13- Death

This article is part of a series of posts that will compare each card in the Tarot across different decks in order to study and explore each archetype and concept more deeply. This is not necessarily meant to be a teaching tool for others, but if you like to study the Tarot as much as I do, I hope you find it interesting. Enjoy!

For more on the decks referenced here please see this page in my blog: Tools of the Locksmith https://wordpress.com/page/theramblinglocksmith.com/163

A major reference for this study was “Seventy-Eight Degrees of Wisdom” by Rachel Pollack.


Death is also one of the most triggering and misunderstood cards in the tarot. We fear death in any form, even in the form of our losing all or some of our ego. This card refers to a confrontation with our own mask, and if we can give up this mask then a transformation that we were able to envision in the Hanged Man card can occur, if not then we continue to fear looking at who we can be without the mask of the ego.

What also scares us is change. Transformation is deep and often scary and painful change. Often we see that idea of transformation with very rose colored glasses: indigenous flute music playing in Sedona as we meditate calmly and become enlightened writing poetry and moonbeams and all of that. But actual transformation and ending cycles of any kind, particularly cycles of trauma can be very painful. Walking away from a mask that we used to protect ourselves our whole lives is painful and hard, and for that reason especially important and worth doing.

Lets explore all of the different ways to consider these major life changes and how to step away from our own mask.

Standard images from Rider-Waite in the card include:

  • Four people responding to the skeleton on the horse (Death)
    • The King shows the rigid ego being struck down, potentially the ego collapsing when life comes at us with alot of power
    • The priest faces death with the support of his robes and hat – value of a code of belief
    • The maiden in partial innocence has a malleable but unaware ego and turns away, unwilling to surrender
    • The child in complete innocence faces death and offers flowers
    • Also the idea that Death strikes everyone – kings and commoners alike
  • The black armour of death absorbs all light and color
  • The white horse repels all colors – both symbolize every thingness and nothingness
  • Sun rising between two pillars – the ego belongs to the duality of the pillars, but the power of Life symbolized by the sun only knows itself
  • A skeleton – representing death – the eternity of our own bones overcoming the transitory nature of the flesh

In the Ancestral Path Tarot we have an image that is as close as I could find to the Rider-Waite-Smith images in any of my decks. What is similar is we are seeing different stages of life all in one card but not necessarily different reactions as mentioned above.

In this case the old being cleared away to make room for the new – both with the old life sailing away behind the new life of the child exploring all they see with innocence, and the white trees in the back moving away to make room for new trees and plants. We also see some mushrooms that are helping to clear away what is decaying in a step of renewal. And above all of this is a wise owl witnessing the transformation for itself.

The question from this card is if you can see this change in you or around you? Can you take the owl’s perspective and see how it all fits into the same picture? Or are you only seeing or resisting parts of the picture?

The Light Seers Tarot puts the mask of the ego front and center. Is this mask reflecting what you could be a part of if you removed it, or is it showing what is truly inside of you if you can let the light and life penetrate the mask?

If you are getting this card its a sign that you are ready to lift the veil. You don’t need this mask anymore, remove it and be ready for the new you that emerges.

The Tarot of the Divine uses a part of the White Bear King of Valemon, a Norwegian fairy tale, to illustrate another version of lifting the veil to see what truly lies behind it. In this case the youngest daughter is illuminating what’s behind the curtain to see if this King is really a bear or a man. By doing this she changes the entire focus of the story. No more castles in the sky, and no more childhood fairy tale, but a chance to start a new story and grow up.

Starting a new story is difficult, as is leaving behind the story of our childhood. Not just difficult, scary, like death. But its necessary and part of living life. What is the new story that may be starting for you and which story needs to end so you can live in the present?

The Brady Tarot shows a long transformation through many different lives and species to remind us how eternal change and transformation truly is. A the skull of a Smilodon (sabretooth tiger) is being eaten by a the remains of a dinosaur. The human skull is being devoured by a new plant staring new roots that will eventually reach far enough to touch the dinosaur skull below. The only thing left alive other than the plant is the cockroach on the right.

In this card we are not just seeing transformation, we are seeing centuries long evolution. What resonates in your live when you focus on the concept of evolution? What are you evolving either within or outside of yourself? How can you connect this to a bigger picture so that it makes more sense?

In the Osho Zen Tarot would like us to understand a different kind of transformation entirely. Its not moving from one storyline to another, or removing one mask, or seeing beyond our own evolution. Its understanding how to drop the act of the teacher and to begin living the lesson. That’s all.

The teacher is talking all about the path and sharing the knowledge of the path but is not walking the path. They are technically still asleep even though they are talking and sharing wisdom in their sleep.

