Letting Go and Dealing with “Death”

8: Death (Tarot deck unknown)

Don’t let the name of the card discourage you just because it’s Death.  I can’t tell you how many times people freaked out and said “Oh my God! It’s Death!!! Am I going to die?!” I just laugh because part of this card’s message is about the unknown.  This card is misunderstood on many levels so let me clear up the unknown message here.

We are all going through a transition while here in college.  A lot of it has to do with ending things and beginning a new opportunity.  That is the main message that the Death card entails; the death of something but the birth of something else.  Now, we all know that the human body eventually dies off so there is no subject like that whatsoever regarding this card; it is not physical death.  It’s basically about change—ending something, but beginning something else in its place.

Some decks draw Death as a skeletal figure dressed as a Knight riding on a horse.  I chose to illustrate the Deviant Moon Tarot deck, obviously very differently illustrated, because I found that this illustration had a better picture of what’s going on.  Picture if you will the little creature being trampled upon as the person that is you that you want to change.  The bigger creature is then you that you should be transforming yourself into.  Basically what I’m trying to say is that we need to stop our old habits and move on.  The creatures illustrated are also drawn with a skeletal head of a horse.  This represents our basic instinct of when we know when it’s time to let go.  There is also a ship in the background which symbolizes our old habits being sailed away.

Forgiveness is another message Death generates.  It’s to “bury the hatchet” and let go of our rage and bitterness.  Having done that, Death will give us energy to give a whole new perspective on attentiveness and development.   But the flip side is that not many of us are so easily accustomed to change.  Even though in our minds we may know that it’s time to move on, we subconsciously create a wall of excuses and we stay where we are.  It kind of serves as a security blanket because of the familiarity it provides.  So we may stay in an emotionally harmful relationship or a bad job all because we know what to expect and are too afraid to see what else is out there; what may be available in the future—the unknown.  But if we build up the strength to let all the old habits go, we can create for ourselves a more genuine experience.

But to gain this experience, we must be able to create closure, forgive, and basically just let go of what might be standing in the way of our future plans.  The “shadow” side to the Death card is that you could end up ending the relationship or projects in an untimely way or as the book by Paul Quinn, Tarot for Life, states “affecting an attitude of nonattachment as a defense against the fear of loss.”  This means that we could be denying the truth when we’ve lost something or refusing to let go and move on.

So, like it is portrayed in the Death card shown, overpower your old self, let the ship take away your old bad habits, and begin something that you’ll really appreciate in the end.  One last sentence that Quinn said that stuck with me also was, “the ego’s fears of losing control are as intense as its terrors of a literal demise.”

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