When Death does mean Death in Tarot…

XIII Death (c) Jordan Hoggard 2010

XIII Death
(c) Jordan Hoggard 2010

It’s fairly common these days to hear phrases along the lines of…

Oh! Death… No… Death doesn’t mean Death… It means transformation…

And whilst it’s true that it often does mean transformation… or transition… or renewal… or ha! my personal favourite… petite mort! The fact remains that sometimes Death does indeed mean Death…

Though not in that 70’s horror film cliche of an imminent grizzly ending…

But as Death… death as a normal part of life…

After all… the Tarot reflects all parts of our lives, so why would it not also take time to come and sit with us to talk about Death?

And over the years, I must admit it’s only a handful of times that it has turned up in that role… but each time it has shown up, it has been powerful and poignant and my deck and cloth has transformed into a space to talk about thoughts, feelings and emotions surrounding death in wonderfully healing ways…

Never has it appeared as a surprise… the person who I have been reading for has always been going through some intense and often prolonged times with thoughts of death as a companion…

Sometimes it has appeared when a person is very close to someone who they know is dying. This is where I see Tarot as a truly beautiful tool…How often do people talk about death in everyday life? It almost feels to be taboo… People are awkward and embarrassed… Don’t believe me? Talk to someone who has been bereaved and I bet they’ll tell you how friends and neighbours crossed to road to avoid talking to them at some point… So when Death arrives in a Tarot reading in this context, it opens up those conversations… maybe to talk about how angry or bitter or cheated we feel but also to take time to reflect on the value of life and what that person truly means to us… how can we make meaningful connections with that person in their final days… give thanks for all they have brought into our life, tell them how much we love them and say all the things that we would regret if we left unsaid…

I’ve also seen Death appear in a reading for someone who had had a near death experience that had become an enormous catalyst and inspiration for the work that they were doing…

I think it’s sad that so many wish to disconnect from Death…

Death is part of Life…

And as such, we should embrace it…

 

 

 

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2 thoughts on “When Death does mean Death in Tarot…

  1. Absolutely, and good for you, Karen. Tarot will absolutely discuss physical death if this is wished, always to support, and never to frighten. What kind or oracle would it be if it would not go there with us, where our greatest griefs and anxieties are centred. Tarot is a book of Mankind, it’s not helpful to duck the Death card in its most challenging manifestation. It may foresee death too, I have learned, but this is a matter requiring great circumspection in reading, though it can happen that somebody wishes to talk about their own expected death, being faced with a terminal diagnosis for which they are receiving all suitable medical and social support, but wanting a different kind of conversation about it. Some people would go to a priest. A few will choose instead to seek out the counsel of the Tarot, and if what has come back via translation to these people has not been divine in nature, it’s hard to imagine what else could be.

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  2. Beautifully put Katie-Ellen. It’s true it may foresee death. I do believe it brings us only the messages we need to work with. I think it is important to delve into why it has shown up and how we can work best with it. I think it is a blessing to be able to prepare for death and find some peace in that. Whether we choose the tarot or the priest or something else, I think they are all ways of using different words to describe the same thing… as you put it the ‘divine in nature’. I think it’s more important to be able to find that than how you find it… many keys to open one lock.

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