Pollack’s Standard Tarot Time

August 13, 2020 | Filed Under Tarot, Runes, Oracles, Things I Think About | No Comments

I am fortunate to count among my correspondents the wonderful and wise Rachel Pollack. She dated a recent letter to me as Hierophant Lovers Judgment Judgment (May 6, 2020), which led me to thinking about Tarot and dates while I lay awake the other night. (Insomnia can be productive, although you do have to sleep at some point.)

Several writers (self included!) deal with the numerological year when doing annual readings (New Year’s, birthday, anniversary, etc.). For example, 2020 reduces to 4, so this is an Emperor year. While the Emperor didn’t come up in my annual reading, when interpreting the cards in those annual spreads, I can keep in mind the Emperor’s influence and how each card I did draw interacts with the Emperor.

For birthday readings, you can use your age to calculate the card for your personal year. I turned 57 in January, so I am in a Hanged Man/Empress Year:

5 + 7 = 12, so Hanged Man

12 is also 1 + 2 = 3, so Empress

James Wanless views ageing as a cycle of moving from Fool through World on a 22 year cycle. At age 57, in Wanless’ system, I am in a Death year. (The last Fool year was age 44, so 57 – 44 = 13, Death.) (Side note: because of the year of my birth, my Fool Cycle year has matched the calender year numerologically for most of my adult life, which is really interesting and/or really intense, depending on the year.)

So I am having a Death-Hanged Man-Empress personal year in the global Emperor year—or the Judgment-Judgment year in Rachel’s system.

Rachel’s date notation started me thinking about the days and dates as Tarot cards, and how I could work with that.

For the big picture, thinking about the year 2020 as Judgment-Judgment, it fits quite easily with what is going on this year—humanity is being called to account for our past actions, and required to re-think our way of being in this world as the supposed dominant species. We cannot progress as a global community without a thorough and thoughtful restructuring of what is acceptable conduct from individuals, corporations, and governments.

Looking ahead, 2021 is Judgment-World—our year to continue the work of assessment and to put into place the new ways of ordering our societies and selves to live in better harmony with the earth and each other.

Each month is influenced by its matching Major Arcana card. So, January would be the Magician month, February the High Priestess month, etc. With that in mind, I reviewed my New Year’s reading, and would you look at that?—October came up with the Wheel of Fortune. Now I’m that much more prepared for October. Well, as prepared as one can be for a double Wheel of Fortune month.

An example of dealing with this approach on a daily basis, I started writing this post on

May 17, 2020, or

Hierophant Star Judgment Judgment.

Applying those cards to my day, I would suggest to myself that today is a good day to learn, to refresh my soul, to have hope, and to be open to new ways of being. It’s a way to do a daily draw without drawing cards—simply figure out which cards correspond to today’s date, and take their advice.

This has some interesting potential. For example, February 20, 2020 was

High Priestess-Judgment, Judgment-Judgment

which is probably all the Judgment necessary for one day. On that particular day, a long-term project I had been involved with had its post-project review meeting, and that was all kinds of Judgment—reviewing, reflecting, and making notes about how to do it better the next time.

However, most Tarot decks end at card 21, and all the Julian calendar months have more than 21 days.

So, the 22nd would be High Priestess-High Priestess. The 25th (my birthday, for example) would be High Priestess-Hierophant. Well, that explains a lot that I hadn’t considered before.

You could also read the year as the individual card numbers, so 2020 would be

High Priestess-Fool-High Priestess-Fool

and that also fits rather well with what’s going on.

In that case, May 17, 2020 would be

Hierophant-Magician-Chariot, High Priestess-Fool-High Priestess-Fool.

I would advise myself that today is a good day to learn, to try something new, to create, to do one thing to move forward with my life, and to take time for my spiritual practice. Wow, all that, and I need to do laundry. Laundry is going to wait until tomorrow.

All credit must go to Rachel, so I am dubbing this Pollack’s Tarot Time. Reading it in line with Rachel’s letter is “Pollack’s Standard Tarot Time”, and reading it the other way is “Pollack’s Alternative Tarot Time”. Or you can combine the two, and have “Pollack’s Mixed Tarot Time”!

When people ask for my temporal frame of reference, instead of saying something like “Pacific Standard Time”, I will now reply with “Pollack’s Standard Tarot Time”!

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