The 12-Month “Modal Roller-Coaster” Spread

Just in time for the New Year, here is my latest attempt at an annual tarot projection or monthly “look-ahead.” It applies two conventions that I’ve been using for a while: the idea that trump cards don’t necessarily show major events (a rare occurrence in my experience) but rather “background modes” or “situational wallpaper” for more mundane affairs; and the use of a divided pack that permits a two-tiered interpretation for each month; one the overarching “tone” of the period (trump card) and the other the predicted nature of routine circumstances, encounters and events (court or “pip” card). For each month, only the yellow (upright trump) or the blue (reversed trump) position will be populated, a total of 12 cards simulating an undulating roller-coaster track with its peaks and valleys. For the green row there will usually be a mix of 12 court and pip cards, either upright or reversed.

The method of shuffling requires the random introduction of “reversed” (upside-down) cards in both sub-packs. The yellow row is populated with the trump cards that appear upright in the deal (the anticipatory high-points or “crests” of the twelve-fold journey) and the blue row captures their reversed expression (the breathtaking “dips” in the track), giving the visual impression of a virtual “roller-coaster ride.” The green row of court and pip cards shows the mundane outlook that operates within the “mode” furnished by each monthly trump card. This bottom row also allows for reversals that are to be read in the usual way. Thus, there are four possible “flavors” of experience within each month, offering a mix of overt and covert (or objective and subjective) influences.

Copyright 2020, Parsifal’s Wheel Tarot & Astrology

By way of example, here is a brief set of interpretations for my own upcoming year; in actual practice I would put more analytical effort into the narrative.

Copyright US Games Systems, Stamford, CT

After a couple of up-and-down stutters between January 1 and the end of March, it looks like there will be no ambiguity and little incentive to go off-script until the end of the year, although December’s slide (Sun rx) could just be the “seasonal blahs” with the Sun at its lowest point in the cycle.

The unfocused Hierophant rx in January is unable to jump-start the Prince of Wands rx, resulting in a fallow spell;

In February, the Aeon with the 10 of Swords rx looks like it will promise more stimulus than it can deliver;

March implies that the Magus rx wants to drown his sorrows in the 8 of Cups rx (hopefully I won’t);

Death in April delivers a catharsis that lights a fire under me with the 7 of Wands, but I will still have to seize the opportunity;

In May, the noncommittal Star won’t capitalize on the rough Mars-in-Aries energy of the 2 of Wands rx (thumbing its nose at Aleister Crowley’s assumptions about Tzaddi being the Emperor);

In June, the Devil may get into some emotional mischief with that Ace of Cups;

In July, the Priestess calms the waters and I can get some good mental work done with the 6 of Swords;

The Lovers in August suggests reaching a crossroads that will involve a change in priorities symbolized by the 2 of Disks;

September brings the Wheel of Fortune as the next step in the Knight of Cups’ (my significator’s) emotional odyssey;

Strength (Lust) and the 6 of Disks in October augur material success as a reward for boldness;

In November, the Universe and the Queen of Swords rx may deliver a sobering verdict on August’s gambit and October’s boundless enthusiasm, perhaps bringing the initiative to a premature end;

The Sun rx in December is too feeble to inspire the 4 of Cups rx, implying a stagnation of feelings at year’s end.

Overall, it doesn’t look like such a bad year ahead.

I’ve been involved in the esoteric arts since 1972, with a primary interest in tarot and astrology. See my previous work at

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