Tuesday, November 15, 2011

O' Death

Death is the 13th card in the Major Arcana. We are jumping ahead a bit, but it is Autumn, and we are in the sign of Scorpio, so it is only fitting that we should give Death a little attention.
Creepy Celtic Death is staring at YOU. 

Barbara G. Walker's Death

As you can see in the both the Barbara G. Walker and the Celtic deck, Death is not wearing his customary robe. Yep, he's just standing there in all his bare-bone glory. And why shouldn't he? Death is inevitable and sometimes ugly to look at. It's best to be honest about it. 

However, this card is not so much about literal death as it is about profound change.  Death can actually be a very positive card to receive in a spread. It strips you down to bare-bones basics, slashes and burns with its scythe, and lays the ground for new fertility.  It's a good card for detoxing.  

Like the sign of Scorpio, the Death card is about rebirth and regeneration.  When a baby is born, the parents "die" in their former identities as people without a child, and they are reborn as mother and father. When two people get married, they cease to be who they were when they were single; they are reborn as a couple.  

However, change is not always pleasant. Even good stress can tax the body, and even good changes bring stress.  But Death can bring a calm, dark energy, and energy of rest and respite.  Even though the Tower, or House of God, is the 16th card and comes after Death in the order of the Major Arcana, the vibrations of the Death card can be a balm after the devastating change of the Tower. 
The energy of the Death card can be one of peace, an eye in the storm of change. Examine Robin Wood's Death, above.  What do you notice about it? Do you see any violence, or hopelessness? Or do you see symbols of transformation and purity? 

Now, please don't think I'm telling you what to see in the cards. As always, go with your first instinct. Go where your eye draws you, and trust your intuition about what it means.  

In the Goddess Deck, the 13th card isn't even called Death.  It is called Transformation, as you can see, and it is represented by the Shinto goddess of food, Uke Mochi. When Uke Mochi was murdered by the Moon god, Tsukuyomi, her body was transformed into livestock and fields of rice, grains, and beans. Good things come from endings. 

Martha Beck says that all good things can be traced back to a loss. That is the message of the Death card. Peace can be found in the center of the Self during times of change. Change and loss are inevitable, but it makes room for beautiful, vibrant possibility.  

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