What lesson have you been teaching yourself and not living? Go live it, be a participant in your own story. Take that safe base metal and turn it to gold. You’ve got this.

The Sufi Tarot might be my favorite of all the Death cards. It’s so simple yet hard to do. Turn your back on the shadow and change the vibration of your own energy to move forward. Face the direction you know you need to face to start a new path. You know the way, you just need to change your direction and start walking away from something in the past that has never been healthy for you.

Turning your back on the version of yourself that you no longer are, or a relationship that you know is toxic is hard. It hurts in a very deep way. And we have to feel that fear and that pain in order to grow and move in the direction we know is right. And the way that we know that its the right direction is that it doesn’t feel the way the toxic one did.

Its real deep grown up stuff, but dive in, you are ready.

12- The Hanged Man

This article is part of a series of posts that will compare each card in the Tarot across different decks in order to study and explore each archetype and concept more deeply. This is not necessarily meant to be a teaching tool for others, but if you like to study the Tarot as much as I do, I hope you find it interesting. Enjoy!

For more on the decks referenced here please see this page in my blog: Tools of the Locksmith https://wordpress.com/page/theramblinglocksmith.com/163

A major reference for this study was “Seventy-Eight Degrees of Wisdom” by Rachel Pollack.

The Hanged Man

This archetype of the majors might be the most misunderstood in the entire Major Arcana of the Tarot along with the Death card. It has been interpreted in movies and other arenas to mean that someone is about to die. Nothing could be further from the truth. The Hanged Man does lose something – but all he loses is an old and tired perspective that no longer serves him. He has released the emotions that have been locked up for years which is an act of surrender.

What he gains is so much more important. Its the ability to see the truth with clarity because of gaining a new perspective after the experiencing true Justice. Because, after you see the truth, you can’t possibly go back to unseeing it, and therefore you have a new perspective. And that new perspective may not bring you peace and enlightenment, but the next step on the path toward it.

Its not just a matter of swinging your head in a new direction, or a trick of the light. Its a true change in perspective in the most meaningful way that allows you to choose differently in the present moment. That’s not to say that everyone else will be able to share your new found vision, they may even think that you are the one who is backwards. Its one of the most beautiful concepts in the Tarot, and I look forward to exploring all of its varied nuances in the following examples.

Standard images in the card include:

  • Hangs from a tree shaped like the letter T – in some camps representing the Hebrew letter Tau – the letter that represents the world, and this means that at position 12 you are halfway to the world at the end of the path in the Major Arcana.
  • The Hanged Man is upside down, and can be the same figure as the world dancer in position 21 when the card itself is turned upside down.
  • His or her arms are crossed behind their back which is a position of arriving at this perspective based on withdrawing from society vs the world dancer at the end of the Tarot who can hold this perspective while participating in society and every day life.
  • The crossed legs represent the number 4 upside down – which means to take the four directions of the world and turn them on their head.
  • The arms and head form a downward pointing triangle to show that the direction toward enlightenment is through the subconscious.

The Tarot of the Divine uses the fairytale of Sleeping Beauty who ceases forward momentum to avoid disaster. Her options were sleep or death, so she waits for a more favorable option to present itself. She also holds her hands in a heart shape which for me says that the way to enlightenment is also through the heart and surrendering to compassion vs fear and anger.

In the fairytale, the forceful action of removing all spindles didn’t result in the desired outcome. The only thing that would was peaceful surrender.

Waiting does not feel like an action or a decision, but sometimes it is the act of inaction that creates the most favorable outcome and possibility for transformation.

What are you trying to force? Will waiting potentially give you more options?

What stages of surrendering to the power and perspective of compassion are you in?

In the Tarot of Mystic Moments a women hangs upside down in a graceful stance. She is not afraid but at peace. Her weight opens up a zipper which reveals a new landscape beyond the wall of leaves. She also knows that a new opportunity will come if she waits in a state of grace and peaceful surrender.

This card is very similar to the card in the Tarot of Divine, but the difference is that even though the woman is waiting, she understands the weight she carries in order to open up that new possibility, and she also understands the weight of the situation.

Its not if but when this new landscape will be revealed.

Do you understand and feel your own weight? Do you understand what you are waiting for? What do you think is behind the zipper? Do you trust your own weight to pull the zipper when its time?

In the Light Seers Tarot the Hanged “man” is taking a more active role in this new perspective, because for her its not just a new perspective, its a new posture, stance, and even spell that she is prepared to cast when the moment is right.

This woman has realigned her flow and her heart intentionally with her purpose, surrendered to that purpose, and now the only waiting she needs to do is understand the moment to cast her spell of intentionality.

