I’m Stuck in a Rut—Here’s How 30 Days of Tarot Pulls Helped Me Gain Clarity Before 2024


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Graphics by: Aryana Johnson
Graphics by: Aryana Johnson

I’m drawn to the occult like a moth to a street light. Witchy stuff is kind of my jam, and reading tarot is one of my favorite ways to dive into that aspect of myself. So, when I had the opportunity to do an article about pulling tarot cards for a month, I couldn’t pass it up.

Honestly, I’ve been feeling super stuck this year (really, since the pandemic started), and I needed a little extra guidance in my life. In the past, I’ve often turned to my tarot decks for insight on something or someone and to gain clarity on my next steps. It seemed only natural for me to apply this technique again and really challenge myself to pull a tarot card daily.

But could I actually stay consistent with it? I often struggle with keeping up routines. Variety is the spice of life, right? Doing the same thing every day isn’t exactly my cup of tea. But I figured if it’s something I already like doing, it was worth trying.

Although it’s been a while since I’ve done any sort of reading for myself, this seemed like a low-risk experiment. So, every morning for 30 days, I started my day with a tarot pull. This is my process and what I learned about myself along the way.

What I asked the cards

With tarot readings, it helps to have a single question or intention in mind to focus on. And for me, that was “What do I need to focus on now to help bring me clarity for the future?” You could easily ask a more specific question about love, finances, or your job situation—whatever you’re wondering about. But I chose this question because of my current rut and wanting to clear my head of it for the new year.

Although there’s often this association between tarot readers and psychics, tarot isn’t about predicting the future. It’s about guiding you through the current path that you’re on. Reading the cards is about tuning in to intuition and the energy that’s already there. Sometimes the cards tell you what you already know. But in that sense, it can be the confirmation you need to move forward.

What the cards told me each week

Week 1: I need to be easier on myself and ask for help when I need it

Upon starting this daily ritual, I found that it helped to do it first thing when I woke up. I placed my tarot deck next to my bed and first thing in the morning I would drink a glass of water, ask my question, shuffle the deck, and then draw.

The first week was admittedly a bit rough. I often wrestle with depression and anxiety, and both were rearing their ugly heads. I was also struggling with some physical issues in the form of a lingering knee injury. Ultimately, I was feeling very in my head, and that was evident in the cards I drew.

The Cards:

  • 10 of Swords: painful endings, deep wounds, betrayal*
  • Injustice: unfairness, lack of accountability, dishonesty
  • 8 of Cups Reversed: indecision, aimless drifting, walking away
  • The Hermit Reversed: isolation, loneliness, withdrawal
  • 9 of Wands: resilience, courage, persistence, boundaries
  • 4 of Swords: rest, relaxation, meditation
  • 3 of Wands: progress, expansion, foresight

My Interpretation

This was a brutal way to start this exercise, to say the least. My deck shows the 10 of Swords as a man with 10 swords sticking out of his back. This as the first pull definitely spoke to my depression and feeling the weight of the world on my back. But looking deeper, and considering the rest of the cards I pulled for the week, it’s clear I spent a lot of time worrying about the future and being really hard on myself. These feelings of anxiety and depression, coupled with frustration over a lingering knee injury, made me want to withdraw from the world (hello, Hermit!). At the same time, avoiding these issues, rather than addressing them, was only contributing to my suffering. Yeah, a brutal way to start this journey, indeed.

However, my cards started to look up by the end of the week. The 9 of Wands reminded me to stand firm in who I am and recover my strength. I was also reminded of the need for introspection. With my injury, creative projects, and my 9-to-5 job all feeling stagnant and weighing heavy on my mind, I realized I needed to set goals and stop being so stubborn about asking for help.

Week 2: There’s always going to be both good and bad in life

The second week was another mixed bag in terms of my emotional state. On the one hand, I felt super happy because I was celebrating my fifth wedding anniversary. But then I got food poisoning soon after. Thanks, universe. Even in just noticing that, though, I realized there‘s always going to be both good and bad in life.

The Cards

  • Ace of Cups Reversed: self-love, intuition, repressed emotions
  • The Empress: femininity, beauty, nature
  • Knight of Wands: energy, passion, adventure
  • 3 of Cups: celebration, creativity, friendship, collaboration
  • The Empress Reversed: creative block, depending on others
  • The Chariot: control, success, determination
  • King of Swords Reversed: inner truth, misuse of power, manipulation

My Interpretation

The reversed Ace of Cups at the beginning of the week was a warning I think everyone should heed: the importance of setting boundaries. It became clear that day why this card popped up after I had a conversation with someone in my life that left me feeling emotionally drained and manipulated. Luckily, the next few days were much more positive. The Empress popped out of my deck while I was shuffling (a sign to pay close attention to that card!), and it felt like the universe was telling me, “Yes, you deserve this happiness!”

