A few days ago, I mentioned how the increased militarization and decreased rights of the US all feel “very 9 of Swords to me,” as in “Awakening from the Nightmare.” Some people dread that card, yet emphasis and attitude determine how the card plays out. Do we choose to focus on the Awakening or the nightmare? Do we look around with an intense sigh of relief, feeling so grateful for the contrast between the Real and what only seemed “real” in a fear-based dreamscape? Or do we continue to scare ourselves by fixating on the nightmare? Tarot cards offer glimpses of our current possibilities. Ultimately, we decide what we do with any given energy or opportunity.

Another card that keeps leaping to mind lately is The Tower Card, which shows a giant tower being struck by lightning (haha! Freudian typo’d lightening) and people on either side catapulting from the fiery Tower into unknown depths. Other versions show them falling into the sea. The Tower represents a radical shift accomplished by sudden realization (lightning) that ejects both left and right. Old paradigms tumble from their former heights — into what, we do not know. Left and right can mean left brain/right brain, liberal/conservative, perceived morality codes, or any other polarized issue that fails to integrate itself.

Many people dread The Tower even more than Death or The Devil, but again, perspective plays an important role. Do we choose to focus on the lightning, the forcible removal of old paradigms, the free fall, or the fire? How does the implied trauma of this card shift if we acknowledge that the old paradigms no longer worked? The Tower was William Butler Yeats’ very favorite card, and it’s one of mine, too. It has a personal meaning for me, as I associate it with my 1998 brain injury, which arrived like a lightning strike and threw my entire sense of identity, thought patterns, and ways of being into a rocky sea. But you know what? That brain injury was the best thing that ever happened to me. Destroying the old reality opened an expansive and yet strangely intimate reality far beyond and far preferable to what I’d known before.

Yes, it felt lonely because I had no context for most of my new experiences. Yes, the headaches sucked! (Imagine a 16-month migraine with its own ever-present jack hammer.) Yes, I became temporarily but completely disabled and unable to earn a living through any of my old or “normal” means. But even the loneliness, pain and financial insecurity brought gifts. I learned that we are never alone. Ever. We live in the most beautifully intertwined microcosm and macrocosms imaginable. We live as a bridge between matter and spirit, Earth and Heaven. We have guides and faeries and angels and devas dancing and singing and longing to help if we’ll just say the word.

Believe it or not, the pain actually increased my ability to enjoy life. It anchored me to physical reality in a way that forced me to integrate body, mind, emotions and spirit. Pain, when pushed beyond our limits of endurance can sometimes become an intense version of its opposite. Monks used tools like flagellation, sleep deprivation and self torture in order to initiate mystical visions. I wouldn’t recommend it — there are easier ways! — but the pain did intensify the entire spectrum of my experience, including pleasure.

And what about that financial insecurity? This is another dreaded thing I hear about from clients, friends and, of course, all over the news. How can financial insecurity possibly be a good thing? Again, as Shakespeare’s Hamlet said, “…there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.” What did I learn from radical financial insecurity? That my true security comes from some place else. True security doesn’t come from money, a career, what kind of car I drive (or even if I drive). True security comes from knowing that I can seek and find whatever I need at any given moment in my life.

“Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.” One of my former professors actually calls me “the lily of the field,” because she loves all my clothes that seem to arrive perfectly suited to me, yet selected and gifted to me by others.

Yes, I have had some lean times, as well as powerfully abundant times, but I know myself apart from the ebb or flow of money. I know I can call upon the Universe to provide what I need in whatever currency, mode or timing that best serves. The saves me from debating whether to invest in gold or silver, dollars or dinar. It means I can look at crashing markets, “imminent global economic collapse,” “prosperity packages” and winning the lottery all with relatively equal amusement. Because that’s all it really is — a grand spectacle, and we, not the newspapers, not our parents, not our sweeties, not our governments, but we determine what meaning we choose to give these things. Money is energy, and stuck or fearful energy feels bad whether you have a little or a lot of it.

There’s nothing quite like getting struck by lightning and thrown from The Tower to get stuck energy moving again! Actually, solar flares, which root out anything that no longer serves, come pretty close. The Major Arcana (first 22 tarot cards) represent Archetypes, and The Tower stands for much needed radical change that has been resisted to the point of requiring some kind of Divine Intervention to get things moving.

Of course, we are the ones summoning such interventions.

When our souls feel so restricted by “what is” and yet know, instinctively that there is soooo much more, then we have options. We can prepare ourselves to take a flying leap, knowing we will find wings when we need them. We can refuse to budge yet keep screaming for solutions outside ourselves, in which case, a lightning bolt may arrive as the proverbial “blessing in disguise.” In a vibrational Universe, though, nothing occurs completely outside ourselves. I often quote Carl Jung, “Whatever is not conscious will be experienced as fate.” When we desire change from the deepest recesses of our soul but refuse to take action towards those changes, eventually that screaming desire wins out.

As a society, planet and species, we’ve pulled The Tower Card (and as I type this, my word count says 911). What in the world do we intend to do with it? Tower; 9/11; 911; Emergency? Emergence, see? The old, limited paradigms have kept humanity locked in a Tower, ungrounded from the Earth’s pure energies and fearful of falling to sudden doom. But what if The Tower was a prison, rather than an achievement? What if the falling is actually more like flying? What if all the old turns upside down and gets bonked on the head, not to destroy it, but rather to rewire it — and us? We live in a far vaster Universe than the typical human experience allows into awareness. No need to fall. Let’s fly, my friends!

If this still makes you nervous instead of thrilled, please remember that all energy represents choice. The larger the challenge, the greater potential for lasting gains. What energies and choices do you face today?

“Always in motion is the future.” ~Yoda