Death. This is a card that scares people – because it confronts a dark and frightening state that we spend most of our lives trying to avoid thinking about. This card represents the final end of something in our life. It could be a relationship, a way of thinking, a way of living or even an actual passage of someone we know or love.
When confronted with the image of death, we instantly recoil. No! We have been conditioned by our sick and twisted culture to deny death and the power it has in our lives. This is unfortunate because death is absolutely natural and entirely unavoidable.
When I see this card, it means to me that it is time to accept that death is a presence in our lives. That means that it is essential that we take the time to grieve.
Grieving is a skill and a capacity that few people are able to embrace. It requires a willingness to exit life as we know it, go internal and feel all the feelings that we are having around the death that we are experiencing. Without the act of grieving, we repress our feelings, soldier on and silently rot on the inside. Although we often think that grief may look like depression, it is actually the wisest way for us to avoid true depression. In grief, we must express ourselves – our rage, our despair, our confusion, our loneliness. Without expressing these feelings, we sink deeper into the darkness of our own sick psyche.
Unfortunately, grieving does not operate on a schedule. Usually, when people in our lives try to convince us that it is time to be done with our grieving, we can become ashamed or self critical that we are not moving through the process fast enough. This just adds more suffering on to our grieving. Grieving makes most people uncomfortable. Oh well. That’s how it is.
The Death card calls us to detach from the expectations that we should just get over our grief. That it is time for us to release our egoic grip on what we define as “reality”, go inward and process our feelings around a loss that we have experienced in our life. Perhaps we have failed to sufficiently grieve a loss that is in our distant past. That unexpressed grief will live inside us until we face it and transform ourselves accordingly.
In order to fully experience the invitation to grieve, we must defy the dominating requirements of the culture to be busy, productive, achieve, strive and go go go. Are we brave enough to allow the truth of our feelings to take precedence in our lives? Are we autonomous enough to allow ourselves to experience the power of truth and nature? Are we strong enough to choose ourselves over a desire for approval, money or power?
The Death card encourages us to go there. What loss do you need to grieve? Once you allow yourself this process, you will have a greater capacity for joy, love and awareness of the Divine. The gift of death is that if we grieve sufficiently, it can open our hearts to a bigger, better life.