These are scary, uncertain times. The pandemic has thrown our lives into chaos once again. Global warming has upended the predictable flow of the seasons. The political climate is divisive and volatile. With all this anxiety swirling around us, is it any wonder that tarot readers, astrologers and other divinatory practitioners say they’ve never been busier? All of us want to know what will happen next.
From the Oracle at Delphi to the Yoruba practitioners of Ifá, there are myriad ways to approach divination and myriad reasons for wanting to see into the future. These tools can be seen as a framework to make sense of the events in our lives. Through this lens, divinatory practices encourage believers to pay attention to the patterns in their lives and the cycles of nature and to move through time with intention.
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Los Angeles is among the most spiritually diverse cities in the world; we live alongside thousands of divinatory practitioners from a wide range of traditions — many of whom have devoted their lives to the study of ancient practices that go back thousands of years. As we enter a new calendar year, I asked a handful of them what archetypal energies they expect we’ll encounter over the next 12 months and how we might prepare.
Each modality offers its own take on the future, but a few overarching themes emerged. Many of these practitioners said that 2022 will be a year of reexamining the full spectrum of our relationships — with one another, with the Earth and with ourselves.
Another common refrain is that 2022 will be a year riddled with distractions, infatuations and flights of fancy. The divinators expect the pendulum to swing to the opposite extreme as society is seized by an urge for escapism after so many months of suffering and self-denial. While they concur that euphoria may feel great, especially after years of pandemic restrictions and a collective sense of gloom and doom, they caution that it can be dangerous when not rooted in reality.
Overall, they said 2022 is a year to move carefully and thoughtfully. There may be temptation to get overly excited or throw caution to the wind. Our collective goal is to stay grounded.
If you are desperate for relief from the heaviness of 2021, Western astrologers have some good news for you. On Dec. 28, the planet Jupiter moved into the sign of Pisces, kicking off what they say is a significant energetic shift that should lighten our collective mood.
Jupiter is associated with expansion and abundance, as well as healing and liberation, said Kirah Tabourn, an astrology educator and co-founder of the Cusp Astrology app. As the massive planet transits into Pisces, she believes, Jupiter’s joyful, expansive energy will be freed of restrictions. “Jupiter in Pisces is able to spread love and abundance on a global scale,” she said. “Because Pisces is an oceanic archetype, it provides the space for Jupiter to do things as big as Jupiter wants to do it.”
This open, abundant energy may seem a balm after years of feeling like “everything sucks,” said Diana Rose Harper, an astrologer and educator. However, she warns that it can easily get out of control. “People may be so relieved to feel unburdened by responsibility that they end up losing sight of reality,” she said. This could manifest as reckless behavior, such as trusting people who shouldn’t be trusted or taking outsize risks.
“Jupiter in Pisces can be very optimistic,” she said. “It’s a very up-in-the-ether kind of vibe.”
Jupiter will move out of Pisces in early May, but astrologers say there are other reasons to believe that releasing control in many areas of our lives will be a major theme in the next several years. Tabourn said this could lead to a rise in spiritualism and cults. “The general public may be more interested in spirituality and connecting, but there will be some people who take it to the extreme,” she said. “I see this explosion of romanticism and fantasy.”
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Harper’s advice is to spend the next few months thinking about what it means to be deliberate in one’s use of imagination. “Maybe we do find some really cult-y stuff coming to light, but at the same time, we see an upsurge in community-based projects and mutual aid projects,” she said. “That’s what I hope to see.”
What could this mean for you in 2022? Spend time dreaming about the world in which you want to live. Then get specific about what real-life steps you can take to make it a reality.
On Feb. 1, the date of the lunar new year, followers of Chinese astrology will say goodbye to the year of the metal ox and hello to the year of the water tiger.
Laura Lau, an author who worked with her mother on “The Handbook of Chinese Horoscopes,” feels a bit apprehensive about what might be coming our way. As her mother likes to say: The tiger year is a year to be careful.
“The year of the tiger is kind of like thinking about a very dynamic personality,” Lau said. “The tiger is passionate, impulsive and, from what I’ve observed, won’t play it cool.”
Tigers say how they feel. They take risks, and if those risks don’t work out, they move on easily, Lau said. They don’t have a lot of guilt about falling through on their promises. This makes them resilient, but they can also be seen as selfish.
Tiger years have the potential to be explosive, but Lau expects some of that fiery energy will be tempered by the element of 2022: water. “The animal signs come through alongside a cycle of elements as well,” she said. “The five elements change the spirit of the animal. It still has its core character traits, but the elements add a different flavor to it.
“I’m hoping the intuitive aspect of water will calm anything too fiery” in 2022, she said. “Hopefully people are a little more thoughtful about how they make decisions and how those decisions impact others.”
What could this mean for you in 2022? Many of us are out of practice being around others. We may need to relearn how to read other people’s feelings and to pay closer attention to our own.
For tarot devotees, 2022 is a Lovers card year. Why? Because 2+0+2+2 adds up to six, and the Lovers card is the sixth card in the major arcana — the first 22 cards in a tarot deck.
As we enter the Lovers year, tarot readers say they expect we’ll be thinking more deeply about the relationships in our lives. That can include romantic relationships but also our relationships with money, work, family, friends, society, the Earth and with ourselves.
