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The Tarot Looks At 2021

December 31, 2020

by Tony Willis

I was talking to Auntie Tarot the other day in the time of slack water between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Day. We were reminiscing about our first meeting in 1967, and the condition of occultism at that time. It was the Swinging Sixties and there was a renaissance going on in spiritual matters alongside the reassessment of sexual mores and the inclination to experiment with psychotropic drugs. But one thing remained static throughout the sixties and on until the beginning of the naughties, and that was the appearance, year after year, in the Prediction annual, of an assessment, made by means of the tarot, of the UK’s fortunes in the year ahead. The layout employed was invariable that of the horoscope spread. That is good solid practice, and I feel sure it is kept up in many countries across the globe to this day, whether the results get published or not.

Auntie T. then speculated as to how the current collective fortunes of the nations of the world might be ascertained, following a year of crisis so far as humans and the nations they belong to are concerned. We decided between us that a ‘reading for the whole world’ would fit the bill. No one has attempted such an overview before, so far as we are aware. To bring it off successfully would require some adjustment to the original method of interpreting the twelve houses of the horoscope spread, but we thought of some that might be appropriate, and they were duly noted down. Then Auntie volunteered me to make the reading. (Thank you, Auntie!) The results of my labors can be viewed below.

The reading I have made is an esoteric reading as much as a mundane one. Therefore some cards may not be interpreted in the way you, Reader, might have anticipated. I have pointed out where the esoteric meanings come into play, which they sometimes do concerning the way in which a house is interpreted and at other times they do concerning the way a particular card is interpreted.

I ask you, Reader, to accept, for the present, what I have written. This is my tarot deck speaking to me in a symbolic language it and I have worked out between us over the past fifty years. Let events judge me. Next year, at this time, I intend to return to the reading and compare my predictions with what actually happened in the realms of politics, the world economy, the mass reaction of the human race to the conditions imposed on it during the twelve months to come, and individual reactions to those same conditions, where we are able to detect them in operation, perhaps in the actions of those who act upon the world stage like Greta Thunberg and her contemporaries, or Kamala Harris, or the philanthropist-footballer Marcus Rashford in the UK, or human rights activist Sonita Alizadeh in the USA.

These are the cards I laid out, in the familiar horoscope spread formation, a thirteenth card at the center, with an overarching observation to make, encompassing the layout as a whole, and to be interpreted in the light of what the indications of the twelve houses portend.


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Normally, the first house represents the person for whom the cards are being read. In this case, it stands for humankind as a whole. It indicates the general attitude of humanity at the very start of the year. In this house we find The Fool, which I read according to the older, original rule, as signifying folly. My interpretation of the card, therefore, is that, taken as a whole, the human race will be harboring unrealistic hopes for 2021. The majority will continue to ignore the dangers of climate change or to believe that the tiny acts of reparation they are making adequately counteract the damage caused to our seas by plastics and to our air by excessive methane emissions. Many people expect the coronavirus to be vanquished during 2021, or to be well on the way to being overcome. Other cards in the reading suggest that that will not be the case. However, with false hopes in their hearts, a great many people will act foolishly in respect of the coronavirus at the start of the year, and will continue to do so for some months thereafter.

While the first house stands for the inquirer, the seventh house stands for ‘the other’. When a reading concerns a court case, the seventh house signifies the person bringing charges against the inquirer. When a reading concerns marital problems, the seventh house signifies the inquirer’s spouse. When a reading concerns business matters, the seventh signifies those who have a share in the inquirer’s business, even if that is only the bank from whom the inquirer has secured a substantial loan. Similarly, in the present reading, the seventh house represents the opposite of us mortals, those spiritual beings, the angels or devas, however they are named in various cultures across the globe.

The 9 of Pentacles in the seventh house indicates that the spiritual beings whose allotted task it is to look after human development and evolution will be holding out the offer of inner wisdom and a life lived more in tune with nature. In other words, they offer human beings a corrective to the heedless, devil-may-care attitude illustrated by the presence of the Fool in house one.

