top of page
  • Writer's pictureTero Goldenhill

New Year's Spread: The Alchemical Hourglass

In the past I used to do the 13-card "Year Spread" (12 cards in a circle, one per month, with one card in the middle for the summary) on New Year's Day, but lately I've been using my own version of the Hourglass Spread. I've seen several variations of this spread, some using 11 cards, others more or less. I like the fact that this one is using 19 cards in total, 19 being the number of the Sun card in the Major Arcana, representing the point around which our planet makes its yearly round. I hope you'll enjoy working with this layout.

Ok, ready?

1. Shuffle the full deck of 78 cards. Fan out the cards face down, and choose one card. This is the Card A in the spread, symbolising the present situation. Put this card aside for the time being, don't turn it over yet.

2. Next, regroup the cards back into one pile, and place the deck in front of you, face down.

3. Cut it once, to create two piles. Try to create two roughly symmetrical piles, but don't start measuring if you've got identical number in each pile (this note to OCD readers out there)

4. Based on your intuition, decide, which pile is the "Past Pile" and which is the "Future Pile".

5. Start with the Past Pile: fan out the cards, face down, and choose 9 cards. Then fan out the Future Pile, and choose 9 cards from this pile as well.

6. Place the Card A, face up, in the centre of the table. Then, place the cards from the Past Pile below Card A according to the layout above. Lastly, place the cards from the Future Pile above Card A, according to the layout.

Positions are as follows:

Past Pile

Cards 1-4: Main forces which have been affecting throughout the past year, "The Big Four"

Especially with any Majors, pay attention to the archetype connected with the card. Also, the 4 elements; Fire (1), Water (2), Air (3), and Earth (4).

Cards 5-7: Timeframe of the past year - card 5 = early part of the year, card 6 = middle part, and card 7 = last part. Card 6 weighs slightly more, as it's the central card in the Past Pile.

Also, the Tria Prima: card 5 / Salt (Body), card 6 / Sulfur (Soul), card 7 / Mercury (Mind)

Cards 8 & 9: Congratulor & Condoleo / Congratulations & Condolences - "victory & loss", what went well, what didn't go so well. Which is which? The achievements and failures of the past year, weighed in the scales.

Card A

The present situation. The Gate Card, spark of the New Beginning. In case of a "negative" card, what to resolve or overcome before entering into the new year, what needs to be understood.

Future Pile

Cards 1 & 2: Near Future, energies and tendencies for the next couple of months.

Cards 3-5: Middle part of the year (spring & summer), energies and tendencies.

Cards 6-10: Later part of the year (autumn & winter), energies and tendencies.


Cards 1 & 2: Sun and Moon / Conscious & Unconsious / Magician & High Priestess. The two main forces or powers which to integrate and harness for the new year.

Cards 3-5: card 3 / Mercury (Mind), card 4 / Sulfur (Soul), card 5 / Salt (Body). Emphasis on card 4, Soul. In case of "negative" cards, what needs to be addressed, "work in progress".

Cards 6-10: Fire (6), Water (7), Air (8), and Earth (9). The great potential of the year ahead.


Past 1 / Future 6

Past 2 / Future 7

Past 3 / Future 8

Past 4 / Future 9

Past 5 / Future 3

Past 6 / Future 4

Past 7 / Future 5

Past 8 / Future 1

Past 9 / Future 2

Bonus Cards:

Turn both Past and Future Piles facing up, and check the Teacher Cards (bottom of the pack). Place the Past Pile beneath the Past Pile cards 2 & 3, and the Future Pile above the Future Pile cards 7 & 8 - the two piles aligned with Card A.

93 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page