The Hermit

The Hermit stands alone. But isn’t lonely. The Hermit shares a truth. But not The Truth. The Hermit’s light shines on the path. But it isn’t your path. Not even his own path.

The figure of The Hermit stands a top the mountain. Holding a light for those who walk the path. Being at the top means knowing the path. And being able to assist others in reaching the top. When we take the path less traveled. It is a lonely journey at times. Finding The Hermit brings us back to connection. We see how another has gone before. While they were on their own path. They shared experiences we have on our own path.

The light of The Hermit is wisdom. This has been gained through the years. The Hermit shares it with you. With all who follow their own paths to truth. The figure in the card is old and wears a grey robe. These point to the years of wisdom to be shared. But we need to be careful. The light shines only on a turn, or a pass along the path. If we stay in the light of The Hermit we lose our own growth.

While it is a relief to find a friend. We cannot stay in their shelter forever. Our paths are still less traveled. And this means they are still mostly alone. So as we accept the truth of the Hermit. We push forward in finding our own truth. We go on into the dark knowing there are other Hermits. One day we may see a fellow traveler, and shine a light on their path. But we must first leave the light.

In the last card we found strength. One of the most introspective cards in the deck. If The Hermit hadn’t found the strength he wouldn’t have a light to share. Knowing the wisdom and truth of the path isn’t easy. As we pass The Hermit we must see our own strength. If we hadn’t found the strength we wouldn’t be able to see the light. We have the will to get this far. And if we continue as we should it can take us further.

The card is number nine. As as such represents a conclusion. It is an achievement. While there are distances ahead of us. We may have made the hardest choice of all. The choice to take the path less traveled. While some choose to go back. The light of The Hermit is a beacon calling us onward. Nine is connected to the number six. In The Lovers we made a choice. This was the first active step in our lives. All paths start choice. Now at nine we continue on the path. The Hermit is a guide to motivate and encourage.

The figure of The Hermit is alone because in the struggles of life we are all alone. We each have our unique paths. And we cannot follow The Hermit. It would be no good for us, and The Hermit would not allow it. One day when we are The Hermit we will not allow it. Because like the saying in the east. If you meet the Buddha on the road: kill him. He knows you be lost on his path, and put him off his own truth.

But in the next card we encounter The Wheel of Fortune. Life and fate may turn the tables on us. If we hold the light of the Hermit in our heart we are fine. We see the events of life pass like the storms. Some are rough, and some cause damage. But none last forever. We see how alone we can be in the world. But the truth of The Hermit prepared us to be alone. The Strength of The Hermit helps us as The Wheel of Fortune turns. And turns and turns.

What this card is telling you today is someone may be helping you. If your path feels dark and alone. There might be a light on the turn ahead. But it is also telling us to look behind us. If we turn around we may see someone struggling even more. And they may need our light to guide them through the hard moments. Turn your light to others and believe others are ahead to share their light with you.

An older person may help you in some way. Or as above, you may be the one who assists a younger traveler. It could be both. You can look at your own life and if you see darkness shine the light. Where you feel weak, others also feel weak. Stand in the gap and offer what you have to them. It is a truth of the universe, you have what you give. When you give light, you have light. When you give strength, you have strength.

So look for those who offer wisdom. And look for those who need wisdom. And know you are not alone.

Strength

In the Tarot deck Strength is the eighth card. If you take a look at the tree of life. The Qabalah names the eighth spot Hod. This means glory. I could tell you every thing about the card now. The glory and strength of God is love. Your glory and strength is love.

When you look at the deck you see a figure. They hold the mouth of the lion. This lion is our impulses. The conflicting energies from the last few cards. It is our human nature. My aunt use to say tell me how the spirit was willing. But the flesh was weak. The lion is the flesh. It is strong in its weakness. The figure doesn’t hold the lion’s mouth shut.

While we shouldn’t be ruled by our impulses. We do need to respect their voices. They are a part of who we are, a part of God. The messages they give contain lessons. Important lessons if we take the time to listen. But we need to know when to follow these voices. And we to let them go. If we don’t listen to them. If we don’t understand. Then we could either be capricious. Or miss out on the meaning they offer our lives.

The balance is important. We develop strength. Loving ourselves is an example of a hard lesson. It isn’t easy to love each other. And in some ways even harder to love ourselves honestly. An honest self-love doesn’t think we are perfect. It knows we have faults. And it knows where we are weak. But an honest self-love also knows we are children of God. We are expressions of Love. A piece of the glory of God. Only love is real.

