Happy VERY Belated New Year . . . and, as such, I offer an intriguing idea for Readers, which originally posted in “The Tarot Celebrations Newsletter” (Publication of The American Tarot Association; 2005 (if memory serves me) -- Selecting a YEAR THEME Card. I meant to post this in early January, since that would start the psychic fair season, but it was thwarted by a myriad of interruptions, including the major one that I got for Christmas; the Scottish Terrier puppy, Skye. Thus, it becomes the JAN-FEB blog; presenting highlights of the statistics I collected during the first year of placing a “Year Theme” card alongside 90-95% of the readings for that entire year (2007); BUT, the numerological example for selecting it, has been updated as a “How-To” applicable for 2019, which in all likelihood for many readers, is already in progress as I post this blog.
Most Tarot Readers are familiar with the use of a “Significator” card, which most select using the birthdate of the client to represent their personal attributes as it relates to the current reading. The importance of this card, however, is in the unlikelihood it would ever change over the life of the client—unless the reader were using an alternate method, but the widespread use of the “significator” remains basically the same even then. Using numerology, it would be chosen by adding the client’s birthdate: Month + Day + Year; then, add that total across = a single or double-digit number, which would be indicative of the appropriate Major Arcana (this chosen from a separate tarot deck from that of the reading).
I mention this because the selection of a “YEAR THEME” card mimics the basic math, but with a major difference—its relationship is ONLY to that year and befitting the reading, accordingly. So, if I were to choose a “Year Theme” for a reading today, I would use my birthdate, but replace my birth-year with the current year; thus, the equation would be as follows:
My Birthdate is June 5, 19… (sorry, not applicable) – and the equation would be: 6 + 5 + 2019 = 2030; THEN add: 2 + 0 + 3 + 0 = 5 . . . which equates to the Major Arcana card: V. Hierophant – and that would be my card to represent the THEME of the current year, 2019. It would change, accordingly, for next year and so, too, would the general theme of my year in 2020. Get the idea?
There would be times that the total above would equal a Power Number – 11 or 22 – and that leaves a choice. You might choose to stop at the double digit if the Major Arcana better fits the sense of the theme, but I found that keeping the 11 or 22 AND taking it down to a single digit as 2 or 4 presented an enigmatic duplication for the individual’s year theme. The resulting complexity was amazingly appropriate for almost every case when I chose to keep and interpret both cards for a client (of course, there were occasions when I did not, the choice depended simply on my senses or time allowed for their reading). While the choice would be left to the preference of the reader, I would encourage them to test the results of using dual themes or reducing to a single theme for themselves.
Note the once this selection is complete, there should be no worries that it will match up with the reading even a bit and always relates to some aspect of the client’s year-long experiences, plans or development in a variety of areas. It will not matter whether you choose to interpret the “year theme” at the beginning of the reading or end, but I found it most effective to point out the generalities of it at the beginning, so the idea will be in mind for the client, and then go into greater detail, interpreting it inclusive with what was said during the reading, as well as taking the theme even further expanding on whatever it suggested for them. It will take only a few trials before all this will fall into place, befitting any reader’s preference and style—of that, I am confident. The basics of the “Year Theme” are ambiguous as I try to explain them, but I think that leaves interpretation and application open to variation like an ever-flowing river of creative ideas.
Rather than bore you with dry percentages from the original article, I will only present one that was quite unexpected—there were high percentages in which the chosen “Year Theme” card appeared somewhere in the layout, chosen by the client from an independently shuffled tarot deck (and, usually one of a totally unrelated artist/theme, as well). That occurrence averaged between 90-98%; highest in the early part of the year, dropping off in the last few months and at fairs with fewer readings done. The instances of mirroring of themes between their Major Arcana theme and their reading, in general, amazingly averaged from 88-95%, consistently during the entire season. Rarely was the “theme” denied or seemed utterly implausible in every sense of it by a client. Instead, nearly everyone either understood the context immediately or after explanation of their theme, they would express amazement to be “where they were unaware of being” on their life path or along the way of their goals. The only exception to this were the 25% of readings that were directed toward the discovery of a client’s past lives or one that was strictly aimed at spirit communication/mediumship, which should be obvious that a theme card might be easily considered as invalid. The lowest percentage kept related to the clients who just refused to acknowledge their “year theme” made sense in anyway and adamantly stated there was no connection, at all—the percentage was 1-5%. In truth, I believe the percentages (and there were many more categories, ranges and details in the original assessment of that first year using it) prove that using the “Year Theme” card is an enhancement to reading.
Of course, all types of Divination can utilize the “Year Theme” card or something similar, just as much as the Tarot—AND, all forms can stand totally on their own, essentially dependent on the skill of the reader and trust they ensue in the client – but, using this additional tool can just be done for FUN, either way. It’s up to readers who are like me and enjoy trying such creative things to further intuition in themselves as well as the interest and curiosity of their clients or students. Naturally, I cannot claim to have used proper scientific methodology to set the parameters when collecting the data during this “experiment”, but I found the results impressive, anyway. I will let you be the judge and decide if you wish to have a little FUN on the side (tongue in cheek!). Nevertheless, it is a chance to step out of the rigidity of old methodologies and become inspired to try innovative ideas—or at least, give it a try….
Dear Santa, I wonder, since there is probably no Santa Claus for dogs, if it is okay for me to write to my person’s Santa Claus? She told me you deliver toys, goodies and even grants some wishes for all the good boys and girls, all over the world, on Christmas Eve. Oh, Santa . . . there’s even a tree that seems to be growing in my new home and I noticed lots of gifts wrapped in beautiful, shiny paper. They all have bows stuck on the tags that tell who sent them—many from “Santa” so I guess it’s okay. That tree fascinates me with oodles of red, green and gold balls on its branches. There are lights too that must be pieces from a summer rainbow and twinkle like the stars on a frigid winter night. I admit I got curious and tried to taste one of the bows. I guess that was wrong for I was then scolded – even learning my first command—"NO, BAD PUPPY!” Ah, still think the balls should be played with. Next time, I will just make sure no one is watching, because my person told me that bad boys and girls – and bad little puppies, too – get only a lump of coal from Santa in their stockings. I’m confused about that for coal would not taste very good and surely be painful for walking if it is in a sock. But, my person must have forgotten to tell you, because she hung a stocking with my name on it and on Christmas morning it was filled with toys and treats, fit for a good little puppy, anyway.
Okay, Santa, I will confess . . . I let the cat drink the milk left out for you and I ate the cookies. However, I am sure there were plenty more in the kitchen and surely you knew where to look and help yourself. I have another reason for writing you, Santa. For a little while I was worried that I would not have a warm, loving home or even a cage with a nice soft blanket for snuggling into rather than being left outside or in some cold barn, shivering and hungry—like my mother and the other dogs from the place where I was whelped. I am the luckiest puppy ever for I got found by a kind person who bought me and brought me home, tucked inside her coat, which made it possible for me to write my letter to Santa.