In weather forecasting, the tenth house represents the heavens above us, and can signify fair skies or torrential rain depending on the card found therein. For a reading such as the one I am attempting, the tenth house signifies Heaven in the sense that Taoists speak of the twin influences of Earth and Heaven. The powers of Heaven in Taoism are strong and are considered somewhat akin to Fate or Destiny. Thus the East speaks of ‘the decree of Heaven’. In the 2021 spread, The Hierophant occupies the tenth house. Esoterically, this card stands for inspiration from above, for spiritual counsel, and the courage to take an ethical stand. I read it as backing up the indications of the seventh house. The offer of inner wisdom is being made by the angels because heaven wills that the offer be made. Those humans who are sufficiently spiritually advanced will feel the pull of the angels, and indeed of Heaven itself, toward a more elevated and less materialistic attitude to the planet. This is a trend that has already started, as is obvious from the fact that the cards in the seventh and the tenth houses are so definite in their indications. Outliers, from the very young Greta Thunberg to the very old David Attenborough, have attempted to catch the attention of a wider audience and so change the attitudes of people all around the world. Much will depend upon the reaction of individual members of the human race to this call to action.

As the tenth house stands for the will of Heaven, so does the fourth house indicate the powers of Earth, the precious planet upon which we live and move and have our being. We are used to thinking of the Earth as feminine, because like a woman It gives birth to plants, trees, bushes, all in due season; and we personify the planet Earth as Mother Nature. In the spread for 2021, however, the Earth presents to humankind a masculine face; for in the fourth house we find the King of Pentacles. When representing a person in a normal tarot spread, the King of Pentacles describes someone with high principles, but one who can, at the same time, be sever and ruthless when necessary. This characterizes very well Nature’s more forbidding face. Nature functions according to a set of well-established rules. We humans have spent thousands of years calculating what those rules are, and to this accumulated store of wisdom we assign the label ‘physics’. Having collated so many of these rules over such a long period of time, humanity began to feel that it was Nature’s master and that it could use Her as it willed with no come back. In recent decades it has been discovering that this is not the case. Humankind has yet to open its eyes to the fact that the Earth can do without it as easily as She was able to do without the dinosaurs when their time was up. Species come and go; Earth outlives them all.

I have read first the cards in the four ‘Angles’ of the chart (the first, seventh, tenth and fourth houses) because that are, as it were, the foundations of the story told by all thirteen cards comprising the spread. Once the foundational factors are understood, it becomes easier to understand how the other pieces of the story fit into the unfolding narrative of the year’s events. Now, I shall proceed to deal with the remaining houses.

The second house of a horoscope spread indicates finance and in this instance refers to the world economy. The presence herein of the 5 of Cups, symbol of disappointment, informs us that, while certain individual countries may do well, overall national economies will be slow to rise up out of the depression brought upon them by the coronavirus epidemic of 2020. [1] So far as the human population of Earth is concerned, many will experience a disillusionment with material things.

The Page of Cups occupies the third house, which esoterically represents physical and mental prowess, will power, and the quality of perseverance. The message of the Page operates upon two levels. At the most basic level, we are being told, the people of Earth will continue with their basic day to day endeavors even if physical conditions remain less than congenial. They will, in the war-time language of the UK, keep on keeping on. On a higher level, the condition of the third house in this ‘horoscope of the World’ is in harmony with the indications of the seventh and tenth houses, already discussed. For the Page of Cups represents an invitation or offer made by the spiritual beings that inhabit our planet and share it with us. These are the nature-sprites, the dryads and naiads of Greek legend. They are more than willing to work with humankind, if only they can gain our cooperation. The more spiritually advanced among us will take up the cause, and in doing so perhaps lay the foundations for a re-birth of planet Earth after decades of wounding it has suffered as a result of humanity’s carelessness of results and short-term thinking.

