2019: Hopefully a Happier New Year by Barbara Ardinger

We’re nearly a week into the new year. I almost wish I were a prophet and could predict with assurance that 2019 will be better than 2018—less filled with hate, name-calling, lies, and all-round trumpery (pun intended: “trumpery” is “worthless nonsense”).

When I wrote my daybook, Pagan Every Day, here’s how I began today’s essay:

The Saxons of northern Europe called the first Monday after January 6 Plough Day and honored Freya, “the Venus of the North.” As a goddess who engages in indiscriminate sex, Freya is the spirit of the earth’s fertility. Like Persephone, she is in the underworld during the winter, but early in January we already see hints that she might be rising. We’ll soon set our ploughs into the earth and plant our crops.

Yeager Empress

We can think of planting our crops in both literal and metaphorical ways, but my best guess is that we’d best think of them metaphorically, at least in the so-called developed world, because our part of the world is mostly urban now and if there’s literal planting, it seems to be mostly done by agribusiness. If we’re not farmers literally broadcasting seeds, how do we plant metaphorical crops for 2019?

We can start with numerology, which I studied back in the early 1980s about the same time I was reading books on metaphysical and occult topics, learning the tarot, and reading every book about the Goddess I could find. (There were already lots of them.) As you no doubt know, numerology is based on the meaning of numbers. Whether we’re working with a name, a birth date, or a situation, we use a chart (which you can find online) to convert letters to numbers, then we add the numbers and reduce them to one number that becomes a kind of prediction. It’s important to remember, of course, that true divination does not forecast a fixed and permanent future. Instead, it notes what is likely to happen if things keep going along the path they’re on.

According to my numerology teacher, 1 means creation and individualization; 2 means love, gentleness, service, harmony; and 3 means self-expression, personal creation, optimism, inspiration. One is also the beginning of a new cycle (year, life, experience, adventure), and 9 is “complete expression,” or the end of a cycle, life, experience, or adventure. It’s interesting that 9 + 1 = 10 = 1. The end always leads to what we call a new beginning.

So let’s do some numerology with 2019. We add the numbers and reduce them to one number that will characterize the year: 2019 = 2 + 1 = 3 + 9 = 12 = 1 + 2 = 3. This means that 2019 is a “3 year,” which can (and may) lead to self-expression, optimism, inspiration, talent, sociability, friendliness, and kindness. (Note that there are two 3’s in the calculation; maybe they reinforce the idea of 3-ness.)

Self-expression, optimism, etc. are good crops to be planting this month! These are crops that need to be growing here. If we think politically, as so many of us have been doing for two years, we can hope that the new diverse and Democratic majority in the House of Representatives will grow and harvest these crops and bring an end to trumpery. What do you think might happen this year? Where are these metaphorical crops best planted? How will we feed and fertilize them? How and where will they grow?

Motherpeace Empress

Several years ago, I moved into what I call tarot numerology. Our new year’s 3 corresponds to Card III of the major arcana: The Empress. You know of course that there’s a nearly infinite number of decks with their own illustrations, but most of them show Card III as The Empress. She is the Earth Mother, Mother Nature, the Great Goddess. My tarot teacher said The Empress advises, among other things, “as above, so below,” and when we get The Empress in a reading, she’s usually telling us that new things will be born, there will be productivity and creativity, there will be good crops.

Gaian Tarot Gardener

Our reading of 2019, therefore, is that we are possibly entering a new year of good crops—those metaphorical ones I listed earlier: self-expression, optimism, inspiration, talent, sociability, friendliness, and kindness. A couple months ago, we elected 100 women to a U.S. Congress that is more diverse than any Congress has ever been before. Can these women, perhaps individually, more likely collectively, embody the Goddess?

Rider-Waite-Smith Empress

I’m going to stop writing now because I want you all to finish this post for me. Give me—give us—your ideas and plans for planting new crops in 2019. How can we bring self-expression, optimism, inspiration, talent, sociability, friendliness, and kindness into our weary society? We can keep voting, of course, but what else? Organizing? Marching? Writing? Please think about this new year and then tell us what you’re thinking. What’s gonna happen??