If you can, Santa, will you check on my mother? Will you tell her that I was chosen and have a new home where I am sure to be loved a lot. I am nice and warm with good, nutritious puppy food. Oh, and check on my brother and sister that were left behind in the dark box. We were all huddle inside it, taken away barely weaned from our mother and only eye-ball-sized holes that let air and only dim light. We heard the car motor, felt the vibration as it took us away . . . far from the cold barn kennel where our mother and father remain. My sister and I were first to be taken out of the box and found ourselves in a pet store full of people of all ages, shapes and sizes. I wonder what happened to my other two brothers and a sister, who might still be in the box, for all I know. I was frightened at being taken from my warm mother’s side and dropped in a cage in a place that gave no comfort that it would all be alright. I suppose it was a pet store and the lady seemed kind, but I was in a pen where people stared or wanted to pick me up and examine every inch of me or spoke critically about me. No one seemed to want me, that is, until a few days later when things changed as I was picked up and held by a person that cuddled me, nicely and I sensed somehow that it would be okay. Oh, I was worried that I might never find a place to feel safe or loved, but it must have been you, Santa, that sent this person into the store on that fateful day. I just knew she would not be leaving me behind. For that reason, I am sure that you orchestrated our meeting and she would fall for my cuteness once I turned it on and wriggled happily in her arms—yes, Santa, it did work, perfectly and quickly. She was the first person that made me feel wanted! For that reason, I am sure you sent her to find me, so you wouldn’t have to put me in your sleigh and deliver me to her house on Christmas Eve. Indeed, before I knew it, I was tucked in her coat and leaving the store to be taken to this new home, chosen happily and loved right from the start—and barely any need to have turned on my cuteness to get her attention.
I can remember my mother telling her puppies, that all we need to be happy was a person who we could trust with our unconditional love; thus, expect that it will be returned, in kind. I cannot be sure if you sent my person into the store that day, but I am grateful forever that you did. I am now happily exploring every inch of my new home—including, things that my person tries to insist are only for Christmas and NOT for a puppy. Oh well, what can a lucky little Christmas-puppy say or do about that rule?
Oh, Santa . . . how my mother whimpered and shivered that icy morning. She was terribly thin, her coat coarse and thinning. I think she was sick, even though she provided her puppies with plenty of rich milk—at the cost of her health. As we were taken from her, her breathing sounded ragged, so will you please check on her for me? I fear she might not survive another winter, especially if she is forced to have another litter of puppies right away, as she did with us. She is getting older and cried as we were taken away. The last thing she told us was to make her proud by finding a home where we might return the person’s love with our favor of loyalty, protection and eagerness to please. Oh, Santa, too many animals are left to die by the neglect of uncaring, unfeeling persons. Can you inspire them with the gift of caring that they will stop the mistreatment of innocent animals—domestic and wild, alike. Can you inspire their hearts to change from hateful and filled with ignorance of what they cause by their deliberate or unintentional cruelty? I think Christmas must be the best time for doing such things as reaching the hearts of those who want to care for the animals who cannot change their fateful situations on their own. I heard people at the pet store say, I came from a place that might be a puppy mill and anyone that purchased me should be ashamed for supporting it. But, is that fair? I wonder, Santa, for is it my fault that my mother was owned by such a place with that stigma? Do I not deserve to be loved and live a long, happy life as any other puppy? Either way, I don’t know. I feel lucky to have avoided being another victim of such a fate as my mother. I think my mother was without fault for out whelping nor are we any the less for it. Nevertheless, I am grateful that you did orchestrate my person coming into the store and finding me or it might have been a very different outcome for me than becoming my person’s Christmas gift-puppy.
I have a question, Santa. If you cannot tell me why persons are cruel to animals, then could you do something else? How about collecting all the homeless and hungry puppies (and dogs or cats) and delivering them as Christmas gifts to homes that WANT them and will love and care for them well? We dogs are a forgiving lot; if persons will just give us the chance, a warm bed, nutritious food, clean water and a few squeaky toys or balls to chase. Yes, Santa, that and their true capacity to love us is all we need to be happy Christmas-Puppies.
And so, Santa, I shall leave the carrots and apples for the Reindeer; the elves can have the cookies and, before you go off for a long-winter’s nap, I ask just one thing more—instill persons with the same sort of generosity and mindfulness as you show to all and let it be applied to my fellow puppies, regardless of where from which they are whelped. I am grateful for the toys and treats you left me, but I would not mind if you were to take it all and give it to other dogs that have nothing to keep them warm, well-fed or happy. I would gladly give my warm blankets to other dogs that are shivering and starving in the cold. It must be such negative attitudes that breed the darkness and ill-treatment of animals, but if Rudolph will shine his red nose into the fogginess of ignorance to the situation, perhaps things would more quickly change for the better, raising awareness into the light of compassion and generosity like a flare to enlighten all toward fixing the problems for animals that cannot do it for themselves.
Yes, Santa, I know that my request might seem complex; but I think the solution is simple: comprehending how the heart is more than an organ pumping blood, but the seat of truth and unconditional love and a beginning for the elimination of disrespect and judgement of all kinds. Like all dogs, I intend to become a teacher of my person and can barely wait to tell you all about my year of growing up when you come back next year.
Blessings to You, SANTA, for all that you inspire and bring to the world & A MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY NEW YEAR! Love from a Christmas Puppy. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ My Disclaimer: I did not intend to sound like I am condoning the purchase of puppy mill dogs or buying from pet stores, which knowingly obtain their puppies from such sources. This letter was inspired by both the advertisements of the SPCA (an organization I support and respect) over the Holidays and to give voice for my own Christmas puppy, Skye, who wished to have his story told as it was learned post-purchase and sans any desire to return him.
Tis the season . . . Indeed, just walk into any bakery or kitchen, especially at this time of the year, and take a long whiff. Of all the perceptive (inner) senses, smell is the one with a fast track to the subconscious and holds the key to where the deepest buried memories reside. During a recent psychic reading, the deceased mother of my client made an appearance via a strong scent of cinnamon and the image of an apple pie in my mind. Because that was a favorite memory from her mom, it imparted to my client the mom’s message of love, holiday baking delights and peace for her daughter from the spirit world. The very realistic scent of that a baking apple pie was one of my own favorite smells from holiday kitchens. Of course, there was more to the messages, but the pie served as a spiritual opener of the way and led to a kindly closure for the mother’s passing, symbolically transmuting their love into one that would stay alive in their hearts. Even more profound than the message from a loved one, was that this mother additionally presented me with a personal gift in the imagery that I only realized with a start upon the close of the reading.
Through that communication with a mother’s spirit, my psychic smeller began working overtime and it got my thinking about what cinnamon and apple pies meant for me. It took me readily back to the days with my own grandmother (in spirit for a very long time) and of her baking the most wonderful things on an old wood stove. She baked daily – pies, cakes, cookies, big baking powder biscuits and every meal, especially my favorite meals of hot dogs or hot rice as cereal with milk and sugar (I was an easy kid to please). Therefore, the scent of cinnamon speaks powerfully to my inner and outer senses; it always has, especially at the holidays. Regardless of whether it comes as a brief whiff of residual delight or fills a kitchen with odors that whet the appetite, it is unique and special for me.
Considering Apple pie metaphorically, it is a gift of spirit to the taste buds, imagination and intuitive senses. The visual included fingers gently pinching the edges of the crust, keeping the ingredients as a single delicious mixture. Whether one chooses sweet or tart apples, the pie can symbolize life’s difficulties, joyful moments or crises that enter our life—even the enhancement of our personality as sweet or sour. All of which becomes an analogy for who we have become (as the completed pie) and who we shall chose to be when baked (in the future). Imagine the piecrust as an outer shell (skin), tough and crusty for protection from the harshness of life or brushed with butter to soften and nurture our emotions. When adding sugar to combat tartness, it can remind us to treasure the sweetest moments and recall them whenever sorrow, pain or disappointment appears, symbolically realizing that it is a positive attitude that most effectively heals or overcomes adversity and enhances medical science. Spices added for individual tastes include: cloves and allspice to intensify the flavors of life, a sprinkle of lemon for balance and plenty of cinnamon for its bite so much nicer than its bark (pun intended, cinnamon comes from a tree, after all). Last, are pats of butter to moisten the apples as they bake, acting as golden globs of love melting throughout all that it shall become—in the same way we can learn to include love in all we do if only we will let the heart to teach us how.
