Last night’s monthly tarot gathering was about Tarot and Death, focused primarily on Trump # 13, the good ol’ Death card itself. The format alternated between council-like sharing of personal insights and observations from each participant and a few pieces of information provided by me.
I read a story from Mary Greer’s 1996 newsletter written by a woman who pulled cards from the William Blake Tarot each night that reflected her husband’s process of dying. The images and concepts were so aligned with what was happening that she gained a real sense of the journey being watched over by Spirit.
We each contributed observations about whatever version of the Death card we were holding and I offered some alternative names for it from various decks. For example:
- Transformation (both the William Blake Tarot and Osho Zen Tarot)
- Sunset (Medicine Woman Tarot)
- Washer at the Ford (Arthurian Tarot)
- Phoenix (Daughters of the Moon Tarot)
- Pharon (A Poet’s Tarot)
- Sleeping Beauty (Inner Child Cards)
- Crone (A New Women’s Tarot)
- Passage (Bright Idea Deck)
I offered some meanings, reflections, and contexts for the 13th Major card based on its correpondences with Scorpio and the Hebrew letter Nun.
People created mandalas based on one keyword for Death (check out Nina Lee Braden’s way of doing this in Llewellyn’s 2008 Tarot Reader) and gained fresh insights and questions from those by contemplating them, breathing them, and journalling about them. They then used these inspired questions as the basis for personal readings which they did in partners. It was heartwarming to see and hear people really dialoguing over the cards about questions that mattered to them.
We experienced a guided Death meditation/journey by Mary Greer that can be found on page 112 of The Pagan Book of Living and Dying, edited by Starhawk and M. Macha Nightmare, then harvested the wisdom of the evening by responding to the question, “What do you take with you in your heart and mind from this evening’s tarot experience?” I was deeply moved when one fellow said that it was powerful to confront terrifying questions that potentially crack our lives right open.
All in all, a satisfying evening of tarot exploration. Thank you to Janet for the delicious figs with parmesan! Because of you, we were fed in body as well as in soul.