Sunday, 15 September 2013

Interpretation of the Death Tarot Card = 13 by Lynda Stevens

Death (Tarot Card) - Number 13

The Death card in the Major Arcana corresponds to the number 13, as if to underscore its lurid reputation for the faint-hearted. James Bond-style movies must surely have a lot to answer for, where to receive this card during poker at high noon does tend to be followed by a nasty demise for its recipient!

This may be why the card has been given what appears to be euphemisms in some more recently published packs with names like "close" or "regeneration". The creator of this deck respects views such as these, but still believes the whole subject may better lose its sting only where it is exhumed into the light of day.

Astrologically, this card corresponds to the sign Scorpio, which does in fact "rule" the mysteries of birth, sex and death - all of which tend to be taboo subjects. The pumpkin in the top left panel is a reminder that the festival Halloween occurs while the sun - the life giver - is in this sign. This is precisely when the life force in nature appears to have departed, leaving behind only the dead leaves and the old shells, of which the pumpkin is one. The ghouls, ghosts and vampires which refuse to rest in peace as they should, perhaps to reflect the fear that nothing may ever come to take their place, and that these creatures themselves may fear that there is no other future for them beyond their vicarious twilight zone of unbeing. This is Death at its most gothic.

The Perennial Wisdom, however, has always perceived hope, while the angst of the years preceding the millennium has only recognised its absence. Spring then will always follow the encroaching winter, the awakening will follow the hibernation, the butterfly hatch from the pupa - shown in the top right panel. What may seem like death is really only the necessary prelude to the transformation that will follow, if only we have faith during the long wait in between.

This, in ordinary situations, may be a very difficult thing to do. The Grim Reaper's scythe may demand a total, clean sweep of things, but it is something from which many people will hold back. The spectre of the big death may well hide behind the fear of the small deaths everybody has to make in life, as they leave one stage of development for another.

In other words, Death is really about change, and the subsequent fear of it. The latter may be reflected in one individual's fear of leaving home, another's reluctance to discard the habits of a lifestyle they may have outgrown, or the mother who refuses to attend her daughter's wedding.

The rewards, however, are great whenever the individual does cut away the dead wood in their life. A move to a new location may indeed involve some sadness over the bonds that may be left behind, for example, but the conditions have been created for the individual to carve out a new and more satisfying future.

It should be obvious by now that Death takes that process of letting go further than does the Hanged Man. The Death card can have a powerfully purgative effect on an individual's life, ruthless stripping away those ties and beliefs which no longer serve any great use. For those who want radical change in their lives, the Death card is an enormously positive factor once its process is understood.

By Lynda Stevens
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