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Leaving Death in the Past?

Thread originally posted on the Aeclectic Tarot Forum on 19 May 2003, and now archived in the Forum Library.

january  19 May 2003 
Hi All!

I've been getting Death more often in readings so I began to wonder... could Death represent a need to let go of the past? I have a lot of fear, anger and resentment lingering in my soul from my past, from grade school taunting to heartbreaks. I know I need to let go of a ton of baggage and it seems this card keeps coming up to tap me on the shoulder to remind me to get on with it!

Is Death a warning (or opportunity) to change things yourself as opposed to the upheaval type of unwarranted change associated with The Tower? Could it indicate that in fact things HAVE changed and one just needs inner acceptance? For example, accepting that your life has changed since childhood and stop letting memories of evil classmates haunt you. Or a need to accept that your relationship with your partner has changed and may actually become better so stop whining about the way things used to be.

Is Death always a bad card, a sad card? Could it mean a wonderful change instead of devastation? A move from a tiny apartment into new home? A pregnancy that will change your life? A promotion? A need to quit smoking for a healthier life? A death of an old way of life?

What are your "Death Experiences"? 

sagitarian  19 May 2003 
All the above sweetheart!

Death can come up for anything that has to do with change. However, I've found that the change is a pretty significant one, but that means that the change is significant to you. It may or may not be a life changing experience, and more often then not, I've found a comfort with the death card in that for me (more often then not) it's a good message. So it can be all that you mentioned above and so much more.

I had the death card show up a lot in my life when I went from my teen age years to being a young adult. The change over (much like a child to a teen) to be very significant, the finality of no longer being a child, becoming a woman in my body and in society. Changing and developing habits (good and bad) that will stick with me for the rest of my life.

Maybe try to do a clarifying card with the death card, to see what exactly the message is trying to tell you. You can get loads of help here if you don't understand the cards relation. Pull out the death card, and then shuffle the rest of the cards asking for clarification in the significance in your life. Do as many cards as you feel wether its just one card, or a full celtic cross spread. (or whatever spread you like to do the most). 

january  19 May 2003 
Thanks so much for your input, Sagitarian. It is difficult to read a card in isolation and if the card is your daily draw and it puzzles then clarification is needed.

The last time Death came up was today, paired with Knight/Swords in the "What I Need to Do" position. Oh no! I thought. I don't want things to end! But nothing else in the spread indicated that and that is when I really began to give some other thought to the Death card. Knowing myself and the history of the relationship in question I read it as a need to bury the past, let it go because it is getting in my way. Be smart but also be wary of impatience and hurtful and rash words or things could change (or end) for the worst (I sometimes grow very antsy and sound off irrationally when things aren't going along quickly enough, esp. with PMS, LOL!).

Many times Death falls near Strength, which is my Soul card. This I would read as having the courage and self confidence to make the necessary changes in my life/the situation.

I suppose I'm just trying to not be so afraid of this card and attempting to convince myself that the deep changes it heralds are not always bad. Perhaps Death is telling me to change my pessimistic nature, LOL! 

Diana  19 May 2003 
january: Death can be a wonderful card. It heralds a rebirth. You cannot be born again if you don't first die. A snake needs to shed it's skin from time to time, but that's not scary! He may feel a little vulnerable but it's a natural process.

We die many deaths during our lives. Even sleep is a way of dying to our waking self and being born to our sleeping self.

A baby dies a kind of a death when it is born. It leaves the shelter of the womb to be born to the excitement of the world.

Do not fear the Death card. In French, it is not called the Death card. We call it the "Arcane Sans Nom", which means the Card Without a Name. When one dies, one loses one's name but only so that you can choose a new name! Will it be Strength? Will it be the Star? Will it be Justice? Choose your favourite card and become it!

To be born again! How many people long for this. To be able to start a new life. Taking one's past experiences with us, but leaving behind all that is no longer necessary. You could even become a Fool and just take a little bag with you in which you could put your favourite memories.

Put your hand in the hand of Death, who is only there to help you on your path of transformation. He will lead you to a better path.

(Have you ever considered changing your name? Not your nickname, I mean. Your real name?) 

january  19 May 2003 
Diana, I love the idea of "becoming another card"! Once a cycle has ended, why not choose the next path on which to embark? Visualization and mediatation is imperitive to attaining that! I've attempted to apply common situations which could be indicated by Death but having sights set on another card at the same time:

Perhaps a "Death" situation is akin to buying an old house. You keep what you need and change, rebuild the rest. Walls are knocked down, floors ripped apart and and it leaves its inhabitants in a flux of almost inbearable change for quite some time. But going ahead with the re-building will make a much more comfortable home later on. If the homeowners refused the call to make such drastic changes they would be living in surroundings that weren't conducive to everyday living comfort. (using Death to become 10/Pentacles via 8/Pentacles. Then what's next? We start all over again!)

