Exploring Death

Welcome to Tarot Thursdays! This week we will be exploring the Death card and how it can be used as a prompt or brainstorming in our writing.

Tarot is an interesting thing. It’s based upon symbolism and metaphors through imagery. With these images the subconscious mind is tapped into through the story provided. Not everyone gets the same thing from a piece of art. Each piece will influence each person in a slightly different way.


Introduction of the Card

13

Death is card number 13 in the deck and the fourteenth card in the Major Arcana of the Tarot.

Let’s take a look at the following examples of this card below.


Card Examples

L-13Notice the similarities between them and take note of their differences. Do any of these move you more than the others? Take your time and allow these cards to tell you their story.


My Analysis of These Cards

Yet another dramatic card that few people ever want to see.

Allow me to immediately draw your attention to the Dragon Tarot card and the egg present in the lower left hand corner of the image. To the opposite of this egg is an hour glass. What do you suppose this means? I take it to mean that while time conquers all, an ending brings a new beginning.

So let’s look back at the Mythic Tarot card. To me, the people greeting Hades in this card don’t appear to be afraid. In fact, they are naked as children and are offering him gifts. The landscape has a hopeful and cheery feel to it as well, like something good is coming with the sunrise.

The Universal Tarot card isn’t as cheerful as the Mythic Tarot, but it does carry a hopeful vibe in it. The priest is greeting the reaper that looms over the dead king and the child is kneeling next to the priest. The queen looks like she is in the process of fainting from grief. But the sun is rising behind the towers, so I feel not all is lost yet.

Of all the cards in this set, the Tarot of Dreams is the weirdest one. I’m not sure how to take this one. We have this robed figure in a foggy moonlit forest, and in front of him is a snake covered in astrological symbols. I feel like I’m missing the meaning behind the symbolism here. I sense that the symbols on the snake represent time. That part I understand. By why a snake? Because it’s deadly? If so, why is the man there? I don’t understand the art for this card.


Themes of the Card

Each card has a set of keywords associated with it that serve as themes for its image. These keywords will vary somewhat depending on who you ask.

According to the Learning the Tarot website, the keywords associated with the card are:

  • ENDING
  • TRANSITION
  • ELIMINATION
  • INEXORABLE FORCES

You can learn more about what this site has to say about this card here.

According to the Biddy Tarot website, the keywords associated with the card are:

  • ENDINGS
  • BEGINNINGS
  • CHANGE
  • TRANSFORMATION
  • TRANSITION

You can learn more about what this site has to say about this card here.


What this Card Means to Me

This card is the closing of one chapter and the opening of the next for me.

You hit a brick wall? Then you dust yourself off, get back up, and you come at from a different angle or you move on. A relationship ends? Well, it means you have time to work on you first and then you have space for something new.

Yes it’s hard. Give yourself time to grief. Allow yourself time to process that pain, but then also allow yourself to grow. This card represents a winter season in your life. It doesn’t represent the end of the world. Everything works in cycles. Having Bipolar has taught me this the hard way.

The sun doesn’t shine forever, nor does the moon. Learn to roll with both because these kinds of cycles aren’t going to wait for you to figure it out.

The key phrase I choose for this card is: WINTER CYCLE.


Music Playlist

In this spirit of all this, these are the songs I have picked out for this card.


The Writing Exercise

This exercise is a free write. Permit yourself to write whatever comes to mind based upon the theme of this card. Choose a keyword or key phrase and run with it to see what you come up with.


I would love it if you linked or pinged back what you wrote so I could see where you went with this.

Happy writing!


Mythic Tarot by Liz Greene (Author), Juliet Sharman-Burke (Author), Tricia Newell (Illustrator) © 1989
Dragon Tarot by Terry Donaldson (Author), Peter Pracownik (Author) © 1996
Universal Tarot by Lo Scarabeo (Author), R. De Angelis (Illustrator), A. E. Waite (Designer) © 2001
Tarot of Dreams by Ciro Marchetti (Author), Lee Bursten (Author) © 2015

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