So . . . go peel an apple or two. Hold your knife steady, cutting the skin into one long spiral as a quaint challenge that brings good luck (Um, I just made up that last part). Recipes rarely call for distasteful ingredients, nor do we intentionally wish for such metaphoric inclusions in life, but remember the country song – “I Never Promised You a Rose Garden” – and remember we can choose whether we allow life to get us down and sit on us or tackle the lesson and get up again. It is important to select your apples wisely – for their tartness or sweetness – then add spices most appropriate to create a balance in your life. Oh, go on . . . pinch the crust with your fingers, thereby, manipulating fate with a gentleness for emotional creativity. Alternatively, you may prefer to press the crust with the tines of a fork, as a tool of fulfillment of desire using technical knowledge. Whether you prefer to think of the apple as Christianity’s dubious fruit, which caused Eve's downfall, or as a pagan symbol of goddess/feminine wisdom, when you cut it crosswise, the seeds form a protective pentagram. Oh, by the way, apples also make great treats for your beloved horse or Santa’s reindeer.
ALAS, even it you cannot do as I shall tomorrow, pick a time and get your hands into the flour, peel the apples and sprinkle in plenty of cinnamon . . . then, go ahead and let loose your imagination while you don a metaphoric apron and get even a vicarious cinnamon fix and remember for --'TIS THE SEASONto enjoy time and memories with friends and family (including those on the other side of the veil for they will surely be attracted to your baking endeavors by the fragrances wafting through the house and will eagerly wish to be invited to share in your celebration) and--BAKE an APPLE PIE, SEASONED with MEMORIES REMEMBERED . . . BUT, probably SANS BLACKBIRDS!
This month’s blog, ideal for Halloween/Samhain is taken from Chapter 2 of my yet-unfinished first novel -- “I’ve Walked These Sands Before” – and begins where the heroin, Karen is still in mourning of a traumatic marriage and recent divorce. Her long-time friend and professional Tarot reader, Nate, visits and discovers that she was given a coupon (by her work-friend) for a Tarot Reading by an unknown psychic. Rather than fall back on Nate as her former and only reader, she worries he will be upset, but when asked he drives her to the appointment--Karen nervous and somewhat skeptical; Nate nursing a slightly-bruised ego. That is where this story begins with Karen approaching an innocent-looking house, but when she enters she finds “Fate” essentially salivating for her to enter; but, fate offers no promises beyond changes and hints of an occult realm of possibilities and probabilities awaiting her to trust and chose to begin a Spiritual journey into the unknowable . . . but, that all unfolds in the following chapters. For now, enjoy Karen’s ill-fated exploit inside the “lair of Valetta Birdcraft” . . .
Note: Each chapter begins with a quotation from “Awakening Osiris” to inspire and enhance the theme as the reader travels alongside Karen on her Spiritual Quest. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- “As if I‘d slept a thousand years underwater I wake to a new season. I am the blue lotus rising. I am the cup of dreams and memory opening—I, the thousand-petaled flower.” Quotation from Awakening Osiris, by Normandi Ellis
. . . After a silent twenty-minute drive and Nate constantly clenching and unclenching his jaw, the car pulled along the curb and stopped. Karen held the coupon, crumpled during Nate’s debate over driving her or not, and smoothed it enough to read the address and recheck for the correct house number. She had ignored Nate’s silence for she knew well it was better to allow him to deal with being miffed and by the time they arrived, he would be over it and more interested in critiquing the place and less focused on egoistic ideals—that was the way of him, which she knew well. She was glad when he shut off the motor and began looking around the area. It was clear he was checking for a comfortable place to wait, as well as that she would be safe walking alone to the pleasantly innocent-looking little house. Whatever did he expect we’d find, she thought, glancing across at the searching Nate and smiling, inwardly. In that moment, Nate obviously spotted the donut shop directly across the street and seeing the delight brighten his face, it was clear he would find that cup of coffee and donut to keep him occupied for the next hour. This gave him reason to break the silence, acting as if nothing was out of the ordinary and even added an encouraging comment as Karen reached for the door handle. But, her mind was already ahead of her and she needed to hurry to follow them up the path toward this stranger’s little house. She sucked in a deep breath with every step, hoping to bolster courage, but it was harder to do with every footfall. “Why be so nervous, after all, this isn’t my first time at the circus. It’s probably a trait of tarot readers to be a little crazy, so this one shouldn’t be any weirder than Nate,” Karen said, mumbling as she walked and mused over how brave she needed to be. Managing a deep breath between footfalls, she thought it was enough to allow her to turn and run if she found anything to give a good enough reason—there seemed nothing, however, at least out here. “What is my problem? So far nothing unusual . . . the house looks pretty, normal gray siding and crimson shutters . . . well, it’s a normalcy that should bolster my courage. There’s no “Beware of Devil Dog” sign in sight and no flying monkeys on the roof.” Karen shook her head, realizing how silly she was being. Yet, that knowledge did nothing to quell the butterflies in her stomach. She glanced back at the safety of the car, but decided she was more than far enough to make fleeing a ridiculous choice and then resumed her approach of the gray house. When she noticed the little house was much like one in any suburban neighborhood, she began to relax a bit. “Oh, there’s really nothing out of the ordinary . . . doesn’t look like it’s haunted or worse . . . no, the lawn and shrubbery are all trimmed nicely and lots of obviously well-tended flower beds around or were during the summer months as they are now like everywhere else . . . frost-killed and DEAD! Oh, no, that’s not an encouraging idea, but . . . well here I am; no turning back now . . .” Karen was aware of the sound of her shoes scuffling on the concrete walk and now the change as they changed to dull thuds as she mounted the wooden steps up onto the porch. Karen stopped, uncertain and glancing off the porch to the side of the house where clusters of dry leaves were fluttering in the breeze from the few branches refusing to release them. There was a line of taller plant stalks below, still sporting brown seed heads that were emptied of their spawn, but determinedly pretending viability. Karen tried to image how pretty they must have been in mid-summer with flower children whose leaf hands would have been touching the next plant; playing a clever game of ring-around-the-rosy with the regal spikey iris whenever a warm breeze caressed them. Then she noticed the wrought iron posts – two of them, bolted on either side of an ornate iron sign – that were apparently intended to be inserted into the yard in front of the house. No obvious reason for them to be here, but Karen shivered to think this might be the omen she had expected, all along. Damn, but maybe I will be sorry I did this, after all, she thought as she read the lavender lettering--Valetta Birdcraft, Psychic Medium. Karen closed her eyes and took a deep breath then, deciding there was no point proving Nate right by turning back now, she pressed the doorbell. Instead of the expected “ding-dong” it emitted a breathless feminine voice. “Oh, welcome, dear. Come in, make yourself at home, running a bit behind today, be with you in a sec.” “Hah, said the spider to the fly,” Karen muttered, imaging that the voice belonged to a grandmother spider, wearing a white ruffled dust cap, flowered cotton dress and cooking-stained apron. She would most certainly cackle wickedly, like the wicked step-mother-witch, as she put the last touches on an enormous web surrounding her bait—still-warm-from-the-oven chocolate chip cookies. Smirking and shuddering at the image, Karen obeyed by turning the doorknob and pulling open the bright crimson painted door. She had barely stepped inside when seemingly invisible hands shoved the door shut behind her, bumping her to move her out of its wake. Shaken, but sure it was merely her own imagination run amok, she took a deep breath to calm her nerves and glanced around the room. Well, safe enough, no web to ensnare victims or . . . no, I don’t smell baking cookies, either, she mused with a nervous smile upon realizing the visual was apparently mistaken—again. Once her eyes adjusted to the dimmer light inside, Karen noted