In this post, I share how I created my Mandala Forecast for the Year Ahead. Scroll down for the printable step-by-step instructions and for a free downloadable Card Spread.
The first person to explain to me I had a highly sensitive nervous system was my Naturopath many years ago. It took me a very long time to understand what it meant, how to manage it and why self-care was extra important.
One of the things that affect my highly sensitive nervous system is overwhelm. I process things deeply therefore I can easily become overwhelmed. Things need to run at a slow and steady pace for me to function at my best. I can’t control everything but I can do my best to ensure I’m giving myself the most advantage possible.
One of the ways I do this is by taking time in December and January to look at the year ahead. I create my calendar of the Moon phases and use it to gauge when the best time to do certain things is. For instance, running a retreat during an Aries Full Moon wouldn’t be my idea of fun since I’d be surrounded by people who would most likely be feeling a lot of emotions. It would feel energetically noisy and overwhelming for me and that wouldn’t be setting me up for success. If I have to do it, then knowing what I’m up against helps me prepare accordingly. In my Moon Sisters Art and Ceremony Circles, I help everyone understand and use their own personal calendar of Moon phases and signs because it’s been such a helpful process for me.
Another way I prepare my highly sensitive system for what might lie ahead is by creating a Mandala Forecast. It’s my creative way to collect signs and messages from Spirit about the year ahead. I start with choosing one Tarot deck and one Oracle deck. This year I chose “The Green Witch Tarot” by Ann Moura and Kiri Østergaard Leonard and “The Mother Mary Oracle” by Alana Fairchild and Shiloh Sophia McCloud.
The reason I choose one tarot deck and one oracle deck is because I like to team up the thoroughness found in the tarot system with the lighter optimism I find in oracle decks. Oracle cards are usually created around one theme – love, forgiveness, animals, angels etc. – whereas the tarot system includes in-depth insight into major issues in my life and everyday concerns. I used to shy away from tarot decks because I was afraid of what I judged to be their darker messages but that was naive of me. Tarot provides complex answers that reveal the challenges, celebrations, hidden desires, obstacles and ego side of life and my personality. Tarot doesn’t pretend life is all chocolate and glass slippers. Life throws shit at me all the time. Pretending everything will be perfect is ridiculous and unrealistic. Personally, to support me through my difficult times, I’d rather have a head’s up on what challenges might be coming than be caught by surprise.
A couple years ago, a few tarot cards I pulled were devastating. They showed buildings toppling over and a man dying from swords planted in his back. I was worried and knew something unexpected and unwelcome would happen. In the spread for the year, the months following these ominous messages were optimistic and happy. I knew no matter what happened during those darker months everything would work out in the end.
The year progressed and I eventually came to the months my yearly forecast predicted as difficult and lo and behold, my husband lost his job. We were devastated and worried. We didn’t have a financial cushion to lean on and the job market had crashed in our area. Jobs were much harder to come by than in the past. Things looked bleak but I remembered pulling cards for my yearly forecast and I reassured my husband everything was going to be all right – and it was. He managed to find another job and everything worked out in the end. That time of not knowing what was going to happen would have been so much more stressful on me had I not taken the time at the beginning of the year to create my yearly forecast.
This year, without realizing it, the two decks I chose both had roses on the backside of their cards. I thought this was interesting since my focus this year is on my relationship with Divine Mother and I associate roses with Divine Mother. I also started a 100 day art ritual on January 1st where I draw one rose a day and use it as a way to pray and connect with Divine Mother so roses were something I was already drawn to. I thought it was a nice confirmation that I was on the right track.
After I cleansed each deck, I pulled one tarot card and one oracle card for each month of the year.
Next, I wrote the title of each card for each month in my journal and I read the description of each card in the accompanying guidebook. I summarized the message of the card and took note of any information I thought was relevant and important. This year, I wanted to include significant words and inspirational messages in my Mandala Forecast because I found last year that images weren’t enough. I think, along with the images, keywords will help keep me focused and will inspire me throughout the year.
