As 2022 draws to a close and the urge to hibernate makes most of us want to spend the next few weeks curled up in front of a fire, simplicity is the order of the day. The holiday season can dump many expectations upon us, and anxiety often spikes at this time of year despite all the Ho-Ho-Honess. If demands are likely to steal your precious tarot moments this month, or you’re already overwhelmed and wonder how you’ll even find time to shuffle a deck, here’s a way to enjoy the seasonal energies by drawing just five December inspired cards from the deck and using them as a focus for the holiday season.
I’m personally looking forward to more than a little downtime as we head into this final month of 2022. I have a pile of great books waiting, the lure of beautiful fabrics that I want to turn into tarot pouches, and a return to my studies on runes which I had to park much earlier this year due to other commitments. Right now, I’m deep into the editing process of my next book release (coming in January!) and busy with tarot readings. I’m also planning my content and business strategy for next year, along with marketing for the January release—and that’s only the first few items on my to-do!! But my intention to rest and recuperate is set, and I need to ensure I honour it. One of the first things to fall foul of a weighty to-do list can often be the tiny moments in our days that bring us a dash of contentment and connection. When life gets hectic, I often find myself skipping my personal daily tarot draw and journaling. Meditating gets flicked aside a lot, too. With all that December calls for, my aim this month is to keep my personal tarot moments going, but in a fuss-free way.
With this in mind, I’ve chosen five cards I associate with December. My intent is to leave all five on my altar, and either enjoy the entire display and their messages, or, focus on the message of one depending on my mood. I may even shuffle and draw one card from the group if seeking a specific answer. This way, I can settle into the month knowing I’ve got my tarot ‘preloaded’ and can enjoy seeing how the messages stir my thoughts or play out in my day-to-day as the weeks pass.
4 of Swords
The card of rest and recuperation. What better prompt do we need as the mayhem of the holiday season takes over? The 4 of Swords calls for a retreat. The battle can be fought in your absence, so withdraw, put the kettle on, and your feet up. In the quiet, you’ll have the time to reform your strategy so you can re-emerge stronger, sharper, and refreshed.
December stirs us all into thinking about the turn of the wheel. Another year closes and a new one rolls in. As you hang decorations or brave the throngs for shopping, I’ll bet you find yourself thinking back to this time last year, reflecting on all that has changed in the last twelve months. What resolutions stuck, dreams manifested, or goals got smashed? Were there speed bumps, and how did you overcome them? Maybe unexpected diversions sent you in a completely different direction? You might find you’re in a more positive place than you’d expected, or facing unanticipated challenges. How have you surprised yourself? Are there any disappointments?
Swords are cards of logic, so consider grabbing a journal and getting your thoughts down on paper. Use the prompts above, or grab your trusty tarot deck, and with the 4 of Swords as the centre point, create your own spread or try the one below. With the 4 of Swords calling for retreat, there’s great benefit to be had from carving out quiet time and dedicating a while to contemplating your last year. Examine your accomplishments, acknowledge any disappointments, and most importantly, form a strategy for the next year. The knight in the 4 of Swords isn’t just snoozing, he’s meditating on his next move, and with the stained glass window above depicting a blessing, he knows the Universe has his back. Fours are stable, grounded cards. The foundation is steady, so build upon what you’ve already achieved with smart thinking.
Where does my greatest challenge lie?
What strengths should I work with?
What area of my life is working well?
What weaknesses should I be mindful of?
What am I not seeing?
Every December, I write a short account of my current situation; work, family, relationships, friends, stand out moments from the past year (good and bad!), and my intentions for the next year. It’s only ever a few paragraphs, but it’s amazing how a year later so much can change, especially situations that I assumed would never change. If I could pick one card to represent the reflective energy of December, the 4 of Swords is it!
6 of Cups
Nostalgia often sweeps in at this time of year. With family and friends gathering, visits to home towns stirring up memories, or catch-ups with long-lost friends recalling glory days, our thoughts turn to happy times.
The 6 of Cups calls for a return to childlike innocence, where adulthood is set aside to enjoy light-hearted fun. Sentiment drives the energy of this card. We reflect on the happy times from childhood, but can also acknowledge the sweetness in our present.
With the 6 of Cups, we’re encouraged to stop and smell the roses, much like the figures in the card. Dig out those silly board games, turn off the electronics, kick off your shoes, and play. What was your favourite waste of time as a kid? Mine was watching the clouds while I swung on the swing set in my garden. I loved to blast out a few Abba tunes while I was at it. Yes, we had neighbours. No, I didn’t give a shit; I was a kid and didn’t think to care what anyone thought about my singing. I miss that innocence! Why not dig out an old photo album and reminisce? What about music? You might cringe at your younger self’s taste in music, but how much fun would it be to throw that vinyl/CD/cassette on and dance?
As you wallow in sentiment and nostalgia, consider what aspects of those happy times you can reignite in the present. How can you incorporate that childlike fun in your present adulthood? Who says you can’t play the boardgames, swing and sing, dance to cheesy music, dress up, or decorate cookies with six inches of frosting and jellies?
Here’s a 6 of Cups inspired tarot spread:
What of my past can I bring into the present?
What area of my life needs more fun?
What’s a gift I can give to myself?
Where should I be more kid and less adult?
10 of Cups
Staying in the suit of cups, we move to the 10 of Cups next. A happy ending is the message of this card, and with December bringing the end of a cycle, often with much celebrating, it’s another apt card for this time of year. Domestic bliss is the theme of the 10 of Cups, and while domestic bliss and the holiday season often don’t go hand in hand, it’s a reminder to find your own happy space, even if you, or those around you, are ready to implode.
