It's been a rough start to the week after Tropical Storm Isaac blew through my part of Florida over the last few days. I don't know if I'm really qualified at all to speak about it, since I've always had a lot of luck with hurricanes. In the many years I've lived in Florida, my family's had to deal with exactly one tree falling down in front of our door, and a few days without power whenever an honest-to-goodness hurricane blows through. We've been incredibly lucky, compared to a lot of people who've lost homes, businesses, and loved ones.

But there's something about even the most basic of disaster preparedness, the break it makes in all of our routines. Suddenly you're accounting for a lack of power and Internet capability, for limited access to the outside world, all the stuff a lot of us normally take for granted. It cuts out the choice-heavy, hyper-stimulated world we live in, and leaves us with just single moments. It's just you and a book, or getting a flashlight to work, or the sound of the wind and the rain outside. It's a sort of meditative, in-the-moment feeling.

The Tarot of the Mermaids by Mauro De Luca and Pietro Alligo changes up the suits a bit, and the Swords suit is changed to Tridents. I like that idea; instead of cutting away excess and getting mental clarity, tridents stab to the heart of things, direct but also a bit cold the way the Swords can be on a bad day. 

Like all the Knights, the Knight of Swords can be unbalanced. When he's the worst aspects of his suit, he can be blunt and overbearing, maybe even a little intimidating. But he cuts out the excess and gets to the truth of things. Riding a dolphin in this illustration, he's in the middle of stormy weather but he's heading straight for the sun - which is even clearer because of the surrounding darkness.

In the Heirophant portion of my Tarot Journeys course, I talk about how tradition can be a rock in a storm. That's one of the ideas behind daily practices like meditation or journaling, having a quiet and simple thing to rely on where you can collect your thoughts. When the storm of your life feels overwhelming, try taking yourself out of it for a little while. Cut out all the choice and the noise, and just sit for a while and focus on one thing. We make our lives so complicated that getting down to the basics can be a little scary. But it often reminds us of the inner core of things we're so quick to leave behind.

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