Your Spiritual Side

Your Tarot Reading For The Holiday Season

Plus, tools for putting these lessons into action.

The Joy Of The Holidays

Fall and winter herald the holiday season for many people and cultures, and while it’s a time of togetherness and celebration, it can also present challenges with family tension, boundaries, budgeting, and burnout. I pulled five tarot cards, asking, “What do we need to know about navigating this holiday season?” The message is make your own traditions and be authentic to yourself.

What Is Tarot?

Tarot comes from the Romani people, a diasporic ethnic group who migrated from India to Europe around the 15th century. When they arrived, they were met with discrimination and persecution, which persists to this day. Roma turned to their traditional fortune-telling practices — like cartomancy, palmistry, and tea leaf-reading — as survival trades.

Tarot cards were likely first created in 15th-century Italy as playing cards, inspired by earlier card games from Asia, North Africa, and the Middle East. Romani people were the first to use tarot as a divinatory tool.

How I Read Tarot

My maternal grandmother is Romani, and she began teaching me her family’s trades of tarot, palm, and tea leaf-reading when I was 4 years old. I share Romani history and practices through my work to celebrate my culture and raise awareness of the ongoing human rights crisis.

The five-card spread I created represents embodiment (your energy right now), situation (what’s around you at the moment), obstacle (a struggle you’re facing), action (what to do about it), and a lesson (what you will learn from this month).

Your Tarot Reading For The 2023 Holiday Season

Embodiment: The Fool

The Fool signals a fresh start. It encourages you to move forward with an open heart and mind. The holidays can evoke a lot of nostalgia and conjure up old, undesirable patterns. The Fool suggests that you are ready to approach this time with a new attitude, ushering in happiness and peace. Consider your intentions: Do you want to spend time with your family or chosen family? Would you rather have a solo adventure or staycation? Have faith that you can make this season work for you.

Situation: The Devil

The Devil reminds me of a villain in a fairy tale that appears at the crossroads to knock the hero off their course. This card represents of our fears, self-sabotage, martyrdom, ego, and bad habits, but none of these things really have power over us unless we let them. The holidays can tempt us with overindulgence in vices or spending, guilt us into crossing our boundaries with family, or trick us into comparing our lives to the perfect pictures we see around us. Be kind to yourself if these devils pop up on your path. You need self-compassion to cast them out. They have no power here!

Obstacle: The Hierophant

As an obstacle, the Hierophant represents structure and tradition. While you may know exactly how to deal with your demons in your day-to-day life, old holiday traditions can add an extra layer of pressure, making it feel impossible to honor yourself. It’s time to make your own traditions then. This is the magic of chosen family, arriving late, leaving early, opting out, or throwing your own party. It’s about bringing food that fits your dietary needs, staying sober, maintaining boundaries, and giving homemade gifts. Protect your joy by leaning into your needs. You can’t make everyone happy, and you don’t have to. You make your own rules.

Action: Six Of Wands

The Six of Wands is the card of victory. What would a realistic win look like for you this season? Family dynamics can be complicated enough without the pressure of holidays, and you are only in control of your own behavior, so come up with a game plan. Map out how you can reach success and do your best to stick to it. Come up with an escape route if needed. Celebrate all your wins, no matter how. During this season of love, don’t forget to treat yourself, too.

Lesson: The Moon

The Moon is a card of deep reflection and introspection, as well as spiritual growth. It invites you to stay curious about your emotions and listen to what they’re telling you. This time of year can trigger grief as well as joy; let your feelings flow. Do good deeds that authentically reflect your values. This can be a time of healing.

How To Use This Holiday Season’s Tarot Lessons

The holidays are imperfect in so many ways. While you can’t fix the world, you can decide how you want to be in it.

If you’re feeling stressed, write down a list of your concerns and the emotions attached to each. You might be surprised by what you’re feeling — guilt might manifest as anxiety, grief can look like avoidance. This awareness will help you problem-solve more effectively.

It might feel good to authentically engage in the aspects you like about this season. For example, you could support LANDBACK, which works to reclaim Indigenous people’s land, language, culture, and more, or donate to another Indigenous-run organization, like National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center.

The holidays are imperfect in so many ways. While you can’t fix the world, you can decide how you want to be in it.

If you would rather be around friends than family for the winter festivities, honor that desire. If you love your family but need firm ground rules, express them as lovingly as possible.

If you’re buying gifts, consider purchasing from small businesses. Support Romani artists by shopping from my Romanistan Business Guide. If you don’t have the budget for gifts this year, let people know you’re sending them love instead, perhaps with a heartfelt conversation or thoughtful text.

If you’re seeking a fun way to shed stress, listen to one of my favorite podcasts, O Verda Darano (The Wagon of Fear) by Dead Scared Entertainment, a Romani horror media company. In the first season, hosts Pierce and Raquel Horvath retell classic horror tales from literature, whereas the second and third seasons feature interviews with Romani people about their experiences with the supernatural.

Support good people doing good things, and don’t forget to take time for yourself, too.