Growing up, I was obsessed with death, dying and my own mortality. I had no idea where this obsession came from and why it would hold such a firm grip on me for the better part of my childhood. It was only decades later, at a Buddhist retreat that the penny dropped when the teacher told me that it was very likely that I had experienced at least one incarnation as a Buddhist monk. Central to the Buddhist spiritual practice is the contemplation of one’s mortality. Thanks to integrating this knowledge later in life, I came to appreciate that Death is something that happens for us, rather than to us.
You may have heard some Tarot readers say that the Death card is never about physical death but about transformation. This statement always struck me as flippant and devoiding Death of its true meaning – as if the word death itself has no meaning and our mortality is not something we must face in order to mature and blossom into being ‘fully human’ as Mary Magdalene puts it in her Gospel.
In one sense, Death means a deepening of the surrender in the previous arcanum, The Hanged Man, except it is less personal in the Death card. The 13 numerology of this card gives us a numerological resonance with IV The Emperor (13=1+3=4), so here we need to look at society, not just our own soul, for the full impact of surrender.
We don’t have to look very far to realise that Death is the ultimate equalizer and something we all have to make peace with/surrender to. Our mortality, in spite of uniting us, is also the thing we repress the most – at least in our modern, Western society. This makes Death a massive subconscious driver, alongside sex (another repressed subject matter) Anything we refuse to make conscious will regulate our existence from behind the scenes through subconscious thought processes.
Again, we don’t have to look very far to understand how detrimental our refusal to deal with death and the process of dying in an open and dignified manner is to the collective.
This is why making peace with Death and accepting our mortality in conscious awareness is one of the quickest shortcuts to freeing ourselves from society’s programming that indoctrinates us to believe some people are special because they were born with a silver spoon in their mouths and that the rest of us are destined to struggle.
We all enter this world naked and alone, and when we go, we are once again naked and alone. The only thing we get to take with us is the love we shared and the good we did. Yet we are all also totally magical, limitless and completely able to manifest any form of abundance that we desire – Once we make peace with our mortality, that is!
If we break down the numerology of XIII, we can see quite clearly how Death is for us, rather than something that happens to us. The numerology of 1 is about innovation, leadership and our unique individual expression. The numerology of 3 is about creativity and our true abundance, which is about aligning ourselves with our soul’s calling and radiating this out into the world. The sum of 4 makes our ability to contribute creatively in unique ways relevant to society.
It is often only because of the time restrictions imposed by Death that we gain enough of a sense of urgency to get the creative fire under our belly lit. And when that doesn’t happen, when that book we intended to write, that business we are dreaming of starting or that garden we wish to create will happen ‘some day’ it is sometimes because we fail to remind ourselves of our limited time here on Earth.
At the time of writing this article, I have signed up to begin an End of Life Care Course at my local college. I meet with my college tutor for the first time on Thursday this week. I feel very privileged to be working with and learning from people who have made friends with Death due to their professional choices. I hope to one day be able to assist those who are dying in both practical and spiritual ways.
Yes, we all go naked and alone but up until that final breath, I would like to be the steady and reassuring presence that reminds the dying person that all things are possible. Because, though we all die alone, none of us need to go with a sense of guilt and regret. We come from Love and we return to Love… and in the meantime, we must make the most of every single day. Every breath counts.
Archangel Azrael, the Angel of Death and planetary ruler of Scorpio, the corresponding zodiac sign for the Tarot Death card, wants to know what you will do with the approximately 23 thousand breaths you have as a gift from Spirit today. Will you make peace with the Reaper and invite him to walk by your side as an ally, rather than someone or something you fear or repress?
Love and Angel Blessings,