One of the things I'd like to do more of this year is share my personal cartomancy journey with you all. Many witches and psychics craft beautiful month ahead readings for followers based on their astrological signs, personality type, and more, but I have always struggled with this type of broad-based divination. My magic is in the mix between reader and querent. I draw on your energy to fuel and focus the reading, like a spark to start a fire. So, when I cast my intuition to wider groups, things get...overwhelming.
Instead, I'll be sharing the spreads I use each month and week to guide my journey along with my personal reading and interpretation. You might find these posts particularly helpful if you are learning how to create a narrative in your own practice. How do you take a card's broad meaning and apply it to your specific situation or position in a spread? Or you might enjoy trying the spreads yourself and adapting them to your own reading style. If you're just nosy and want to know my business, well then, welcome aboard. Be sure to subscribe to get notified each time I have an existential crisis.
I'll wrap up each month with a round-up of what I'm reading and listening to in the realm of cartomancy, witchcraft, and folk magic just because that Leo Moon of mine loves to be seen. I'd love to see your month ahead tarot spreads or hear what you're reading or watching in the comments. Use the hashtag #deadaheadspread when you share your reading on Twitter or Instagram so we can all snoop.
Dead Ahead: January 2021
For this spread, I like to pull the oracle card or rune stone first and spend a few minutes journaling or meditation on its potential meaning. I then lay out the 4 tarot cards to explore the situations I might encounter in the month ahead. While reading these cards, I reflect back on the oracle or rune I drew initially. Does combining that card with the others narrow or change the meaning? Finally, I spend a few moments opening my mind and heart to messages from my beloved dead or friendly local spirits and then draw the final message card. You might prefer to draw both the message and energy cards first or last - YMMV.
Oracle Energy to work with this month: Death
I'm not going to lie, I laughed out loud when I pulled this card. It's not just that I'm a morbid goth girl at heart, but that I pretty much expect every January to feel like death frozen over. Has anyone ever had a peaceful first month of the year? Between going back to the office after an extended break, dealing with the post-honeymoon phase of all those New Year's resolutions, and taxes, it's not an excellent time.
What does it look like to work with Death energy, though? I think it means getting honest about what is working and what isn't, and finding a way to move past what isn't. For me, I've been terribly, terribly depressed for months and I haven't done much about that other than lean hard on my partner and my coping mechanisms. I'd like to find a new therapist in my insurance network and start seeing them regularly to work through this recent bout of depression, but also some older traumas that have been hanging around since childhood. Doing this type of deep psychological work means I'll probably have to come to terms with some radical changes in my life and thinking - and that type of holistic transformation, radical pruning of ourselves, is the epitome of Death energy.
1. Something to learn or a place to grow: 5 of Cups
If there was a competitive Feeling-Sorry-For-Yourself sport, I'd be a gold medalist. Well, that might be a bit harsh, but a side effect of the depression I've been feeling (see above) is that I'm pretty stuck on my regrets, missteps, and losses. It's hard to move past what has gone wrong, when not a lot has gone right lately. The 5 of Cups here is portrayed by La Llorna from Mexican Folklore. In grieving the loss of her husband's love, La Llorna drowns her children and herself and is then doomed to spend eternity wandering the earth in search of her sons' souls. No one would deny that La Llorna was dealt a difficult hand in life, but when she reacts to her betrayal in rage, she ultimately harms herself and her loved ones more than the person who harmed her.
I can see La Llorna in myself when I become preoccupied with revenge or nursing an old grudge (how quintessentially Scorpio of me). This type of anger might feel good in the moment, but I also know that it leads me to make short-sighted decisions that hurt me and my loved ones. A long-term project of my personal growth is to react in anger less often, to seek out solutions rather than revenge, to just get over some things. This might be a first good project with that hapless therapist I'm going to seek out.
2. How I will shine this month: 2 of Cups
More so than the Lovers, I think the 2 of Cups points directly to our romantic relationships. Enkidu and Gilgamesh are the OG enemies to lovers and represent a perfectly matched pair. Enkidu was sent by the god Anu to bring Gilgamesh down a few notches, but wound up gaining his friendship and ultimately love. Where Gilgamesh was over strong, Enkidu was fierce. Where Enkidu was wild, Gilgamesh was tireless. Their story is passionate and tragic, and I'll fight anyone who claims they were not 100% in-love.