“We have no choice but to see how interconnected we are with each other, and Lovers is going to highlight that more and more,” said Sarah Faith Gottesdiener, a tarot reader and author of “The Moon Book: Lunar Magic to Change Your Life.”
The Lovers card is also associated with choice — choosing how we spend our time and who we spend it with, how we spend money, what we say yes to and, just as important, what we say no to. “It’s not going to be a cakewalk,” said Marcella Kroll, who has created several tarot and oracle decks. “Some of those decisions you have to make when the Lovers card shows up are challenging. If you can honestly say you made the decision with love and not fear, you will have a much easier time.”
Every card in a tarot deck has a shadow side. Some of the shadow themes of the Lovers card are addiction, escapism and distraction. “Distractions will only proliferate and go off into fantasyland,” Gottesdiener said. “There’s going to be a need to ground, to pause and think about reality and the choices we need to make in accordance with that reality.”
What could this mean for you in 2022? Prepare for a Lovers year by doing some spiritual cleanup. What unhealthy coping mechanisms have you relied on over the last two years? As we step into a new year, can you be more mindful of how you spend your time and who you spend it with?
Vedic astrology, also called Jyotish or traditional Hindu astrology, is like a third eye, said Acharya Santa Prasad Shastri, an astrologer and religious guru. It shows us what we cannot see with our own two eyes, he said.
The moon is the main planet in Jyotish (both the sun and the moon are considered planets in this system). “Everything in this world we consider ruled by the moon, first and foremost,” said Eve Mendoza, a vedic astrologer who recently left Los Angeles for New York. “When we look at Jyotish, we are looking at what is increasing and what is decreasing in a person’s life.”
The moon’s movement across the sky suggests there will be a major restructuring of commerce, trade, relationships and love beginning in April and continuing for 18 months, Mendoza said. “The year is going to have a theme of the singular person and the contract they have with others,” she said. “Anything that requires an exchange will be reexamined.”
This restructuring will be kicked off by two major events, said Mas Vidal, an author, ayurveda practitioner and astrologer. “Inflation, problems in the supply chain, COVID, the oil spill in California — there are a number of events that have already occurred in the last few years that will culminate in some grand shift,” he said. He expects the shift will be jarring for many, but ultimately it’s for the best. “It is an opportunity for us to recognize what is real and important in life,” he said.
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On the national front, Shastri said the planet Saturn has been affecting national affairs in the United States in a negative way for a few years now, but after October the country will be free of that constricting influence. He believes more Americans will feel pride in their country, and the rest of the world will look to America for leadership as well.
What could this mean for you in 2022? Even a longed for or necessary change can be difficult and scary. Try to keep the big picture in mind.
This one is a little different from the others, but bear with me. In early September, Jewish people celebrated the Hebrew New Year 5782. It also happens to be a shmita year, a 12-month sabbatical for the planet that occurs every seventh year. Described in Leviticus and Deuteronomy, shmita (rhymes with pita) is a year to give the land a rest from planting and harvesting and to forgive all debts. Shmita doesn’t predict what will happen in the coming year, but for the growing number of contemporary Jews who choose to honor it, it provides a spiritual framework to reimagine our relationship with the Earth and our neighbors.
Nomy Lamm, an artist and kohenet (Hebrew priestess) living in Washington, said in this shmita year she’s been thinking about how we can collectively prioritize the needs of the natural environment and how that would serve as an antidote to late-stage capitalism, settler colonialism and other extractive economic structures. Shmita also can be a call to work toward debt forgiveness, which would remove so much of the stratification of society, she said. On a more personal level, Lamm is spending more time in nature this year and in intentional appreciation of the Earth. “With climate chaos there is so much loss,” she said. “It feels really good to appreciate what we have.”
Ian Schiffer, an activist who works with the Jewish community Nefesh, is using the idea of shmita (it means “release” in Hebrew) as a way to meditate on what it means to truly release the Earth and put that into action. He was already working to support the indigenous Tongva people before the start of 5782, but practicing the idea of shmita has pushed him to work toward the actual release of local land back to the recently established Tongva Taraxat Paxaavxa Conservancy.
“Learning that every seven years in a cycle that is older than capitalism, people are supposed to be free, the land is supposed to lie fallow or be collectively harvested and debts are forgiven — I was like, ‘Yes,’” he said.
Honoring shmita cannot be solely an individual pursuit. “It’s impossible for the land to rest with just one person doing it,” Schiffer said. “We need to work together to shift our relationship with the land.”
His hope is that by the time the next shmita year comes along in 5789, the Earth will feel like it’s resting more.
What could this mean for you in 2022? You can start by asking yourself: What does it mean to you to release the Earth? How can you work with others to help the land rest more?
You don’t need to see into the future to know that as we step out of the liminal space of the pandemic in 2022 (hopefully!), we will be called to imagine the future we want to see and to start putting those dreams into action. If some of these predictions and frameworks resonate for you, great. If not, that’s OK too. As L.A.'s metaphysical practitioners often say: Take what you like and leave the rest.
Here’s wishing you a beautiful, meaningful and grounded new year!