There may be no greater strength than honest self-love. Because we so easily slide to arrogance or self-loathing. And to many arrogance may appear to be self-love. But at a real level self-love isn’t arrogant. Because it feels no need to impress. There is no desire to hold influence over other minds.

The figure on the card wears white. It takes a pure heart to love. A pure heart and spirit to wrestle with the lion. The flowers in the figure’s hair and around the waist express a blooming strength. Love is pure goodness or it isn’t love at all. And it is growing all around us. If we open our eyes we will see. If we open our pure hearts we will see.

The figure of infinity hangs in the sky above the figure’s head. Another connection to the number 8. This symbol last seen above the magician shows the source of our power. We have an unlimited supply of love. And love is the only strength. Love is the only power. We tap into the source of all. We connect with the universe and God. All when we choose to love.

Aleister Crowley named this card Lust. When we love our lives we have a lust for living. The word Lust has been betrayed. The most real Lust is Love. When we love our lives deeply. We have a lust to be alive. When we love ourselves and others deeply. There is a lust to connect on a real level. Not just the rubbing together of fleshy bodies. But the touching of souls. When we Love radically we are showing how strong we are in our spirit. We live in a body, but we are not a body. Others live in bodies but are not bodies. Lust for bodies is a weak and shallow lust.

What this card is tell you today is gather your strength. A challenge awaits you in the near future. But you have the tools. And you have the strength to overcome these mountains. Find the source of all Love inside of you. Then you can not lose. The glory of God will take you any where you want to go. The glory of yourself will take you no where. Remember as you move forward to stay focused. Recall the source of your energy. Connect with it often.

This card is telling you: you’ve got this. But it isn’t telling you it will be easy. When in doubt of what the you should do next. Choose to love even more. This card is alerting you to the fact you’ll need this love. Or maybe it is encouraging you to find this love in your current struggles. Love in a radical and free way. Love yourself for making mistakes, and for making growth. Whatever others have done, or do to you. Love them for being broken, hurt and lost souls like yourself. Ongoing abusive behavior has to stop. Because this isn’t love. But walking away is a step of love too.

The Fool

In many ways we are The Fool. The whole of the tarot is a journey of The Fool. The card number for The Fool is zero. Because it stands outside of time. Like a fool. The real magic of the card lays in this emptiness. We stand before our journey has begun. Maybe we are aware of a fresh start. And maybe it will be a surprise. What we will never know is how far the journey will take us. How much we will grow.
This card is normally placed at the start of the deck. But because of its number it doesn’t have a place. Taking the position at the start the next card is the magician. We start our trip, we get our tools. But at this point we don’t even know what we need. The trip is raw. In the image on the card a figure carries a stick. This is a wand from later in the suits. It shows the power we carry with us from the start. We may not know where the trip will end. But we begin with the power we need to complete the journey. Even before we gain our tools from the magician. We are ready.

Bundled up and looking at a white rose. This white rose represents our innocence. We believe in ourselves. We believe in the world. And in our journey. Soon tests will come. But they haven’t yet. For many those tests will deplete our faith. But for others it will only grow stronger. But now like a child we enter the world. Ready for what life give us. We trust life and the goodness of the world.

The last card in the tarot deck is the world. Once The Fool has come to the end. We find ourselves at the start again. We come full circle every time. There is a truth of oneness we accept as we grow in life. At the end of the cycle we see this truth. And once again we see the goodness of the world. We live in peace. We once again believe. But this moment is passing for many. Because a new journey begins. Back in the foot steps of The Fool. There is a new lesson.

The journey of The Fool echoes the shape of zero. Around and around and around. A humanity we are a fool together. Can you look at the state of the world and not see we are fools. And we repeat the same lessons over and over. But we never seem to learn. Maybe some of us learn. But the path of humanity is to take us all into peace. And until this path is complete we walk together on this road. The road of The Fool.

What this card is telling you today is be ready. Pack your bags. Though it is likely not a material journey. It could be anything. Pack your ideas, and your emotions and be ready for change. Because a shift is coming in your life. You may be aware of this new start. It could be a new love. Or a new job. Or a new house in a new town, with a new love. But it could be a new point of view. We think of the big changes in life so often. But sometimes little changes are more important.

Have you eyes open. And your mind open to what lays ahead for you. Know you will not know the path yet. Also know soon you will be given the tools you need. But you are ready now. The lesson you move into will take the skills from the last lessons in your life. We are always where we are meant to be, if we know it or not. Hold on to the lessons of the past as you move forward.

Even if this card means a change of mind. We could be going through something as radical as a change of religion. Remember to hold the truths from where you came sacred. These truths don’t change. And they will still help and guide you. There is only one truth: love. Only Love is real.

