We are now moving deep into the season between Samhain and Yule, the time of the cycle of death. So it is no surprise that this week, the Death card of the Tarot comes calling.
Ironically, this morning as I was set to begin writing this, I booted up my computer, only to find that my hard drive was dead. (I am having a new one installed right now. I hope that I can restore over eighteen or so years of my data).
But of course you and I well know that Death is much more intimate and personal. In just the past several days, two dear friends of mine have suffered losses from death, and are now making that long, lonely journey of grief.
In the Rider-Waite-Smith deck, we have perhaps the most recognized image in all of Tarot. Under the setting sun, 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 – taking away those we love, and then, usually sooner than we might wish, ending our own lives on this good Earth. How we prepare and face it says everything about who we are, what our life has been about.
As a Witch, I don’t sugar coat it, nor distort the fact that it is a natural, vital part of Mama Gaia’s wisdom.
After all, an endless single physical incarnation for every being born would be a nightmare. And for us to live, we must kill and eat plants and (some of us) animals every single day.
Death is the ultimate fact of life. It is our faithful teacher, the Dark Mother who awaits us, the unflinching truth-teller.
This week, we might pause to consider what, in our lives, is dying now? What is it time to release forever? Now, in the harvest season, what has come to fruition and must now irrevocably change? What chapter is closing?
How might the reality of our own eventual death, or those we love, or the endings of matters that seem so important to us, help us to make wise choices about what time remains?
How do you want to be remembered? What stories will be told at your wake? What legacy will you leave to your blood kin and your kindred of spirit, who come after you?
Death is the shadow that makes clear our edges and perspective. Knowing that these beautiful days of late Autumn are fleeting can make them the sweetest.
Blessed are we when we understand Death’s urging to embrace our one wild and precious life.