Every exit is an entry somewhere else.” — Tom Stoppard
I remember the moment like it just happened. I was sitting at a small table, facing a tarot reader with a deck of cards. She handed them to me, asked me to shuffle them, cut them or whatever I chose. I did so, handed them back and then, one by one, she placed them face up in a pattern before me. Then that card came up. The card that no one likes to see. Number 13. The skeleton. The white rose. Death. She sensed my apprehension and smiled. I couldn’t imagine why, having just drawn the worst card in the deck.
“It’s not what you think,” she told me. “The death card doesn’t mean you are going to die soon. It is a symbol of transformation, of change.”
That soothed my feathers, but it still haunted me.
Tarot readers, according to Wikipedia, use the following words to interpret the Death card: ending of a cycle, loss, conclusion, sadness, transition to a new state, finishing up, regeneration, elimination of old patterns, good-byes and deep change.
I like this one: being caught in the inescapable.
Geraldine Amaral, a longtime tarot student who uses the cards to communicate with the unconscious mind [see www.tarotcelebrations.com] wrote inNexusmagazine that the Death card often “heralds the end of a familiar or more comfortable mode.” She reminds us that Joseph Campbell described times of personal change as periods when “the familiar life horizon has been outgrown; the old concepts, ideals and emotional patterns no longer fit; the time for the passing of a threshold is at hand.”
The Death card is at hand for humanity.
Look no further than at current events, the dire warnings of collapse and bleak prognosis for the future, juxtaposed by a new president who is heralding change: replacing tired, old ways of doing things with approaches that work for these times.
Last month, I invited several friends who have long explored the evolution of human consciousness to begin sharing their perspectives in this magazine.
Chris LaFontaine, who along with Michele Mayama has been instrumental in helping us understand the underlying energies that are shaping our way forward, brings us “Beyond Belief,” telling us “the new world that was just around the bend has become a reality.”
Jonathan Krown and Johana Sand, who once taught consciousness studies in California, are now focused on helping us understand the process by which we awaken and become aware of the totality of who we are. In “Radical Transformation,” they write that “in each moment, we can choose to try to control and understand the ‘dream’ we live in, or to focus instead on fully awakening from that dream.”
That these insights are coming forth now is only part of the Death card’s promise. As noted intuitive and author Kathryn Harwig writes, “no party, event, meeting, relationship, job or state of being lasts forever.” However, in no uncertain words Kathryn’s guides tell us, in an exclusive excerpt of her Edge Life Expo channeling, that this incredibly dramatic change unfolding before our eyes is nothing more than our collective intentions coming to fruition. We want clean energy? Then our current use of fossils fuels will have to disintegrate into chaos so it can be replaced by something new. We want more soul-fulfilling jobs? Then those jobs we don’t really like will have to disintegrate into chaos so they can be replaced by something new.
Clearly, our challenge is how to navigate this chaos and wind up on the other side somewhat intact (and hopefully in much better shape than that). That’s what all of those workshops, seminars, books and classes have been about all these years. Each of us who has studied fervently has a library of resources inside of us. It’s all there. All we have to do is breathe and begin to live those exercises and be the wisdom that has been imparted to us throughout the years.
Death, tarot readers remind us, is not a singular event. Joan Bunning, author ofLearning the Tarot, says “Death is not something that happens once to our bodies. It happens continually, at many levels and not just in the physical. Each moment is the end of the previous moment and is the beginning of the next.”