Note: The cards are from the Tarot of Meditation, drawn by Marty Yeager; the Motherpeace Tarot, created by Karen Vogel and Vicki Noble; the Gaian Tarot, drawn by Joanne Powell Colbert; and the Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot, drawn by Pamela Coleman Smith (who did not receive any credit for her work for nearly a century. Oh, look—it’s the patriarchy in action again).


Barbara Ardinger, Ph.D. (www.barbaraardinger.com), is a published author and freelance editor. Her newest book is Secret Lives, a novel about grandmothers who do magic.  Her earlier nonfiction books include the daybook Pagan Every DayFinding New Goddesses (a pun-filled parody of goddess encyclopedias), and Goddess Meditations.  When she can get away from the computer, she goes to the theater as often as possible—she loves musical theater and movies in which people sing and dance. She is also an active CERT (Community Emergency Rescue Team) volunteer and a member (and occasional secretary pro-tem) of a neighborhood organization that focuses on code enforcement and safety for citizens. She has been an AIDS emotional support volunteer and a literacy volunteer. She is an active member of the Neopagan community and is well known for the rituals she creates and leads.

Categories: Goddess, Goddess feminism, Goddess Spirituality, Spirituality

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20 replies

  1. An optimistic view, thanks! I think the big thing is talking and writing about our views in the face of prejudice.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for this well written and informative essay. It begins from an interesting place; the darkness of winter. The Empress tarot card does not only represent planting seeds in sunshine. The journey of the heroine often starts from deep within our own underworld. Courage can come from low self esteem. With its projections of endless hopelessness, not being worthy, and even self-loathing, this emotional infliction causes many to suffering in the winter of silence and withdrawal. Like Persephone who hears the call of spring, finding courage requires us to act, to awaken from our inner darkness and the sleepiness of self imposed hibernation. Through a strength of will, a desire moves our hearts. We once felt lost, and now are stirred to move and rise up.

      “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

      Liked by 1 person

  2. A great post – it reminds me of the enthusiasm and hopefulness I saw in the faces of our new women House Representatives dancing, speaking out and being sworn in this past week. I would like to sow the seed of shared vision to give wonderful, realistic and ambitious goals to work towards and also the seed of collaboration as we all work towards those goals most dear to our hearts while realizing that we need to support those working for other goals in order to reach ours. Women’s, racial, LGBTQ and other human rights, environmental activism, support for science, political reform to support democratic institutions worldwide, and so many other movements all need each other if we are to make the world one we all want to live on. In 2019, let’s look ahead with creativity and compassion and work together to get it done!

    Liked by 3 people

    • I’ve been watching a couple of the (in)famous Sunday TV talk shows and been hearing a fair amount about what the female and diverse members of congress have in mind to start the year. Your list is right in step, and I hope we all succeed in making changes happen.

      Thanks for your comment.


  3. Thank you an inspiring post and for invoking the Empress. It is also a 12 year, in tarot The Hanged One, suspense, release, sacrifice? I have been pondering the connection between the Hanged One and the Empress. If I think of the earth, fertility, abundance, I think also of how many people’s in many times, understood that they had to thank the earth, replenish it, give back, not just mindlessly take and take for granted the gifts of the earth. I recently read an article in Sierra Club magazine about how we can no longer deny the effect our species has had on the whole planet. The writer called this the anthropocene age and posited that there is still a possibility of good (as distinct from utterly disastrous) anthropocene age, restoring or preserving bogs and forests, developing sustainable agriculture and renewable energy, working with and for all life on the planet. I don’t know what my individual part in that would be, beyond things like using renewable bags for shopping and produce, supporting local farmers, planting pollinator gardens. Also being aware and supportive of and people and other life forms, plant and animals, who have lost their homes and habitats. Oh, there is so much, but I am hoping that we will all be part of creating a compassionate and sustainable age.

