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december monthly tarot reading

December 2017 Tarot Spread

Read your monthly and weekly Tarot readings for December 2017
Coleman Stevenson

Before we get started with the reading, here’s a note on the deck pictured in this month’s spread. These cards are from the Albano-Waite deck, a Rider-Waite clone first produced in 1968 by Frankie Albano and his company Tarot Productions. The deck, also released in miniature size and giant size (majors only), features extremely saturated, almost psychedelic coloring to the classic imagery and a beautiful gold sun stamp on the card backs. Unfortunately, this deck went out of print shortly after its creation. Years later, U.S. Games picked the deck back up for reproduction. You can tell the difference between versions in the image clarity and the box design; the vintage box front has no deck title, just an image of the Sun card.

Jump to any week of December now:

Here's a quick look at the overall spread for December:

December Tarot Spread

Theme for the month: Four of Pentacles

Four of Pentacles

The Four of Pentacles is such an interesting card to pull for this month's theme. This can be a card of frugality, expressing concerns about holding on to the wealth and resources that have been amassed. That seems relevant in a month of holidays when many people are spending their hard-earned money on elaborate celebrations and travel. It is also a time when we traditionally show our love for others through gifts of material goods, additionally fitting for this card that is also concerned with identity, and how we humans express that identity through material possessions. These meanings are clearly illustrated in this deck's imagery -- the suit symbol is connected to each part of the figure's being: head, heart, and foot. The central Pentacle is tightly gripped in the figure's arms.

Expressing identity through tangible objects is very natural, and is not automatically the same thing as materialism, though that is a caution of the Four of Pentacles. While it is true that things we own can demonstrate our values and personalities to others, if we measure who we are and how we are doing solely by what we possess, other aspects of existence are left underdeveloped. This externalization of self-worth can also lead to stinginess and hoarding. What might really be at play here is a fear of loss. This sort of behavior often manifests when we feel powerless or out of control. If we hold tightly to what we have, it seems like we might be able to control our circumstances better. When other aspects of self-concept have been ignored, we have nothing else to rely on should we suffer a loss, making it harder to recover and resulting in a crisis of identity.

Meditation on the Four of Pentacles:

For those of us who celebrate gift-giving holidays, December is a month of giving but also often anticipation of getting. Kids make lists for Santa weeks in advance, and these lists often include extravagant items that strike fear into the hearts of parents on a budget. Relationships seem made or broken by the expression conveyed through the presents we give each other.

How do you balance expectation and fear of disappointment with a very different fear of living beyond your means?

See how the things you do this week will impact your near future with insight from a Timeline Tarot Reading!

Weekly Tarot card
December 1-7: Six of Pentacles reversed

Six of Pentacles

Here's this card again! We saw the Six of Pentacles last month as well, and it does seem that some of the lessons or struggles present in November are still with us currently. This is not unexpected. November marked the start of a chain of busy holidays; this year a number of stores where I live started merchandising for Christmas even before Halloween, and now are in full-swing with decorations and many additional products. In our spread, we have the Six of Pentacles positioned in reverse, which seems in direct alignment with this month's theme card. I can't help thinking about the fine line between holiday spirit and holiday pressure -- pressure to find the perfect present for everyone on my list, pressure to get everything done on time... By some people's standards, I'm already late if I'm still doing my holiday shopping now! And as noted above, if you're operating on a budget, and many of us are, including everyone you care about and finding just the right thing for each of them can be tough.

When this card is reversed, it often indicates mishandling of resources, so I'm taking its appearance here as a warning. What sort of creative solutions might we find to honor those we love with clever gifts that don't have to drain our resources? Last month's appearance of this card asked us to think about different ways we could serve others. Generosity does not have to be financial, even though Pentacles are the suit of tangible concerns. There are many ways to show love. We can give others our time and energy to help improve the quality of their tangible existence. We can use our time and skills to make something for loved ones. People often say that it's the thought that counts, but this is usually meant to excuse a lack of effort. If we put care into what we make, these gifts will be seen as both thoughtful AND enjoyable.