She is graceful and unbothered, but she holds joy in her heart and her hands which she will use to create the next beautiful thing in her life.

What would it take for you to surrender to this state of being unbothered? What is the new posture that you are prepared to learn and hold with grace? What are the elements to that spell you are waiting to cast? Chances are you have plenty of time to learn them.

In the Brady Tarot this amazing possum is not only attracted to the joy and light of the fireflies, but they are attracted to him. He hangs in a pose that surrenders to the rooted tree behind him which can easily withstand the raging rapids of the river below him.

This incredible being shows you the power of your own intentionality if you can just get out of your own way, and the power of what you can do if you are strongly rooted and grounded.

All to often our first step is to attract the light, and we skip the step of being rooted and grounded which is the most important step on the path.

What can you do to be more rooted and grounded so this new perspective reveals itself?

In the Ancestral Path Tarot uses a very different example of the Hanged One. This unborn child has no choice but to wait until the time is right . And even so the circumstances of its future are inevitable and the change and transformation it experiences through birth will be dramatic. But for now it is in transition, in a period of rest between significant events and action is inadvisable.

I guess the only problem with this is what to tell yourself? Like so many other times it can all come back to your breath. Feel it expand and contract. Get really good at that because it will help you when you transition to the next phase of your life.

11 – Justice

This article is part of a series of posts that will compare each card in the Tarot across different decks in order to study and explore each archetype and concept more deeply. This is not necessarily meant to be a teaching tool for others, but if you like to study the Tarot as much as I do, I hope you find it interesting. Enjoy!

For more on the decks referenced here please see this page in my blog: Tools of the Locksmith https://wordpress.com/page/theramblinglocksmith.com/163

A major reference for this study was “Seventy-Eight Degrees of Wisdom” by Rachel Pollack.

Justice can mean many things to many people, but all point to some version of a greater understanding of our own truth, and finding equilibrium between action and understanding.

A quick note on the number and position of this card. The Justice card position is one of the few controversial things in the structures of different Tarot deck architectures. In the Rider-Waite-Smith its number is 11 as reaching an understanding of Justice bisects the Major Arcana. In some other systems its number is 8 and the Strength card is number 11 for the idea that 8 turned on its side as an infinity symbol is the ultimate representation of balance. I personally like the Justice card at position 11 but have included examples of both here. I also think that what we learn from the journey of the Chariot is Strength first, and that we need to understand a few more things before we can understand Justice at 11.

Up to this point the archetypes have either been inward, and reflective, or outward and action oriented – the Hight Priestess vs the Magician for example. In the Justice archetype we are asked to be both in a balanced manner. How can we do this? By holding an understanding of our truth in any given situation and understanding what action is required for that given truth.

In this card we are also asked to balance dualities instead of becoming aware of or choosing between them. Those scales are heavy, but because we already have strength from the Strength card and free will from the Chariot, we are able to do it or if we aren’t this is what we are asked to contemplate and understand by reflecting on these concepts.

Another quick note on free will from Rachel Pollacks book referenced above. If we have free will why do we need a tool like the tarot? Isn’t everything just going to happen the way it needs to and we will act accordingly? Well yes and no. Everything is going to happen the way it needs to, but we can execute this in a more present way if we understand ourselves and can move out of the past and into the present. If we don’t understand ourselves how can we be making a free choice, and also if you don’t understand the choices, how can you be making a choice in the first place.

Standard images in the card include:

  • Sitting on a bench looking forward, and though sitting being poised to stand
  • A sword pointed up to represent action and also readiness to pierce through illusion to find the inner meaning due to achieving wisdom.
  • Scales balanced between the past and the future

The Lua Tarot chooses to use the goddess Athena to represent Lady Justice. Some key differences here are the addition of the owl to emphasis the importance of wisdom in order to exact Justice and understand balance. Athena is also presiding over the city from beyond the veil and does not sit but rule from above.

For some this is a comforting ides – the idea that an all knowing/all wise karmic force is presiding over us and so we can trust that Justice will be served, but if you are not taking responsibility yourself for knowing your own truth and taking action when action is necessary instead of leaving things up to “fate” I feel we have missed the point of this Major.

Maybe this card works if you can see Athena as yourself presiding over and taking responsibility for your own life, and understanding what actions you have and haven’t taken to get where you are in the present, but I also would caution to see the owl as all the wisdom you will ever need to stay in balance. Wisdom is dynamic, and while we can understand much at one point in our lives, in other time points we can understand very little.

Check in to see if you understand what you are presiding over, if you are taking responsibility, and if you know what you have left to learn.

In the Ancestral Path Tarot the Justice card is number 8. In this card we have blind justice being bound to the “bench” until an outcome or decision is reached.

