Posted in Tarot, writing

A Short Primer on the Tarot Death Card

I get a fair amount of traffic on this blog from people looking for Tarot cards, or questions about the Tarot. Yesterday one of the search terms that brought someone here was “Does the Death card always mean a real death?” Since I’ve never actually talked about this, I thought this was a good opportunity to do so.

In short, the answer to the question is “No.” Most Tarotists would tell you that while the Tarot can be literal, this is not usually the case. I’ve personally never predicted anyone’s death by drawing that card, and have in fact drawn the Death card in readings for myself on many occasions, and I’m still here to tell the tale. About the only people I have ever heard try to assert actually predicting a death were a couple of teenagers in chatrooms years ago. These were of course their first readings, after purchasing their first Tarot decks, and whaddya know? They wanted everyone to know they accurately predicted a death! Astounding. Hmm. Yeah. I guess we were all supposed to ooh and ahh over what great psychics they were. Needless to say, those of us who’ve been reading Tarot for more than 20 minutes will never make ridiculous claims like that.

So what does the Death card mean? A shift in consciousness, a transformation, leaving behind an old life and moving on to a new life. It’s a casting off of something that’s no longer useful, it’s a fresh start. Something’s going to have to be let go, left behind. It’s a big shakeup, so it can still be scary, but it can be a seriously good thing.  If someone’s getting a Tarot reading, they generally have some issue they need advice or guidance on. Something’s not right, there’s some problem, so wouldn’t a big change in the offing be a good thing? Sure, it’s probably going to cause some upheaval, but what’s already been going on? Wouldn’t you like to see the end of whatever turmoil has been taking place and be able to move on to a new life, a new situation, a new job? Change is scary, even for me, so I understand feeling squeamish about it. Then again, the biggest changes in my life have always lead (eventually) to much better circumstances.

The Tarot has seen me through some pretty dark days, but always, always with hope for better times. The Tarot does not cause our circumstances, it can only reflect them back to us, and urge us to reexamine our lives and the choices we make. The Death card is one of my Birth Cards, according to the Tarot School, Seems a little contradictory, but I’ve had a lot of changes and upheavals in my life, some desirable, some not so much. Still, forewarned is forearmed, yes? Don’t let anyone freak you out with this card, especially if they just got their first Tarot deck and you’re the first person they’ve done a reading for.

Posted in Tarot, Vampires, writing

I’m Death. Is Anyone Surprised?

I was reading James Ricklef’s blog the other day, and he mentioned his birth cards are Justice and the High Priestess. I’ve been aware of  ‘life’ cards, and ‘life numbers’ (add up your birthdate and reduce it down to a single digit. For instance someone born February 1, 1970 would add 2+1+1+9+7+0 which adds up to 16, then add 1+6, and the birth number would be 7). In this birth card system, though, you do it slightly differently, and you end up with two cards. The method is shown on The Tarot School’s Web site, and if you can’t be bothered with all that mathy stuff, you can just plunk in your date of birth and their little program will do the dirty work for you and show you your two birth cards.

So guess which two I am? Oh wait, I already told you one. So here’s an interesting mash-up, Death from Sarah Bartlett’s Love Tarot, and the Emperor from my beloved Bohemian Gothic. The Death thing I get, Scorpio is my ascendant in my birth chart, so this seems right.

Death - Love Tarot Emperor

The other one is my life number, 4 (13, 1+3, you get the idea), The Emperor.

I’ve known my life number since I was a wee lass, and was vaguely disappointed when I started studying Tarot to discover that meant life card was the Emperor. All that Mars and Aries stuff never seemed to speak to me, I’ve never felt much connection to the Emperor. But, there are Emperors, and then there are Emperors.

Emperor Vampire Tarot (Hertz)

On one hand, I am constantly seeking new things, starting over. On the other, I can be a creature of habit, and like order and predictability. Wow, talk about embodying a contradiction. Actually the breakdown of this pair on the Tarot School’s site is pretty good, calling them polar absolutes. Anarchy versus order. If I didn’t have that whole Death thing going on, things could stagnate. It forces me to kick things to the curb that run their natural course, and start fresh. I think it’s good to know when to throw in the towel, cut your losses, so to speak. I guess it could be a little schizophrenic, maybe it accounts for my tendency toward ADD.