Tarot of 2020

By Suzanne Corbie

TAROT of 2020

The Tarot Cards for 2020 are Arcana XIII and Arcana IV

‘We can predict the future when we know how the present moment has evolved out of the past’
Carl Jung

It is a truth that, those of us who are diviners or seers,  looking into the mist of life that lies ahead, are really seeking patterns through which to make a coherent understanding of our story, our place in the world and potentially seeking advice on the best possible action we can take. It is understandable, particularly in such challenging and unstable times, that we seek certainty more than ever and yet, such certainty always seems to elude us.  In the powerful forces that shape our societies and countries, in the cultural shifts that distract and engage us and in the changing structure of the way we live our lives, it is easy to feel as if any single effort is futile, that we have no power and that the greater forces around us speak louder and stronger than we ever can. This now changes. In this year, we can all become Emperors of our lives, Rulers of our Will and Make a Difference.

Child of the Great Transformers; Lord of the Gates of Death
Death as a tarot card, has been on my horizon for several years, watching the changes of the year of the Wheel, the consequences in the year of justice and the sense of limbo that held us in the year of the Hanged Man as we approached this significant year. Such omens don’t just predict what might be happening in the coming year, they indicate the power that we have to confront, challenge, accept and integrate the best of the wisdom that the symbolism contains for us. For Tarot Readers, The Nameless One, Arcana XIII, can strike fear into the heart of our clients, making them jump to conclusions, as indeed we may from time to time. So let us, as Kahil Gibran suggests, break open, “the shell that encloses your understanding” and see the wisdom that lies within.

Death is viewed as an ending – it is black and white and cannot be diluted in its power to transform our lives. And yet, it also offers, potentially,  a new beginning, for it is not a destination but a Gateway, a gate through which we pass through, where the transformation of one energy can be channelled into another way of thinking, a different kind of life, a new journey. However such transformation takes great courage and effort which requires a genuine commitment to change. We cannot expect the world to change if we cannot change ourselves and to ignore truth, as many can already see, is perilous, both personally and collectively. So how do we transform?

Death as Nigredo: The so called dragon, chthonic spirit, devil or blackness are names for the nigredo as one of the initial stages of alchemy, representing the prima materia or original substance, produced by the separation and putrefaction of the elements. In transformational alchemy, this is the breakdown of our negative behaviour patterns, old outworn ways of thinking and being that no longer serve us or our communities well, confronting racism, stereotyping and fear of the ‘other’, whatever the other means.
Either way, the encounter with the blackness destroys the original form to produce chaos, suffering and pain. What is happening to us collectively is a breaking down of the old forms, the old ways and in this breaking down, chaos and suffering ensues. It is part of the process. We don’t have to like it; we can even stand up and defend those caught up who suffer most from the process, but it is a process and it has been happening to all great civilisations since the beginning of time. And those caught up in it, question where they stand in it – with the old forms or the new? Our backgrounds and upbringing will draw us in one direction and new ways of thinking will attract us towards another. Do we side with what is familiar or do we dare face the unknown? What about the new is so frightening? What about the old do we need to keep because it was trustworthy and valuable? Such changes can be brutal in order to break embedded ways of being but out of them can rise a phoenix, a hope of deliverance and a greater awareness of potential.
To engage with the process of transformation, we have to commit to truth; to confront false ideas and beliefs, childhood attachments, old habits , attitudes and insecurities. At the point we can release them, there is a liberation, a soaring of the spirit that was held in bondage. Honestly. This really does happen! We then view our mistakes as having been necessary for our growth; our past experiences as being stepping stones on the path to understanding who we truly are and instead of blaming others, we embrace the ownership of our narratives and become truly responsible for ourselves and our place in the world.