This card in reverse can also suggest greed, but in the current context, I would interpret that a little differently. Pressure to perform as expected can cause many of us to withdraw. I sense fear of a sort in this card, too. Perhaps we fear that others will not return our efforts of generosity. Giving to get or giving only because we received is a strangely deceptive cycle. Overall, this card is a reminder that how we treat others is important. A balance of the material and spiritual is essential for our well-being, and the act of giving supports that balance.

Considerations for the reversed Six of Pentacles:

1. What actions by others make you feel loved?
2. How do you typically show your love for others?
3. Think about those closest to you, people you would want to demonstrate your care for with a gift of some sort. What do you think makes each of them feel loved? How could you tailor your gift to match this?

See how the things you do this week will impact your near future with insight from a Timeline Tarot Reading!

Weekly Tarot card
December 8-14: Five of Wands

Five of Wands

Chaos! Competition! Aaaaaaah! What is going on? It seems everyone around us has a different idea of how to achieve current goals, and these ideas do not mesh with ours. Each figure in this card is pointing their branch in a different direction, creating a scene of struggle and confusion. We want our ideas to be recognized, but is what we want really what's most important? How can we shift our thinking towards collaboration instead and find a plan that would benefit everyone? Listen to others and consider their ideas and opinions openly. Then ask gently that they do the same for you. What might be at the core of other people's demands? What disappointments, wounds, or fears preoccupy them? If you understand people's motivations, as well as your own true needs and fears, it might be easier to approach with care and reach a satisfying compromise. Otherwise, the stinginess and possessiveness of our theme card, the Four of Pentacles, is ruling us again.

The obstinance and reluctance in the reversed Six of Pentacles is relevant here, as well. What do people need to feel safe and open enough to truly communicate? As noted in last month's readings, this time of year often brings people together who don't see each other often, and may not understand each other as well due to this. Special events like holidays also bring out different emotions. There are built in competitions – who makes the best dressing, whose pumpkin pie is superior, whose jello salad never sets right (ha, ha)... Is your ego putting up an unnecessary fight? Maybe it's ok to let someone else shine, or consider how working together might make something better than either could produce alone. Wands are the suit of Fire, of spirit, passion, and ambition. Individual fires can't burn as brightly as one large one that keeps everyone warm together.

December 3 through 22 is also a Mercury Retrograde period. If you follow Astrology, you know that can bring additional challenges to communication, and this energy is at its highest point this week. Taking these extra steps to carefully consider your interactions with others can help avoid troubling miscommunications.

Exercise with Earth and Water energy:

Is your Fire burning a bit too hot this week? Invoke the element of Earth or Water to balance it.

I love working with scent to help shift my energy. I make essential oil blends that try to capture the spirits of the elements, and use them to counter unhelpful energies. Cedarwood, patchouli, sage, and vetiver are great oils for Earth energy. I like jasmine, geranium, lavender, and even citrus oils for Water energy.

Use one of those oils you like or try mixing together a few drops of different ones in a small vial. Keep the vial with you and smell the scent when you need grounding or emotional clarity. If you want to wear your blends, just dilute them in a carrier oil such as jojoba or sweet almond to make them safe for skin, about 15 drops of oil to a 10ml roller bottle of carrier oil. You could also add a few drops of essential oil to your bath or soaking water (though, not if your system is sensitive to essential oils).

See how the things you do this week will impact your near future with insight from a Timeline Tarot Reading!

Weekly Tarot card
December 15-21: The Hierophant

The Hierophant

The Hierophant is the keeper of traditions, so it is not at all surprising to see this card appear in this month's spread, and in this week, the week of the Winter Solstice. Teacher of rituals and rules, it is a card of guidance and initiation into shared culture, very fitting for this season of collective celebration and reinforcement of shared spiritual values. The Hierophant is a proponent of orthodox behavior. Perhaps this is a good time to consider the meanings behind our current activities and ask ourselves why we choose to follow these traditions. It is presenting us an opportunity to reconnect to deeper meaning, and heighten the experience of participation, especially in the midst of broad commercialization of holiday traditions.

This deck depicts the Hierophant as a robed religious figure, seated in front of two pillars representing the institutions of belief. Below are the keys to this stored knowledge. As we have all experienced, we must be initiated directly or indirectly into our cultures, whether religious or secular. In our lives, the Hierophant might have been a religious leader, but could also have been a school teacher, a parent or, someone else in the home who formally or informally showed us the way things are done. In turn, each of us may now play this role for others.

