It’s November: the celebrations of Halloween, the Day of the Dead and Samhain have passed, heralding the start of the dark months. It’s a perfect time to meditate on the changes that have happened for each of us during the last year; to dwell on the stories and memories of those who have gone before us, our ancestors and beloved family members. A major change has just occurred in the political life of the world –for some it’s a revolution, for others, they fear, the destruction of all they held secure.
So what better place to start our look at the Tarot, than with Trump XIII: Death, the Great Transformer.
Death, Trump XIII, is often regarded as one of the more ‘difficult’ cards of the Major Arcana; some find it alarming when it comes up in a spread. Death is a natural part of life: understanding change, challenge and loss is an important part of our human development, which the Tarot captures so well. Trump XIII helps us to realise that we should not expect all our experiences to be gentle and easy. The Tarot acknowledges that our lives have light and shade, ease and suffering.
The Death card is a reminder that that death is the threshold to a new phase of existence; that ‘energy can neither be created nor destroyed’, so our energy continues forever; that the dying-back of plants creates room for new growth in the spring.
Sometimes change can be shocking, relentless: it arrives despite all that we might do to stop it. Then we have to learn to endure, or rethink and work to bring about renewal. ‘Death’ can indicate a major change in society, perhaps an abrupt or unexpected one. It can signify the end of fixed patterns of public life, clearing the way for new systems to arise, bringing in the
challenge of how we will utilise them, as life goes on.
In a Tarot reading, ‘Death’ heralds a period of personal change, opening our minds to the possibility of transforming our current circumstances; a passing away of the old to make space for the welcoming in of the new. It is the doorway to experience: once over this threshold, there is no turning back.
It can mean leaving a dissatisfactory job or relationship; it can mean deep-seated psychological change, as we strip away our illusions and old beliefs that no longer serve us- as the Delphic Oracle says, ‘Know Thyself’. As time passes, Trump XIII asks us to recognise the demands on our bodies as we age: to slow down, shed responsibilities and let go. Treasure each day and enjoy the rewards of a good life, the eternal values of love, family, friendship; consider what will be our legacy.
‘Death’ reminds us to pay attention when we are on the threshold of change, both individually and as a society; to prepare to let go of worn-out situations and behaviour; to relish and nurture life, to value legacy –what we inherit and what we leave behind. Change is inevitable: it’s up to us to make the most of it.