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Tarot, Timing, and natural cycles

Maybe instead of asking “when will it happen” it would be helpful to work with the cycles in your life- and use the Tarot to work with the natural rhythms. There are so many natural cycles to explore (and this blog is not exhaustive, nor detailed- it is a starting point for further reflection).

And Tarot often offers so much more when we move from closed questions like "when will it happen" to broader questions "what does the Autumn look like fore me".


It seems simple to work with a daily rhythm- but for most of us that isn’t a natural rhythm, rather working with a 24 hour schedule. Having spent time in the Arctic circle where the sun didn’t set, and lived in Orkney where the difference between sunlight hours in the summer and winter is extreme, the daily natural rhythm is oddly harder to work with than might first seem. Because depending on where you live sunrise and sunset may vary quite widely, or hardly change at all. And most of us rise and go to bed by the clock, not the sun.

Lunar month

This is a very popular way to work with a reliable natural cycle- and with a lunar clock, calendar or app- super easy to plan around. I would pull cards to act as focal points for the dark, waxing, full, and waning moon, recording these in a journal.

Metonic cycle

This is the one I can see most easily in my life- the (roughly) 19 years it takes for the moon & sun cycles to come back into alignment.

Many of my big life stages have taken-roughly-19 years. 19 years living with my parents, 19 years with my second husband, 19 years between learning the runes and teaching them.

Seasonal (often referred to as The Wheel of the Year)

My favourite planning tool- working with seasonal festivals on an annual basis. Each culture will have a different name or focus, and of course it is the opposite way round in the Northern & Southern Hemisphere.

But to put it simply we have the longest and shortest days, with the two equinoxes (equal day/night) creating the solar festivals. Then between each of those we have a farming festival. I often find October is a time when my life shifts, I let go of things. February is a great month for me to start new projects.

(I call the festivals by different names- this is a stock image to show the parallel between the moon & seasonal festivals)

Saturn return

The time it takes Saturn to come back to it’s natal place on your birth chart, which is (roughly)

· End of your 20’s

· End of your 50’s

· End of your 80’s

I could easily see these as mapping out our “youth” (maiden) years when we are busy living, and perhaps don’t really have too many responsibilities. Our “productive” (mother) years when family, career, responsibilities often seem important. And then our “older” (crone) years when children are often independent, and we turn to looing at how we really want to live, rather than how we support our families or are successful in our careers.

These are hugely broad strokes, and I am well aware many people will live their lives in a very different way. If you have- then look to see if something important changed for you on each Saturn return.

Sometimes when I am finding timing confusing in my life- instead of endlessly asking the cards “but WHEN will it happen” I start to look at the different cycles in my life- mapping out where I am in a cycle. Am I in a period of growth, or decay, reflection or harvest.

Using the wheel of the year as the pattern this is how I would use a reading to reflect my cycles

The first three cards reflect where we are now. Each row of cards is offering a reflection of the season, with advice on how to best use that time. A "focus". I usually start this reading with which ever season we are in. But you could start with a past of future season if that worked better for you.

I asked the cards to reflect work and money

Autumn- focusing on what I need to let go, and what I need to focus on to create the seed for coming seasons. I sense the cards are asking me to let go of self limiting beliefs (devil), and to stop looking for absolutes- but trust in the process (moon) with a focus on writing a second book (ace of swords)

Then the winter months- a time for rest and reflection (both of the past and future). The cards are suggesting that either I will need to rest, and take time alone (High Priestess) or perhaps life will create that in some way. With the focus on working efficiently projects already underway (8 wands/8 pentacles)

Then we have Spring. Planning and new starts. This does seem to suggest movement, a new start, stepping forward in some way. (chariot/6 of swords/2 wands) as if the winter was about focused work, and Spring is about stepping forward with this work. Which definitely reflects the energies of Spring!

And the final season is Summer- Where I can really see the fruition of your work. As is so often the case with me- this seems to show the rewards (10 pentacles/world) if I start focusing on writing now (queen swords- linking to the ace in Autumn).

The real value of reading like this is it takes the focus off asking the cards the endless closed questions of “when will it happen” and allows you to look at the broad patterns of life- still having a look to see if what you hope to see is there.

If a client asks, “when will my house sell?” I will do one of my “calendar” spreads- looking at their life week by week, month by month, season by season (depending on which time frame is most appropriate) and look for cards that would show the narrative of a house move (perhaps cards of movement, money, new starts, celebration). That way if the house move isn’t happening, I may be able to get a sense of why, or what is happening in their life.

Writing this blog, and teaching this on my Zoom class has reminded me how I used to plan my life around the moon cycles- and how powerful it was. And of course, a powerful way to step inline with your natural cycle is to use Tarot to work with your menstrual cycle.

Maddy Elruna (Author of Tarot, a life guided by the cards)


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