Count your blessings often pipes up for me when this card appears in a reading. Even if the client can’t claim they’re as jolly as the happy family in the image, a gentle nudge to consider the blessings they do have always shifts their perception. For many, the holiday season is absolutely the 10 of Cups, with bells, ribbons, and glitter on. For others, it’s most definitely the opposite. Bliss for you may be alone time, or completely ignoring anything to do with the season. Whatever form the happiness of this card takes for you, the point here is to celebrate it. Count your blessings; they’re yours to cherish.
A 10 of Cups spread.
How can I welcome more joy into my life?
What blessings have I not considered?
What have I learned from joyful endings?
Where can I make more positive change?
If alone time is your idea of heaven, then the Hermit might be your card of choice for December. With the short days and long nights, you may already have a sense of retreating within, and are aware that often, the answer sought lies within. But if deep inner contemplation is the farthest thing from your mind this party season, and the thought of being a social hermit is out of the question, there may still be a benefit from working with the Hermit this month.
The Hermit has retreated to a snowy mountain top with nothing but a simple lantern to light his way. He’s in need of solitude, and retrospection. What he sought for in the external world he didn’t find, and now acknowledges the answers he seeks can only be found internally. Cut off from the noise, he settles into the silence and finds his way to enlightenment.
The introverts amongst us might yell out for the Hermit to hang on so we can catch up with him and hide out in his peaceful cave until the madness of the holiday season is over. The extroverts probably didn’t even notice his departure. How can a balance be struck between two such apparently contrasting mindsets so the Hermit serves both sides?
The Hermit doesn’t demand hours of sitting in the lotus position, incense burning, and singing bowls chiming in the background. He does ask for some dedication, however, a commitment to gifting yourself quiet space and time to sit and think. Instead of threading yourself into countless aspects of the outer world in your search for clarity, withdraw the threads and silence the noise. The external only distracts. Once you’ve disconnected, you’ll finally hear the voice that’s been whispering unheard.
If you’re new to meditation, start with small steps. Find yourself a quiet corner where you won’t be disturbed. Light a candle, set a timer for one minute, and do nothing but study the candle’s flame for sixty seconds. The next day, set the timer for two minutes. Extend the timer as the days pass, and try closing your eyes, visualising the flame in your mind’s eye. When thoughts butt in, acknowledge them before nudging the interruptions aside. Once you find yourself settling in to those five, ten, or fifteen minutes of sitting quietly, think about the answer you seek. Form the question going into the meditation, and ask Spirit/God/The Universe (whatever higher source you believe in) to assist with the answer. Be prepared for nothing and open to everything. With the chaos of the outer world muted, you’d be surprised what you might come to understand.
Regardless of whether the Hermit could be your buddy or not, journaling your thought processes will be of great benefit as you take a journey within. Take note of whatever you feel is important. As you pick through your reflections, pay attention to what comes up. Sometimes, the answer lies in unexpected places. The Hermit is the 4 of Swords on steroids. Where kicking back with a cuppa and Netflix might be the 4 of Swords vibe, the Hermit asks for a deeper commitment. Are you up for the challenge?
Tune into the introspective energy of the Hermit with this 5-card spread:
What am I not seeing?
In what direction do answers lie?
How can I find more stillness?
What external aspects hinder me the most?
What does my inner light illuminate?
As you make your way through December, take note of how many times you see the word ‘believe’. You’ll likely find it splashed on window displays, on greeting cards, or in many of the endless seasonal adverts. Believe, be positive, have hope! That’s the message of the Star. It’s also a card of wishes, so if you’ve been focusing on manifesting a goal, chances are you’ll have your wish granted.
Overall, the Star brings inspiration. After the turmoil of the Devil and Tower who precede her in the deck, she brings a message of healing and calm. When the Star appears it asks for you to have faith. You may not know the how, but the Universe has your back, so simply believe and it will.
Another word bandied about during the holiday season is ‘miracle’. The theme of a Christmas miracle pops up in countless films, where a character’s unshakeable faith—despite how everyone else mocks their belief—proves there’s power in hope. The Star embodies that Christmas miracle. If 2022 has been less than kind to you, pop the Star where you’ll see it every day and remind yourself that (even if you don’t know how) things will get better. A change is on the way, brighter days will dawn and everything’s going to be alright.
If you’re already riding the positivity train, then a daily reminder will further fuel that engine! The Star also reminds us of quiet contemplation to count our blessings. Sitting quietly by the water, the Star is focused only on the task at hand. Both her hands are full as she pours, and behind her, beautiful flowers bloom. The Universe smiles down on her. Take a moment to acknowledge your flowers this December. Think back on the year and what you’ve accomplished and how you’ve grown.
Probably one of the most uplifting and hopeful cards in tarot, the Star is fabulous enough to be placed on top of a tree, or front and centre on the mantelpiece! She makes a wonderful tarot spread focus, too!
Where does hope shine brightest for me right now?
How can I place more faith in myself?
What has the Universe got in hand for me?
In what area of my life has my star dulled?
How can I restore its shine?
So, as December madness begins, if you’re craving simple ways to stay connected with tarot, I hope you find this selection of cards an inspiring launch point. Whether you work with one or all, or a mixture of the cards, this ‘preloading’ of your tarot fix for the month provides lots to think about.
Which card best represents the season to you? Are there other cards you’d add?
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Deck: Golden Art Nouveau Tarot.