Wednesday, February 22, 2017

A Closer Look: Death

Key words and concepts
Death, from the Tarot Noir published by Vega

  • Transformation
  • Transition
  • Profound change
  • Rebirth
  • Endings
  • Letting go

This card has been popping up a lot for me over the last month or so.  Rather than fearful, I've been grateful to see it. I am looking forward to change in my life, which is what the Death card predicts.

You may know that the Death card doesn't necessarily--or even often--mean a literal human death.  It may refer to loss, but usually in the context of making room for rebirth.  Think of the many spiritual frameworks that see death not as a final ending, but as simply one more cycle of completion and rebirth.

The changes predicted by the Death card are not minor ones, and they may be uncomfortable.  This Death speaks to the ending of a chapter in your life, be it from external events or the shifting of your internal beliefs.  The most useful metaphor for me is the caterpillar: When it retires to its chrysalis, the caterpillar's body literally breaks down into something akin to stem cells, only to be rebuilt in the form of a butterfly.  I can't think of anything more drastic than dissolving your body to make a new one.  The "birth" of the butterfly seems a bit like a death for the caterpillar, even though they are the same organism.  In fact, the Death card is associated with Scoprio--the sign during Samhain and Halloween. While these holidays are strongly associated with the dead, Samhain has actually been called the Celtic New Year, suggesting that the spirit of rebirth is often present alongside that of death.

The Death card is less about literal death, then, and more about the closure or completion of cycles, right before moving on to a new beginning.

On a slightly more playful note, I give you this clip from the Simpsons.  I think the fortune teller gives a pretty good interpretation; what do you think?

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