A Divination for 2024
“We are stardust, we are golden and we’ve got to get ourselves back to the garden” Joni Mitchell
A divination for the coming year, using Tarot, Numerology, Western and Chinese Astrology, offering advice and hopefully, inspiration for 2024, the Year of the Lion and the Star.
See footnote for Credits and description of numerology used for the Tarot .
2024: ARCANAS VIII & XVII: STRENGTH & THE STAR
If last year was about a confrontation with truth and the changes that result from that, this year is a little different. Here we pick ourselves up from the ashes and phoenix like, begin the process of healing whilst making bold steps towards a new vision.
This year offers such possibility and hope, that now is absolutely the time to begin new ways of living and for those of you feeling bruised, hurt and struggling to find a new normal – take heart. Breathe. Tell the people you love that you love them. Value the nature around you. Be grateful to be alive. And then, this year, take a small, yet bold step. Each step after that will take you away from the shock of your tower moments and towards new beginnings.
As the collective and personal tectonic plates shift around us, such steps will require strength and perhaps courage of a particular kind. So lets look at Strength first.
ARCANA VIII STRENGTH
Strength from Ancient Egyptian Tarot; Author and Artist Clive Barrett
The Golden Dawn title for Strength is ‘Leader of the Lion’ and ‘Daughter of the Flaming Sword’ and she is no walkover. The ancient Egyptian Goddess Sekhmet (her very name means ‘She who is powerful’), portrays strength well, as one who has immense power and passion as well as honour and dignity. A Goddess of disease and yet healing, of war and yet loves Ma’at, the concept of balance and harmony between all of nature. Lions are not called Kings of the Jungle for nothing.
Sekhmet’s strength is one of terrifying power that directed to benevolence, can heal the world; yet when directed to terror, can make us all live in fear. We only have to look at the images of the monstrous wars in the world today, particularly in Ukraine and Gaza, to know the truth of that. Yet in such nightmares, small voices stand together against injustice and our desire to put an end to suffering and to find a new way of living together, can emerge, as a beacon or a phoenix from the ashes of the towers that have been brought to the ground.
In this year, we have to find a way to live together, with all our differences. The Dogs of War may have been unleashed, we now have to learn how to understand why and what we can do to bring an end to the rage. In Sekhmet’s myth, she nearly extinguishes humanity with bloodlust and so she is given beer, coloured with pomegranate juice, so that thinking it is blood, she drinks it up and is able to be removed from the warzone that she created. Perhaps we all need to quell our anger and listen to others and what they perceive to be injustice compared to ours.
Crowley named this card ‘Lust’ and certainly she embodies passion beyond boundaries, embracing our sexuality and expressing it wholeheartedly.
In old Marseilles decks, Strength was known as one of the four virtues, Fortitude. To have fortitude, is to have courage and strength, not just in a powerful way, but in a resolute and determined way. It is where we commit to something and follow it through, even when the going gets tough. Courage can be bold and dramatic. Fortitude is quiet and enduring. Courage can last a moment. Fortitude can last a lifetime. Blend these together and you get it – the courage to make hard decisions that bring about change and fortitude to carve a new life for yourself.
“Success is not measured by what you accomplish but by the opposition you have encountered and the courage with which you have maintained the struggle against overwhelming odds”. Orison Swett Marden
Strength is ruled by Leo and thus the Sun. Its not only ambitious, confident and proud but it also represents vitality, energy, optimism and inner strength. Use this year to cultivate those qualities and you may find you end the year better than you started!
In the qabalistic correspondences of Strength, we have the image of a coiled snake, energy gathered in potential and directed, when needed, to the right place, like the lion waiting to spring. The spiritual intelligence is about receiving spiritual insight and knowledge to know exactly when to leap and why.
This will take us into the Star and what we may become.
What can we do to embrace this energy this year?