On one hand laying the tools of the sword, scales, tomes of knowledge aside and just using your intuition to measure the balance of one thing versus another could be quite freeing, and free of bureaucratic tools that ultimately prevent justice and truth from being found.

On the other hand unless you are some kind of jedi, you might need some more information, and some additional tools to get that information.

In any case with this version of the Justice card you can ask you self if you are keeping yourself from moving on due to the ability to find this balance, or if you can continue to learn more balance over time and maybe you don’t need to be stuck here until you understand everything.

Awareness of what you do and do not know is in and of itself and understanding of truth. Lift the veil and see where you are, weigh things out and act accordingly.

In the Brady Tarot we have all of the tools represented in the scales themselves. The arrow of the mind is used to asses the weight of the spirit against the egg or seed of the physical world. There are no horns to represent the emotions which means in order to see the situation clearly we must be detached from our emotions.

This turkey vulture isn’t trying to understand its own truth, its a turkey vulture and it knows that. It is confronting an argument by using mental capacity to balance the two sides or positions.

What are the two sides you are balancing? Are you only confronting one or are you weighing both? Are you weighing and confronting them yourself or are you trying to subcontract that out to the universe? The universe might know the answer, but it wants you get in there and do the work yourself.

The Tarot of the Divine illustrates the concept of Justice through the Korean Legend of Amhaeng-eosa – the secret royal inspectors who were employed to spy on the local officials in each province. The Amaehg-eosa would report back to the royal government and at that point consequences would be exacted. In some cases the consequences were a reward for serving the people in a just manner, in some cases there was a punishment for corruption. In either case the inspector presented all the facts.

From this card some key differences we can use are the idea that all exacting of truth is not a punishment, in many cases being able to weigh things justly is a reward all by itself.

A second new idea here is that responsibility is not only required for understanding what the truth is on your own, but also the consequences of it. What are you more afraid of? Understanding more fully where you really came from and moving into the present, or the consequences of what that will change for you?

Be brave Amhaeng-eosa, in any case you will be freed from the past and able to move on to your next mission.

In The Way Home Tarot the concept of justice is put in very black and white terms, and the sword has become the balance. It would be great to think that any situation that has caused us to ask for a reading is this black and white, but if it was you probably wouldn’t need the tarot as a tool in the first place.

Maybe the best way to look at this card is to ask yourself if you are viewing the situation with too much simplicity, it may not be black and white, and you may need more than just your mental capacity to weigh and understand the truth of the matter, and what actions to take?

The Voyager Tarot also incorporates a Sword and Crystal into the Justice Card which it calls Balance. All suits are being considered in this card which is different than all of the above. A hummingbird is balancing a cup while the dancer is balancing a world, and both are being balanced on a wand on top of a crystal.

The message of this card is slightly different in that it asks us to consider that we are always rebalncing after each new change. In this way we can consider Balance as a verb and not a solid state that is achieved and then stays that way once achieved only once. The text of the book even calls this a “dance” of rebalancing.

What has happened in your life recently that has changed the balance or equilibrium, and is an adjustment or new “step” needed? How many times can you be aware of adjusting and readjusting? Are you comfortable with the dance?


The Osho Zen Tarot takes a very large step outside of the traditional meaning of this card. So much so that it was hard for me to relate back to the concept of Justice when writing this article but here goes.

This meaning is very close to the meaning of Judgement, but where this is in the souls path of the major arcana means it is a breakthrough that allows you to make transformation within or within your own life, where as later with the Judgement position we are talking about a breakthrough or decision that allows you connect with everything, the world, humanity, the universe, etc – an even bigger “breakthrough”.

We all reach points in our life where we have had enough, and we want to make a huge change. This might be why we are looking for “justice” “Balance” “A decision” in the first place, because something has come to a point where change must happen.

In this case, the change is internal, and “breakthrough” from within. You are ready to take action and make major changes which will change your life in a big way, and therefore require you to rebalance things once the change occurs.

What have you had enough of? How big of a change can you see yourself making to balance this “injustice” in your life.?

10 – The Wheel of Fortune

This article is part of a series of posts that will compare each card in the Tarot across different decks in order to study and explore each archetype and concept more deeply. This is not necessarily meant to be a teaching tool for others, but if you like to study the Tarot as much as I do, I hope you find it interesting. Enjoy!

For more on the decks referenced here please another page in my blog: Tools of the Locksmith: https://wordpress.com/page/theramblinglocksmith.com/163

A major reference for this study was “Seventy-Eight Degrees of Wisdom” by Rachel Pollack.

