on power & hope
reflections for june 2022
hello, friends, and welcome to june. in my part of the world, june is a time of sunshine and warmth, when the flowers bloom and the trees bud, when it feels like nature comes out to play. i live in the united states, so it’s also a time of protesting, of making our voices heard, of celebrating queer history, of fighting for a better future. it’s a strange dance of joy and fear, and if you’re feeling untethered, uncertain, unfocused, i hope that this reflection essay offers you a bit of comfort, strength, and power for the days ahead.
the last few weeks have been incredibly difficult. i’ve been struggling to stay hopeful, but i am sure i’m not the only one who is having trouble imagining the possibilities for change. however - there are some truly brilliant people that have been working hard in organizing spaces for a long time, that are not giving up, that need support and resources. so if you’re wanting to do something, anything, i highly recommend this piece on helping the uvalde school shooting victims, this roundup of anti-trans legislation and ways to support trans people, this deep dive on the great replacement theory and the buffalo shooter, this history of policing in the united states and explanation of defunding, this analysis on the state of women’s health, and this post featuring young racial justice activists that you can support and learn from.
i’m also hosting a 9-day numerology-themed resource series on instagram where i’ll feature activists, organizers, healers, educators, writers, and more - and you’re encouraged to share your favorite resources and people to follow too. check out the first post right here.
take a moment to stretch. extend your arms over your head and make circles with your wrists, your ankles, spreading your fingers and toes. take deep breaths and let them out slowly, intentionally. massage your jaw, your shoulders, your neck, your temples. grab a glass of something delicious, take a breath for gratitude, and let’s get into it.
to listen to me read this month’s essay aloud, click here.
on power & hope
power is a loaded word.
we talk about it like it’s an infinite resource, like it’s something that absolutely anyone can access, like it’s a commodity that we all possess. and in one sense, that is true: we all have power, to some degree: over ourselves, our choices, our actions. we all have agency, in one way or another.
but power is complicated, because at least here in the united states, it is rarely held by those that have proved themselves worthy of it. so often the people in power didn’t actually pull themselves up by any mythological boot straps, aren’t in possession of a genius-level intellect or a once-in-a-lifetime creative energy or an intrinsic understanding of what different communities need. they simply happen to have been born into bodies that have traditionally wielded power, and accept it as their due.
and in the united states, the people that wield power often cling to it with everything they have, destroy anyone that gets in their way. they often use power to amass wealth and keep their interests safe, rather than using it to help others, or to empower the marginalized, or to make the world better and safer and more sustainable.
this kind of power is rarely tied to merit, or worth, or exceptionality. sometimes, it feels random. and many times, it feels unfair. most times, it is unfair.
but that’s not the kind of power that i want to talk about today. today, i want to talk about your power. and to do that, we’ll turn to the cards.
the tarot has cards for institutional power, for unchecked power, for destructive power. these are cards of control, of desire, of structured order - cards that can be joyful when wielded with hope and balance, but easily spin into harm, obsession, or supremacy if left unchecked. these cards challenge us to consider where we crave order and discipline, and where we long to run free, to do what we please, to unabashedly own our dreams and desires.
but the tarot also has cards that remind us of our strength, our purpose, our ability to stand up for what we believe in. over and over and over, the stories within the tarot remind us of our capacity to imagine more for ourselves, to chase after possibility, to overcome adversity, to transform through challenges, to come out the other side reborn and renewed. power shows itself in so many ways throughout the tarot, reminding us again and again that we are beings of magic, of wonder, of hope.
when we look at those who wield immense power, and when we struggle with the ways that they use it, it can leave us feeling helpless, hopeless. it can lead to frustration, anger, sorrow, despondence. it can lead us to diminish our own power, sometimes without even realizing it. and especially for those that have to fight against systemic and structural inequities, those that have been diminished and dismissed for generations, it can feel impossible to feel connected to internal power.
but here’s the thing: everyone has different gifts, different skills, different talents. our power may reveal itself in different ways, on different schedules, through different mediums or methods or modalities. and rather than fretting about who we aren’t, instead it’s essential to honor who we are.
the tarot wants us to claim our power, to own it, to know it, to celebrate it - and to use it. and while many archetypes offer suggestions of ways to do that, one of the most powerful cards in the major arcana is the one that we’re going to focus on this month.
the eighth archetype of the major arcana is strength, a card that is often associated with wisdom, patience, discipline, control, and knowing the right moment to act. strength is about recognizing which of the many tools at our disposal are the right one for the job, and about remembering the skill, focus, and dedication that we already possess. it’s about knowing when to wait patiently, and when to let our rage, our sorrow, our grief, be seen.
eights in numerology are the powerhouse, the courage, the abundance. this is not a stingy number, but is instead about momentum, pursuit, self-esteem, believing that our desires are worthy of energy and focus. there’s a dignity to eight, a maturity, a recognizing of the ideas and pursuits that merit devotion. this is about knowing that we are well-resourced, about celebrating what we have access to, about respecting where our abilities blossom and our confidence grows.
this isn’t a power that steps on others to get where they want to go, that’s obsessed with authority or dominance. we’ve seen what happens when power goes unchecked, when the wealthy and privileged call the shots, when selfish leaders ignore the needs of the people. instead this is power rooted in pride, in joy, in discipline, in balance, in a deep and true belief in the self. it’s power that wants everyone to succeed. it’s power that knows the magic of community, the impact of humility, the necessity of growth and change.
the best kind of power is one that is in control of itself, that isn’t hungry or desperate or obsessive about retaining complete authority. and if you’re reading this, chances are that you feel powerless, rather than powerful. chances are that you’re looking for a reason, and a way, to find hope again.
strength serves as an essential reminder that power sometimes looks quiet, patient, subtle - and other times it looks angry, feral, wild. on the heels of the clarity and purpose of the chariot, strength goes after its goals with single-minded focus, with intention, with determination. this is settling into a rhythm of movement, recognizing what we bring to the table, and using all that we have to achieve our ambitions. power comes in many forms. and while it may feel like true power is something that many of us may never know, we are not actually powerless. we can learn, can say no, can organize, can demand more, can take action.
power isn’t only about being in control, about keeping a stiff upper lip, about pretending that everything is fine. power is also in screaming for justice, in protesting in the streets, in organizing and unionizing, in demanding more from our leaders, in standing up for the marginalized and the ignored and the abused. power lives in righteous indignation, in rightful fury.
power lives in authenticity.
but this isn’t just about claiming power. it’s also about remembering hope: that glimmering, sparkling ideal that, among other things, is a discipline, a choice, an expectation. hope is a daily decision to believe that we deserve better, that we deserve more. hope requires strength: it cannot exist without it.
and strength lies in knowing when to whisper, and when to scream.
what makes you brave? where do you find your strength? how do you understand your power? what does it mean to be scared and do something anyway, to press on even in the face of uncertainty? who, and what, reminds you of your power when you’ve lost sight of it?
and above all, what helps you gather the courage that you need to keep going, keep fighting, keep believing that a better world is possible?
have a strong, empowering, joyful, and safe june, friends. make sure you’re following me on instagram, twitter, and tiktok for spreads, stories, and resources, and click here to explore my social media series on social justice resources, leaders, and educators.
this post features cards from the numinous tarot. all photographs by meg jones wall.