Tarot of 2022
2022: The Year of the Lovers and the Devil
“To discover the source of this alchemical love within, is to uncover the deepest secrets of the soul. It is to unearth and align with the ultimate truth of who we are” Atalina Wright
(NB: 2022 is a number 6 year unless, like me, you travel through all the major arcana over the years – see my explanatory footnote at the end)
The binary nature of both of these cards is easy to see and has been imprinted on us all in some way in the last few years. For those of us in Europe, the Remainers and Leavers of Brexit have divided friends, families and communities and Brexit is just one small part of the equation; right /left, pro/con, revolution/established order, rich/poor and now we have the binary of “to vaccinate or not to vaccinate”, pulling us all in different directions. And it is remarkable to notice how similar we can all sound, how convinced that our own argument is the only one that matters, that it is the right way, how ignorant the other side is and how awakened we are.
This is where we find ourselves as the door opens into 2022 – so what is the wisdom that the Tarot can offer if we are open to learning it?
“Tao begets One, One begets Two. Two begets Three. Three begets all beings” Lao Tseu, Tao Te Ching
Lets take a look at both cards together for a moment.
We have a trio – a couple (male and female) and a supernatural figure forming a triangle, a symbol in sacred geometry representing divinity for the Egyptians, wisdom for the Pythagoreans and the holy Trinity for Christianity. Spiritually, its symbolism is out of two opposites, a third is born. In the RWS card, the suggestion is, with the woman raising her eyes to the angel, that a spiritual connection exists between them and whilst the male looks at her, the woman becomes the mediator and higher love becomes the way to the divine.
This is the rising of the divine feminine. This is the Sacred Marriage, the Hieros Gamos that unites the divine to the world. Here the Feminine Co-Creator who engages with the evolutionary process that this time augurs – meets the Conscious Masculine, who understands and supports equality and growth rather than power and dominance. Here, where the anima and the animus are united and understood. All is possible.
In this moment, if we can rise above our entrenched attitudes and our more primitive standpoints of status, security and comfort, then our relationships with ourselves, our friends and families and the world itself, can act as a catalyst for the greater changes that the world so greatly needs now. It is time to change ideals into action, theories into practice and philosophy into reality. Can you feel it?
In 2022, we are being invited to consider a more ethical and caring way of living and it won’t be any good railing at others – if we live our beliefs and ideologies in an authentic way, putting all the theories into practice, then we can most definitely be the change we want to see in the world. This is an auspicious time and the current is change and if you want to swim in that current – this is your time!
The couple are the same in the Devil and whilst both are naked, here they are chained and have the symbols of the two trees in the Lovers, now forming tails from their bodies. The two supernatural figures are the Angel in the Lovers and the Devil, one might conclude that they represented the binaries of light and dark/good and evil, heaven/hell or unity and separation.
The trees represent the tree of knowledge of good and evil next to an obvious Eve from the Christian mythology, with the serpent, who in ancient times, represented fertility, wisdom and medicine but in the Christian myth is something of a trickster, coiled around it (female headed in this image, opening up the idea of women naturally being cunning and untrustworthy – yes, only completely insane!).
The Tree next to Adam is the Tree of Life, debated as to its meaning amongst scholars, but here in the Rider Waite Smith deck, is a symbolic representation of the Otz Chim, the Tree of Life within Jewish mysticism and the 10 flames symbolise the ten sephiroth on the tree, each one representing an emanation or attribute of God. With the Angel Raphael, the Angel of Healing and meetings/travellers above them, this is an image of the Garden of Eden, a perfected state, where all opposites live in harmony. Do they stay there innocent and pure or do they seek knowledge that will take them beyond the Garden? Their choice.
As is our choice to stay with what feels safe and comfortable in the garden, preferring not to see what is the disturbing reality around us, or to reconsider future ways of living more aligned to the world we now live in with all its current challenges. Which of us is going to help bring about the changes we need to see for all of us to have a chance to live equally and well? In the words of the sadly recently deceased great man, Desmond Tutu;
If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality”.
Let’s look at the Lovers in the Marseilles deck. We see a man between two women, one with her hand on his shoulder, seemingly older and another younger woman with her hand on his chest or heart. The supernatural figure is Cupid, the engineer and initiator of desire and. Here, the man seems stuck between responsibility, duty and maybe family and the tug of the heart, desire and the possibility of love.
So, in this new year, we can choose who we align ourselves with eyes wide open, as well as choosing to elevate our thoughts beyond the sum of our parts, developing character and growing wisdom. It is our choice. We tend to forget that when things go wrong. We forget our part in the story and demonise those we feel are responsible
Here also in the Mythic Tarot, we see the issue of choice in the myth of Paris being offered a golden apple and having to choose between three goddesses. Let’s face it – that was never going to end well! As the ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus once noted;
“The content of your character is your choice. Day by day, what you choose, what you think and what you do, is who you become”.
So what happened between the Lovers and the Devil? What choices did they make that got them where we find them this year? Whereas in the garden, the Lovers have all opportunities for growth and change open to them, in the Devil, they are bound by their own restrictions and limited perspectives and have now backed themselves into a corner, where they could still liberate themselves, but seem unable to do so.