Wheels and circles are archetypal references for all of us. Almost every religion and culture has a wheel reference somewhere in it. Many North and South American indigenous cultures have a medicine wheel or wheel representing the 4 seasons and the elements, animals and aspects connected to those four directions. There is an Irish Spirit Wheel that maintains the four directions of our soul’s journey. We have clocks that tell us what direction we think time moves in. We are connected to wheels at a very basic level and we like this because it helps us feel grounded in a type of universal truth.

The problem is that when it comes to the wheel or wheels of our life, we don’t always remember that the spokes are connected because we can’t see the whole wheel on a daily basis, and also we don’t like the idea that we aren’t necessarily in the driver’s seat. If our life moves in a direction we didn’t predict we say its bad luck or “fate”. It takes a special viewpoint to see the connection in all things, and at this stage of the Major Arcana we aren’t necessarily embodying, absorbing, or truly living a life that reflects that connection, but it is potentially becoming visible to us for the first time.

In readings this card often represents a big change, a turn of the wheel. It is either an opportunity to finally see the wheel, or at least part of it, or to assume that everything is random and this change is due to having good or bad luck. Lets look at some different version of this card to see additional nuances in interpreting this.

The Lua Tarot chooses to use a portal to represent the Wheel. In this representation there are two beings. One stands in the calm center of the wheel or portal at its still point and is able to be at peace with the flow of life. The other is at the outside of the rings and is searching for or still trying to understand that flow. For the person at the outer ring things still feel like big changes and also might feel unconnected to prior or future events, or other influences around him or her.

Think of the latest change in your life. How did this feel, did it feel connected and in flow with he rest of your life? Or did it feel random, lucky, unlucky, etc.? If it was the latter try to meditate on what some connection might be, or where your life is out of flow. Maybe that’s where things are not connecting, and until they do your portal will never feel truly open to you.

In the Light Seers Tarot there is more than one wheel. In this case the person is not only embracing the connection and flow of one wheel, but is able to embrace the idea of several interconnected wheels, all spinning in flow with one another. There are ups, there are downs. Both are being embraced as part of life and part of the transformative journey of life.

How many wheels are you aware of? How do they connect to each other and the recent or major events of your life? Did you embrace these changes or try to prevent them or work against them? If this is the card you connect most with spend some time reflecting on that.

After all, you can try to make the wheels spin differently, but in many cases they will just balance each other out in the end.

In the Tarot of Mystic Moments there are even more wheels, but this time they wheels are internalized. Because the wheels are internalized we get to see all of the cogs connecting them. They are connected on all four attributes – physically, emotionally, intellectually, and spiritually.

Can you identify wheels in all four attributes, or even wheels that contain more than one? Or even all four? Because that is true connection. Go ahead, lift your skirts and look inwards. Once you discover this your internal flow and purpose will feel like…you guessed it…clockwork.

In the Brady Tarot we see a specific cycle with the spider in the center, devouring the knowledge and energy associated with this cycle in order to continue to build its own energy and web.

The moth is shown in different stages of life. On one level the moth can understand the events of this cycle in a linear fashion. On a next level the Spider can see the connection of multiple cycles of multiple moths, and ultimately the evolution of this cycle into the energy of the web or even beyond.

Nature has an easier time with the idea of these connections and evolutions because in nature this understanding is instinctual, and there are no emotional responses to these connections or whether the current part of the cycle represents life of death, darkness or lightness, youth or old age, joy or sadness.

On one hand with this card you can try to see if you are more a moth or a spider. On the other hand you can admire the detachedness of both and strive for that in your own practice. The more curious and detached you can be, the more you may understand the construction of the web.

Storytellers are the architects of dreams, and when we share our stories, we create a shared dream.

The Tarot of the Divine illustrates the Wheel of Fortune by using the mythological figure of Anansi. Anansi is a trickster God who can spin luck and misfortune together into the same stories and hand these stories down to humans so that they to can attempt to understand how everything is woven together. The catch is all these truths are there in the story, but which ones do we actually hear?

The origin of Anansi comes from the Akan peoples of Ghana who through slavery brought their own stories to other cultures and geographies and in many ways wove these stories both born of trauma and joy, and pride in a strong culture together.

What story can you share that does this? Can you be a bit mischievous like Anansi, but to the end of helping people understand a truth? Is it a truth that cannot be understood without understanding how pain and joy are connected? If you can please share your gift, we can always use more of these stories.

9 – The Hermit

This article is part of a series of posts that will compare each card in the Tarot across different decks in order to study and explore each archetype and concept more deeply. This is not necessarily meant to be a teaching tool for others, but if you like to study the Tarot as much as I do, I hope you find it interesting. Enjoy!

