The Hermit – After having our world turned upside down we might find ourselves in need of a retreat; to regroup. Instead of considering what we need to do to conquer the world, we ponder what will allow us to fulfill ourselves. We are still searching the darkness and trying to forge our own path through the darkness but now it’s the darkness within ourselves. We’re working towards finding truths in our soul that will allow us to lead a more fulfilling life moving ahead.

Strength reminds us that enacting these types of changes in our lives requires fortitude and inner strength; the need to stick with it especially when the going gets rough. This card reminds me of people who, after some dramatic shift in their career or life, manage to pick themselves back up and move forward again. It symbolizes those who find the inner fortitude to add a second act to their lives. The divorced woman who finds her passion in life again. The middle-aged man who discovers that he still has a lot to offer. Instead of letting themselves become defeated and miserable, they pull themselves up and find new meaning in their lives. They fight to find fulfillment and satisfaction.

The Chariot is our mode of transportation to get to that new place of fulfillment and satisfaction. Once we’ve made the decision and set the intention to find new meaning in our lives in Strength, we need to find the way to make it happen. We need to pick up the reins, grab the steering wheel and drive ourselves towards our new destination. We need to determine what route will serve us best and what speed we intend to travel. Do we want to take our time and enjoy some rest stops or do we want to get there as fast as we can? Either way, the decision and the choices are all on us. Do we believe this part of our lives has been fated? Is it our destiny to make this journey? Only you can decide that for yourself.

The Lovers reflect all the choices that still remain in our journey through life. I often like to view fate or destiny as a series of points on a map that we must experience – how we get there and how long the journey takes is up to us. I like to think it’s the combination of destined experiences and personal preferences that are reflected by the two different horses in this card. How & where we choose to steer them is on us.

The Hierophant shows us as we step into our role as mentors, lore keepers, historians. We have now reached a point in our lives when we can teach and guide others. We can show them the options available to them; share our stories. We can help open their eyes to the traditions and history that preceded them and allow them to determine who they might wish to incorporate this knowledge and wisdom into their own lives.

The Emperor is our journey to self-sovereignty. We no longer need to build an external empire, instead, we need to feel as though we are finally in charge of our own lives. We are the masters of our fate; the lords of all we survey. We no longer see success as an external measure but rather an internal one of personal satisfaction and fulfillment. It’s not about money and possessions, it’s about feelings of accomplishment and pride.

The Empress is when we finally learn how to nurture and embrace our true selves. We finally allow ourselves to explore our internal creative energy. Instead of feeling the need to focus on external objects or people, we aim it at ourselves. We tend and care for our own secret gardens and learn to feed our inner needs and desires. It doesn’t make us selfish but rather self-centered in the best possible way. Tending to ourselves allows us to replenish our resources and be there for others when the need arises.

The High Priestess guards the veil behind her. It is not something she parts lightly because one what awaits behind it is revealed, it can never be unknown again. When she pulls it aside we realize that what it hides is our true selves. We are finally ready to learn, accept and embrace who we truly are and were meant to be. We realize that we need to do things for ourselves; to nurture our souls not because they meet someone else’s need. In my experience, when the veil parted I was faced with my feral thirteen year old self – the part of me I’d tried (and failed) to civilize over the years. I was able to reconnect with that energy and unleash her into my life today. It was quite an amazing experience.

The Magician allows us to realize that (much like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz), the power to make things happen in our lives was in our hands the entire time. We are not dependent upon others to grant us power; we merely need to accept and grasp it. We often hear people talk about helping to empower others but the truth is we cannot do that. We can only help them understand that the power lies within them and only they can use it. That is what The Magician shows us at this point in our journey. Perhaps it’s near the end of the road but the message is no less valuable.

The Fool is our final stop. This is when we embrace all our foolish qualities and trust in the world again as we prepare to take that leap and move beyond this life into something new and unexpected. We are still leaping into the unknown but now all our knowledge and wisdom has combined to make us realize that we truly know nothing and the journey is always about the experiences and the learning. We have to believe that what awaits beyond is something new and exciting. Perhaps this is why so many of us believe in an afterlife – we want to believe we are leaping into something,  not just nothingness.