Good karma, love in the romantic sense, and amusements and diversions come under the rule of the fifth house. In that house we find card 14, Temperance, reversed. By the looks of things, humankind has all but used up its store of good karma. On a more personal level, marriages and other arrangements where couples are living together will suffer. In reverse Trump 14 presages confrontation, discord, and disunion. I imagine that changes in working conditions will put a strain on relationships across the globe. Unemployment will be a factor in some cases, the increase in the number of people working from home will be a factor in other cases. If coronavirus isn’t sufficiently tamed during 2021, couples face the prospect of being cooped up together twenty-four/seven, with constant, unremitting, and seemingly unending propinquity souring the relationships. Some folk will inevitably seek refuge in on-line gambling or in any of the other ‘amusements and diversions’ offered by the world of electronic wonders. There will be a tendency in some quarters to frivol away free time, while here and there others put the continued restrictions imposed by the varying degrees of lockdown to good use and maybe write a book or start up a business from home. How we, as individuals, respond to the effects foreshadowed by Temperance reversed is entirely up to us.

The sixth is the house of mental and physical ailments; it is also the house of impediments. With the 3 of Swords falling here, prospects in these departments of life do not look good. It would appear that, despite the vaccines that became available toward the end of 2020, coronavirus will not be completely vanquished in 2021. Its dangers, its propensity to kill or to stamp long-lasting effects on some who survive its onslaught, and most tellingly its ability to mutate, will scar humanity’s prospects for the coming year.

Nursing staff, who fall under the rule of the sixth house, will be working to capacity. As in 2020, a host of minor operations and regular heath check ups – those whose purpose is to detect the presence of cervical or breast cancer, for instance – will be put on hold, while more urgent conditions take priority. In the sphere of medical research, also, the main effort will go into the creation of the most effective remedy possible for coronavirus, all other research relegated to the back burner for the duration. The sixth house also has rulership over the workforce, the proletariat, and the presence of the 3 of Swords in the sixth does not bode well for them as a class.

The 10 of Pentacles occupies the eighth house, which governs such factors as the death rate; major changes, along with the transitional phase between one settled condition and another; and occultism and sacred knowledge. In a conventional tarot reading, the eighth also signifies the financial condition of the inquirer’s spouse or business partner. In an esoteric reading such as I have undertaken, however, it stands for the wealth of the planet, whatever form that wealth takes, be it the timber of the Amazonian basin, the iron ore deposits of Eastern Europe, or the silicone hoards that exist on lands governed by the USA, Russia, and Brazil. The 10 of Pentacles speaks of the completion of a cycle of material gain. For centuries humans have taken from the Earth with very little thought of the need to give something back. As other cards in the reading have indicated, that tide is on the turn. More and more human beings have concerns for the planet should the attitude of take, take, take is perpetuated. A greater consideration of the environment will be evident over the next twelve months. Conservation will become an issue for more and more people, and as public opinion turns, so will the reactions of politicians. Although, it must be born in mind that 2021 falls on the cusp of this cycle, which is still gearing up for change, and not yet in a position to race ahead at full throttle. Appropriately, both the card and the house it is in relate to transitional states.

As I’ve said, the eighth is also the house of occultism. There will be an increase in the number of people reaching out to the occult in all its diverse forms in 2021. Some will be drawn to New Age thought, some to Freemasonry, some to one of the offshoots of Freemasonry, and some to the modern colleges of esotericism erected upon the foundations of the mystery schools of old, laid waste in the third and fourth centuries of the Current Era. Each will be attracted to the level of instruction they are capable of imbibing and utilizing to their own advantage.

The ninth house is traditionally the house of religion, or what today we in West might define as a spiritual or philosophical belief system. From this house we can, in an esoteric reading, gauge whether there will be changes in religious or philosophical beliefs, and determine to a degree what the nature of those changes are likely to be. Positioned here we find the 6 of Wands, a good omen. It points to a great mass of people across the globe using their spirituality or philosophy of life to help them to face and manage the issues brought upon us by the imminent dangers of accelerated climate change, the threat of decimation of the race by coronavirus, and whatever else Nature cares to throw our way in the coming year.

The 6 of Wands in the ninth house also suggests that in the main, and excluding China and Russia, nations will react to one another with better amity. Pre-existing alliances will be strengthened and old alliances that had become attenuated will be repaired, while fresh alliances between nations with similar goals will be formed. I say this because the ninth is the house covering international relationships. At the same time, it is the house of higher education. The influence of the 6 of Wands in that sphere will be positive, and university students will, in 2021, be getting a better deal than they did in 2020. While, in those countries where university students were not much inconvenienced by the ravages of coronavirus, large numbers of those in their final year will be issuing forth from the realms of academe with excellent qualifications in physics, chemistry, biology and computer science at a time in history when expertise in all those areas can only benefit the brave new world humankind will be attempting to build in the not too distant future.