For more on the decks referenced here please another page in my blog: Tools of the Locksmith: https://wordpress.com/page/theramblinglocksmith.com/163

A major reference for this study was “Seventy-Eight Degrees of Wisdom” by Rachel Pollack.

This week we meet The Hermit who is both an example and a guide to teach us how to be ok with ourselves and activate our unconscious mind.

The Hermit is alone on purpose but they are here to show us the way to begin our own process of being along on purpose. This includes understanding the difference between withdrawing from society for a time in order to learn what we need to learn about ourselves versus a complete withdrawal from humanity. When you withdraw from society you can be on a visionary or spiritual quest to discover new knowledge within yourself, but your intention is always to bring that knowledge back to teach others. Isolating yourself from humanity is usually a response to trauma. It means you are dissociated and disconnected, and in this state you cannot access the knowledge of the Hermit. Learning the difference is tricky, but simply going on a silence retreat may not give you the answers you need if you still need to have a conversation with yourself and any hurting parts first.

Standard elements of the Hermit card include:

  • A lantern of knowledge to help light the way for yourself and others
  • No landscape behind no other objects but the Hermit and his lamp to show the extent of isolation necessary to learn to activate the unconscious mind

The Tarot of the Divine chooses to illustrate the archetype of the Hermit through the Celtic Legend of the Druid and the White Stag.

There were many different kinds of druids, but it took many years of study to become a full druid no matter if you were a bard, legal authority, lore-keeper, or medicine person. Many of these studies were quests, and the white stag heralded the beginning of a quest.

How can we relate to this back to the Hermit and how can we relate to this ourselves? I think in two ways.

First by understanding that when we are alone we aren’t really alone if we are still connected to humanity and our own spirituality. The “White Stag” is always with us waiting to show us the way to our next quest.

The second is by undrstanding that we retreat to learn many ways of becoming our deeper selves, not just our deeper spiritual selves. Maybe you need this to become a better artist or story teller. Maybe you need the pause to learn a different medicine that you can bring back to help heal yourself and others.

Take the pause for whatever reason you need, and then come back and teach it to others.

The Ancestral Path Tarot we see a traditional looking hermit type of guy, but he has a couple of extra things, and only the extra things he needs:

  • He has a view of the waves that crash on the shore. Why? because he can detach and observe his emotional self from a different perspective using solitude. Its easier to do that than from solitude.
  • He has a star to give him hope, so its not a hopeless solitude. Its the opposite. It has a higher purpose.
  • He has his own medicine that is borne of that hope so that now he can bring hope to others.

What is the medicine or story of hope that you can bring to others? Find your own solitude and learn this. How can you help others connect to that hope? You may need to create or find a quiet place to detach from your emotions to do this.

In the Santa Muerte Tarot we see a fella that seems to be in dire consequences. There is a caterpillar that seems to be feasting on him and some other insects. He has a flask at his feet – was this what put him in such dire consequences? What is the story here and how is it one of inner reflection and hope that connects us back to humanity. I mean at least he has a lantern?

Well that all depends on your perspective I guess. Maybe he took this spot of solitude to leave the flask behind. Maybe he realizes what his poison is and he is in the process of transcending it, and the insects are his rebirth. He still holds the lantern and its still lit. If he overcomes this he has much to teach others about resilience and never giving up.

What are you trying to overcome? Does it feel like something that is insurmountable? Take the pause. Understand what the poison is. Leave it behind. Keep the lantern lit. Come back and teach others.

In the Light Seers Tarot we finally get our female Hermit. She has not only transcended the lantern and become her own light, but she has transcended one kind of path and can see many other kinds of paths. This is a treasured outcome that might seem hard for most of us to achieve.

Take one step toward your own hermitage and understand where your own light comes from. Once you can understand the source of this you can understand how to grow it. Before you know it you will be floating giving you a great view of other paths.

Help others find the source of their own light. Become a lightworker. Lightworkers are our earthly hermits.

In the Way Home Tarot our friend the bear is in hibernation. I don’t think hibernation is what we are going for here exactly, but sometimes we have to start somewhere. He has a tiny light around his collar. He remembers the sun of spring and summer. This will get him through the hibernation of winter.

If this is you and you are in a kind of hibernation focus on a few things. Why did you go into hibernation in the first place? Was it instinctual? Remind yourself of what will be present that will tell you to come back into a stronger awareness. Look for that memory of Spring of Summer and that light. Commit to coming out of hibernation when the time is right.

The Osho Zen Tarot is like one of those assholes that is always right. I mean really.

Ok… the Hermit here is represented by a “humble figure” who lights his own path with his own light. Great. How do we do that?

First answer is by leaving behind the requirement to have others approve the truth you are finding in yourself. Leave any maps or guides that have been given to you behind and find your way.

