We made it! Another year cycles through and – before we get into any tips, intentions, or spreads – can we all just take a collective deep breath? Can we pause to pat ourselves on the back for a job well done? Heck, maybe even rub those palms together and get some heat going for a little self-massage! We can all use some more safe and loving touch in our lives.
I thought long and hard about this post. An early January post always seems like an easy sell as far as self-care and self-help goes. We’re deep into that self-improvement spirit and still highly motivated before the February drop-off. And believe me I’m all for using that energy! Full disclosure, I’ve been obsessively and lovingly toting my 2018 Passion Planner around with me for the last month, in the off chance something will come up and I’ll have to write into it (and this isn’t even the earliest I’ve ever started a new planner.)
That’s right, “Hi, I’m Traci, and I’m a certified and diagnosable A-Type Aries.” I struggle with slowing down, self-care, and mindfulness practices as much as I preach about their benefits, and the temptation of a New Year’s resolutions’ list is always pretty attractive in early January.
This year, however, I have you all around the Sunday Spread ‘table’ to keep me accountable! Please, remind me that sometimes in the slew of best set intentions, our mindfulness and self-care practices can really get away from us. This year I’d like to set the intention to not set any intentions. I’m going to be mindful with each turning of the calendar month instead of thumbing ahead pages upon pages. I want to start with gratitude and then get some perspective from there. Who’s with me?
Perspective and gratitude practice
A couple options for this gratitude practice. If you’re a scrapbooker or the kind of person who likes to get out their crafting stash, bring out those pens, magazines, scissors, stamps, all the good stuff! If you’re a writer pull out some fine stationary or open up your favorite journal – the only catch is to do this by hand. Are you more of a movement artist? Clear out some physical space to get down with your bad self, and start stretching, I’ll be right with you!
The image below features a loving and insightful note from the Wild Unknown to get us started. I think it’s as true for New Year’s intentions as it is for tarot!
Crafty folk: Think vision board but instead of affirmations and looking forward you’re reflecting inwards and back, solidifying the work you’ve already done versus setting an intention for the work to come. What did 2017 have to offer you? Even if it wasn’t easy, what lessons did you learn? Find images and quotes that remind you of these things, and start cutting and pasting!
Writers: For my wordsmiths, think of 2017 as a relationship. Are you still together, taking a break, doing some work, or leaving that toxic dynamic in the dust? This is your chance to get the last word with 2017. Was it the epic love affair that you’d been waiting for? Was it heartbreaking to see it go? Write 2017 the love letter of all love letters, imploring both of you to take what was good and grow from it into 2018. Was 2017 a passionate roller-coaster that eventually had to end? Did it seem like a never-ending cycle of heartbreak and anxiety? Take a breath, muster all the compassion you have, and send it off with a break-up letter. Let 2017 know that you saw it, heard it, and are integrating the lessons it offered but that it’s time to head into the New Year.
Movers & shakers: Set aside some time for a moving meditation. Make a playlist of 2017s greatest hits according to you. Add in songs that you raged to in your car, the best live version of the hit song from that concert you’d been saving up for all of 2016, the song that was playing in the cafe when you locked eyes with that ridiculously cool barista, and the songs you cried to when you said your goodbyes this year. Queue up your playlist and move the coffee table. Start with something slow, the middle is yours, just make sure you end on your back. Take twelve breaths with your right hand on your heart and your left hand on your belly, feeling the waves of each month of 2017 roll through you. Then place your arms to your side with your palms up, and offer twelve more breaths to 2018.
New year perspective spread
If you took the collage route, set your board out in front of you. If you’re not pulling your spread directly after creating it, make sure to sit with it for awhile and take it all in. If you wrote a letter, re-read it, maybe re-read it out loud. Leave the pen or pencil you used to write nearby as part of the charged space you’re creating. Movers & shakers, try to set aside enough time to do your tarot spread right after your movement practice.
I based the shape of this spread off the practice of kadomatsu, a Japanese tradition still very much alive in places like Hawaii, where most of my family is from. The translation of kadomatsu is “gate pine,” and it’s meant to welcome in the good and ward off the bad as the year turns over. Two sets are placed on each side of doorways and gates. A main component of the kadomatsu arrangements are the three pieces of bamboo cut to different lengths and representing heaven, humanity, and Earth.
It’s not a tradition that I’ve practiced throughout my life, but one I’d like to come back to. I loved how this article spoke lovingly about Hawaii’s commitment to this tradition even as it fades out elsewhere. The fierce attachment to the way things ‘have always been done’ is something that simultaneously drives me crazy and also inspires a great amount of respect and pride in this piece of my cultural heritage. I can’t tell you how many times I have, as a therapist in a Japanese-American family of origin and choice, advocated for the delicate balance of honoring the past while daring to step into the future with intention and consciousness. Sometimes the grief we feel as we look back and the fear that comes up as we look forward can be shifted with a little perspective. And that can make all of the difference in how gracefully we navigate the transition.
Grace, with the integration of the New Year, seemed like exactly the perspective I wanted to have this time around.
So if you’re interested, clear and shuffle your cards as you do.
Cut your deck and pull the first six from the top in order. The seventh card comes from the bottom. If you’re inclined to lay all your cards out and pull one at a time, go for it. A spread will always resonate more when you’re sunken into the ritual of it. This particular spread is a little bit of a doozy as far as Sunday Spreads go, with a grand total of seven cards. Don’t get overwhelmed. Make enough space for yourself and set enough time aside. Grace cannot be rushed.
Card 1: Earth 2017
This first card is the zoomed in view of 2017. ‘Earth’ in this case, represents you as the individual. What were the lessons you learned and what did you accomplish? Did you miss something that’s calling out for you to pay attention to it so you don’t repeat a cycle in the New Year? Did you forget to pat yourself on the back for some accomplishments?
Card 2: Humanity 2017
This card is for our relationships and community. How did those grow, evolve, and solidify last year? Take notes; we’re creatures of connectedness.
Card 3: Heaven 2017
This card is the zoomed out ‘bigger picture’. Think of this card as giving you a bit of perspective on how 2017 (and perhaps Card 1 and 2) fits into the overall arc of your life journey. Any loving guidance from whatever ‘powers that be’ that you might believe in? Any architectural tips about the structures that you’re investing in building?
Card 4: Earth 2018
Again, this card is about you as the individual. What lessons and challenges might be coming up for you? What needs your focus?
Card 5: Humanity 2018
How will you show up in your relationships and communities, and how do you expect to be met? Are there ways you can be accountable for how these networks develop and proceed?
Card 6: Heaven 2018
Take a breath and set your eyes on the horizon. Sometimes when we’re too focused on a challenge we can’t see that it’s part of a bigger plan. Perspective has a lot to do with where you’re standing.
Card 7: The Now
This final card is for the core wisdom of this transitional moment. What is it that you need to remember? What is the work that you need to do to cross that bridge to the other side?
Happy New Year, everyone!
Take what you need, release what’s not serving you, here we go…
Featured deck: The Wild Unknown by Kim Krans
Photo Credit: Kadomatsu
Traci (She/They) is a therapist, yoga teacher, life coach, and human in progress. They offer in-person/online therapy and life coaching services from their private practice in Fullerton, CA, USA, run the educational resource hub Queer University, and write love letters by request at Shame Kills Love.
Sunday Spread: Simple Tips for Not So Simple Lives is their offering to this wonderful alternative playground of tarot. It will be filled with a monthly collection of simple self-care ideas, intentions, and rituals for the beautiful chaos that we call life.