she was standing in a parlor that seemed much larger than she would have supposed from the outside. It was oddly over-stated and as cluttered with all eras and styles of mismatching furnishings. “This décor would be perfect to feature on a “what-not-to-do” page in any interior design magazine,” Karen whispered, swallowing the snicker lest the owner hear and be angry or insulted at a critique from an obviously dowdy client, who was clearly no expert on that subject. Since there was no sign of Valetta, at all, Karen let curiosity take her on a little tour of the room—there was just too much to peruse for her to simply sit and wait, patiently or impatiently. Directly in front across from the door where she stood, there was what she presumed to be a round card table, covered with an elegantly embroidered antique cloth with the longest piano fringe she had ever seen. It must be at least twelve inches and made of shiny black silk threads and its area looked to be velvet roses in the darkest shades that almost disappeared into its black background. On either side of the table were two teak or ebony wood, high-backed chairs, which stood so invitingly askew. But, Karen chose to ignore temptation to take up their offer and indulged her curiosity further by strolling on into the room. The entire wall on the right side of it were covered by floor-to-ceiling oak bookcases, entirely filled with a variety of greatly-aged leather-bound books, books of a modern glossy paper-back style, as well as the canvas-hard bound books, and books that could only be called tomes as they presented the impression of being filled with ancient authenticity. Karen almost purred, thinking how she would love to spend hours or days leafing through and reading from these shelves. Rather than let her fingers begin itching with the idea, she turned to look to the other side of the room, discovering a teak-wood sideboard, a lighter walnut armoire and a delicately carved wood trimmed fainting couch in an out-of-time lime green fabric—all posed side-by-side as old friends awaiting their permanent placement. Everywhere she looked, there were displaced brightly colored throw pillows that reminded her of multi-colored bloated toads using the somber furniture as they might lily pads. On every window, hung ivory lace sheers intended to filter the sunlight from outside. Instead, the room was darker than it should be for the apparent battle waged between the lace and the drapes of heavy maroon velvet that bordered each window, equally denying light’s entry. The wallpaper was just as dated as the rest—the Victorian style of gold gilt paper covered with an intricate patter of flowers, leaves and vines of dark red velvet flocking. Karen frowned, as a fuzzy memory flickered as if to escape the subconscious—but, vanished before she could remember where she had seen this type of wallpaper before. Just then, she heard Elvis Presley crooning from another room at the other end of this one. While the accompaniment of guitar and other musicians was definite, his sexy voice cracked, popped and mingled into white noise, typical of an old vinyl LP recording. Karen smiled, to think such an antique player could still work, let alone be working order. While the song was familiar, it was just as out-of-place and time as everything in this place. She was beginning to think she had walked into a museum or expansive antique shop, at least. The advent of the unusual music set her nerves on edge again. “Something is just wrong here . . . all too bizarre, like a hoarder’s nightmare or rather the same time machine as in the dryer and I’ve discovered where all those lost socks end up . . . or time machine clogged when stuff got stuck and dropped out of all eras,” Karen murmured to herself, but jumped guiltily when she heard a voice behind her. “Or perhaps all that and more . . . what if it’s just a place so wonderfully insane and yet mysteriously joyful at the same time. Just a crazy sort of time warp and I live right in the middle of it all?” Karen whirled to face the direction from which the voice had come. Pushing her hear behind her ears, she said, “Oh, I’m really sorry. I was just looking around.” She had meant to continue, expressing how everything occurred to her as symbolic of her own life; even for the irony of both having a similar level of absurdity—but, shame for snooping became as a cloud through which words became lost. Scrutiny had indeed, halted abruptly, but it was the sudden raucous scratch as someone dragged the phonograph needle across the grooved vinyl record that shattered the silence—and Karen’s nerves. Apparently, the same hand had just swiped aside the strands of a tacky purple plastic bead curtain to allow Valetta to make her version of a grand entrance. Karen was startled, realizing she had been so busy perusing the room, she had nearly forgotten the reason she was in it. She turned but misjudged where she had stood in the room and discovered her path was now blocked by a highly-polished, ebony Wurlitzer grand piano. Having passed it without noticing something so large and stable before, it occurred to her that it was the perfect metaphor for her current life situation—filled with misjudgments, utterly unmovable and mostly out of tune. “Probably should get someone to tune it . . . hasn’t played a note since my Henry passed. He was the musician, I never learned,” Valetta said, startling Karen. How had she flown from the beaded curtain and magically appeared beside me without making a sound, Karen thought, too fearful of the answer to ask. However, Karen allowed Valetta to gently take her hand and lead her back to the reading table and, when one of the high-backed chairs was pulled out for her, she sidled into it with an uncertain smile. “Oh, I know you are wondering about my unusual name, so I will just tell you,” Valetta said as she moved around the table and settled onto the other chair then scooched it until it was squared with the table before continuing. “Valetta is from my Spanish heritage . . . named after my very psychic grandmother, but the rest of the family is a mongrel mixture. Oh, I never care much about such details. I am a psychic medium, been all my life, knew it by the age of seven or so I was told, but don’t worry, I don’t mind your looking around . . . the house loves attention, friends or strangers, does not matter, it’s an attention monger,” Valetta said with a kindly smile. “Um, I was curious . . . the books were wonderful,” Karen said, but Valette continued her banter as if she had not heard. “Oh, I’m sure you found my house extraordinary . . . even a little weird, as weird as I am most people say, but I don’t get offended even when they call me a crazy, old crone or spooky witch or worse.” Valetta’s face and tone darkened; seemingly spitting poison off the words. In the next breath, she shrugged, raised her eyebrows and winked at Karen, displaying the same happy personality as she continued her banter; barely missing a beat of it. “Okay, enough of me . . . shall we settle down and get to your reading, after all you didn’t come to check out my furniture but to hear what my cards and guides have to say . . . right?” Karen merely nodded, too stunned by the changeable character across from her. It seemed clear that Valetta must have been chattering like this to put her at ease; apparently, it worked since the reading was about to begin now. Indeed, Karen took the cleansing breath and felt as relaxed as she had been in months—then smiled to indicate her readiness to trust Valetta. Karen guessed the psychic about 70 with a rather scrawny frame, which gave the impression of a little girl playing dress-up and the clothes hung in ragtag fashion. Still that experience of years was so evident by deep-set wrinkles on a kindly-grandmother face with such a beautiful, cheerful attitude toward life shining in her blue-gray eyes. Valetta rolled her silver hair into a loose bun at the nap of her neck and crowned it with a wide-brimmed black felt hat from which sprouted at least a dozen spikey feathers from a mysterious bird species, all black, sleek and iridescent. “Like my hat?” Valetta dropped her head, so Karen could get a better look and then reached across to the large blue pocket she had hand-stitched onto her black cotton blouse. After fishing in it for a moment, she emitted a cry of discovery. “AHAH!” Then, with the flourish of a Vegas magician, produced a purple satin drawstring bag, which Karen presumed contained her Tarot cards. However, Valetta laid it aside and reached for a larger green velvet pouch that lay on the other side of the table. Karen watched in silent awe as Valetta extracted a white taper, a long match and a candle holder then assembled them, finishing as she lit the candle – that is – after taking special notice of her incongruous clothing and ostentatious hat. While it might seem peculiar to some, Karen had years of designing belly dance costumes, so taking care with the ensemble