Or when a broken-up couple attemps to reunite, a death needs to occur; hold onto what made you both happy in the first place and get rid of habits and attitudes which caused the demise the first time around. (using Death and becoming the 2/Cups via Temperence)

You feel trapped in a job that makes you miserable each time the alarm goes off in the morning. You're approached for another position that would mean travelling further each day but the opportunity is far greater. The adjustment is difficult but its a much sweeter path. (taking Death's call to become the 9/Pentacles)

On a very, VERY mundane level, I can relate to picking out the olives from a salad. I don't like olives at all and it takes time to fork out each one. But I need to get rid of them to fully enjoy the rest of the greens. Weeding the garden. Separating the wheat from the chaff. A door closes, another one opens. Making necessary changes to create a more suitable set of circumstances. After the fact, we see that change was necessary although we go through it kicking and screaming.

Its not random that Temperence follows Death - after such a change people and elements need to adjust to the newness, to balance the old with the new.

No, I haven't thought of changing my name however I often feel that I need to make a drastic change to my appearance to express who I really am inside (haircut, new fashion, etc.) Reinvent yourself!!!

Many thanks to all! 

Verna  27 May 2003 
I really enjoyed reading your post. The name Arcane Sans Nom is a very positive way of looking at the Death card. It is especially helpful for people who become frightened when you turn this card over. It is a wonderful way to explain to them that this is not a 'bad' card, but the herald of a chance to start anew.
Thank you for sharing this with us.

Diana  27 May 2003 
Hi Verna!

And welcome to the forums.

It is always nice to know one has shed some light for someone. I have some much light shed on my own interrogations on these forums, that it is kind of pleasurable to give some of it back.

I see you even changed my name! You changed the last letter into an "e". Are you a friend of our buddy "Death"? :laugh: 

Verna  27 May 2003 
Sorry about that! (Mornings at my house are wild!)

Thanks for the kind words. I am enjoying this group very much. And, learning from people like you, who share your knowledge with newbies, like me. 

HOLMES  27 May 2003 
death is not only a teaching to let go of the past but also to prepare for the future by living in the now.
a teaching in the course of miracles is when we look at things we see only the past and not as they are truly are.
look at your loved one(freinds, family, the car) and see that honestly we do nto see them as they really are, for we dont' see the changes we see the past and that creates an effect of attachment in a way
"don't ever change" but we can't help but change as that is dictated by life, and the seasons of nature.

death isn't a warning, but it could be depending one view of death , look at the rider waite version, a king tried to deny it and he got mowed down like the wheat by the scythe of a farmer.
another king is pleading dont' take me. the woman is going with her head, ok this is it , make it fast (my own projection lol )
and the child comes out with a gift for death here you go oh mysterious one.
death is a natural death, as dictated by the circumstances.
you could have an old age death, a sickness death, a death of the spirit , a death of business.
the only thing about death is you see it coming
and in that coming is how you will react.

the thing about denying death, is that has happend but we dont' accept it and so we shut off our soul seat which is 2 inches below our throat and an inch above our heart center.

when we experience loss, we shut down for we feel to move on in life is to betray their memory and if so much loss is experience, the chest starts to cave in. and we "give up" oh we are just going to die what is the use. i have nothing to live for .

when we finally start to clear the cloud.
1. we unloose all those blocked feelings. (you kknow what they are , they come out on movies, and when you read stories and you think to youself "gee i become a wimp, i am like that guy of the movie bedazzled (the remake with brend frasier) who is the most senstive man in the world , if i start crying at the sun shoot me i swear .

so when they come out it isn't just a wimper ,,
it is the man who never cries finally crying, it is all the anger that hasnt' been expressed releasing like a whirl wind.

2. and then we start grieving for all the time we lost (it says so in barbara ann brennen book light emerging)
for how could we live when we were frozen (consider madonna song frozen ) cut off form our selves
now we have reconnected to our true selves it is time to get a move on .

3. and we change our lives, as dramatically as the tower falling but instead of the tower fallin the tower is built , like those old barn raising days when all the farmers would get together and put up a barn for neighbor. for we have connected to true self once again for when we blocked those feelings of grieving and loss, we blocked our true self feelings and become lost like sheep. (baah baaah, maaa, maa)

4. then we know yes that is what i wanted to do for so long, it is not longer in our dreams but in our very bodies saying i must do this i must.

my death experience, is
when i was 4/5 i lost my baby sister , and my grandma and i was just a lad, and a hint of those emotions came out at a healing cermony where i cried like a baby pure cries just at the mention of my mom saying i lost my little one. even now there is emotion
"it is a process"
and so we havne't dealth with the feelings the death is still new to us as it was then.
and it built for i have always kept my true feelings to myself, and played the fool for the family (the joking, entertainer, lost child archetypes )
and i lost two grampas, one grandma and a freind to sucide,and still i closed donw.

