From The Halloween Tarot
By Kathryn Ravenwood 10-19-16
I am loving the season; Halloween, Dia de los Muertos, yellow leaves falling from the trees while brilliant blue skies blaze overhead. This very fun Tarot deck (Halloween Tarot) is full of great images but today Death spoke to me. The card is rich with images and symbolism. A skeleton uses a brightly colored can to pour life-giving water onto grinning pumpkins. A vulture perches on the fence where an Ankh sign (symbol of life) has been posted. Green ferns and bright sunflowers happily grow along the walk, a moth flits by, and a black cat contentedly rubs up against a bony skeleton leg, curling its tail around the other. This card looks more like life to me than death.
The life/death cycle is in everything. The moth was once a caterpillar and transformed through metamorphosis. The seeds that became the pumpkins had to “die” to sprout and become the plant that bore the fruit. The vulture is known as a scavenger – it only eats dead matter and yet transforms that into its living body. Vultures are known to provide the flesh of their own bodies to their babies if no food is available. Eventually the remains of all physical bodies return to the earth creating the compost for new generations of life.
Fall is the time to celebrate two of my favorite holidays, both of which honor Death – Halloween and Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead). Halloween lets us take on an alternate identity. For some of us we are empowered allow the hidden side of our nature to show up as a witch, an alien, or a magical creature. We are allowed to abandon all rules and be as outrageous as we like. For the time we are in costume we experience a little death of our everyday selves and transform into our imaginations where unlimited things can take form.
For the Day of the Dead we create altars for the dearly departed in our lives, the ancestors, our friends and family and beloved pets. We fix their favorite foods, get out physical objects they owned and dust off the frames of our favorite photos of them. Enshrined on their altars, lit with candles and strewn with brightly colored marigolds, our dead loved ones are alive again in the stories we tell of them, in the tears and laughter we share remembering them. Re-membering….. “Member” means a part of the physical body such as organs and appendages; to re-member brings back together the parts into a whole, into our present consciousness where the Dead are always with us.
While we move through this special time of year, honor the dead – your loved ones, the dead parts of you, the death of what used to be, the death of what might have been. Light some candles, tell the stories, shed some tears, laugh and celebrate that what is now dead once was full of life and will transform into some form of life again. Life and Death are partners in the great Cosmic Dance of Becoming. Our bodies may die but the works we do while alive live on in the talents we shared, the help we gave to someone in need, our children, and the generations after us. Tell your stories. There will come a time when we will be a faded photo on an ancestor altar and some friend or family member will share the tales and we will be re-membered.
Love is eternal….Kathryn Ravenwood 10-19-16