stuck a chord in her heart—mulishly still angry at the recent loss of her intricately beaded creations that many jealous dancers called avant-garde behind her back and knowing that always had given her a secret thrill. While Valetta prepared the space, Karen let her thoughts drift away to costumes unfinished and dances un-danced. Old hurt rumbled within as a distant storm—fury both threatening and promising. She was instantly reminded herself that those emotions must be curbed, controlled and driven away—at least, until she felt strong enough for that battle. She felt jolted from reverie and glanced over at Valette. Could she have noticed? Apparently not, for she’s just sitting with her eyes closed . . . wonder why, but so relieved . . . Karen’s thoughts were racing. She shifted in her chair, uncertain of what was expected of her and when. This had made her more aware that her emotional storms might break free sooner than she could be ready. Oh, what if . . . one day soon, they run amok in some unknowable and unbelievably awful way—just please, not today and not in front of a stranger. I wonder . . . um, do I need to tell Valetta anything? “No, nothing, please. Just sit calmly, relax your mind, listen and breathe normally,” Valetta replied, without opening her eyes. Oh, God, somehow, she knows, but how can she know what I’m thinking? Karen worried, feeling more vulnerable than ever or she wanted to ever feel again. Anxiety turning to a mild form of panic roiled unbidden in her gut while the fog of uncertainty tried to cloud her mind. She sat almost angry at the delay that allowed these emotions to try running rampant—again. “Oh, yes, my dear one, YOU, too, are a gifted psychic. Do you remember?” Valetta had opened her eyes now and had begun shuffling the Tarot Cards. “What? Me? No, I’m a mess,” Karen stammered, rebelliously pulling back, but the chair seemed unwilling to move—probably just caught on the carpet. Valetta ignored the protest and handed Karen the cards, had her shuffle a moment and then choose eleven cards, which were then placed, face-up in a layout atop the table, Valetta took a deep contemplating breath and then, in a tone utterly deeper than her former tea party type banter. “I see things have been difficult for you these past few years, have they not? Yes, your aura is filled with a great deal of chaotic energy. Oh, yes, change is a difficult and painful process for you, but your sorrow will heal soon. You have left a relationship . . . by the way, one that is finished, totally. Are you ready for that?” “Not really, oh . . . maybe, but . . . I . . . well, everything is so jumbled up. Sometimes I just cannot think straight or . . . that’s most of the time, of late.” “Chaos, abuse, anger, sickness . . . it’s all energy and results the same. Even the beautiful lotus requires that its seed be planted and allowed to wallow in the sludge of the river bottom before it reaches for the sun. You are that lotus. Never forget that.” Valetta continued, accurately describing Karen’s life situation; Karen listened, staring from the cards, to Valetta’s face and back to the table covering where she traced its flowers with her right pointing finger. She had secreted her fisted left hand in her lap. There it tightened in a defensive way whenever something spoken was hurtful or memories caused heart-felt pain. But, when the reading fell silent above, that fist softened, dropping the pain and blood drawn by the reading to the floor. Valetta quietly smiled and gave words of reassurance that Karen would understand she needed time to contemplate her reading; putting a realistic perspective on both her past and the present. Karen felt a bit uncomfortable and wondered if this waiting and watching the changes in her face was part of Valetta’s usual practice or was there something else she was waiting to see? Then . . . Karen found out . . . The room slowly faded away with a low frequency hum. An image formed in Karen’s mind. A large copper-colored cobra crawled over her foot. She yanked away, snake bitten, poison infusing her whole being. Above and out of her visual range, something dark and ominous fluttered. She blinked through the haze at Valetta’s face, but that too changed becoming something large and bird-like. It was drawing the venom out, sucking it as a vulture, then kissing the wounds. Sharp talons gripped her shoulders painfully, carrying her up from the chair and far above the strange parlor. Soon this visual metaphor shifted the senses rather than landscape and she realized feeling forgiven and with a new willingness to be forgiving. This was the most pleasantly peaceful feeling ever and dare she desperately choose to just rest there. “Are you ready to come back?” That voice, Karen knew she should recognize it, but not quite . . . still it was intruding into this lovely brain space . . . No, not ready. Who dares intrude? The vulture flew off, leaving Karen there, sobbing ever so violently, but without tears. Then, the images shattered as had her grandmother’s antique mirror. The shards went trickling noiselessly to the ground or floor and vanished upon impact. Anger raged black by their loss. Karen reluctantly gave her hand to the faceless intruder and then followed her back to reality. “Um, I think my mind wandered,” Karen said aloud, blushing with surprised shock at what she had just witnessed or done . . . and being caught doing it. “Yes, indeed. I am very pleased at how easily you connected with Spirit and entered their world or the astral plane. It’s important now that you learn to control it.” “Um . . . I’m willing to try, but isn’t that all just imagination?” Karen asked. “You know better than that!” Valetta gave her that motherly look which both reprimanded and approved. “Just keep trying, that’s all we expect. So, when you return to Egypt . . .” “Egypt? No way, not possible. My divorce left me strapped. I can’t go across town on what I make now,” Karen said, shaking her head. “As I was saying,” Valetta held up her hand, “Egypt has much for you. Ah when . . . I see you going in mid-November. Yes. As for the money, don’t worry you shall have a settlement very soon. Use that.” Outside the wind whooshed against the window panes, determined to find an entry. “Storm’s brewing, glad I shut the windows. So, as I was saying, spiritual teachers appear in many forms. It’s up to us to recognize them . . . birds, animals, people, dreams, a symbolic happenstance anywhere, anytime. Even a passing stranger can be a tool . . . a catalyst, if you will, to make things happen, both good and sometimes bad. Read lots, of course, but learn to trust your intuitive self. Now, Egypt . . .” “You’re so sure, but I’m . . .” “Never mind, protesting wastes energy, just listen,” Valetta shook her head in exasperation. “I am merely the messenger; the spirits are the ones who drive the train or car. However, we or they are watching now to see the direction and choices you will make after today’s reading and this awakening to possibilities . . . although, only your free will can open the way. This moment is like a crossroads of life, so what will you do next? We of the spirit realm cannot interfere, but eagerly shall celebrate each choice as it comes to fruition; occasionally giving guidance along the way when appropriate . . . mostly using psychics and readers like me and your friend, Nate, of course.” “But, how. . .” Karen exclaimed, askance. “No matter, your prayer is already answered and one day you’ll understand the answer.” “I really don’t understand,” Karen said, scratching her head. “You will . . . but, only when you are ready, and the time is right, but speaking of time, I’m sorry that ours is nearly over and I’ve not told you what you came to hear.” “But I didn’t . . .” “Okay, then . . . what you need to hear,” Valetta corrected with a smile. “There are four things for you to remember when you are in Egypt. First, you will meet the goddess. Second, touch the stones and they will speak to you, telepathically or with mind images and dreams, which are the way of internal communication or how your psychic ability shall awaken. So, remember this . . . sense and feel, even the slightest energy can prove to be a key to navigating the ancient mysteries. There is a third, a key . . .you shall find a temple, but it is not a temple and will be found either by accident or the word of a villager; not a tour guide or one on the itinerary. The fourth is a warning—beware a yellow car.” “Do I avoid it as something to be dangerous or get me into something illegal?” “That will be your decision. After all, it could take you somewhere amazing.” “But how will I know?” “Alas, my dear, I cannot advise either way for it is a matter of spiritual testing,” Valetta said, straightened her body with a reaching stretch. “Funny things predictions. They might happen exactly as spoken or be altered by our influences, choices or the intervention by others. Either way, outcomes may differ, by the minute or hour. You