Inspiring Enchantment & Illumination with Tarot & Intuitive Guidance

Tarot Card of the Week: Jan. 5-11, 2009

Death
When I despair, I remember that all through history, the ways of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants, and murderers, and for a time they can seem invincible, but in the end they always fall. Think of it — always.
— Mahatma Gandhi


I gazed at the cards this morning, asking for guidance and truth to share with you this first full week of the New Year. As always, I followed my usual practice of
releasing my expectations and wishes, quieting my own hopes, fears, and desires, and making my intention simply to receive clearly the information that we need.

And so Death comes calling. Ah.

In the Rider-Waite-Smith deck, we have perhaps the most recognized image in all of Tarot. The skeleton is carrying the flag of the Black Death (also interpreted as the White Rose of the Golden Dawn, or as the symbol of the Rosicrucians). The king is struck down. The priest faces death, praying for mercy; the young maiden is partially turned away; and the child, completely innocent, faces the grim rider, offering a simple bouquet of flowers.

Death comes to us all; how we face it says everything about who we are, what our life has been about.

As the years of my practice go on, I find myself less inclined to quickly call Death “change” or “transformation” as I once, unfailingly, would. No, I don’t want to frighten anyone, or create a self-fulfilling prophecy. And yes, I still reassure my clients that that it doesn’t necessarily mean physical dying, especially if I am using a deck that calls the thirteenth Major Arcana by some other name, like “Transformation.”

© Osho Zen Tarot

Also, the interpretation of this card in a reading, of course, is a bit different, because the other cards around it will give much more context and clarity that our weekly single-card draw does not.

But it is my observation that quite often, Death means some kind of death. Death is, after all, the ultimate fact of life. And, as a Witch and a Pagan, I don’t sugar coat its meaning; nor distort the fact that it is a natural, vital part of Mama Gaia’s wisdom.

So as it stands alone today, as a message for us in the week ahead, I would suggest that we face it straight up: as Death.

How do you feel about death? How do you deal with it? In many traditions, meditating upon, or even attempting to experience through trance and ritual, one’s own death is a vital pathway to wisdom. And it seems to me that the refusal to comprehend and understand our finite time in this incarnation is colossal folly.

In what ways is Death our liberator or teacher? What, in our lives, is dying now? What is it time to release forever? How might the reality of our own eventual death, or those we love, or the things we care about, help us to make wise choices about what time remains?

Although rarely a very pleasant occurrence, we can make Death our ‘advisor’ as the sorcerer Don Juan advised Carlos Castaneda. Whether it applies to us on a personal, private basis, or whether we are considering our global systems of governments, economies, and the environment, Death is the messenger that tells us to get real. Knowing that each life is sacred, and every moment is precious can do wonders to help us focus our attention and priorities.

This week, say goodbye. Something big is ending.

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  • January 5, 2009, 11:29 am Skuld

    This is so ‘on’… I read tarot as well, but have been using runes lately for a kick. I keep drawing eihwaz… which is sort of like the death card… Change, transformations, etc… I am excited. I can feel it in the air. Good things are coming.

  • January 5, 2009, 12:29 pm Beth Owl's Daughter

    I think so, too, Skuld! But for sure, other things are OVER.

    I am fascinated that you use both runes and Tarot. I’d love to hear what you have found most challenging and also easy about learning and using both sytems. How are they alike? Or different?

    Feel free to post sometime! 🙂
    And thanks for your comments today!
    – Beth

  • January 5, 2009, 3:45 pm ARIE

    I also use Runes and Tarot.

    I feel the runes are much more complex and require much more study.

    Also I don’t think I can compare between the two. They are like two different planes.

    Sometimes when I do a short Tarot reading and a Rune reading I get messages on different levels.

    Anyway it was not my purpose to write on runes here but on the Death card for this week.

    The Death rider is riding over Gaza and Israel and a lot of innocent people are dying.

    Let’s hope for a change next week.

    Love and Peace
    Arie

  • January 5, 2009, 4:13 pm Beth Owl's Daughter

    Wow, Arie.. You are spooking me because I was JUST about to post a followup here specifically for you (but my phone rang). I too have been thinking a lot about the connection between this week’s Death card and the situation in Gaza.. and you’ve described it so succinctly.. Yes, I’m afraid this is very true..

    You’ve been much on my mind, dear friend. Be safe, and know that we are working spells of peace and justice…
    Love,
    Beth

  • January 5, 2009, 5:25 pm Cool Hand Luke

    I have been scampering around old graveyards, writing down the inscriptions on tombstones from the 1800s; they are so beautiful. I found this one yesterday which is very mystical

    There is no death: what seems so is transition: this life of mortal breath is but a suburb of the life Elysian, whose portal we call Death.

    Buckle up, it’s going to be a wild ride. Mind the rules: don’t drink and drive and do not get in the vehicle as a passenger of someone who does. Do not drive faster than your Guardian Angel can fly. Obey the speed-limits and, do not forget the sunscreen.

  • January 6, 2009, 3:04 am Rena

    yes, well, what else is there to say?

    too often, over here, I feel like it’s always the wrong things that are over.

    I think I wanted to say something, but between my own present challenges and the general energy in the air, I find it hard to gather my thoughts constructively right now.

  • January 6, 2009, 3:32 am Margaret D

    Gather your wits! Peace shall come to the Middle East. And every stone thrown, every tank, every bomb, every bullet, every year for sixty years, it will all be enough for every coward’s heart who has turned the newspaper page without rage and hurt, he will feel. We will feel. Distance no more!

  • January 6, 2009, 8:13 am Beth Owl's Daughter

    Rena, I am so glad to see you posting.. You, too, are in my thoughts, as are all who are in this terrible situation. You are more than welcome to share your thoughts, whenever they get collected (but you needn’t wait that long!)

    My heart goes out to everyone in the crossfire..

    “Distance no more,” indeed!
    – Beth