After getting a feel for the messages, I gathered my art supplies to create a sun mandala. I hang my yearly mandala forecast on the wall in my office alongside my yearly intention painting and this year, I wanted the forecast to be painted on an image of the sun and my yearly intention setting to be on the image of the moon so they could sit side by side in a reflection of day and night.
To create a sun mandala I cut an 18″ x 18″ piece of heavy watercolor paper and drew a circle in the middle of it and divided the circle into 12 equal sections. At the top of each section, I drew a petal shape then erased all the lines so only the outline was visible.
Here’s a look at how I did that.
I marked the middle of my page and placed the point of my compass on the mark then drew a large circle. The circle was small enough to leave room for large petals to be drawn around it.
Next, I drew a cross from the center of the circle. (Make sure to measure equal distance from the outside edges of your page so your cross is perfectly in the middle of the page. Because my page was 18″ x 18″ that meant I had to measure 9″ in from the outside edges of the page.)
Then, without changing the distance of my compass, I placed the point of the compass on each outside point of the cross and made a mark on both sides of the line.
That gave me marks to guide my ruler as I divided the circle in 12 sections.
All I had to do was place my ruler from one outside point across the center point and over to meet the opposing outside point on the other end of the circle and draw a line. This created 12 sections. The sections pictured here aren’t equal because I made the mistake of forgetting to measure my cross properly but I’m not a stickler for details so I just went with it regardless of the mistake.
Next, I added a larger outer circle and made a dot to mark the center. I didn’t measure this to be accurate. From the dot, I drew a couple curvy lines to give the idea of a petal (or sun ray in this case).
I continued to do that for all 12 sections of the mandala.
I then erased all the lines except the outline so all I was left with was a shape that reminded me of the sun.
Once I had the outer mandala shape I wanted, I painted the background with watercolors. I worked in sections and painted my paper with water before I put down any color and because I wanted to play with cloudy effects with the paint, I made sure there was a lot of water mixed in each color of paint. It was fun to watch the way water and paint danced together to make pretty swirls of color.
I used the same watercolor process to fill in the sun shape.
My last step was to draw the images and include the words and phrases I wanted to remember in each petal of the mandala. I started with January, of course, then continued to work my way around the mandala until I had captured the messages I thought were important to remember for the year ahead.
Here’s the finished piece.
I shared this process with my Moon Sisters Art and Ceremony Circles and Christine Steele, one of my online Moon Sisters, made a couple changes and came up with these two beautiful year ahead forecasts.
The first showcases the tarot cards she pulled for each month.
The second piece showcases the oracle cards she pulled for each month. I thought it was a nice twist on the instructions I shared.
If you’d like to create your own Mandala Forecast for the Year ahead, below you can find printable step-by-step instructions. I’ve also included a Year Ahead Spread workbook where you can write down the name and a short description of the card you pulled for each month of the year ahead.
Download the Year Ahead Spread Here
- watercolor paper
- watercolor pencils
- one tarot deck
- one oracle deck
- water for cleaning brushes
- Light a candle and call in your spiritual team. Inform them of your desire to receive messages for each month of year ahead. Request their help to choose the perfect card from each deck for each month of the year ahead.
- Cleanse each deck using your favorite method of spiritual or energetic cleanse such as Reiki, prayer, herbs, crystals, salt, etc.
- Pull a card for each month of the year.
- In a journal or on the Card Spread for the Year Ahead worksheet I created for you, write down the names of cards you pulled for each month and after looking up the description of the card in the accompanying guidebook, write down any words, ideas or phrases that seem relevant and important.
- Cut your watercolor paper into a square. I used an 18" x 18" square.
- Find the center point of your square and, using a compass, draw a circle in the middle of the page. Make sure to leave enough room between the outer edges of the circle and the border of the paper to draw petals around the circle.
- Divide your circle in 12 equal sections.
- In each section, draw a petal shape on the outside of the circle.
- Erase all unnecessary lines.
- Paint the background.
- Paint the sun shape mandala.
- Starting with the petal on the mandala that you choose to represent January, take the tarot card and the oracle card and your written summary of the messages you pulled for January and draw whatever would best represent the overall feeling and message you received for the month of January.
- Repeat the process for the remaining eleven petals on the mandala.
- End with a prayer of gratitude.