(RNS) — If there’s one thing pagans, witches, brujas and other spiritual folk agree on as they look ahead and make predictions for the year of 2023, it’s that change is coming.
“(This) will be a year of transition,” said Lorraine Anderson, an oracle deck author and spiritual teacher based in Los Angeles in an email. “I’m excited to welcome 2023, and despite some obstacles, the year ahead feels like (a) fantastic period of growth, evolution, and clarity.”
Annual divinations are a common practice in a number of spiritual traditions. Sometimes they are done privately for oneself or a small group, sometimes more broadly for anyone to reference or utilize. Practitioners use tarot, astrology, runes and countless other divinatory methods to take the pulse of the year to come, not promising specific eventualities but sketching the year’s character.
Anderson, like many professional readers, makes annual predictions meant for everyone. Her 2023 vision, crafted using both the Kuan Yin Oracle and Moonchild Tarot decks, shows the potential for real gains in our spiritual strength. Blessings, she said, will come in the form of “inspiration, expression and fresh perspectives.”
In her reading, the presence of the Judgement card highlights the importance of self-reflection and personal understanding. The three of cups, she said, warns us to “leave room for fun and connection to the people who mean the most.”
“The spirit of collaboration is your most important goal” for the year, she said, emphasizing the need for community.
Looking into the future in this way can be scary, knowing it might reveal obstacles or upsetting possibilities. It takes bravery, Anderson believes, to glance forward. Everyone wants to have “the best year ever.”
However, most readers take comfort in the warnings as much as they do in positive predictions.
Theresa Reed, best known as the Tarot Lady, is a “planner by nature” and loves year-ahead readings. “If I’m aware of what’s happening, I’m more likely to make better decisions,” she told RNS in an email interview. She has been doing readings for more than 40 years.
Like Anderson’s, Reed’s predictions for 2023 are filled with momentum, but her reading speaks more specifically to current socio-political conditions, from war to public health. “The year is governed by the Chariot,” she said, “which is associated with the number 7.” Travel will return, but crises on the world stage will escalate, she noted.
“This may seem frightening at first, but there is an end in sight. The will of the people is mightier than the iron fist,” Reed said. “Younger leaders will begin to take the reins, and the old way is coming to a close rapidly.”
Reed explained, “The Chariot gives everyone the ability to get back in the driver’s seat of their lives. You’ll have better options this year and more willpower at your disposal.” You don’t have to settle, she added. “Focus on what you want and go for it.”
Reed combined her tarot reading with astrology, noting three major 2023 astrological events. “Jupiter moves into Taurus in May. Saturn moves into Pisces in March. And Pluto takes a dip in Aquarius in March,” she said. She drew a card from her Weiser Tarot for each of these planets.
According to her reading, the Hanged Man, drawn for Jupiter, suggests the patience and sacrifice of the past years, through the pandemic, will pay off in 2023. The Seven of Wands, drawn for Saturn, suggests “there are still struggles that need to be wrangled,” she said, such as social justice, equity and reproductive and identity rights.
The High Priestess was drawn for Pluto, the planet of transformation. “The divine feminine is awakened, and the patriarchy will be undergoing massive changes,” she said. “People want peace.”
These three major astrological events also took center stage in Diotima Mantineia’s 2023 reading, which she makes publicly available annually. “We are in the middle of an era of massive social, political, and environmental upheaval,” she wrote.
Mantineia is a professional astrologer and witch. She has been doing annual readings for decades. “I’ve been fascinated by prediction since I first started studying astrology way back in 1969,” she told RNS.
“The astrology of the upcoming year plants the seeds of a collective awakening to reality that the coming years will bring to fruition,” Mantineia wrote. In other words, prepare to change or be changed.
“The planetary patterns galvanize personal searches for truth and bring shifting power dynamics to the collective and in our personal lives,” she said. Mantineia, like the other readers, sees a call for community strength and unity.
Jupiter is the one to watch, she said: “Questions of truth, justice, law, and religion will demand answers from individuals, organizations, and governments, as well as artists and scientists.”
In her full reading, posted to her blog Urania’s Well, Mantineia provides a detailed month-to-month outlook, demonstrating how to personally navigate this year of transformation. “You may feel that you’d happily pass on the changes, and be fine with a bit of stability, maybe even boredom, back in your life after these last few years,” she said.
But that’s not what is in the cards or the stars.
Mantineia, Anderson and Reed all provide a similar general outlook: 2023 will be a year of transition, transformation and change — socially, politically, personally. Finding strength deep in yourself, embracing and even unleashing your talents and welcoming community is the way through the coming chaos as we ride the Chariot to 2024.
Their readings also aligned with the community-specific Letter of the Year, perhaps one of the most well-known annual divinatory predictions.
The letter is divined by Cuba’s senior-most priests of Lukumi, who are trained in the ancient divinatory system called Table of Ifá. Lukumi, often called Santeria, is also known as Regla de Ocha and is a Yoruba religious practice that finds its origins in Africa.
“The Letter of the Year is one of the most important ceremonies,” explained Olosha Afefe Omooya, and is not meant for the general public. Omooya is a priest and a professor living in Miami and, although he is not one of the leaders producing the letter, he pays attention.
The letter offers technical information such as suggested offerings, prayers and meditations, he explained. It also includes the year’s governing Orisha, the divine spirits, sometimes considered deity, or forces of nature, within the Yoruba religious practice. This year’s governing Orisha is Obatalá, one of the oldest of the orishas and creator of humankind, accompanied by Oshún, a river deity associated with femininity.
Omooya did add that, for 2023, the letter generally advises “an attention to health matters and the avoidance of excess of processed foods, greater education work against domestic violence,” particularly with respect to women, children and the elderly. It also called for “continued work for unity in the community,” he said.
The letter, as Omooya explained, is determined by the Asociación Cultural Yoruba de Cuba, an organization of priests sanctioned by the Cuban government. Some priests believe “the Letter should be specific to nations.” Today, many communities divine their own Letter of the Year, said Omooya.
In the U.S., that work is done by Miami-based priests. Their Letter of the Year, he explained, “concludes that 2023 will bring about social rebirth,” and “speaks to removing of obstacles and favorable changes.” The governing Orisha is Eleguá, a deity of roads or paths, also accompanied by Oshún.
While the letter’s predictions are meant only for the Yoruba community, Omooya welcomes the growing interest in it. “Many practitioners keep their faith and veneration private because of discrimination,” he said. “I hope that interest in the letter translates into an invitation to better understand the Yoruba faith,” as well as Cuba and the Cuban diaspora in the coming years.