see? That is what makes a psychic’s life un-predictable, wouldn’t you agree?” Karen’s mind reeled. She had no exposure to psychics or mediums, other than Nate, but had read of spiritual gurus with a variety of claimed abilities and who made such wonderous promises—but, Valetta had left her speechless and a head full of crazily racing disconnected thoughts. Valetta seemed a harmless old eccentric more likely to be seen pushing a shopping cart or gossiping over a teapot—instead, she had an incredible insight and had just displayed extraordinary psychic gifts. Karen had no words to describe what she had just experienced and wondered how she would ever share it with Nate—that is, if he was curious enough to ask and not let his ego get in the way and try to point out that Valetta was befitting the description of an old-time village witch and nothing more. No, Valetta had proven to be a gentle soul who was equally at home chatting with the spirit realm as discussing the weather. Quite the surprise for Karen who was leaving the session with a renewed confidence that her life was about to change for the better, as well as owning five cryptic messages that would surely prove valid and significant soon. Valetta gave Karen a moment to gather her wits then stood up and moved to pull Karen into a warm hug before shooing her toward the door. “Go on now, you have flying to do. I’d lend you my feathers, but yours will be golden; not black. Alas, I suppose wings are wings, and have no reason to worry if they carry a lowly scavenger or the lofty winged-predator. They are such fragile things, too easily broken and just as easily healed. They can soar on the earthly winds or rise on solar winds and reach the stars.” A perplexed Karen was then outside without remembering the transition, except for hearing the click of the door latching as punctuation concluding Valetta’s final expression. Karen was still dazed as she headed across the street and into the donut shop. She quickly spotted Nate, tucked in a booth about half way along the front windows and likely where he could keep watch for when she left Valetta’s. She caught his attention as his cup was midway to his lips, but when he caught sight of her walking toward him, he plunked it down. He jumped up and grasp her hands, pulling her forward into a strong hug. She chuckled at how frantic he seemed and needed to push away after a moment, so she could slide into opposite side of the booth and then talk. “Oh my God, I was worried that Ms. Birdcraft fed you to her pets or shoved you in her oven,” Nate said, jokingly yet his face registering concern. “Why? It wasn’t all that long,” Karen said while feigning innocence. “Uh-huh. Over the hour.” “Oh, sorry, I guess we lost track of time.” At that moment, the brusque waitress appeared, as if from nowhere, and distracted their banter with her noisy gum chewing and the steaming pot of coffee she carried. She plopped a stoneware mug in front of Karen and when Karen nodded, she filled it with the dark fragrant liquid, dropped a few packets of sugar and then splashed a warm-up into Nate’s cup before shuffling away. “Well?” Nate pressed, “Spill or I’ll shake it out of you!” “Gosh, I’m not sure where to begin, there was so much,” Karen shook two packets of sugar into her cup, deliberately fussing and sipping until he looked ready to burst before summarizing the reading. To concentrate, she focused her gaze on the snowy grains of sugar spilled beside her cup rather than be distracted by the changing expressions on his face. She moved the granules around as if trying to corral tiny cattle, looking up to emphasize her surprise. At first, Nate was too intent on her story to register that she had said that she would be going to Egypt on the trip out of Ella’s center, the one he had been begging her to join. She gave him a moment, grinning shyly and watched the shocked excitement wash across his expression followed by a girlish squeal. “You heard me right, Valetta was sure I’d have the money . . . she said so, but I can’t imagine Gregg will stop dragging his feet anytime soon. So, I’ll need the brochures, after all.” “Then, let’s go get them,” Nate said, excitedly stuffing a dollar under his empty cup. She leaned against his shoulder as they left the café, happy to have a friend who did not demand anything from her and who accepted her exactly as she was with no regard to how she might change over time. “Of all the gin joints, you walk into mine . . . So, babe, you and me at the Kasbah?” Nate droned in his best Humphrey Bogart voice, tipped an imaginary hat and opened her car door. “Wrong country, screwed up quotation and horrible Bogie,” she laughed, slapping his arm as she slid into the car seat. “So, I’m geographically challenged, but my Bogart isn’t that bad,” he sniffed, pretending to be insulted. “It’s just . . . well, I don’t know what Valetta told you, but I would like to kiss her for it. I mean Egypt with you . . . my dream come true!” “Or nightmare,” Karen laughed.
Full, fat, hungry moon grinning down upon the world, Fusing the darkness, creative, flowing from the void, Silent thoughts, things unreleased to dare forth But, only when the moon expends its fatness, Vanishing, its newness sizzling behind a conscious mind, Crackling whispers hidden behind moon’s gleeful grimace, Green cheese, cackles the witch, conjuring, drawing down, Moonlit dreams becoming as magic blooms, Pungent Odors of Datura Blossoms, loco known Moon madness, cackling geese, haunting laughter, Madness crackles in the heart space, Yet is this lunacy or pregnancy? The way lit by Moonlight where footfalls shall not falter For imagination is born from madness glorified.
This is the 2nd part of the study of the Tarot, Death Card, #13 (XIII) and one of the Key 22 in a Tarot Deck. As promised, part 2 will be an examination of its aspects, broken down and as they connect to the rest of the Tarot . . . and to LIFE ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Returning to the discussion of the Death Card, let me remind you NOT to assume it brings BAD NEWS! Just because it is covered in spooky imagery and does bring an appropriately negative message – every coin has two sides for otherwise why would anyone want to toss, asking to get an answer from either side, “heads or tails? In the case of this card, one side suggests fearful things, darkness and negativity; the other surprisingly suggests things that are lightness, hopeful for change for the better and the positivity in a new dawn. Both equally imply an ENDING or a DEATH of something—and only rarely point to a person’s physical demise. I prefer using “TRANSITION” when speaking of the Death Card; while it means the same thing, it is less apt to elicit images of the worst possible kind. The artwork of most tarot Death Cards are dark and dramatic, to say the least, and push the mind off the edge and into a chasm of terrible conclusions, cause them to make irrational or invalid conclusions to their question or current situation. It is important to always remember any interpretation depends on the entire layout, because none of its cards are a stand-alone within the reading. Rather, each are like the supporting roles in a drama, which is based upon the variety of questions presented by the querent; the Death Card (in this example) would be like the starring role, but it is not operating as the stand-alone, but depends on its surrounding characters to present the appropriate interpretation for this reading. Only then can its “characterization” be presented, verified and reconciled, accordingly as it relates to the question or situation of the querent. My analogy will hopefully clarify the importance of not taking the Death Card – or any of the Major Arcana; even any card of a Tarot Deck – for whatever impact it first presents and taken solely for its dramatic impression; thus, jumping to any conclusion, that is, UNLESS the reading is being done as a “SINGLE CARD DRAW” such as pulling a “card of the day or situation” as a brief and direct response to a question. There is more to interpreting the Tarot or Oracle cards and readers study and practice for years to perfect this skill. I was taught to read by throwing away (not literally) the instruction book that came with my deck and studying thru meditations and using my clairvoyance for gaining my own “gut” feelings for each card based on the “story the artist was imparting to me in their deck” – Then, after that, I would add the standardized suggestion for interpreting their deck by comparing my ideas to that instruction booklet—surprised to find how similar both were when compared side-by-side. I merely mention that to express that cards like the Death Card and other of the more dramatic Major Arcana are NOT singly interpretable by anyone who understands the depth and various aspects contained within their appearance, as well as all the conceptualized meanings that must be considered during any reading in which they might “fall”.