“Death is not the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss is what dies inside us while we live”. Norman Cousins

RSW Arcana XIII: The RWS card shows several people’s attitudes towards death; the emperor is without power for death annihilates his rule; the young person, just opening up to life, turns away, unwilling to fully see; the priest, so often aware of death, either as ally or gateway, welcomes him and the child, who has no fear, sees clearly. What is our attitude to change and the dying of old ways of being? Are we annihilated by the experience? Do we lose our kindness, our trust, our hope? Do we give up in the face of such power or do we look into death’s eyes and begin a new journey? Your perspective on change and the death of old ways of being will determine your decisions in the coming year. Fear of change, fear of loss of old structures and ways of thinking will fight equally against the desire for change and releasing of the old prejudices and stereotypes.
The aim of Death is to allow something to end. We may not want this ending, for us or for others, but we either have to confront it for ourselves or understand that we are powerless to change others on a course of self destruction. Of course we can but try. But knowing that the tide is against us might at least help us to acknowledge the truth of the situation, which may not be what we wish.
Power and Compassion
Death represents the zodiac sign of Scorpio and is intense, secretive, mysterious, powerful and penetrating. Pluto, ruler of Scorpio, represents elimination, transformation and rules hidden feelings, buried emotions and secret knowledge – all of which, if released into the open, offer the greatest possibility for transformation. So we have here the desire to maintain secrets, hide our shadow even more carefully and bury how we truly feel against a rising sense of a need to be open, to stand up for what we believe and to release that which we have held onto for so long. This might be the influence that makes so many of us conflicted at the moment, not knowing which way to go or which is right or wrong. This plays out globally in the sense of elections where nations are divided, either provoking war or civil unrest.
“Death is not the end. Death can never be the end. Death is the road. Life is the traveller.
The soul is the guide” Sri Chinmoy
We are being asked to consider inwardly our own moral compass. Not to mirror that around us, but to seek new ways of being that we consider to be fair, just and compassionate without weakness. Looking within ourselves is the only way to steer any course when we go out of our depth in Scorpio. Consider a rule of thumb – what is your bottom line? Not harming others? Standing up for yourself? Being your own person? Creating unity instead of division or creating division in order for change to occur? But what kind of changes are good for us? Are we inclined in such tumultuous times to throw the baby out with the bathwater?
Honour and Humility
Hebrew letter Nun and Symbol of the Fish: Nun relates to water and is the symbol of a fish. In the previous card of the Hanged Man ruled by water and Neptune, we swim in the waters of the womb. In the symbol of the fish, we are resurrected, reborn and offered new life which is also why this letter is also represented as a dying yet resurrecting god or the ‘heir’ or ‘offspring’.  (This is particularly interesting when we come later in this essay to the comparison with the Emperor).
The symbolism of Nun invites us to swim in the waters of change and like the fish, to learn about the currents and tides in order to either advance our path or be carried into the shallows.
“When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace”
Nun also represents humility; when we are humble, we acknowledge we don’t know everything and are open to new ideas and ways of thinking; in humility, we know our strengths and weaknesses without judgement and this cultivates a deep compassion for humanity and the world we live in. Humility cultivates inner worth as opposed to material worth and acknowledging our own mistakes leads to healthy relationships with others.
If we look at the current popularity of narcissism, at the level of need to physically be perfect and materially wealthy, at the greed and overwhelming material focus of our times, we can see that humility is often perceived as weak and ignored by those who should louder about how great and wonderful they are. And in order to be heard, we join in – also shouting loud and fighting for our positions, threatening anger, bitterness and unforgiveness unless people act the way we wish them to. Where has this got us so far? Revenge, often seen as a trait of Scorpio has created vendettas of division in countries across the world leading to genocides and war, class division and family fall outs.
At some point, we need to understand that this way hasn’t worked and won’t work. This is profound spiritual advice for these times. People with humility show greater generosity, kindness and compassion that can cultivate greater friendships, families and communities – working together for the greater good. If we can but give up the love of power.
On the qabalistic path,  the sun acts through ‘Scorpio’ on ‘Venus’, emphasising the rising from the depths to reveal inner beauty that lies within ; that through many ‘deaths’ and ‘resurrections’ in our lives, we discover the victory of the beauty that that lives in truth, not illusion.
“The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honours the servant and has forgotten the gift” Einstein
