Authority has spoken, for better or worse—the Emperor shows up to make the final decision. When leaders are self-interested, their decisions fulfill that interest. This particular authority figure will require the long game to play through, so as you prepare to take the next steps, think in terms of overall gains and long-term desires. Avoid making moves that serve petty gripes or feed vain desires.

The Five of Swords warns us that we may be vulnerable to a sense of futility or even defeat. It is wise to engage all current endeavors fully. Learn from how you prepare and practice for each leg of the journey. Take this time to improve interpersonal communication and entrench personal habits that make you stronger. Small victories increase our sense of well-being and help create a state of mind capable of continuing forward. The key is to stay in the game. Keep a record of what you are going through. Keep a personal or community diary that includes not just the facts and figures, but the subtle observations, the feelings, the poems, and the celebrations. Keep a record of the little things because they might matter more than you think.

The Four of Pentacles is a positive omen in this line of cards. This winter is one for working rather than enjoying your spoils, but it will be worth it and we will even see how much we have changed our own trajectory by the end of 2019. The Four of Pentacles is solid ground; it speaks to us of strong foundations and offers us the space to strategize in comfort. Imagine roots extending through the soil from the bottoms of your feet and going down through the soil and clay. Now is the time to play your cards close to your chest and pull your allies very, very close. May your efforts bring you joy.

Michelle Embree | illustration by Karla Rosas