Death

death.jpg  For Friday the 13th, what better card than Card #13, the Death card?

Nothing scares the novice questioner like turning over this card.  There’s a skeleton, holding a large scythe, mowing down everything in his path, and you are next.  Isn’t that what the old Gypsy lady tells the dear young thing in the movies?  But unless the querent dies of a heart attack upon hearing these words, the Death card does not always mean your number (13?) is up.   Sure, if you are approaching your 100th birthday or you (or the someone you are inquiring about) is very sick, this card might be telling you to prepare for the final journey.  But it can also signal changes or transitions of a less final but equally traumatic sort.

This card is about endings, but it is also about beginnings.  All things must die or end so that new things can be born.  Winter must come before spring can arrive.  Shiva dances the dance of creation but also of destruction.  Reincarnation says we die only to live again….and again….Death strips us “to the bare bones”, we are transformed from living flesh to dry bones- and we have no choice in the matter.  That’s the scary part about Death, and about what this card signifies- involuntary, traumatic, catastrophic change.  Loss of a job, of income and security, becoming homeless, being stripped of all precious and irreplaceable people, or beliefs about ourselves or others, or in Life itself.  Loss of Hope.

But this card is also about perspective.  These apparent losses or destructions, when viewed from a higher perspective, or from the position of seeing the whole instead of the limited view, are necessary transformations that allow new growth, rebirth and creation to occur.  It’s a sacrifice that one makes unwillingly but one that leads to resurrection and life.  It’s a challenge, to view what appears to be “bad” (as in bad luck!) in it’s proper context of necessary. 

For meditation on today’s card, I challenge you to live with Death for a day.  Get your Death card out of your chosen deck, and carry it around with you.  Pretend today is Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) and put reminders of death all around you, your home, your workplace.  Now, we’ve all heard of living as if this were your last day on Earth, but really make this specific.  How would you treat your spouse, parent or child if today was your last day with them?  How would you survive if tomorrow you lost your job, your income, your health?  Deep, conscious meditation on death, loss and endings can lead to voluntary changes that are creative, life-affirming and positive.  Many Death cards also show a rising sun in the background- Open the door to Death and walk towards the Light.

 

 

The Emperor

 

 

 

 

Card of the Day~ The Emperor~ 5.13.07 

Major Arcana Card #IIII, Marseilles Deck, entitled L’Empereur

A man dressed in armor sits regally on his throne, wearing his crown and holding his scepter, obviously at ease with himself and the power he wields.  He is the picture of confidence and authority, lord of his domain and in total control.  He rules his empire with a solid and firm hand, his subjects obey his every command, and all is achieved through the strength of his will. 

The Emperor card is about control and about power.  It is about authority, either your own over all the aspects of your life or someone else’s authority over you.   Pretend that you have just decided to do a meditation and visualization for yourself using a Tarot card drawn at random.  Now pretend that the card that you draw is the Emperor.  Do you immediately recognize that the card represents you (it can be you, even if you are a female)?  Or do you feel it is showing you someone else with great amount of influence over your life- a father, husband or dominating woman?  If you feel that the card is you, how do you feel about it?  Are you glad to be in control, or is the weight and responsibility of wearing the crown and guiding your kingdom a burden that you would like to lay down?  If the card represents someone else, is this someone a “natural” authority in your life, or someone you have allowed to usurp your throne?  Who’s really in control here?  And finally, are we ever really in control, or is that just a comforting illusion that we live under?  What would it be like to give up our illusions of control?

If you are keeping a journal, write, draw, collage your impressions as you do this meditation and visualization.  If you are not keeping a journal, why not begin one now~ or share with us here in the Comments.

The Empress

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Card of the Day~ The Empress~ 4.3.07

Major Arcana Card #III, Marseilles Deck, entitled L’Imperatrice.

The Empress sits, royally dressed, on her throne holding her scepter and wearing her crown.  She is a resolute woman of action, in charge of a kingdom and using her intellect and capabilities to rule over her subjects wisely and fruitfully.  All things grow well under her care and are nurtured to successful completion.

The Empress seems like an overwhelmingly positive card (see also The Empress under the Card pages).  Is there a “down” side to this card?  What about when the card is drawn in the reversed or upside-down position?  Some interpretations for this negative aspect are the use of “feminine wiles” or guile, of getting what one wants through subterfuge or lies, of infertility and infidelity.  These seem like very patriarchal interpretations to me; what are your thoughts on the reversed position for the Empress card?

The High Priestess

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Card of the Day~ The High Priestess~ 3.27.07

Major Arcana card #II, Marseilles Deck, entitled La Papesse or Junon.

The Priestess, in her royal robes and crown, is seated on her throne in her temple.  She holds the Book of Wisdom and the Ages, in which is recorded all conscious knowledge and all that is the unconscious collective.  She is the Queen of esoteric and arcane wisdom, and she may- or may not- reveal what you need to know.

The Fool, after choosing his tools from the Magician, now encounters the High Priestess.  She can tell him what to do with the tools, and where to go next, and everything he needs to know- but will she?  Think of her as Glinda, the Good Witch in Oz, when she sets Dorothy off down the Yellow Brick Road.  Glinda knows that Dorothy has the power to return home right then, but she “needs to learn it for herself”.  And so the High Priestess does not answer all the Fool’s questions, but she will give him just enough to point the way to enlightenment.

The Magician

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Card of the Day~ The Magician~ 3.25.07

Major Arcana Card # I, Marseilles Deck, entitled Le Bateleur.

A Magician stands before a table upon which are placed items signifying the four suits of cards: Swords, Wands, Coins and Cups.  It is the only card in the Tarot deck that refers to all four suits and they each represent various strengths or weaknesses, or perhaps pathways and inclinations, or perhaps…?  The Sword of the Mind and Will, the Wand of Magic and Spirituality, the Coins of Success and Possessions, and the Chalice of Emotions and Passions.  Some interpretations say these are the items that the Fool was carrying in her/his pack, others that the Magician created them.  The Magician knows but does not tell.

How do you interpret this card?  Are you the Magician or is he someone else?  Did the Fool carry these tools in the pack, or were they created by the Magician?  What is the Fool to do with them?  What do the tools represent to you?

The Fool

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Card of the Day: The Fool  3.24.07

The card pictured above is from the Marseilles Deck, entitled Le Mat. 

First card of the Major Arcana, it is not numbered. 

A youth sets out on a journey, not knowing or caring where the path leads or what they will encounter.  Accompanied by an animal companion and carrying a sack with all their possessions, he/she expresses their joy in the infinite possiblities ahead, the excitement of the journey, and hope in the future.  But folly is also here, and immaturity, and carelessness. 

If you have a Tarot deck, get out the Fool card.  Place it in front of you and allow its meaning (or meanings) to reveal themselves to you.  What does it say to you?  Can you relate this card to yourself?  What does it mean to start out on a journey as a Fool?  Other decks call this card by other names; do they speak more to you about this card’s meaning?

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