If you can imagine it, you can become it, albeit maybe not entirely in exactly the same way.  Imagination, as Einstein expressed, takes us beyond the boundaries of the known and into new dimensions. The Imaginative Intelligence of this path works at bringing about new ways of expression, of living and being and doing. When we are tied down by negative ways of thinking and being, we are not free. Releasing them and embracing news of seeing the world allows us to change the world.
If you don’t think that any small action can lead to a greater deed – just consider what the young student Greta Thunberg has achieved this year. She started by sitting alone outside her school. She didn’t have an organisation backing her and even her parents weren’t too happy about it, but she has become an icon for something many are seeking – ways of caring for our planet instead of raping it. Start with small imaginative ways of changing negative ways of thinking or being – you may be surprised at how liberated it can begin to feel and how you weren’t aware of just how much you were ‘carrying’ as some kind of burden.
Thirteen – Unlucky for some?
Thirteen is frequently seen as unlucky for some (especially those who suffer from a fear of it; a phobia known as ‘paraskavedekatriapobia’), but has many positive indications; it includes 1 and 3 which symbolises both the individual and the collective, indicating change with one can bring about change with others and together they reduce to 4 being a tangible outcome in the physical world. (It refers to the Emperor, which we shall look at in a moment).  Indeed numerologically, the number thirteen includes the self determination and resilience together with creative imagination and inspiration to bring about change. It is therefore not surprising that since the US became a new nation with thirteen states, it has not stopped transforming! (Check out Wikipedia’s notes on the number 13 if you want to see how significant it is around the world)
The Number Four: The Emperor
Some will be looking at 2020 as adding up to four and indeed it does and as Death, being 13 reduces to 4, we have the energy of both; the energy of change and transformation together with the power to build a strong foundation for the future.  That sounds reflective of the conflict that we are experiencing currently; those seeking change and those seeking to maintain and hold. But these are very different energies – how can we balance them in our own lives?
There is likely to be a heightened awareness of the results of our past actions, a reckoning of the consequences of holding erroneous beliefs and an accountability to those who have sought to manipulate and feed lies. Working together with others will support us, especially if we listen as well as speak and look at what unites rather than divide. Easier said than done! And whilst Nostradamus predicted earthquakes, tsunamis and hurricanes, possibly a world war, the reality is, that is all around us already with climate change, and wars of both cold and destructive consequences. It’s a Game of Thrones where those in power seek to hold on to it and those who seek the collective will work together to undermine dictatorship. And so interesting to muse on the two together; The Emperor next to death suggests that transformation amongst those that rule is inescapable and even though they might like to look in charge and control the changes, I suspect there will changes not of their choosing. The tides of change affect us all, even when it doesn’t look as if that is happening – in retrospect – it is.
Personal success for each of us will follow commitment and responsibility as well as attention to detail, step by step processes and a dedication to working through issues, addressing conflict and having the patience to work towards the manifestation of your goals. Patience might help.
If you let the imaginative side of this year take over, you may fly free and unfettered but may have little to show for it – so let the imagination be the wind that fills the sails of your pragmatism, bringing realistic expectation into life and hope into reality. If you let the dictatorial side of you take over, you will find nothing but an opposing power, so find a way to be the alchemy that transforms both into something useful.
Interesting to note that this Arcana is found on the 15th path joining Chokmah to Tiphareth, from the father to the son – might we be experiencing the death throes of the patriarchy and the birth of the new aeon as Crowley called it? Horus, son of Isis and Osiris ushers in a new era and with Hathor, Goddess of Love, as his bride, he marries honesty with honour, leadership with compassion and the power of love overcoming the love of power. A vision or dream it may be, but it doesn’t harm to head our course in such a direction where we have rulership.
The Stabilising Intelligence that corresponds with this path, represents an order of energy which can guide us through darkness of chaos – in fact the symbol is a window, shedding light into this darkness. We need to sort out our chaotic thoughts and feelings and put them into some order, get our lives into a direction we choose to go in rather than feeling at the mercy of greater powers and shed light into the darkest recesses of ourselves and others in order to have greater understanding and be able to work from an enlightened viewpoint rather than a fearful one. This is our potential. This is what we can do, even in small ways, with what we have and what is available to us. Never take the smallest act or aim for granted! Make decisions, take responsibility and commit to seeing it through. We can learn a great deal from good and bad Kings.