But if we dig a little deeper the way to understand how to do that is to be humble. When we are humble our intentions are true and clear and not weighted down with the intentions that others have for us.

If we are humble we have found our own light, and it is only then that we are truly connected and not alone. We find connection through correct “aloneness”. And that is the magic and secret of the Hermit.

Be well.

8 – Strength

This article is part of a series of posts that will compare each card in the Tarot across different decks in order to study and explore each archetype and concept more deeply. This is not necessarily meant to be a teaching tool for others, but if you like to study the Tarot as much as I do, I hope you find it interesting. Enjoy!

For more on the decks referenced here please another page in my blog: Tools of the Locksmith: https://wordpress.com/page/theramblinglocksmith.com/163

A major reference for this study was “Seventy-Eight Degrees of Wisdom” by Rachel Pollack.

This week we explore where our inner knowledge starts through compassionate confrontation and the true meaning of courage with Strength.

In contrast to the constant motion and inertia of the Chariot card the Strength card emulates calm confrontation. This inner knowledge of our feelings and fears seems like an untamable lion until we reach a point where we confront any source of our own inner turmoil. Once we can confront our inner selves truly and with open hearts with the utmost self-care the lion is instantly tamed and becomes more of a partner than an adversary. To confront and release these emotions, many of which may be tied up in unresolved trauma, takes true courage and strength.

A quick note on the number and position of this card. The Strength card position is one of the few controversial things in the structures of different Tarot deck architectures. In the Rider-Waite-Smith its number is 8 which lends itself to the use of the infinity symbol as an 8 turned on its side. In some other systems its number is 11 and the Justice card is number 8 for the idea of eternal balance. I personally like the strength card at 8 only because I see the number 11 as the two sides of the balance in the Justice card as a better placement, and I also like the idea that the next step after understanding your will to affect external circumstances is directly followed by the Strength card which deals more with the strength we find inside ourselves.

Standard elements of the Strength card include:

  • A woman “taming” or confronting a lion representing unconscious energy released or confronted by conscious understanding. The Lion represents all of the feelings, fears and desires of our inner selves.
  • An infinity symbol above the woman’s head showing both that strength is eternal, but our understanding of it is an eternal question.

The Santa Muerte, Tarot we see a wrestler who is in a fight with a lion or dragon skeleton. One way to see this dance is a fight in which case the thing you need to understand is that you are only wasting your strength by wrestling with yourself as both of these figures represent you.

Another way to view this is not as a fight but as a dance where we embrace our inner selves, and harness our strengths in order to propel ourselves further with more strength along our path.

If this card resonates with you out of the other examples here ask yourself if you feel more like you are in an internal wrestling match or if you are ready to confront some of your best moves to see how they can be leveraged in more of a dance that brings you more balance.

In the Light Seers Tarot we see one of the few examples where the lion is shown as part of the same being instead of two separate entities. We also see a lamb and a heart necklace in the card which might allow us to see compassion and grace as strength, either self compassion or compassion for others. This strength is humble and graceful versus a strength that is more about our egos and controlling things externally through a physical perception of strength.

If this card speaks to you examine what inner qualities, energies or emotions when confronted and embraced might bring you a larger sense of grace and humility. Once you master and accept these qualities you will be in a closer understanding of your own strengths.

In the Ancestral Path Tarot the Strength card shows not only calm presence of the woman with Lion but her environment which also seems calm. She seems at ease and connected not just with the lion but the environment. Her calmness both internally and externally seems to put the Lion at ease.

If this card speaks to you ask yourself if there is something in your internal or external environment that prevents you from being calm enough to embrace your own internal lion or strength or truly examine it and start there. If you feel this card is more of a mirror image then reflect on what internal strengths you are seeing here and how they can complement other aspects of your current journey.

In the Voyager Tarot we get the best visual representation of all the manifestations of strength. We have the graceful strength of transformation in the butterflies. We have Shu – the Egyptian god of air representing mental strength. We have a pool of fiery water representing emotional depth, understanding, and control. We have the Parthenon representing mastery over your dominion and worldly life.

If this card is the one that resonates most try to focus both on which image is most familiar, and also which is the hardest or scariest to connect with or confront. Identify exactly what these images represent for you and spend some time asking yourself why one is easy and the other isn’t. If you can confront the hard one you will find a larger sense of strength, and you may be able to use the more easily accessible strength to do so.

In the Lua Tarot we see a woman who has won over the jaguar, not by breaking its spirit, because that would mean she had broken her own. She wins over and “tames” the jaguar using love and kindness. That’s why the jaguar now walks with her instead of fighting her or trying to overcome her.