So, it's rather unambiguous that I'll have some opportunities to shine in my marriage in January. The magic of Enkidu and Gilgamesh's relationship is that rather than seeing conflict in their differences, they saw compatibility, a safe port in the storm. I can cultivate that same energy in my partnership. Rather than becoming frustrated with how my partner and I see and act differently, I can choose to delight in those differences, choose to experience that variety as strength in our family rather than division.
3. A challenge I will face: 10 of Swords
Didn't I tell you all that January sucks? The 10 of Swords is a really sucky card. Betrayal and despair. The rock bottom. Sedna's father threw her into the sea in an attempt to calm a raging storm, and when she tried to climb back into the boat, he cut off her fingers which later became all the creatures of the sea. Now, Sedna holds those creatures close and only lets them out for fisherman to catch after receiving an offering.
I generally think of two things when I encounter the 10 of Swords; first, that things are going to get really, really bad but that second, that's going to be the worst and then there will be opportunity for improvement. The Swords are the suite of intellect and truth, and something tells me this upcoming rock-bottom might be in my day job, perhaps a conflict of conscience. Combined with the 5 of Cups in the growth position, it seems like I'm going to face a really difficult interpersonal situation this month, one that I'm going to have to find a way to work through productively or it could lead me to make terrible decisions. Since I'll also be working with Death energy this month, this situation will also be an opportunity to reinvent myself, shedding the old beliefs and habits that are no longer helpful - it just might hurt a bit to do so.
4. An opportunity to welcome: 2 of Wands
If you read my 2020 Reflection Spread, then you know that Janus has recently made an appearance to remind me that all the things I think I failed at last year are really opportunities to try again. Roman god of gateways and commerce, Janus is always looking into the past and future (a true, dead reckoning king). It's not easy to take an idea and manifest it in reality, but Janus is there to bless that creative process. Wands represent fire and creativity, and so I'll be looking forward to a creative opportunity this month, a place where I can start manifesting my dreams of authoring a novel or launching new Dead Reckoning content. In fact, I've signed up for Susan Dennard's #StoryAMonthChallenge and plan to write a short story based on her prompts each month in 2021.
A Message from the Universe: Page of Wands
The pages of the minor arcana are energetic and optimistic as a whole, but the Page of Wands is an especially playful and roguish lad. Mwindo goes on an epic journey to escape his father's wrath and gain the knowledge and skills needed to challenge him in the future, and along the way he meets many friends and foes. Through it all, Mwindo is a force of nature, a staying committed to his goal and seeking allies when needed. Receiving a court card when asking for a message from the Universe makes me think that I might meet a Page of Wands this month, someone who can inspire me to action and hope rather than revenge and regret when I meet tragedy. This might be someone I meet in real life, or a figure that I follow online or in media. Find your heroes where you can.
If you're interested in receiving a Dead Ahead reading from me for January (or any future month), you can book a reading here. Otherwise, read on for some of the bric-a-brac filling my life this month.
What I'm Celebrating
Wednesday, January 13: New Moon in Aquarius
Friday, January 22nd: Þorrablót (Thorrablot) is a midwinter feast and festival dedicated to Thor and usually celebrated with traditional foods, poetry recitation, dancing, and potato liquor. I'm planning to celebrate this in conjunction with Husband's Day by putting together a spectacular charcuterie board, hunting up some strange imported liquor, and reading my favorite passages of The Art of Loving by Erich Fromm aloud to my husband.
Thursday, January 28: Full Moon in Leo
What I'm Reading
What I'm Listening To
Alex is the founder and primary tarot reader for Dead Reckoning Tarot. She has been working with tarot cards since she was an anxious and overeager teen, and now as an anxious and overeager adult enjoys finding ways to infuse the every day world with magic. When she isn't slinging cards, you can find her cuddling her small dogs or crocheting in central Kentucky. You can book a tarot reading with Alex here.