Look at the world picture and see where the same thing is playing out in your life? Where do you think you are right to be angry and unforgiving? Of course, one person’s terrorist is another person’s freedom fighter and within our own relationships, we all stand up for what we believe is right. It’s just that pausing for thought, considering the best way forward for everyone and listening to what the other person’s version of ‘truth’ is, wouldn’t do us any harm once in a while.
After the global pandemic, we will have learned many lessons. As the goddess that brings disease, Sekhmet also brings healing and we are now learning how to heal ourselves, mentally, emotionally and physically; to eat well, to look after our bodies, to understand life’s fragile cycles and the nature that needs to be nurtured, rather than plundered. Learn well, or we may hear her roar again.
Look at how well we express our sexuality? It’s a subject fraught with all kinds of difficulties, particularly in the current exploration of gender issues. But explore them we should and learning how to express our needs, meet our desires and have fun is important.
Taking bold steps with courage needs to be met with fortitude and the determination to bring things to fruition. To keep going when the going gets tough and the opposition is loud will take courage of a different nature. You wont see quick results, but long term, the benefits could be life transforming.
ARCANA XVII THE STAR
Star from Wildwood Tarot; Mark Ryan and John Matthews, Art by Will Worthington
“Shine, shine like a star, shining so bright, wherever you are” Aswad
The Star comes after the Tower and represents the hope that rises, phoenix like, from the ashes of our failed dreams and expectations. Her title is ‘Daughter of the Firmament’ or ‘Dweller in the Waters’ and she represents the Star Maiden who is born of the stars, yet lives between the waters of life, allowing them to run freely and nurture others. We are her, living on this earth, yet able to reach for the stars with our vision and our hope.
She is the full expression of Aquarius, ruled by Uranus, inviting us to find alternative ways of being, to trust our intuition and insight, to be unconventional and unafraid to express our true nature, with honesty and delight.
As the qabalistic path between Yesod and Netzach, she blends the waters of love with a profound insight, which, when acting through humanitarian principles, the very depths of our psyches are touched. For this to happen, we must respond to beauty, to the need for the power of love as opposed to the love of power and to see the natural expression of life for the true wonder that it is, however it expresses itself. No wonder this path is called the Natural Intellligence. Everything has a shadow and the star is no exception. Her shadow is living in the future or dream world, rather than using the power of fortitude to manifest the vision in the present. Make your vision your life!
Seventeen as a number is, unsurprisingly, highly spiritual and suggests the ability to see the greater truth, to attract universal healing and can help us rise above the mundane trials of life if one holds true to their highest aspirations and to develop their true potential. Dont mistake this for career, although fortunate are those that can blend both, but see this as something that is an everyday practice, infusing your everyday life with spirit and vision, passion and hope. You may be surprised at what an impact this can have!
What can we do to embrace this energy this year?
What tradition are you stuck in that no longer serves you well? What people do you meet where there is now little in common? What work are you doing that doesn’t use your full potential? The change has already been made, the consciousness shifted – all we need to do is to find the courage to choose a different way.
Make your vision your life! Think about what you excel at and what motivates you and incorporate more that feeling in your life.
Look at situations you find yourself in that are challenging – how can you find an alternative solution? Think outside the box. Imagine you could choose any different way, no matter how unrealistic it may sound and then consider how far that is from possible and how close you could get to that.
Hope is a keyword of the star and without it, we can despair, but with it, can perform miracles. Especially in the bigger picture of the world, let hope have a place in your heart. If all we can do is head towards a better outcome, then let us play our parts, no matter how small – at least we are doing something. Whatever troubles you most; look at what you can do; collecting rubbish for the environment, signing petitions, raising money, asking organisations for the change you seek, live in a way that supports your point of view.
Consider your relationships – how could you breathe life into them, inspire them and you to have more joy, more care and more freedom to be yourselves.
Think of your health – if stress gets you – change your job or your perspective and cultivate time for your wellbeing.
And don’t forget – the Star Maiden symbolises freedom to be yourself – that means others have that freedom too, but we might add that responsibility not to harm others is part of that equation.
