Katy Perry’s “Part of Me” and Tarot

In this edition of “The Pop Culture Tarot Challenge,” I’ll be breaking down one of my most beloved songs of late: Katy Perry’s “Part of Me.”

Why do I love this song? Let me count the ways: because it’s empowering, because I can totally relate to the cycle of “insecurity/heartbreak/finding self” that I think this song and the corresponding video represent. The tarot is a great vehicle to link to a song like this, because these cycles of becoming are a natural part of life and self-discovery. Who hasn’t been through a shitty break-up, only to later reflect back and go “holy crap man, thank God I got out of that, and look how much stronger I am now!”

Here’s the video. It is, IMHO, a fantabulous example of girl power in action. And, BTW, GO US MILITARY! (My dad and my brother are both former U.S. Navy sailors so that makes me an official “military brat.” Not to mention, I think that joining the Marines would have been my post-divorce move, had it not been for the tiny detail of having three kids to raise. Can a girl join the Marines in her 50s? To be continued…)

And now, on with the challenge!

Days like this,
I want to drive away
Pack my bags
And watch your shadow fade

Aw, man. Three swords piercing a heart? This is NOT going to be a good day for your love life. Often when I see the Three of Swords, I immediately think betrayal, or a love triangle, or a third person. On a more general level, something is disturbing the harmony that should be present in a trinity. When the three of Swords comes up in a reading, examine the situation for “the third wheel,” for something that’s disturbing a partnership, or for plain old-fashioned heartbreak and pain. Ouch. But just like mom always said, it’ll build character. Better to have this stuff out in the open rather than hidden behind lies and false premises. Shedding light on something like this paves the way for the proverbial house cleaning of the heart.

Poor Katy, she sees her man kissing another woman. She suspected it. But now she has the confirmation. Crapola. She’s about to get pissed, because when we’re hurt what do we often want to do? Go on the attack.

Next stop, I’m outta here. That’s what brings us to the 8 of Cups.

You really gotta kind of feel for the guy in this card. He’s walking away, but it’s not like he’s exactly dancing a jig about it. No, instead he’s got his walking stick, and the card is sort of dark, and there’s this overall gloomy feeling about the whole affair. It’s like, damn it all to hell, I really put my heart into that and thought it was going to be something, I even built it up, and yet, (oh no, really bad song reference coming up) “here I go again, on my own…goin’ down the only road I’ve ever known…” (Sorry. No, really, sorry about that. Whitesnake was totally uncalled for. But I couldn’t help it.)

Katy’s outta there. She’s not exactly pleased about the fact, but she certainly realizes that at this point, there’s no turning back. See those cups that are all stacked up so nicely there in the foreground? Leaving it behind. So with the 8 of Cups, sometimes we’re forced to leave a situation that we really had our heart set on. Or sometimes we actively choose to move on, full well knowing that we’re leaving something behind that we invested in. Whatever the case, we’re moving on. Hoping for bigger and better, but frankly at this point, it’s heavy. Sing it, Whitesnake.

You chewed me up
And spit me out
Like I was poison in your mouth

You took my light
You drained me down
But that was then
And this is now
Now look at me


Yeah, that chick isn’t having much fun up there in the 8 of Swords, is she? Ick. She’s got a blindfold on, and there’s all these swords in the ground around her, and it kinda sorta makes you think she’s trapped, doesn’t it? Or at least SHE’D like to think she’s trapped. But frankly folks, take a closer look. If she didn’t have her eyes covered, she could simply walk away. Really, not that big of a deal, after all. A lot of times when I see these Swords cards, especially as we get into the 8, 9, and 10, where there are just swords all over the frickin’ place, it shows that yes, ahem, you are in a challenging situation, there’s no doubt about it. However, at the same time, there’s always a way out. Even, and perhaps especially, when we feel most trapped. Those are the times when we need to take off the proverbial blinders and see things for how they really are, and then get down to the messy job of cleaning up whatever needs fixing. In the case of the 8 of Swords, the choice is hers and hers alone as to how she wants to free herself from her perceived entrapment. The feelings are real, to be sure. But at the same time, change your outlook, change your life. (Shameless plug for a girl I’m honored to call my friend, one of the most amazingly empowered and beautiful inside and out women I know!)