the one grampas at his funeral was the second time i broke down like that , just grabbed my uncle and cried shrieking as after we closed the casket (before that i never shed a tear, and then we went to say our final goodbyes and i heard people say look at donald , and i looked down and tears were falling like niagra falls, and i said bye " you were a good grampa bye," and then my uncle was standing there and he held out his arms and i grabed him)
(about two years after that we were talking about loss and i just loss my other grampa and the counselor medicine teacher shaman type said how about you don,
my head was vibrating from the sides, like pulsing like hell , all the emotions were coming out , and i started to cry .
and my emotions made all the rest start to cry, as i shared,
then she said with tears in her eyes let us move on before i start crying as well )

and so now i realize i am cut off at the neck down (i denied that aspect for many years, the counselor/teacher said to me.
"wow i never seen a shield go up so fast, "
it started when she asked to see me so i went and i was there joking and then she said ok let us beging and woosh, the shield/wall went up.
and then another counselor two years later said "i never seen such deniel who hurt you" and my reply is " no one, and if someone did i dont' remember "

it hurts to be left, and so i guess that was who hurt me. (still examining here guys )

so that is what i learned about death ,
by the way we are never alone.

i know for after that i dream of my grampas.
the first one looked like a fox/wolf who was chained to a rock,
i was trying to get past him but then his chian broke loose and his eyes went all gentle and he looked at me.

the second grampa i was looking for him and he was sitting in a casino having the time of his life. lol

and then my grandma and my grampa came to see me just two days before we were to leave to go see rosemary altea they asked me how i was, we just came to see how you were doing. and i cried in my sleep i remember.
that was on my 19 birthday i believe.

edited to add, that is probaly why every relationship i had is still alive for me for i never let it die in my heart
i almost remember every touch, every smile, every arguement, and sayings. 

Trogon  27 May 2003 
Holmes... thank you so much for sharing your experiences... a very powerful posting.

January... As has already been discussed, the Death card has many, many aspects to it, not the least of which are those you've already mentioned - the aspects of change. I find it very interesting that in your second post, you mentioned Death being connected with the Knight of Swords... with the Knight in the position of "what you need to do". To me the Knight of Swords is a person of action. These two cards coming together like this, if it were in a reading I was doing, I would probably say that the client was facing a need for change and that it was a change they would have to make in themselves. The specifics of what needed to be changed, what part of their life, their perspective, their spirituality, or whatever, would be something they would need to discover for themselves. But it would be a journey of discovery and change that needed to be started soon.

I hope this has been of help in some small way. 

Minderwiz  27 May 2003 
Wow Holmes, as Trogon says a very powerful posting and an indication that Death can be Bitter/Sweet - Life does go on and part of the Death Card's symbolism is to get us to realise that and stop pretending that something has happened - to stop trying to stop time and life in their tracks.

I actually welcome the Death Card in spreads - it shows that we live in a world of growth and change - Diana's analogy with the snake shedding its skin is a good one - so is the parable of the Ugly Duckling - the Death of one thing can release the beauty of nature. 

Alex  29 May 2003 
that we can't really take anything, anyone for granted in this life.

One minute we're here, the other minute... and that friend you passed by and had no time to talk with on the phone was crossing the street and got hit by a truck...

Our lives are full with distractions and occupations so we forget we're all here on a trip.

I've been living in this country for 8 years . My time here has end: it may last as long as it takes for my visa to expire, but may be less. Every time I travel abroad, I have to ask for permission to re-enter, and that permission may be granted, or not. Some of my friends left for christmas, and never returned, even though their documents were all in order. So I'm constantly reminding myself, this life of mine here is a daily deal. My friends, I'll have to separate from them. My belongings, I'll have to leave most of them behind. My boyfriend, I'll have to say good-bye to him.

So many times have I resented the people with whom I relate who can take their little routines for granted. So many times I have wished I had the courage to pack and go and leave my studies unfinished such as I can have some "security" in life and count on a secure framework... How about living in a country where you are a citzen or at least "a resident" in the legal sense of the word?

However, aren't we all here foreigns on a student visa? Arent' we all at the mercy of the Department of Homeland Security (former INS), and it's daily changing regulations? Do we choose when we will leave? Are we forewarned, when our "life visa" will expire? Can we prevent others from leaving?

Will I ever see you again?

I think Death is a reminder to live life in full. It could be the last day.


The Leaving Death in the Past? thread was originally posted on 19 May 2003 in the Using Tarot Cards board, and is now archived in the Forum Library. Read the threads in Using Tarot Cards, or read more archived threads.

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