The next few cards echoed The Empress’ sentiment, allowing me to fully enjoy and revel in the milestone of my fifth anniversary. However, pulling The Empress reversed later in the week, after coming down with a bout of food poisoning, along with The Chariot, were reminders that productivity isn’t everything. I need to take care of my physical health as well as my mental health and focus on the journey, not just the destination.

Source: Mikhail Nilov | Pexels

Week 3: I need to worry less and put the “balance” back into work-life balance

The theme up until now, with a couple of exceptions, is that I tend to stand in my own way and need to slow down, focus on the journey, and allow myself to revel in the good. By the time the third week rolled around, I was beginning to get the message. But the cards weren’t done, and this week, the overarching theme was that I worry too much.

The Cards

  • 9 of Swords Reversed: inner turmoil, secrets, releasing worry
  • Death: ending, change, transformation
  • 2 of Pentacles: multiple priorities, time management, adaptability
  • The Tower: sudden change, upheaval, revelation
  • The Empress: femininity, beauty, nature
  • 10 of Wands: extra responsibility, hard work, completion
  • 6 of Wands: success, progress, self-confidence

My Interpretation

This week’s cards started to put everything into perspective and point me in the direction of solutions, while the previous cards did much to help me understand where I was and how I got to that point. The first card signaled some relief from the depression and anxiety that had been plaguing me (thank god!), and the Death card (which is not as scary as it sounds) told me there was something in my life I needed to move on from.

The rest of this week’s cards shifted my focus to work. It became really clear I was taking on too much and letting the stress get to me. Essentially, I need to make a change in how I approach work if I ever want to get out of this rut. For me, this means easing up, being patient, and putting more energy into the “life” part of work-life balance.

Week 4: The importance of rest and reflection

The last week or so of my tarot adventure felt like a respite from the rest of the month. Although I was still experiencing work and holiday-related stress from Thanksgiving (10 of Wands again!), I needed to have faith in my ability to handle things (so says the Strength card). I also had a few cards this week telling me to just chill. I often find it hard to relax, but the 4 of Wands and Temperance cards reassured me I earned it.

The Cards

  • 10 of Wands: extra responsibility, hard work, completion
  • Strength: courage, influence, passion
  • 4 of Wands: joy, harmony, relaxation
  • Temperance: balance, patience, purpose
  • 9 of Pentacles: abundance, luxury, self-sufficiency
  • The Empress: femininity, beauty, nature
  • King of Swords Reversed: inner truth, misuse of power, manipulation
  • The Hanged Man: pause, letting go, new perspectives
  • 9 of Swords: anxiety, worry, fear

My Interpretation

The theme of this week was that I needed to pause, be cautious, and reflect to move forward. Rather than make rash decisions based on whatever I’m worrying about, I need to look inward and reevaluate my situation. Instead of focusing on what I don’t want, I need to focus on what I do want.

I started this month in a depressive place and was really struggling with myself, so my last cards were a welcome sight. They indicate change is imminent and that my nightmare is ending—but I still have work to do. There’s something I’m still hanging on to from my past that’s been making me fearful. The cards, unfortunately, can’t tell me what that is, but when I figure it out and address it head-on, I’ll be in a much better place.

Reflecting on my journey

Honestly, I was skeptical going into this experiment. But it actually turned out to be a great way to get a glimpse into my day-to-day mental state. When I was forced to confront my thoughts and emotions, I started to see a pattern emerging. Viewed as a whole, those 30 days of tarot pulls did bring me greater clarity. I learned that I’m the only one keeping me stuck in this rut. I worry too much and fear is keeping me from moving forward. I need to get out of my own way and stop letting people and events from my past control my present.

As we head into the new year, I now know what I need to focus on to pull myself out of this rut I’ve been in. I need to learn how to trust myself and the journey I’m on. There’s always going to be uncertainty about what lies ahead, but instead of wondering about the what-ifs, maybe it’s time to finally embrace my Main Character Energy and love myself more.

*Tarot card meanings sourced from Biddy Tarot