    Liked by 2 people

    • As a numerologist I believe the 3 (the empress) is about expression and sowing love seeds regardless of outside influences. This is the hard part. Expressing love regardless of opinions, political rhetoric and hate. I believe the universal 3 year is a year of respite from the 2 year which requires patience, intuition, diplomacy and understanding. Division based on Politics is part of the challenge we face on a human ego level. Makes no difference who’s in power, but instead how we are personally responding to the challenges. Three is the number of personal joy and should teach us about how we move through adversity and differences. If we Express hate and division about earthly energies of superficial human opinions, we are missing the 3’s teachings. With free will being the basis of any spiritual language, we can make 3 a miserable year or a great year, regardless of outside influences.
      I found this last 2 universal year to be filed with division and hate. On both sides of the spectrum there was mudslinging and division based in ego.
      Our 3 year is only as good as our ability to express ourselves lovingly as the empress teaches us. We can choose to be controlled by outside influences in our society that we are not pleased with, or live each day expressing our truth, while loving everyone and the message and lessons they bring us regardless of our personal opinions. No easy task. Some will choose to remain angry and divided, some will express self love and care and bring this energy to others.
      The 3 is an opportunity to love one another unconditionally and teach others how to do this. Of course our personal year has more influence in our lives than the universal year, the universal year influences the planet. The planet needs more of us expressing love and sharing that with everyone, unconditionally. Denise Lucille

      Liked by 1 person

    • You’re right: it is also a 12 year. The Hanged Man is not necessarily dead, but as you say he’s making sacrifices–but let’s not sacrifice our Mother Planet! I agree with you about renewable and sustainable practices that we can adopt. Thanks for your comment.


      • I’ve always seen the hanged man as a man in the act of complete surrender. It’s one of the best cards in tarot deck. Displays the power of surrender like no other card. Being a 1-2 “3” makes the 3 year even more fruitful if we can operate from a state of surrender, and loving language and expression, not anger, contempt and bitterness. Hanged man is an Excellent reference. 👍🏼


      • What I meant by sacrifice is to give back to Mother Earth–by caring for water and soil and ocean. By giving up unconsciousness and greed and insistence on fossil fuel–and its various products, like plastic bags. I am on a mission to let everyone know that washable mesh bags are available for purchasing and storing produce. They do a better job than plastic. Just google mesh produce bags you will find many affordable sources!

        Liked by 2 people

      • Yes, Elizabeth–sacrifice as in make sacred. Sacred Mother Planet. Sacred water, soil, and ocean.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Barbara I loved this post… as a dyslexic with numbers and directions you might understand why numerology might not be at the top of my priorities – but i so enjoyed the discussion and your open ended challenge to each one of us to continue to create. For me its all about writing, writing for the Earth, women, and to save my own life…I cultivate a guarded hope for improvement politically but fear the blocking…. I applaud every woman that made it into public service)though women have been doing this forever – literally. Just yesterday i spoke with a woman who said Janet Mills wasn’t much of an improvement over LePage from Maine which upset me disportionately (sp? because underneath that criticism is this hatred for women that rages on, something I feel powerless to interrupt. I also try to stay in the moment as much as possible to keep gratitude for Life a priority – an easy thing for a naturalist to do. Thank you Barbara!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Thanks, Sara. I’m not good with numbers, either. I count on my fingers! Let us all write about our Mother Planet and our sisters and saving our own and their lives.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. As I sit looking out my window at the desolation of winter it brings to mind the life/death/life cycle that everything must go through. I am an out of control gardener who lives in the north so there is a time of rest from my favorite pastime. A time of death, if you will. A time I do not relish but know it must take place in order for there to be spring and life renewed. It reminds me of the time we have just come through in the past two years, a time of desolation, a time of dying. So many things we worked so hard for just torn down and trampled (trumpled?) upon. But I know from experience and many years of life that winter always comes to an end and spring always follows it. It’s my sincere hope that we are now nearing the end of that winter and that spring is on its way. We will build it back up again just as a gardener rebuilds her garden each spring and sometimes the rebuilt garden surpasses the old one in beauty and usefulness because the gardener has studied through the winter and learned some new tricks. The recent election shows me we have found a new and better seed company. Here’s hoping that all those seeds germinate and not just bring our garden back to its former self (which seriously had too many weeds in it anyway) but grow into the best garden we’ve ever planted.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. As always an insightful and thought provoking post. Numerology is one of the first things I discovered on coming to my path. A new year is always a fresh start and the hope with this new year and the new people in our politics is that life on the grander scope will improve – whether it does or not only time will tell. On a personal scope, it’s about completing the projects I have in the works and moving forward to find the next book to write, item to crochet, or mischief to get into.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. What to plant? I think courage, most of all… I think stories of courage and resilience are going to give us the symbolic truths we need to face this uncertain future. Thank you for an enjoyable post!


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