The holiday season can be an uncomfortable time if we feel forced to observe particular traditions that do not mesh with our belief systems. The presence of the Hierophant here does not necessarily insist that we follow suit, but that we decide what level of adherence to rules and traditions is appropriate for each of us. What value lies in observing traditions? How can we protect our own traditions if living inside of a dominant culture that is not our own? How can sharing traditions be seen as a form of generosity?

A meditation on the self as the Hierophant:

How have you been the teacher of tradition to someone in your life? How did sharing your knowledge impact your own connection to beliefs and values?

How have you shared information about your traditions with someone outside of your culture? What was their response and how did it make you feel?

See how the things you do this week will impact your near future with insight from a Timeline Tarot Reading!

Weekly Tarot card
December 22-30: Queen of Cups

Queen of Cups

In this card, the Queen of Cups is seated on a watery throne and almost appears to be part of the rippling blue stream running beneath. This card is deeply connected to the watery realm of feelings and intuition, representing a high level of emotional maturity and a strong empathetic ability. Like every other card in this spread so far, the Queen of Cups speaks to us about our involvement with others. The Queen of Cups is reliable and consistent, qualities that allow us to provide emotional support and understanding to others, and to delight in being of service to them. The calm, comforting energy of this card offers some relief after the challenges raised throughout this reading. The fiery energy of the Five of Wands from earlier in the month, and the excessive focus on the material in the two Pentacles cards, is resolved this week. Either someone is providing this relief for us, or we are being called on to be this calming, loving force for others. Either way, potential for love and support abounds, and we should allow that energy to flow through us. Stay open and receptive and practice compassion for those around you.

Actions from the Queen of Cups:

1. For the self: What person in your life comforts you when you need it? How does it feel to receive that care?
2. For another: Find a way this week to do something supportive for a person who has provided you needed comfort.

See how the things you do this week will impact your near future with insight from a Timeline Tarot Reading!

Weekly Tarot card
December 31: The Magician

A final thought on the last day of the year

The Magician

How exciting to receive this card at such a pivotal moment! One year is turning to the next, and we end/begin on a very positive note. The Magician is the first teacher the Fool encounters on the Journey of the Tarot. The great lesson of the Magician is how to manifest, turning ideas into actions. This card asks us to look back on everything we've learned this year. How have you used Magician energy to complete projects? What skills have you mastered? The figure in this card poses with confidence, surrounded by many useful tools. What tools have time and practice taught you to use with confidence?

This card also suggests we enter into the new year in the same activated fashion. Here's a simple ritual to mark that transition, using The Magician as a guide. You don't need much, just paper, pen or pencil, a candle and matches, and a set of Major Arcana cards if you have them (optional). You can perform this alone or with a group.

A New Year's Eve ritual with the Magician:

1. Think about the upcoming year. What would you like to accomplish? This can be very specific or more general. The Magician will help you focus your idea and begin the manifestation process, so if you have a deck of cards, place this card in front of you. Write out your desires and goals on a piece of paper. (If you have cards, you can also select a Major Arcana card to represent your desire, either chosen intentionally or at random. Focus on this card's message for your new year.)
2. If working in a group of friends, consider how your goals for the new year might interact and support each other.
3. Light a candle. Any candle's energy will do, but feel free to choose based on color symbolism to enhance the power of your specific wishes. Yellow is a great color for the Magician, so that would be an excellent overall choice as well.
4. Let your candle burn while focusing on your goals for the new year. When it has finished, dispose of your paper in a meaningful way. One option that works well with this season is to bury it in the ground. You could also bury it in the pages of a book, or simply tear it and scatter it into the air outside.

In summary

According to the cards, many vital lessons about our interactions with other will be learned or strengthened this month. As is often the case in Mercury Retrograde periods, old habits, buried fears, and unresolved issues want to be dealt with and finally dismissed. As we move from one year into the next, let's take with us the energy, emotion, and habits that bolster and let go of self-defeating behaviors that keep us from connecting with others and reaching our goals. Happy Winter Solstice and Happy Holidays to you all!

See how the things you do this week will impact your near future with insight from a Timeline Tarot Reading!