If you remember anything about the Death Card, remember this: Its deception is that of something to fear, elicit deep concern and oftentimes leap to the utter worse conclusion about what it just implied in a reading---That is only true for the first impression, but the truth is this: “there is nothing in the darkness that is not there in the light of day or nothing that a flashlight won’t reveal and thereby remove the reason to fear it. (That’s what my wise old grandmother used to tell this kid who was SO terrified of the dark, she sometimes could not sleep for fear doing so would mean she would be eaten or worse by whatever hid under the bed – true story. The Death Card may seem to be the dark harbinger of terrible things, death or disaster—but he is merely the messenger and whether we perceive his tidings as good or bad is up to us.
The design of the card, makes me think the artist intended to get attention! Forcing us to heed it and whatever meaning applicable to the reading -- and RIGHT NOW! Indeed, we can be initially shocked or choose to disregard this card, but the dark and dramatic design forces a sense of urgency to understand how it applies to life situations or experiences. It is usually because it has been left stagnating from inattentiveness or fear of what will occur if we try changing it—i.e. an unhealthy marriage, depression or a series of bad financial or business decisions, to name a few. The Death Card plainly states that further ignorance of the need to correct or change what has been bad and maybe getting worse – with no sign they are going to get better on their own – is at an OR ELSE point. People who become mired in a problem and continue in denial of the drastic aspects of it, almost always have either the Death Card or the Tower appear in their reading. Yes, both of those cards indicate the need to take intentional movement toward changing things, nurturing a new attitude toward the why and how of it and encourages immediate rearrangement of the details so it can be corrected or allowed to die off and begin again. There are so many things for which Death Card means to suggest that something or everything has reached a most chaotic level and it becomes merely a messenger of this with an intention to make the sharpest of points--and sooner than later! This can point to a potentially physical demise or ending (of the individual or a loved one), but never singly. Instead, it requires the appropriate card-actors in supporting roles alongside it. The variety of troublesome situations it may indicate as pending and in need of change, include: a serious health malady, cancer, marriage/divorce, drug or alcohol abuse or a variety of physical abuses (child or adult), a suicidal tendency, drastic financial woes or bankruptcy, erroneous or illegal dealings in business, etc. or unhealthy lifestyle (personal or material). The key to dealing with such things presented by a tarot reading, especially as those of the Death Card, is realistically difficult, but one part of it is simple—taking the first step by deciding one wants to correct things and escape sinking into the quicksand that seems to be gradually pulling them in to some form of oblivion. Both legally and ethically, I cannot go beyond informing them what the tarot or oracle cards (particularly the Death Card) have shown them, but I do suggest that if they want to take the steps to change then they should seek professional or medical advice, immediately and accordingly. Rarely, do I get to know if the querent did anything toward correcting things or changing their fear-based thought processes. While I hope they will walk away from the reading, eagerly seeking some new beginning for their life and, at least, begin aiming for a brighter, more hopeful and positive NEW dawn—and sooner rather than later. Naturally, there perhaps equally as many readings where the querent refuses the message; even becoming belligerently resistant and occasionally crosses their arms as a barrier to their heart during the reading. While I can do my best to gently and calmly encourage them to “at least consider the message and/or suggestions” I cannot force them to hear a word I say; then I leave it up to their guides and Spirit to let the cards plant the seeds that will sprout at some later date and flower as inspiration—but, that can happen ONLY when they are READY to be willing for the message to take hold . . . and so it goes . . .
The KEY to the Death Card is simple: while it speaks to something that needs immediate consideration in life and throws a giant hint that one should stop procrastinating or pretending the situation does not exist, it urges the finding of one’s inner strength and refreshing self-esteem in a positive way, so the way becomes clear to deal with life’s many challenges and correct what needs correcting. This can be summed up simply … once the mind is set to it and the heart is ready and willing; then remind yourself to address the issue and then . . . “LET GO OF IT” “LET IT DIE or CHOOSE TO KILL IT OFF (figuratively, of course) . . . become thusly “FREE OF IT AND ITS INFLUENCE ON YOUR LIFE” . . . Lastly, continually remind yourself of your intentions until the change is occurring, as well as the darkness of it is going or gone. Indeed, that fearful stigma of the Death Card will then be erased as evident when one sees the light of the New ideas, concepts and personal plans becomes a NEW DAWN/BEGINNING for a NEW DAY . . . and a NEW YOU in so many unimaginable ways as symbolized in the STAR or SUN cards. Now, we have established the Death Card as a messenger – NOT the automatic harbinger of BAD NEWS or DEATH. But, that it can just as often be one bringing GOOD NEWS or OFFERING for a HEALING – that is, if we avoid the temptation to stare aghast at the dramatic imagery or immediately presume the very worst is at hand. Better to consider that it indicates that life has reached a “crossroads” and choices are required, regarding the balancing between the positive and negative aspects of whatever the situation that is being presented in a reading. Simple? Well, maybe a little, but that requires that the impact of Death needs to be scrutinized from every angle—not just one sporting shock and awe, alone. Remembering to refer to the Death Card as one of “TRANSITION or TRANSMUTATION” rather than being just the epitome of DEATH in all its many forms; the ending of things that are outdated, used up and no longer have any validity to the querent and then leaving it at that. As a transition/transmutation, there is a suggestion that there is HOPE or healing to the situation rather than a slam-dunk drastic end, as if one just drove headlong into a wall and shattered their stubbornness beyond repair. While a querent may be embroiled in any of the situations previously listed (or a variation thereof), but if the interpretation of the Death Card were to simply validate the direness and/or suggest the querent must continue wallowing in the same depression or pain, there would be no point to having a reading. If the message of the Death Card merely showed the querent they were having negative problems and feelings of hopelessness, but it was left there; well there would be no point in having a reading, in the first place. Instead, the truth of the direness of a situation is evident, but the “other side of the Death Card-coin” is what is more important—essentially the interpretation should focus more on the latter aspect of the card, which give it more validation than anything else. Instead of leaving the dark and fearful side of the card-coin face up on the tabletop, wisdom flips it over, focusing then on the hope presented by its lighter/positive side and the reminder that the Death ends the problems and returns to center stage the probabilities for healing and hopefulness of any of the fear or darkness. That transitional aspect of the dramatic Death Card is just as importantly one of realizing that the darkness of the figure of Death can be imagined flipped over, changing its costuming from black to white robes and its horse from white to a shiny black steed. Think for a moment of that possibility . . . Would the “other side of this coin” be partially or totally reversed; the negativity of the situation, symbolized with black then become the positivity of the situation, costumed then in white robes? Might the skeleton flesh out, shifting to a more humanly warm attitude toward things? Might the horse turn black, but glisten as an onyx gem of positivity and protection? Would this reversal shift from a warning to a suggestion to heal the attitude of self-loathing, weakness or lousy self-esteem that could have caused the problem to strengthen its hold on the heart? Might he ride forth with saddlebags filled like a doctor’s bag, packed with all manner of healing instruments and measures—or would they be tossed alongside the road and the rider return to skulking in alignment with the darkness, fear and self-hate; as a quick lunch to devour what is left of the self-esteem and faith in one’s abilities, etc. Would he go galloping into the Dawn to meld happily into the sunrise or melt sullenly back toward the darkness?