The Empress reversed is a situation where nurturing isn’t happening. Here we’re coming to an exciting turning point in Katy’s journey of empowerment. She realizes that she was too dependent on external factors to give her the love she needed to give to herself. In sacrificing herself for another, she ended up forgetting herself. The Empress is all about motherly love, taking care, the whole “chicken soup and cuddles” factor that we want when we feel beaten down and taken advantage of. Here it shows that it’s not happening, and at the same time can encourage the querent to take steps to make it happen. We are our own best advocate, always, and if you can’t love yourself first and foremost, how can you truly love others?

Rock the chorus:

This is the part of me
That you’re never gonna ever take away from me, no
This is the part of me
That you’re never gonna ever take away from me, no

Throw your sticks and your stones,
Throw your bombs and your blows,
But you’re not gonna break my soul

This is the part of me
That you’re never gonna ever take away from me, no


Poor guy on the 9 of Wands. So beaten down, so dragged through the mud. Seriously. All bandaged up and bruised, and look at that face. It’s like, oh man, what next? Can I do it? Can I take any more? And yet, there he is. Still going. Still keeping on. To quote another line from the fabulous B.D.C. who I linked to above: “Soldier not victim.” Beaten down but not broken down.

Here’s where Katy sees the flyer to join the Marines and is like, hmmm, yeah. That could be an idea. I mean, I’ve been through a lot, but I’m not down yet. I’m still standing (oh no, Elton John!). The 9 of Wands is someone who’s been through a lot but isn’t letting it break them and is going to come out of it stronger.

I just wanna throw my phone away
Find out who is really there for me


I understand that feeling. The Hermit is when you think “you know what, screw it all. I need some peace and quiet. I just need to be alone. Need to collect my thoughts, reassess, reevaluate, regroup.” Yep, The Hermit is about doing a lot of “re-ing.” When you feel like you do just want to throw the phone away, unplug, be alone with your thoughts. The Hermit can be seen as a solitary period, but it’s often so vitally necessary to spend time alone and get to know yourself and your priorities better, especially when you’re coming out of a break-up or a traumatic period.

You ripped me off,
Your love was cheap
Was always tearing at the seams,
I fell deep, you let me down,
But that was then and this is now


Screw this guy! Total cheater! So, the Seven of Swords isn’t always a bastard who’s going to break your heart, but hey, sometimes he (or she) is. In this case, check him out. He’s like, heh heh heh, I stole all the swords and you didn’t even notice! But you know what, sometimes they do get caught. Look at Katy. Caught her man in front of the copy machine and threw paper in his face. Take that, bastid!

The Seven of Swords is about hidden deception, trickery, oh no, can I say it? Tomfoolery? Why yes, yes I can, in fact I think I just did.

When you see this card, check your motives or the motives of those around you.

Rock the chorus again. Then check this out:

Now look at me I’m sparkling,
A firework, a dancin’ flame
You won’t ever put me out again
I’m glowin’, oh woah,


Awww yeah, the good times card. In the sense of, James Brown-style I feel good. The Sun is all about shining your light, radiating your beauty, feeling joy and just basking in the glow of the goodness and abundance of life. It’s a really warm card (duh, sun) and appears when you feel really good about yourself, about life in general, or you’re finally getting stable satisfaction from the gifts in your life. It’s a card of counting your blessings and just overall radiance. “Now look at me I’m sparking!” Sing it!

So you can keep the diamond ring
It don’t mean nothing anyway,
In fact you can keep everything, yeah, yeah
Except for me!


All hail Katy as she sits on her throne as fully empowered female! The Queen of Wands is full of fiery creative energy, but not the immature or just-developing kind. No, this queen is full of the “I-just-totally-kicked-ass-in-Marine-bootcamp-and-I’m-so-confident-now-I-don’t-even-have-to-flaunt-it” kind. She’s like, “You think I’m afraid of anything? Um, no, hello…look at me, I’ve got a black cat for a pet. Take that!” Katy’s like, take your damn ring, I’ve got my girl power, I deserve better.

See? Who would’ve ever thought that the icky 3 Swords in the heart would become a beautiful queen ruling over her bad-ass queendom? And yet, there you go. Life is like that. When it gives you lemons, squeeze those suckers into a vodka on the rocks!

And there you have it folks! Let me know what you think. Any other cards pop to mind as you watch this video or listen to/read the lyrics? Anything to add to the cards I presented? Please share all your thoughts in the comments section!


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