The eleventh house is an indicator of whether a desire will be fulfilled or not. The greatest desire in most people’s minds as I write this would be, I think, that the coronavirus could be overcome or tamed to such an extent that family life and the world of work could return so far as possible to normal. The presence of the Queen of Cups in this house is a sign that in large part this wish will be granted, since, when not representing a person, this queen is a symbol of success and happiness. The wish will not be granted at once and it might not be granted to the extent that most of us would hope for; that is because the Queen’s beneficent influence is checked by the presence of Temperance reversed in the opposite house.

That prediction is backed up by the presence of the 5 of Pentacles reversed in the twelfth house. The twelfth house describes the end of anything, since it is the last of the houses; after the twelfth house, there comes a new beginning and the sequence starts anew with a return of the ever-cycling cosmic energy to the first house once again. In esoteric lore, the 5 of Pentacles reversed signifies a slight or passing gain. Judging from the omen lying in the eleventh house, the world will, in 2021, experience the latter: a slight gain, or as I have already expressed it above, a delayed gain and also one that does not fulfil everything that the human heart had wised for in relation to the eradication of the coronavirus.

The thirteenth card, at the center of the horoscope spread, represents a distillation of the events of the year. Either that or it provides a commentary upon them. In the reading before us, it fulfils the former function. The 3 of Cups holds sway here. Esoterically, the card speaks of a problem resolved, and of flexibility and compromises that bear fruit in the shape of results at once advantageous, practical and constructive. The problem that will be resolved, in whole or in part, during the coming year is that presented by the coronavirus epidemic. That, as we have seen, is one of the major occurrences of 2021, even if we have to wait a while to see it happen. The key words in what I have just written are, I feel, ‘flexibility’ and ‘compromise’. Those of us who can be flexible in making adjustments to accommodate themselves to what I see referred to as ‘the new normal’, and those willing to make compromises with Fate will fare well in the year to come. Those who are inflexible and refuse to compromise, rejecting the new normal in favor of an old normal that is destined never to return, will have a hard time of it.

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The picture painted in the tarot spread for 2021, while it is not one of total doom and gloom, is not the most joyous picture either. An improvement in conditions is predicted but it is slow in coming, and as far as next year is concerned, the improvement is presented as a bud, not a fully open flower in all its glory. The indications are that human beings cannot stand idly by and wait for politicians or big business to make all the moves. As individuals, some form of action is required of us. But what can any of us do as one person among millions? The key is to be found in the eighth house of the spread above. The 10 of Pentacles in the eight house declares the end of one cycle of esoteric learning and teaching and the beginning of another. 2021 stands on the point of transition. Change is coming and anyone with a strong intuitive faculty can sense the approach of change while not necessarily being cognizant of what shape that change will take.

Some may be fearful of the coming change; others will embrace it. There have been signs that this change is on its way, and intimations have been given as to the form the change will take. Over the last five or six years, some easily accessible books on the Gnostic approach to spirituality have been published. These books have been met with acclaim and have won over many adherents. Those I have personal experience of include the works of Samuel Aun Weor and Peter Kingsley. Anyone interested in pursuing this line of inquiry might start by reading Samuel Aun Weor’s Introduction to Gnosis or Peter Kingsley’s In the Dark Places of Wisdom. The Gnosis (Greek for knowledge) as presented by one author might have great appeal for you, whereas the prose technique of some other author, expounding the same tradition, may grate on your inner ear. Look up the books I’ve mentioned on Amazon and read the reviews. If there is a facility to ‘look inside’ these books, do so, and make up your own mind as to which of these authors would make the best instructor for your needs. Alternatively, if you are reluctant to spend money until you have a better understand of what you are getting into, there are You Tube tutorials available at no cost. The Ordre Martinistes Souverains has many webinars on You Tube. Here is a link to their introduction to the Kabbalah: Intro to Kabbalah Part I – The Tree of Life & Hebrew Letters – YouTube. The Ordre Martinistes Souverains works with Kabbalism but is part of the Gnostic tradition. It accepts as students all comers so long as the individual brings with them an open and honest heart and is genuinely seeking to perfect themselves inwardly, that is, to cleanse the soul.