This is at the heart of most of our relationships; the moment when we feel that despite all effort, our expectations, hopes and wishes have not come to fruition and now there is a feeling of being trapped – unable to let go of what we have built; their material security, their work life, family and community ties and yet, suffocated by the inability of our soul to fly free. This is a moment of choice. But it will require great courage to see it through and break the bonds, be they mental, emotional or physical, that prevent us from soaring.
What pearls of wisdom can the Tarot offer at such times to guide us through?
The power of Gemini (the lovers) ruled by Mercury (the Magician) brings the power of communication. To speak our truth, to listen and really hear another’s truth and to find the meeting place between the two. Indeed, the Golden Dawn title for the lovers is The Children of the Voice or the Oracle of the Mighty Gods and there is some power in vocalising such a title out loud.
Communication is sacred. It always has been from the first Cuneiform tablets, through Hieroglyphics, Sanskrit, Hanzi and other early forms that were frequently highly symbolic with several related meanings. Writing itself was considered a sacred and magical skill and words were considered to contain power. Times haven’t really changed as much as we think they have. Words do contain power – the power to raise us and the power to crush us. We all know this. So choosing our words and how we convey them is crucial to developing healthy relationships. Which is why social media has become such a minefield, because many do not choose their words carefully, or consider their impact on others. And hearing what another writes or says, is the other half of the coin, for as much as we are able to speak, we need to really listen to what is being said, to understand the nuance of language and what is the emotion beneath.
“Who dares to waste one hour of time, has not discovered the value of life”
The Golden Dawn title of the Devil is ‘Lord of the Gates of Matter, Child of the Forces of Time’ indicating a much heavier energy – the limitation of time that binds us to our mortal coil. And Matter – our bodies, our physical presence and activity, what it is we manifest and what is built around us. Whilst our bodies and our desires can help us achieve the impossible, their challenge is with the passions that take us into challenging and difficult places or behaviour. We then tend to demonise the ‘other’ as we blame outside forces for our predicament, rather than ourselves being the ones that are really in control. Here our lower selves rule and there is no light to show the way forward. We have to find it within ourselves. We have to choose to face our own shadow and deal with it. All the things we found difficult in the last two years – what do we need to learn to make the most of our time in the future?
The Devil is also Capricorn, representing the values of hard work, responsibility and the power to endure, commit and see things through.
Capricorn is ruled by Saturn, which in turn, represents the value of time, patience, maturity and dedication – of using time wisely. Together the Devil is offering us precious lessons that, if we can confront and learn them, we are the greater, the stronger, the wiser and the more powerful because of them.
In Greek, there are two different kinds of time; Chronos, where we get the word ‘chronological’ from, is another name for Saturn and one of the most ancient of the Greek gods and represents chronological and quantitative time – how we measure how much we spend in time to anyone thing, defining our priorities to support our greatest interests or needs and working out how much time it will take to fulfil and manifest a project, a scheme or an idea.
This is the realm of the Devil. We count money, assign value, commit to periods of time to work hard to have the material comforts we need, to raise children, to care for family and friends, to create a business, to take care of our health and to understand how to manifest the ‘work’ of a lifetime.
The Devil in the RWS doesn’t represent the Christian god of evil, he represents the material world. So why such a dark figure? Here, instead of the Garden of Eden, we are trapped with our own fears, greed, need for power and security. Which is crazy as we cant take any kind of money or crown when we slip our mortal coil. It is all only loaned to us, even our bodies. So we might as well look after it all for ourselves, our children and the world after we leave it. We don’t need to escape it, run away from reality or despair. We just need to take off those chains of fear and fully engage with the process of change and growth. Then we can make it back to the garden.
.Kairos is another name for time that is quite different and represents the spirit or soul of the moment or matter. Its not what is happening or the sequence of events – it is why something is happening, what is at the heart or depth of the moment, what makes us feel it is the ‘right time’ and what is really triggering our responses.
Kairos appears in a fleeting moment which is why he is shown with wings both on his back and on his feet, suggesting that such moments need to be grasped as they may not come again and you cannot hold onto them. It is in such a place, with truth, we can find revelation, inspiration and healing which in turn, changes everything. It is a moment where all things appear possible,
In these two names for Time, we can see the deeper spiritual lesson for the Lovers as they represent us – you and me in this moment – while you are reading this – in this day, the first day of the new year – it is time to act, time to awaken and time to change! Now!
In the Devil, the Lovers can only look within – there is nothing else left for them to do except to sit in darkness and bemoan their fate. It is a journey of self discovery to the meeting with our true self and these last few years have been all about showing a collective mirror to the world, inviting us all to see ourselves and our countries as we really are – to confront the horror of what our race/nationality/country has been, or is party to. And the mirror is held up to us within our families, our friends, our work colleagues. And most significantly, it is held up to ourselves. The Lovers – we – have to see the value in the Devil to become aware of what lies beyond that which binds us, to understand true liberation.
