images or symbols that stand out to you or mean something to you on a personal level.
Themes To Look For In Your Tarot Card Spread
The other things I pay special attention to when doing a year ahead tarot spread are the suits and any animals or plants that have popped up in the cards.
My spread this year was very balanced with 3 of each of the minor arcana cards (wands, cups, swords, pentacles) and one major arcana card. Animals and plants are very important to my life because I grew up on a farm and still seek to have that connection to the land and my local ecosystem. I also have a medicinal herb practice that spills over into my health and cooking. These themes and symbols are important items that serve as a signal for me to look deeper into what the card means to me specifically, which might be very different than the book meaning of the tarot card.
Step 4: Monthly Reflections
As the year goes on look back to this year ahead tarot spread and use the theme of each monthly card as a signal to look out for these types of situations in your life that month. You can also use this as a journaling tool to reflect on the themes of the month, how you have delt with them in the past and how you can learn to better yourself in those areas.
At the end of each month record your findings and feelings in your journal on the next few pages to see if the card you drew for that month made an impact as all. Sometimes it’s enough to be reminded of a certain life theme that pops up in the tarot cards, so that when we are faced with it, we are better equipped to handle it or sometimes be able to avoid it all together in a healthy manner.
Remember, tarot is a personal reflection tool. This tarot card spread isn’t able to tell you your future. It’s only able to act as a magnifying glass for the life themes that you should focus on for the time being to better yourself.
How To Analyze A Tarot Card Spread
I use the tarot cards as a way to prompt my intuition to come forward and tell me what I already know about myself or a situation. This allows me to think about things that I already know the answer to, that I may have forgotten, or that I may be ignoring on purpose. Can you relate?
Overall, I don’t think that this is a bad tarot spread. There are a lot of life lessons and things that we all go through every single year. By doing this year ahead tarot card spread, it gives me and idea of things to keep in mind that are part of the shared human experience as I go through the year. There are different themes that could pop up during each month and each season, and this spread helps me keep those things in mind by highlighting the themes and archetypes that we all experience at various points in our life.
Tarot Card Yearly & Monthly Themes
Yearly Theme: The Five of Wands
“Scattered, Lack of Focus, Lost. This is a card of conflict. You may find yourself tending to nothing and everything. Find ways to bring calm and focus to your mind or these troubles will only increase.”
Animals & Plants
January, 8 of Wands, sudden movement or change.
February, 5 of Cups, grief, disappointment. Horse.
March, Son of Pentacles, loyal, quiet, dedicated. Deer.
April, 9 of Cups, bliss, harmony.
May, Father of Wands, charismatic, creative. Snake.
June, Death, closure, transformation. Bird Skeleton.
July, Mother of Swords, sharp, perceptive. Owl.
August, 9 of Swords, dark visions, anguish. Earth Worm.
September, 5 of Pentacles, sadness, worry, illness. Rose.
October, 7 of Swords, secrecy, self-interest. Fox.
November, 8 of Pentacles, craftsmanship, skill. Spider.
December, 8 of Cups, stagnation, ill health.
What It Means When You Draw The Death Tarot Card For Your Birthday
For June, my birthday month, I drew the Death tarot card, which represents closure and transformation. The fact that this card popped up in my birthday month doesn’t bother me. The Death card doesn’t represent anything bad to me, it never has. This card is just a sign of transformation which is a really really good thing to have for your birthday month in my opinion!
I would definitely be wanting closure and transformation in the future. I would love to transform every year on my birthday, or at least feel like I’ve made progress in my life each year. So I’m actually quite excited about having the Death card… this one doesn’t bother me at all.
Tarot Cards & Shadow Work Journaling Prompts
For October I drew the Seven of swords, which has a little fox peeking from behind it’s tail, it represents secrecy and self-interest. This is a good card to have for October since that is when we start the descent into our Shadow Selves at that time of year. It is a time of year that is full of introspection and getting to know the child self and inner most true self no matter how easy or difficult that may be.
The Wild Unknown Tarot Deck and Guidebook (Official Keepsake Box Set), by Kim Krans is a really great introduction into tarot cards that feel more approachable than the classic Rider Waite deck for those who are just starting their tarot journey. I love just looking at the artwork and tucking the cards into my mirror so I can see them every morning.
The guide book and is a really great addition to your tarot collection and artwork collection. See more about this deck in my own words here.
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BONUS: End Of The Month Tarot Card Review For January
For January I drew the Eight of Wands from The Wild Unknown deck. This card represents sudden movement or change. The card is mostly black with a rainbow lightning strike coming down from the top of the card to the center. There are also seven other wands pointed at it into the middle.
SO… “sudden movement or change” for January… I thought this was fitting when I originally drew the card back at the beginning of the month when I did my year ahead spread. The Eight of Wands is a really good card for new beginnings, new phases, and being at the start of something, like a new year!
I thought it was a really nice way to kick off the year with the Eight of Wands. I definitely experienced a lot of sudden movement and change in January. I had to hit the ground running, just as everyone does in January (there is that shared human experience I was talking about) after the holidays and get back into work and back into the swing of things. I felt like the jump back into the new year and work was a little more jarring this year… I don’t know why… but for some reason, it did. There’s also been a lot of change in my personal life this past January – but it’s all been good and has all been positive.
So final verdict! I do think that The Eight of Wands definitely reflected back to me what my January ended up being.