I send you on your journey in peace. You have moments of joy ahead. But also moments of sadness. There will be confusion. But if you carry on you will find the path. Try to hold on to your white rose. Your faith in yourself.

The Chariot

We have made our choice. We are on our mission. But it isn’t so simple. In every card so far we see a polarity. In The Lovers there is the choice. In The Hierophant and the High Priestess the two pillars. The Emperor is perched on a thrown with two solid arms. And in The Empress we have life and death. The Magician brings us the energy of heaven and earth. So now we come to the point of union. In this card we merge these forces.

Everything which came before goes into this card. With the choice made in the last card we move forward. We are Arjuna on the battlefield of our life. And like Arjuna we need to focus. We need to bring together all the energies of life and death. Of black and white, and up and down. Unite them to a single purpose. In some decks this is called the card of victory. And it foreshadows The Sun card near the end of our journey.

The story of Phaëton comes to mind. He was the son of Helios. There are several versions of the story. But the key point is he takes his father’s chariot. But like many his hands were weak in the reins. When the horses sense this they take control. The rider is at their whim. They surge across the sky, and burn the land. This card calls for a firm hand. A strong focus.

On the card itself we see two sphinxes. One is black and one is white. This shows the polarity we transcend. The driver sits above these two figures. And sits in the middle. Being drawn to either side with take away from their focus.

Behind the figure is a river and a city. It reminds me of Julius Caesar crossing the Rubicon. We have crossed a point of no return and we need to commit. In the Bhagavad Gita, Arjuna needs a friend. Lord Krishna is this friend. And becomes he guide. He can’t afford to hesitate he tells Arjuna. And we can’t either. When the path is clear, we must take action.

Arjuna is concerned about family. He has family on both sides of the war. How can I kill these men, he asks Krishna. And we may have concerns of our own. Maybe we feel like we are pushing others down. As we lift ourselves up. Or it may just be we don’t want to see a conflict. But Krishna tells him to live his dharma. “It is better to live your own destiny imperfectly than to live an imitation of somebody else’s life with perfection.” And so should we. While we should use others for our own gain. We also should not dim our own light.

The danger of this card is the power of Caesar. He was supported by the masses in Rome. There were two parties. The populares and the Optimates. His move was against the elites. It was a counter to the old senate class. But we all know history. His actions sparked a long civil war. After five years and many deaths he won. But the republic was lost in the process. Named Dictator for Life, Rome was on the road to empire. The shadow of the warrior is this lust for power. While a leader needs to follow his own heart. So will a tyrant.

The path to true leadership is the middle path. We must remain centered. Like the driver in this card. Over the driver’s head is a canopy. It is covered in stars. The heavens are above us and watching our actions. They are there to lend us wisdom. To guide our path. But also a witness to our sins of pride. Pride comes before the fall. In the end Caesar was stabbed in the back in an attempt to save Rome.

What this card is telling in this reading is the time is now. The time to act is now. Don’t hesitate. You probably already know the right action. But like Arjuna you are unsure. But the number seven on this card shows we are aware. We have the knowledge and the skills. In seven days it is said God created the heavens and the earth. Cross the Rubicon. Take courage. But be ware of the story of Phaëton. We have the strength to hold the reins. If we believe in ourselves. And if we don’t we risk losing control.

The chariot in the card is our body in some ways. It is the vehicle we use to move in life. There is an ancient Hebrew teaching known as the Work of the Chariot. It teaches we are sent as messengers of God’s work. We are a part of this deity. Which is what A Course in Miracles means when it says “only love is real.” Our desires can be used to power our lives. Like the sphinxes pull the chariot. But our higher selves must be the driver.

If you honestly don’t know what the path is right now. You feel lost about what is being given to you as a mission. Then meditate. Take a deep breathe or two. The truth will come to you. And if you still think you haven’t made a choice. Flip a coin. While it is in the air listen to your body. It will be hopefully tense about one result or the other. The most exciting part of this card. Is this is our first card of movement. Our journey is take a real step forward. Your journey is taking a step forward today.

The Lovers

Choices are the point of an angle. Paths can take us to very different end. And The Lovers card is about this choice.

The biggest figure in the card is the angel. With a raging hair. This is the arch-angel Raphael. His name has its roots in healing. In the former cards we saw duality. The columns of The High Priestess. And again in The Hierophant. But now there are two people. These two pillars are us. They are our pieces. And the angel is the whole. True healing is about being whole.

