Tarot is a great way to help you discover fresh, new resolutions and perspectives on them. A New Year’s Resolution is an attempt to better oneself. The word comes from the Latin resolutionem, which is “the process of reducing things into simpler forms,” from a core, solvo, meaning “to loosen, untie, or free up.”


You’ll need a little alone time, your Tarot deck and paper & pen (recommended) or a computer text app. The key is to keep it simple.

  1. Take a few minutes to breathe and think about what you really want to know and therefore how to phrase your question. What have you most recently been drawn to or are desiring or faced with? I realized that I had just been drawn to a TED Talk on organizing and perhaps that was a synchronous clue to what I should focus on. I also wanted my resolutions to be something truly achievable. My question ended up being: “What resolutions are most possible for me to follow and will make 2018 better organized and fulfilling?” Write down your exact question.
  2. Shuffle and cut the deck while focusing on your question. Draw five cards to represent up to five resolutions (whatever number feels right to you), placing them any way you wish on the table. I will assume 5.
  3. Write down the titles of all five cards with plenty of room between each for your comments.
  4. Focusing on keywords and the symbols that jump out at you, quickly write down the very first meanings that come to mind for each card. Write fast. Don’t critique this.
  5. Next, pay attention to what the card literally suggests. For negative cards, look at them as soul tasks, for instance, the 5 of Cups might suggest looking at your failures, mistakes and losses (the three spilled cups) and then considering what remains for you to pick up and do (the two upright cups behind). The Tower might suggest throwing things out or letting yourself explode or get angry. So, even negative cards can suggest areas of focus.
  6. As you do this, note what concerns of the past few months are related to these things. I get spontaneous images or “snapshots” that flash through my mind as I’m writing and are quickly forgotten if I don’t note them down with a brief reminder. For the 5 of Wands as I wrote, “Speak my mind even if it is to disagree with others,” I also got a mental “snapshot” of a friend whose work I feared to critique. I wrote down that friend’s name as a reminder.
  7. Note also certain themes that are repeated by more than one card. For instance, I had several cards that spoke of finishing and completing things. Flesh out your thoughts relating to each card and to the connections among them.
  8. Lay down one more card on each of the five previous cards (for a total of 10 cards). The new card in each pair will make clear a particular situation or area where your resolution can take place. For instance, my first card, the Hermit suggested completing (it’s a Nine) projects involving research and study (looking deeply using my lamp of knowledge). My second card was the 8 of Swords which made me think of researching procrastination and truly dealing with how I tie myself up with inaction (see illustration at top). The Hermit also spoke of integrity, which linked with the 5 of Wands and speaking my true mind despite opposing views—something I had been procrastinating about.

By the time I finished looking at all ten cards, I had a pretty good idea of five thematic resolutions plus five specific situations where I could apply their advice, plus I could see how several of them were pieces of a bigger issue.

I discourage drawing extra cards, such as for obstacles or for what will result if you do or don’t do these things (although you will add whatever cards feel right). For the time being, I suggest focusing on the five major areas you are resolved to put energy into and what situations are prime places for doing this. Keep what you’ve written about these cards accessible and review it frequently. During the year create new spreads to help you work more on your resolutions—especially as new situations turn up. This is when spread positions about overcoming obstacles and setting concrete objectives can come in handy.