A couple of nights ago, Joanna Powell Colbert, via the Gaian Tarot Circle, led a teleseminar on the Death card in the Gaian Tarot. I was unable to participate directly this time, but listened to the reocrding of it the next morning. After listening to this beautiful conversation, I was struck by how many of us need music, ceremony, and respectful holding/witnessing in times of death, whether that of a person or that of a situation or idea.
What emerges for me from this version of the Death card and the conversation around it is that it’s not death itself that people are afraid of or uncertain about, it’s dying. Questions such as, “Will I feel it?”, “Will it be painful?”, “If it’s painful, will I be aware of that pain and begin to panic about it?”, “If it’s violent, will I feel everything?” ,”Is there anything beyond dying that I’ll become aware of?” and “Will that be the total end of me?” come to mind. So it’s very good to know about the sacred work of people like Nora Cedarwind who is a midwife to the dying. To be held, washed, and sung to is a reassuring alternative to entering a mindspin about what might happen.
As tarot practitioners, perhaps we’re also called, in a sense, to be midwives of death/dying. Relationships falter, jobs end, friends betray trust, people give up a familiar home to move somewhere else. There is, I believe, a piece of the unconscious that experiences *all* change as death. How might we tarot folks find the courage to shepherd, companion, and midwife those who come to us with their concerns about life’s changes, transitions, and endings? How might we carry out that shepherding, companioning, and midwifing with grace? Going back to my first sentence, perhaps we could remember that a tarot consultation is a ceremonial holding of the situation and we can do our best to shape an experience that honours what is happening for people. How might YOU do so? I’d love to hear about that.