The figures on the card are man and woman. Adam and Eve, who faced a choice. To obey or disobey God. They choose to eat the fruit. The tree can be seen behind Eve. Both God and the snake were correct. Eating the fruit brought death. But it also gave them awareness. They now knew what was good and bad. They were kicked out of Eden. But they had never known the paradise. Because all they knew was perfection. Eve was told she would suffer birth pains. And we all suffer those pains. We give birth to ourselves. We join the male and the female inside. And we are born through a painful process. But also one full of joy and growth.

The figures stand naked before the angel and each other. This is a boldness. You cannot enter a healing space unless you are bold. Unless you are open.

Behind the couple is a mountain. Like the tower of Babel it reaches into the sky. This is about how high we can go when we found love. Our oneness both inside and outside.

But this card is about choice. Because we have to choose. Love is a choice. Adam and Eve could not love paradise, because they didn’t choose to be in Eden. It wasn’t until they were removed, they could choose to return. You can’t love a person, if you haven’t chosen the person. If you feel stuck with someone. You will never love them. Even an arranged marriage can be loving. If the partners find a way to make it a choice to be with each other. If we cling to people in fear. Or if we feel we have no other options. This isn’t love.

Adam is looking at Eve. And Eve is looking at the angel. On one level this is about different choices. Adam is choosing to focus on the beauty of this world. Eve is looking at the beauty of the next. If we think about the choices we make every day in life. We can ask ourselves. Are we looking towards the beauty of this world. Or the beauty of the next. The beauty of this world is power and money. In the next world it is only love.

But Adam also represents the conscious mind. It looks to the unconscious – less conscious mind. From it, the conscious mind takes it cues. But the un-conscious or less conscious mind looks to God. Love can enter our passive mind because it is more open. It doesn’t push its will. It listens to the still small voice. The voice of the angel. The voice of healing.

The Lovers is card six. We have met up with a lot of guides. This is the point where what we have learned needs to come back. The power from The Magician. From The High Priestess a deep wisdom. And searching for growth from The Empress. Also an understanding of cycles. The Emperor taught us about being strong. Taking the seat of power in our own lives. But listening to the heart. And the Hierophant showed us tradition. Many have come before us. And we can learn from their paths. With everything we have seen, if we listen and act correctly. We will be on the right path.

The next card in the journey is The Chariot. We may make one choice over the other. But the energy of both go with us. And we need to hold on to both energies. We need to hold the reins and guide them towards a single goal. They are there to serve our dream.

What this card is telling you is a choice is coming. Or maybe you are facing a choice already. Take a moment to reflect with this choice. Understand the point on the map where you are with the choice. And the path of each side of the angle. You must choose the path you want to take for the long term. This is an important choice. Think about what you value. Go back if you must to talk to the priestess, empress, emperor. Or find these people in your own life to give you advice. But when you make a choice. Make a clear choice and stick to it with all your heart.

Above the angel is the sun. Think about how loyal the sun has been all these years. You must find a way to be this loyal to yourself.

The Hierophant

The number 5 is for man. The mediating number. a figure between the worlds. On one side is the spiritual. The other is the physical. Like man The Hierophant is a bridge.
Like the figures we have met already this one sits on a thrown. They sit between two columns. A neutral force in the world. No someone come to lead you. But a friend to guide you.

The Hierophant brings tradition. We met his partner as the High Priestess. Hers was a lone spiritual bond. Finding the truth alone.

With this card we see a shared believe. This is the first card with more than one person. The two monks in the card share a bond. Not just with each other. But a shared set of rituals for connecting with a greater wisdom. Every religion has its own path. You live in your own culture. From it springs a tradition. As well as many customs. These are ideas and lessons sent down through the ages.

In many beliefs a link is needed to set man right with God. The Hierophant is this link. In the east it may be a guru. The wise person who brings you God’s love. For millions this is the Pope in Rome. And we write these guides off to quick at times. The ego wants you to believe you don’t need God. But if it fails, it wants you to believe you don’t need any wisdom but your own. While I believe we can find God on our own. Why stumble in the dark, when someone is offering you the light. The ego wants you to stay in the dark. But the guru is a temporary guide. God’s love is all we need. And once we learn how to open our hearts, we don’t need the teacher. But the teacher will assist us to this point.

Likewise for some a community of believers isn’t valued. But we all struggle with our faith. Whatever ever faith we practice. There are moments when we feel weak. And moments when we are strong. I don’t personally believe in dark forces hunting us down. But I do believe in the weaker forces we carry in our souls. We form teams in sports. We form military units to defend our homelands. A church is a spiritual team. An army of fellow believers to support your soul. And you give your own courage when it is needed.

