Divination for 2024

Divination for 2024 January 1, 2024

The key to success with divination – as a reader, as a querent, or both – is to understand what divination can and can’t do.

Divination – whether with Tarot, runes, scrying, or any other method – can’t give specific answers to vague questions. But the more precise the question, the more precise the answer can be. Divination can’t tell you what you “should” do. But it can tell you where you’re likely to end up if you take a certain course of action. It’s up to you to determine if that’s a good thing or not.

Divination can’t tell you what will happen. It can tell you what is likely to happen, given the current situation. If you don’t like what the reading tells you, do something to change your direction, and in so doing to change the outcome.

This is the seventh consecutive year I’ve done a Tarot reading for the new year. Overall, they’ve done a good job of identifying directions and themes for the year: what’s likely to go well, what’s likely to go badly, and what needs our careful attention.

But to get the full benefits of a good divination, you have to act on what you learn.

My reading for 2023 said that the positive trends in the final third of 2022 would not continue into the new year – that was definitely right. The cycle that began in early 2020 (I called it “one long Westeros-length winter”) finally ended and something new began – something that was neither good nor bad but simply different.

The key to last year’s reading was the Two of Wands in the “what is coming” position. As I said in the reading “long-term goals and plans are good and necessary, but keep your attention on this year’s business.”

If only I had followed my own advice.

I didn’t disbelieve the reading. I didn’t look for a signier sign. I simply failed to do what my own reading told me to do and spent far too much time obsessing over future plans. And so I suffered too much needless anxiety (some anxiety is unavoidable in this era, but we don’t have to bring more on ourselves) and my overall year was less successful and less pleasant than it could have been.

I try to learn from my mistakes – I’m going to do better this year. I’m writing this part of the post before I do the divination, so at this moment I don’t know what that will mean. Let’s ask our question and draw the cards.

As it is every year, the question for this reading is “what does the new year hold for me and mine?” The closer you are to me, the more this reading applies to you. If you do ritual with me in my back yard, it’s very relevant to you. If you follow a Pagan polytheist path, it applies a fair amount. If you’re a casual blog reader, less so. You must decide how much weight to give this reading in your planning for the coming year.

I’m reading with the Celtic Tarot, because it speaks to me and gives me better answers than any other deck. I’m using the Celtic Cross spread, because it’s the best I’ve found for broad readings such as this.

photo by John Beckett

At the heart of the matter is the Ace of Shields. Traditionally this card represents the essence of abundance. In the Celtic Tarot, this is also the card of the Winter Solstice and the new beginnings it brings. This card in this position speaks of success – especially tangible success – in the coming year. This is a very good place to start.

Crossing it as the major influence is Rebirth. This is the only card to repeat from last year’s reading, and it shows up in the same position. For good or for ill, 2024 will not be the same as 2023 – it will be different. Not just in the way that every year is different from every other year, but different in theme, interests, and emphasis. I had a challenging year in 2023, in a way I hadn’t seen in thirty years. This says the main emphasis of 2024 will be significantly different – again, for good or for ill.

photo by John Beckett

This theme continues with the Seven of Swords in the “in the far past” position and the Five of Cauldrons in the “what is passing” slot. In 2019 – in the Before Times – I wrote a meditation on the Seven of Swords titled Stealth and Treachery and talked about its meanings in the context of Tower Time. The Tower shows up in this reading in the hopes and fears position.

This particular combination does not indicate that Tower Time is ending. I do not expect to see that happen in this lifetime. Rather, it points out that the strategies and tactics inspired by the Seven of Swords have not been entirely successful – thus the Five of Cauldrons.

If you’re still trying to do things the way you did in the Before Times – or worse, holding out for things to go back to how they were in 2015 – this is yet another wakeup call… maybe the last one you’re going to get.

photo by John Beckett

I summarize the Eight of Cauldrons as I like it here – why do I have to leave? In the “your goal – what you seek” position, and in the context of the cards we just discussed, its meaning couldn’t be clearer. It’s time to move on.

This has a very specific meaning for me. But this reading is also for the wider Pagan community, so you should ask yourself what it means for you. Where are you comfortable (though perhaps far from satisfied) but you know you need to move on to something else? A new relationship, a new career, a location, a new spiritual practice? The path will not be easy and you will leave something of value behind. But what lies at the end of the journey will be far, far better.

The World in the “you as you see yourself” position is plainly obvious. This is the card of completion, the card of enough. You are enough. That’s not some New Age mantra – it’s the Tarot telling me and you and all of us that we are enough and have enough to do what we need to do. Not everything we want and not everything that would make it easy. But enough to get the job done.

photo by John Beckett

Our final three cards provide a bit of specificity around what is coming in 2024.

The King of Cauldrons in the Celtic Tarot is Llŷr, the God of the Sea – He IS the sea. He sits on his throne in the liminal space between the Sky and the Sea and He is completely in control. Expect to find yourself in in-between places in the coming year, and when you do, behave as a king in all his majesty.

We’re going to need that majesty and control, because the environment in which we work is the Knight of Swords and the final outcome is the Knight of Wands. Knights are younger and less mature than kings – they tend to act impulsively. But there are times when their boldness is called for. This is not a year for sitting on the sidelines: not in your personal life, not in your spiritual life, and not in your work to build a better world here and now.

photo by John Beckett

The core of this reading is highly positive. But “positive” doesn’t mean “easy” – we’re still living in Tower Time.

One of the keys to effective magic is giving things time to work. But eventually there comes a time when you have to accept that things aren’t going to work out the way you planned, the way you hoped, the way you worked and prayed and cast spells for. Even if where you are is OK, kinda sorta, it’s time to move on and try something else.

I know what this means for me. I don’t know what it means for you. If I was reading for you personally I’d draw a couple more clarifying cards, or cast another reading with a more specific question. But I think the overall themes are enough to point you – all of you who read this in sincerity – in the right direction.

Let the Ace of Cauldrons, Rebirth, and The World give you confidence.

Let the Seven of Swords, the Five of Cauldrons, and The Tower provide context for understanding – and a sense of urgency.

Let the Eight of Cauldrons show you the way.

Let the King of Cauldrons, the Knight of Swords, and the Knight of Wands inspire you to act with boldness, and with wisdom.

May your 2024 truly be a year of abundance and rebirth.

Want to learn to read Tarot? I have an online, on-demand course in Tarot For Divination. You can take it any time. Details are in this blog post and in this video.

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