If this is the strength card you connect the most with ask yourself where you need more love and kindness to tame the beast within, and how you will provide that instead of trying to overcome it with fear or anger.

The Osho Zen Tarot the strength card is called Courage. Courage is not present because you aren’t afraid of what you face. You have courage because you are scared, and because the challenge or confrontation is difficult.

When facing such circumstances this card gives us the image of a tiny delicate plant that has found the courage to push past solid rock into the sunlight. It didn’t need fear or anger to overcome the rock. It also didn’t deny itself the ability to meet this challenge. It only needed its own resilience.

Where do you or can you find resilience for your tough confrontations? When you can answer that question you know where to find your own inner strength.

7 – The Chariot

This article is part of a series of posts that will compare each card in the Tarot across different decks in order to study and explore each archetype and concept more deeply. This is not necessarily meant to be a teaching tool for others, but if you like to study the Tarot as much as I do, I hope you find it interesting. Enjoy!

For more on the decks referenced here please another page in my blog: Tools of the Locksmith: https://wordpress.com/page/theramblinglocksmith.com/163

A major reference for this study was “Seventy-Eight Degrees of Wisdom” by Rachel Pollack.

This week we explore if we are in the drivers seat or if we are letting things drive us with The Chariot.

The Chariot is about what will and intention are and how deeply we connect to them in order to focus and drive different situations in our life forward. Its an active card with some of the most movement in all the cards in the Tarot. This asks us to examine what it means to be in the driver seat versus what it means to be so tied to rational concrete things and traditions that are pulling us out of the present moment and ability to focus our own energy. Are we on a path that we can define and describe or the path that civilization defined for us because we are on a preprogrammed track that we have never questioned?

Standard elements of the Chariot include:

  • An absence of reins for the Charioteer to guide the beings pulling the Chariot as his strong character alone controls the direction of the Chariot
  • The union of a nut and bolt at the front center of the Chariot representing the combination of two dualities to focus conscious will and the unconscious energy of nature
  • Two horses/sphinxes pulling the cart that are opposites and not aligned with each other – the dualities from the Lovers card. This shows that the Charioteer drives his or her chariot forward by holding focus in a tense balance that could fail at any time.

In the Lua Tarot the Charioteer is said to be traveling with the momentum of Will with the desire to reach a goal. She has harnessed opposing aspect of her being that help propel her forward.

What does it mean to harness opposing aspects of your being and how do we experience the momentum of Will? I think these are two foundational questions that we need to examine with this card in order to move forward on our path. First ask your self what dualities you have and if there are more than one set, which is pretty normal, which ones will propel you forward if you could harness both?

If you can muster the insight to figure that out, then maybe also ask when in your life you felt the momentum of your Will? What did it feel like, what was happening, and what would it take to happen again? If you can’t recollect this think of someone in your life that you think has mastered this and talk to them about what it took for the to reach that momentum. I guarantee this isn’t easy for anyone and we can all learn from each other.

In the Way Home Tarot we see a salmon making its instinctual journey upriver to spawn. In this card I feel like we are being led to consider things about the journey itself and what we are willing to endure to truly meet our goal. Its asking us how far we are able to test our Will which ultimately also tests how important the goal was to us in the first place.

If its really hard to move on the journey and each leap takes a huge amount of energy to move forward, are you still interested? If this is the last leg of many legs of a journey, and in stead of getting easier, each leg was harder and harder, is it all still going to be worth it to you? Do you instinctually know that no matter how hard you must continue on the path?

If this is the Chariot card that speaks to you consider these questions. If you aren’t willing to give it your all you have not yet harnessed your will, and you may not end up where you want to.

The Santa Muerte, Tarot the “chariot” is a gate that is finally open which clears the path for us to complete the next leg of our journey. The scene is during the day of the dead when the doorway between the afterlife and the earth opens. Is there a gate that you have been waiting to open so you can feel the full force of your Will and move forward? If so what does it look like and what would it take to open it?

This card also references family and cultural traditions and expectations. This might cause you to ask whose path your on. Is it truly the one you are charting yourself or are you trying to live up to someone else’s expectations? If so this is not your own will potentially.

In the Voyager Tarot card for the Chariot we see many examples of intense forward movement and momentum. There is a Hawk taking off into flight with prey in its talons. There is a runway, a surfer hitting the perfect spot on the wave, a rocket blasting off into space, a man on the Moon blazing a new trail where no man has gone before, and even light itself speeding faster than anything else in the universe.

You too can find this momentum. If you’ve found it, us it. If you can’t find it, find what’s blocking it. What negative thinking do you need to push through to access this momentum and harness your own will to drive you forward?