But the true guru is inside of you. A wise guru doesn’t promote them-self. They promote you. They know the path and they can help you. But they can’t and won’t walk the steps for you. Listen to your heart. Pause in meditation and listen. What does it tell you is the right path. God is love, and so are you. So every breath you take is an expression of love. And when you follow this love it takes you home.

Finding your own path and being a part of a group do not have to be at odds. Though weak gurus have tried to bend fellow travelers to their will. When you listen to your heart you know your truth. If the group you’ve joined doesn’t share this truth. Then find one out there which does. There are many churches. Many faiths. Many names for the same God.

This card is asking us to think about ritual. In some cases it is holding back. In other cases we may gain from a ritual in our lives. And it doesn’t have to be grand. Before bed I write in my journal. This is a ritual. Will not doing it send me to hell. I don’t think this is the case. But it gives a few moments of my life meaning. By making it a ritual it becomes a part of my day. The end product enriches my life. And to be honest I don’t do it every night. But this is okay, true ritual has room for flexing and not breaking.

Do we have a network supporting us? While we can serve love by loving ourselves. Any faith is harder alone. If you can find a group, find one. If you have one to join, do it. This card is telling you to listen to tradition. Not as a force to obey. But as another source of guidance. A community of believers can also be a source of guidance. Many times other people have dealt with the same issues we face. They can share empathy. They can share the steps they took on their path. But the group is not there to tell you where to step. They should be a source of love and not of fear.

If you can’t find the right community. Then going it alone may be the best choice. We are lucky now to live in the internet age. This makes connecting with others much easier.

The word hierophant comes from a Greek word. It relates to the one who brings the light. And the light is love. Remember only love is real.

The Emperor

Where The Empress is mom. The Emperor is dad. Like her he sits on a thrown. But his thrown is very different. It isn’t a seat of comfort. But a seat of firmness.
The large stone seat shows he is grounded. It is his connection to the earth. And to his partner The Empress. The seat he fills is solid, and strong. Like The Emperor himself. Where The Empress led from the heart, he leads from the head. On his head is a golden crown. A reflection of his authority.

The thrown itself is decorated with rams heads. This connects The Emperor to the sign of the ram: Aries. The first sign of the zodiac. This ruler shares an ambition with this sign. It is a drive towards power. Our culture tends to demoralize or idolize such energy. But it isn’t good or bad in itself. For the king who is always hungry for more power. Always seeking new lands to posses. The eternal search for power can be bad.

But as children of God we are not meant to be powerless. When we see our place, we act with grace. We are not meant to be poor and unloved creatures. Yet many of us feel this every day. Regardless of how much money or love we have in our lives. The good emperor knows his connection to the divine. And he knows about true love and wealth. They do not come from outside. He finds his strength from his own heart. From his connection to God. This is where his will to power is rooted.

The Emperor’s robes are red. This reflects both his passion and his heart. As a good ruler he may be lead by the mind. But he listens to his heart.

In his hand is the Ankh. An ancient symbol of death and re-birth. This shows his awareness of his place in the universe. He knows his rule is absolute. But only for a moment in the flow. This flow is also seen in the river behind the thrown. This river is also another connection to the Empress. But also the High Priestess – where the river starts.

The landscape behind him is void. Unlike the land of The Empress. He focuses on the base details. It also shows he is more stern than her. When you fall and scrape your knee, she will kiss it for you. The Emperor will get you back on your feet and get you running again. The best word for this is discipline.

Not everyone had these firm dads. But we can teach ourselves. When you set goals for yourself. You are taking on this role. Doing things on a routine basis to better who you are takes on this role. Like the father in Tool Time. The Emperor is driven. The drive we have inside is this same energy.

But the shadow of The Emperor lurks. Like his partner he may not know when to let go. An excessive need for control can result. And people are pushed away. Or they fail to develop their own powers. As a father he never lets his kids make choices. They do not learn their own lessons. When we are our own fathers, we expect too much. We expect perfection. And we forget we are learning.

We forget to listen to our hearts.

What this card is telling you is to take a seat. Are you to focused on perfection. Or do you need more discipline in your life. Often it is a little of both. We expect to reach our goals and get upset about failure. But we’ve focused too much on the end and not the process. Take a step back and plan. Focus on the day to day, the step by step.

Maybe we feel discouraged. We have fallen. The Emperor is telling us it is time to get back up. You are a child of God. Take a moment to listen to your heart and heal. But then get re-focused and moving.

This card could represent a father, or father figure in your life. Someone may be coming into your life to guide you. Or you may become the father yourself. Are you expecting a child? In either case it is important to keep in mind the proper role of the father. A good father like a good emperor listens to his heart.