I will next examine the Death Card’s complexity expanding its application based on other areas of life that may or may not be so obvious:
PHYSICAL: Since the Death Card has been examined as it applies to many life-threatening situations, including the occasion it and its supporting cards suggest a potential for physical demise of someone. The other areas that related to the physical aspect of the card would be mundane or material situations that have the greater chance of causing harm or chaos in life: i.e., any life situation that has reached a critical point such as -- health or healing, abusive situations, negative marital problems or divorce, dubious partnerships, indulging in illegal activities, harmful actions toward the self or others, familial problems, real estate discrepancies, dangerous tasks, hobbies or employment, suicidal or self-abusive tendencies, dangerous excursions or a warning of troubled waters ahead and anything that may have the potential of bodily or physical harm. Certainly, the Death Card can relate to matters of finances, business endeavors or marital issues, but usually will show up when such matters have become bad or have the potential of the stress reaching dire/dangerous levels and there is a chance for real trouble that will require intervention or assistance by others, such as professionals in legal, health, financial or marital/family issues. There are usually other cards that indicate the area involved, which can be Wands for business or legalities, Cups for marital or family issues, Pentacles for financial or real estate/property things and Swords for mental, ideas, communication problems, as examples that support or define and enhance the mundane/physical aspects presented by the reading and especially the Death Card focusing on the issue or task, at hand. All-in-all, the Death Card may be interpreted as a warning and some people will declare they do NOT want to hear anything bad, refute there is a problem or demand avoidance of any touchy subject, others just sit in utter denial with arms crossed as a blockade against hearing what they would rather not face. That is fine, but I always remind them of the wisdom in listening to the Death Card’s warning, just because – being forewarned is forearmed.
EMOTIONAL: Basic human emotions always emerge from deep within and rear semi-ugly heads at the advent of pain or trouble. Some people become emotional wrecks at the slightest hint of change to their normal world; others are barely scathed, at all. Of course, we all intend to be aspiring to greater things, learning or spiritual enlightenment/growth. We do so by attending to things of the Heart (Chakra or the Seat of Emotions). When life digs itself a deep rut and becomes disrupted by something out of the blue that threatens well-being of the heart-centered mundane world, they better not have become immune to the effects so much they cannot comprehend changing it. Trouble is like a mangy cur-dog, hounding your every move and constantly nipping at your heels with every step until you relent and stop to feed it or do its bidding—a vicious cycle or self-dug ditch (rut) in which one repeats the same mistakes and makes the same erroneous sort of decisions, unable to notice how they are acting as the needle on a broken record (an analogy for those “young” enough to remember when tiny metal needles fit into the arm of a record player, transferring music out of the minute grooves cut into large black vinyl disks (records). The Death Card can be like the uninvited house guest with the dirtiest, vilest habits, but we have no courage to kick them out because we convince ourselves that it would be bad manners or there we are obligated to them for some reason—all the while the situation gets worse by the day; and the Death Card continues to appear in readings until something changes and we get control of our emotions and realize we need to honor the self as much as others. Therefore, the Death Card can relate to things like changes to a life cycle, such as graduation, marriage, divorce, birth, age-related things like retirement, career change or about any life decision that requires consideration of the practicalities, but also the heart’s desire. Cyclical changes to a life can be welcomed eagerly or resentfully faced, but cannot be avoided for otherwise makes life a process of trudging through it methodically or stagnating in one place, convinced it’s the best for us and we are happy—that’s not to imply either are NOT okay as a life situation, but change is inevitable and should not come as a disagreeable figure of Death/ending to something, but a challenge that opens new doors and begins new cycles as the Death Card offers the new dawn—and so the term “transition” is befitting of the emotional aspects related to the appearance of this card; more than not. Because the Death Card is the major indicator of when a life cycle is undergoing completion as something pends replacement, there also may be a wave of soul growth accompanying the process. It is such times that may wash away old weaknesses, thoughts of denial or stubborn resistance, and fear – all of which obscure the truth of the changes and blurs the fact the heart (emotions) is the master of love, peace, compassion and self-assurance. Thus, I reiterate how the Death Card can bring a new comprehension of what is changing and why, as well awaken to the fact that CHANGE is NOT the ENEMY, but the MEANS of conquering darkness, fear and any emotional struggle. The full intention behind this card is in seeking the key to the door, which frees us from a place of fear or depression and opens it to a place of . . . INSPIRATION.
ELEMENTAL: Earth is the basic element. Is that on which the Grim Reaper of the death card so nonchalantly trots. The practice of magic, earth represents the physical, material world, financial matters and then which we manifest in our daily lives; both necessary and the frivolous. The indication here is that all fall prey to being shattered and broken beneath the hooves of the reaper's horse and cannot forever duck the swing of his powerful scythe, which so indiscriminately harvests souls or all manner of material goods. Partially burned in the mud are figures representing the physical realm and indicate how all earthly endeavors must return to ashes/earth. Losing to the temptations of the world thus dismembers one from the higher realm of spirit; allowing only the seeking of the material world and its treasures rather than the truth and a soul’s true purpose. The Death Card emphasizes how all eventually face the elemental landscape in its darkest forms until they learn to shine a light onto the path toward higher goals. Thus, the Death Card reveals its lighter side and suggests that change will bring a better more positive cycle if we will or can accept it—or at least work toward owning it. Among the aspects of this section are the four elements as they are applicable to the Death Card and its demand for change, enlightenment and new awareness: EARTH—already discussed as it applies to the grounding of events of a life and the implication of the artwork that earthly matters can tear us apart, bury us under foot of issues that seem impossible to comprehend or change and swallow the soul into darkness and depression as a result of our ills, woes and frustrations. WATER—the figure of Death be the Ferryman taking departed souls across the River Styx, symbolic of water as emotions and the equalizer of all; the Cups of the Tarot as in the cup running over with love, hope, peace as the ideals for which all strive to have in their life and thus the highest form is unconditional love. This element is applicable to human strength and the truth is that the Death Card cannot take more than its due . . . or what we are willing to give. FIRE—this is the imagery of construction of the old, fiery energy required to kick things into forward gear if they are destroying mind, body or heart in some way; destroy by flames the old and outdated (figuratively) and presents ways what has been apparently laid waste, can then be rebuilt/renewed. A perfect example of how FIRE is the extreme healer is in a forest fire started by the strike of lightning from above (God-sent inspiration striking the mind) that turns a forest to ash—but, from those ashes, new sprouts follow with the next rain and demonstrate Nature’s ability to refresh, renew and flourish after the storm. The Death Card figure cannot render any worse destruction nor prevent the sunrise that shall reappear once its chaotic reign has completed the cycle. All elements have positive and negative aspects – the other side of each coin – and yet, remain always in a state of balance unless human ego interferes in some way, i.e., the danger lies in allowing ego to take the reins of Death’s horse.
Therefore, when the Death Card appears in a reading, calmly take its message and remember there are two sides to every story—one that assesses the situation and attends to a battered self-esteem; the other that embraces the promise it offers for a new dawn/beginning or the end of a life cycle that has outlived its value to your life. Focus less on the current chaotic state of things and more on setting your sights on avoiding the quicksand at your feet and how you can leap over and out of this moment to embrace a change for the better—even if there are no leaps possible; then take a hop or two or slow and steady steps toward your revised goals. Oh, indeed, GO ON . . . EMBRACE CHANGE as the long-awaited champion, waving a banner painted with a NEW DAY . . . and a NEW YOU!