Should you, Reader, have passed beyond the beginner stage of occult understanding, then you can start to work with inner vision, on the Astral Plane. There it is possible to practice the expansion of consciousness through interaction with various aspects of one’s psyche. “How would this benefit others, or the world at large?” you may ask. The answer lies in an old occult maxim: What is done for one is done for all. One person expanding their consciousness acts as a way-shower to humanity as a whole. To explain the situation in another way, the person who expands their consciousness, taking it to new realms, forges a path though hitherto unexplored territory. But where one soul had ventured on the Astral, other souls may follow, treading, so to speak, in the footprints of the pioneer. By and by, the narrow track marked out by these outliers becomes a wider path, and all the people on earth are beginning to thinking in the same way as the pioneer was when he or she first struck out into the unknown. The principle is known today as the hundred monkey effect. You can check it out on Google.

The old saying “It is an ill wind that blows nobody any good” is a true one. Twenty-twenty, the year of Corvid, brought us a host of trying circumstances, and for some sickness and even death at the hands of the virus. To some it has meant unemployment or shortage of funds; to almost everyone it has brought the restrictions of social distancing. On the up-side, humans have discovered that a great many of their normal, everyday activities can be performed online. And so it is with esoteric practices. Although gatherings of people are discouraged, and in some countries banned, so that the rites of ceremonial magick, for example, cannot be carried out physically as they were less that twelve months ago, yet it is still possible that they can be performed via online contact or, using the powers of the mind, they can be done “in vision”, with the participants working Astrally. Groups of individuals employing these techniques are springing up across the globe. They have begun to make their presence known. If you come across one, and it sounds to be something you would like to be a part of, put out feelers and see if the group will accept you as a member. At times of great change, on the inner levels almost anything becomes possible.


[1] In a spread of this type, where the fortunes of the whole world are being considered, it is not possible to make categorical statements applicable to every single nation on Earth. Every nation has its own destiny and at times one nation will thrive while its near neighbors fare badly. I am able, therefore, only to talk in terms of general trends. Some indications of the fates of particular nations can be picked out by referencing that nation’s ruling sign and aligning it with the houses of the horoscope spread. Thus, later in the reading, I exempt China and Russia from the overall trend of cooperation in international affairs denoted by the 6 of Wands falling in the ninth house.

Let us look more closely at Russia in this respect. It is ruled by the sign Aquarius, equivalent to the eleventh house of the horoscope spread. In that house we find the Queen of Cups and the intimation of this is that Russia will feel satisfied with the way conditions stand right now, at the moment when I laid out the cards. As to reaching out to other countries in a meaningful way, that possibility is suppressed by the presence of Temperance reversed in the opposite house, the fifth. When Temperance is in reverse, its energies become defiant and discordant, and consequently little in the way of open and honest cooperation can be expected of Russia throughout 2021. Similar indications can be found concerning China in the layout, too; and for these reasons, I did not number either Russia or China among those nations seeking greater amity and mutual support among other nations in the coming year.

  1. Catherine permalink

    Thank you best wishes for the coming year your links are most appreciated too.

    • And best wishes to you for 2021, Catherine. Let us hope that it can be a year of opportunity for us all.
      Tony Willis

  2. Fulvia permalink

    Thank you for this accurate analysis, Tony. Food for thought. Happy New Year everyone!

  3. Auntietarot- I absolutely love your posts! However, they are difficult to find. I would love to see an archive by date. This would enable seeing various series of posts and finding older posts. Thank you

    • Hi cynnthea,
      Appreciate your frustration. Auntie is getting me made an administrator – she only found out how to do this as a result of reading your comment. Then I shall be able to answer inquiries from my own email and not via Auntie T’s!
      She is also going to fix up a monthly archive, she tells me. An archive by date may take some time to get up and running, and I can’t guarantee that it will happen. But the monthly archive will be an improvement.
      Tony Willis

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