So in 2024, look to the stars from whence we came. See how far we have already travelled and how much more can be created for our planet and humanity. Make your vision your life and have the fortitude to see it through!
“Without you Draco, where will we go, where do we turn? To the stars Bowen, to the stars” Dragonheart
2024; Chinese Year of the Wood Dragon
The Wood Dragon is that wonderful blend of dynamic fire and huge possibilities gained from small deeds – a very synchronistic match with our fiery Lion and visionary Star. Wood Dragons are associated with spring and growth and indicate new beginnings coming from hard work which will lead to growth and prosperity – their visions will need care and nurturing to bring to fruition, just as fortitude will nurture our visionary dreams. Wood is the mother of fire and with its sparks of insight and flames of desire, it can create the courage, passion and creativity that such a dragon brings forth.
The insights may be small and initial steps laborious, but it has the power of the dragon to transform into something profoundly important in each of our lives. Choose your vision well!
So in the Chinese Astrological Tradition, the year of the Wood Dragon brings energy and passion to feed our personal, spiritual and professional growth. It comes with advice to help others also on their way to bring their dreams to fruition. Harness the Wood Dragon’s energy and who knows what you can achieve and/or help others achieve this year!
Western Astrology with Tarot
In considering the main themes, Pluto transiting from Capricorn to Aquarius is equated with Judgement moving from the Devil to the Star; from being bound to being free, from no hope to visionary hope and with Judgement (Pluto) in full rising and emerging power from the underworld. Judgement has exposed what has been hidden – scandal, by scandal. It continues to expose what we hide, to reveal the truth of what we would prefer not to confront. If you are still struggling with that, you are missing the great gift! For the blessing it offers, is to free us from the past; from shame, regret and guilt; from the things we wish we had done and the things we wished we hadn’t. Let it go!
Such a powerful rebirth is slightly clouded by Saturn in Pisces (equates to the World in the Moon), offering false information, outright lies, or you could say, fake news. It also hampers building boundaries and structure. So be smart and head towards the spiritual nourishment that it can bring without losing common sense and purpose. Collectively, under such omens, the world needs to bring mutual understanding to global co-operation. We need to think about what we can do in our personal lives to help facilitate what could be such an extraordinary shift.
On a side note, America has what is known as its Pluto Return – again Judgement or Rebirth in the Tarot. A process of reckoning is upon the country and it can either continue in the way it has with the same catastrophic results or it can see its part in such events, learn from them and rise, as the phoenix we looked at earlier.
The Jupiter Uranus conjunction, equating to a meeting of the World and the Fool, will stir up change, innovation, deviating from established norms and finding new ways of expression in both the personal and the collective.
Jupiter in Gemini for a while (the Wheel of Fortune in the Lovers), will also help us see ourselves in others, understand different points of view and open our minds to new possibilities.
So with a lion’s heart and the vision of the Star Maiden,
I wish you all a Wise and Wonderful New Year,
31st December 2023
Credits: Jimmy Larry on Unsplash
For Teachers and Students of Tarot:
How to do this divination
If you were beginning your annual divinations using tarot – you would add the numbers of the year (this year 2 + 0 + 2 + 4 = 8) and get 8. Using the Major Arcana only, number 8 equates to Strength in the Tarot, unless you are using the Thoth or Marseilles decks and some variations, most will have Strength as 8.
You then interpret the card on a wider scale, opening your intuition into how it might apply to the collective, rather than the personal. As you can see, there is plenty to guide you if you look at the astrology, qabalah, numerology, psychology and myth as well.
I began these divinations 17 years ago, as an annual offering and commitment to my own exploration of tarot, intending to do the whole Major Arcana. I have another 5 years to complete!
Double letters in numerology usually reduce to a single digit, so as I travelled through the Major Arcana, having begun with the Magician, I would, at some point, have a double digit. So for me, last year was the Tower and this year 2024, is the Star. It seems appropriate to look at both, particularly as they lend inspiration and advice to each other.