What’s in the stars?
As I am inclined to do each year, I look at the significant planetary alignments of 2020, for guidance and then, using the corresponding tarot card, consider what insights I can gain from the images. I am not an astrologer so this is not the whole picture astrologically and I have chosen a significant alignment to focus on this year, as a flavour of what is to come.
In January there is a powerful conjunction of Saturn, Jupiter and Pluto in the sign of Capricorn. Jupiter follows into a three fold conjunction with Pluto and by the end of the year both Jupiter and Saturn form a conjunction in Aquarius.
In tarot terms – The World (Saturn), the Wheel (Jupiter) and Judgement (Pluto) will dwell in the sign of the Devil for some time, yet leading, by the end of the year, to the Wheel and the World in the sign of the Star. This can only be hopeful, if not quite dark before it becomes so. I spoke earlier of the potential death throes of the patriarchy and I include now the grip of consumerism, greed and self-gratification that holds such sway in the image of the Devil.


Saturn/World: Astrologically, Saturn represents the old world order and with tarot in the World, we see a coming to the end of a cycle – a sense that everything that could have been achieved in the patriarchal epochs, has been achieved and it is now outworn, outdated and of no value. We await rebirth and the power of Judgement will ensure it will happen. Actions will have consequences and those that are able, will see through deception to find new standards, new revelations and new truths.
Jupiter/Wheel of fortune: The Wheel of fortune, of destiny and of inescapable change, stops for no-one. We only have to see the mindblowing time maps of the history of our countries to see how change is inescapable and we are caught in its whirlwind for good or bad.
The Wheel brings new possibilities, optimism, hope, expansion and just rolls over the old order. Crowns are lost, established power crumbles and new powers arise. We need to be sure that what rises is better than what falls, both personally and collectively.

As the God of the Underworld, Pluto holds our shadow and supports secretive power, manipulation behind the scenes and the seduction of wealth and power. Look at where this lies in your life, with yourself, with people you know, with the world around you and know it for what it is. However, Pluto also transforms, helps us understand the value of the depths of our being and in rising, opens us up to embrace that which was denied and hidden to make us whole.
One of the lessons of the Devil, whose name is, Lord of the Gates of Matter, Child of the Forces of Time, is that we go into this card willingly. And often, we don’t want to leave for a host of reasons, none of which stack up to anyone listening. We stay in bondage in situations for weeks, months and years before one day we wake up and say we’ve had enough unless we are like Miss Haversham and endure our self-inflicted bondage to the end. We choose how long we stay there. We do! So its up to us – how long are you going to stay in bondage and when will you rise up and become the Emperor of your own life?  The Gates of matter reveal the same lesson as death – we go through them, but we don’t have to set up home in them. The material world has a strong pull and why shouldn’t it – we are material beings – we are physical in a material world. We are part of nature and thus we all own it and are responsible for it. Everything we have created outside of nature, comes from us all. So if we have created the world we are in, we can change it.

The Wheel, The World and Judgement in the Devil
With the wheel, the world and Judgement all in the sign of the devil – there will be limitation to progress, borders and walls to scale and revelations of personal and collective experience to integrate into our growing awareness that the world is no longer what it was, we are no longer what we were and what we can be is up to us. There will most definitely be the need to address our insecurities, our deepest fears and our toxic behaviour or negative thought patterns. How do we stand when we are crushed? It is not the mark of a person to be honourable in times of good fortune but how that persons stands in defeat will be the making of their strength of character. Bear that in mind when you have a choice on what to do in times of crisis. How will you want to remember your actions? You will find no judge here on these pages – the only judges are ourselves and time. The Wheel and Judgement work together to teach us the lessons we most need to learn. And time teaches us something else; 
“Here is the test to find whether your mission on earth is finished:
If you’re alive, it isn’t.” Richard Bach
And that will be true of us in our communities. How are we dealing with the vulnerable, the toxic, the divisive and the cruel? Do we call them out or just become comfortably numb? Do we talk about it and mean well, or do we go down the road to where that person lives who was having trouble walking and see what we can do to help? Where will we find ourselves when the changes have happened around us – what did we do while the tyrants sang?
Star of Wonder: We will be held a while longer and the change towards the Star won’t happen overnight, but those of us seeking it will catch its first rays of light before the end of the year, in the sea of darkness that has been the epic power struggles played out across our world and in our personal relationships. With the wheel in the realm of the star, there is hope for the future, there is a vision that we can all engage with, there is a light as we rise up out of Pluto’s underworld of illusion into the realms of truth and honesty, where we can face our ‘abysmal contradictions’ and know ourselves as complex beings who have both worth and weakness together and knowing that, we can accept fallen heroes and idols who make mistakes as long as there is honesty and understanding, with a mutual vision for a better world on values we can all try to work towards.
This might be the reality of the dawning of the age of Aquarius where we find our own autonomy yet share hope for a more inclusive life for all. Who knows? I’m just a tarot reader…
Chinese Sign for 2020: The year of the White Metal Rat
It is interesting to note that the direction for this sign is north and its element is water – as is Capricorn, this sign, whose influence we shall be feeling during 2020 as we have seen above. I always find it fascinating to see the correlation between differing ways of divining – they are all heading the same way, with remarkably similar advice, yet all uniquely different landscapes!
The rat is inquisitive, pioneering, restless and imaginative. The influence of metal on the rat will bring a need for a sound structure, a steel weapon and brought together with the water element brings to mind an image of a strong ship on troubled seas. Yes indeed! What is your ship made of? How well is it constructed and how strong is your rudder and sail? For these are indeed turbulent times, but if we don’t have navigation skills, perhaps this is the year we will learn them!
“If there is no end, there can be no beginning. I am at the service of eternity. Your eternity. If you devote yourself to transformation, you will become the master of the ephemeral moment because you will live it in its infinite intensity”.  Alejandro Jodorowsky