“There is little talk about the alchemy involved in changing the world, ink brewing an elixr of words – the evanescent lead of a heart, churned into a marvelling outpour of gold” Ekta Somera
Thanks to Ruth and Wald Amberstone for the use of their Icon for these two cards
So what does all this mean for us in 2022?
It means that the binary nature that the past five years has driven us all to, will remain; that the things that divide us will continue to do so, until it becomes so impossible to distinguish between the two extremes . The meeting place between the two will only become visible when there is no alternative other than to find it. So we might as well start seeking it if we don’t want to live in a warzone.
“We are stardust, we are golden; And we’ve got to get ourselves back to the garden”
To do that we need to value what the Lovers can offer us; the delight of love, the possibilities of unity, the freedom of honesty, the wonder of the natural world around us, the nurturing of dreams and imagination and the power to communicate the deepest longings of our souls.
And we need to value what the Devil can offer; the material world with its comforts, its delights and the value of time – the time it takes to learn, to grow, to mature and the commitment to manifest a world that is born from our lessons, our hardship and our challenges.
The qabalistic symbol of the sword for the lovers and the eye for the devil could be really helpful here to make a start. The sword discerns, decides and cuts out that which is no longer valid, through illusion – to truth. The eye sees through the illusion of bondage to see what is real, offering real liberation. These are precious tools to navigate with as when we feel bound in this new year.
And the numerology is helpful too. Six is the Lovers and the number fifteen reduced and represents the beauty of harmony between all our opposites. It symbolises a healing place between the warring binaries, where the harmony of the natural world, with all its differences, can shine through and show us the way to live together – with ourselves as well as with others. Healing can be restored through balance, understanding, acceptance and kindness.
The Astrology of this time, transferred to Tarot bears this out; The Wheel in the Moon, (Jupiter in Pisces) The Fool in the Hierophant (Uranus in Taurus), The Wheel (Jupiter) and the Hanged Man (Neptune) connected to the Moon (Pisces) and Judgement in the Devil (Pluto in Capricorn) until 2024 which interestingly enough will be the year of the Star offering new vision and fresh insights
The Wheel connecting with the Hanged Man and the Moon represents an opportunities, growth and luck in the emotional, the dreamy, the sensitive and the fantastical. Don’t just focus on work and responsibility, but bring your creative self alive; read inspiring books, create new ways of living, bring beauty and harmony into your world imaginatively, through your words and actions.
The Fool in the Hierophant have still a part in this year. The independent boldness and trust of the Fool will challenge the established belief systems and organisations of the Hierophant, as well as the outdated principles that no longer serve us as they should. Our own inner Fool will seek freedom and adventure, away from the restrictions of the past few years and will find ways to find our unique expression of life whilst our inner Hierophant will return to the deep wisdom of the ancients and those traditions that offer reservoirs of knowledge and healthy, natural living that can guide us personally and collectively.
The real meeting place between of all these battles and polarities does not reside with the Fool or the Hierophant, but in the meeting of the greatest qualities of each; the vision and dream to create new ways of living equally, fairly, ethically and the personal and collective responsibility to commit to manifesting such visions, not just personally, but collectively. This will mean the Fool will need to understand those that follow the Hierophant and the Hierophant will need to embrace the Fool. Each have their place and working together could be truly formidable.
Imagine a world where vision, open hearted and open minded thinking, woven with ancient wisdom could take us!
Judgement in the Devil will be a major challenge in this battle between those who hold on tightly to what they know, to convention and establishment, no matter how flawed they are – fighting back against awakening to a new way of thinking and living. And the challenge of the Fool will also test us – those who believe and trust in in fantasy and illusion without taking on board the experience and knowledge that can inform and support.
Chinese New Year this year welcomes the Year of the Black Water Tiger
The Tiger is a yang wood animal and Water is yin, so we have here another meeting of opposites as if to labour the point! But here’s the thing; Water feeds the wood of the Tiger to grow stronger and if the Tiger will allow the yin energy to nurture him – then growth is the positive outcome of such a meeting!
Whatever challenges you face in 2022, may you face it with honesty and kindness and may it return wisdom and harmony. With such powers, we can navigate the challenges ahead of us with grace and strength.
May you journey well and may the blessings of this New Year be yours.
1st January, 2022
Note for tarot Readers and Students;
The year card is discovered by adding up the digits in the year together and reducing to one digit. 2022 clearly adds up to 6 but there’s a catch if you are doing this every year.
In using the numerology of the year, (2 + 0 + 2 + 2= 6), we can only go up to halfway in the Major Arcana, unless we continue into double digit figures. If we don’t use the double digits, we are not using the whole of the Major Arcana and journeying through the entire journey of the fool – we remain in the first half and then repeat. However, using the double digits means that you will, at some point, have two cards rather than just one for a year. Up to you how you interpret that as there are no rules, although Ruth and Wald Amberstone (thanks for the use of their lovers/devil icon!) run an online course on the birth year card – check out their website: https://tarotschool.com/Birth-Card-Course.html