Quick Tips to Survive 2020
2020 is a year of transformation, where the changes of the past few years have begun to show consequences, both personally and collectively. 2020 will build on these changes and the greater powers will continue to fight for power, leaving many of us feeling without power. This is not the whole truth. Everyone can make a difference, its just that we don’t think it’s enough which means many don’t even try. The real challenge in this year is to commit to making a difference; for yourself, your family, your community – to be kind and understanding, strong and empowered and yes, they are not opposites of each other – they weave a power of strength and unity, that is woven from the thread of compassion to others and not just focused on our own selves. There may be more than a few Emperors fighting for their crowns this year, but we can be the Kings of our own minds and hearts and learn to consider ways of being and thinking that will grow healthy and happy lives, families and communities. “We are not islands”, as a famous advert is currently saying,” we are part of something far, far bigger”. So think about who you are in all your strengths and weaknesses, embrace them all, put your shoulders back and set course through these turbulent times, with commitment and dedication and you will find yourself at the end of the year more fulfilled than you have ever been before.
Quick tips
⦁ Embrace change. One way or another the tides of change in 2020 are moving across our whole world and whether we agree with them or not, it is happening. So our best bet is to move with them. We have the power to resist and challenge the changes we feel aren’t for the greater or personal good, but listen to what is happening and give it some serious thought before being swept with the tide of divisive polarities that pit us against each other, rather than trying to work together for a common good.
⦁ Commit to something significant; something you feel will leave you in a better place, help you feel more empowered, stronger and contributing to a healthier happier future for yourself and possibly your family/community. We may feel that the Game of Thrones that is playing out around the world is beyond our control, that there is nothing we can do. Don’t buy into that. Just do something that is in your power, that is available to you and is possible. It will make a difference.
⦁ Do something for the planet. It needs us now more than ever, so pick up litter, even though it doesn’t seem to make any difference – know that you are making your own change and others can follow or ignore. It is your power to do something, no matter how small.
⦁ Grow Humility. Being assertive and strong doesn’t mean losing your kindness, your humanity and your humility. Being compassionate and understanding is not weak, in fact in the face of bullying dictators, it requires immense courage and strength to continue to hold such timeless values. In the last few years, many have lost their way in the tide of greed and self gratification and then have wondered why they feel empty, lost and unhappy and need to create drama to give their lives meaning. Cultivating a good life isn’t just about the biggest parties, the greatest fame, the largest amount of likes on an Instagram page. It is far more subtle than that and actually realising that is an unspoken anarchy against a cultural tide that threatens to strip the planets resources without a care for anyone other than ourselves is a subtle act that could begin to change this tsunami. Don’t be fooled. Fake news is more than the obvious. 

“What you possess in the world will be found at the day of your death to belong to someone else. But what you are will be yours forever” Henry Van Dyke
Wishing you all a transformative year ahead and may the sleeper within you awaken!
 My thanks to John Wadsworth, Divine Harmony and Zodiac Poetry for astrological insights
© suzannecorbie