2016 The Death Year


Those of you who love both the Tarot and Father Ted will get the reference immediately. It alludes to the first episode of the series, where Father Ted gets his cards read and not one but three Death cards show up… I wanted to share a video too but Channel 4 has blocked it on YouTube in my country. You can CLICK HERE and try your luck if you live outside the UK.

Essentially, I’m writing this post to reflect on my own personal Death card year. You can find out what your personal year is/will be for 2017 HERE.

It’s been a triple Death card year for me too… Yet I’m still alive and kicking. Of course, while Death (contrary to popular opinion), can be about physical death, it can also be about deep and unavoidable processes of Transformation.

In our lifetime, we go through many such processes. Some of them are undertaken for us by our body. We do not choose to grow and go through puberty. Nor do we choose to lose muscle power or go through menopause as we age. Most of us do not choose to die… The four-year old me is nothing like the 40 something year old me.  And all along, we have to adapt to these unavoidable changes, including preparing for the hour of our death.

This year, the changes I have gone through have probably been quite subtle to everyone around me, yet massively life-changing in terms of my inner life and my ability to hand my worries over to God. I have had to buckle down and face my inner demons… I’m at the stage now (being middle-aged isn’t that bad actually) where I don’t mind this kind of work so much. The work itself is unavoidable too and it is better to get on with it than to resist. I’m rather hoping to not have to come back to earth once I’m done this time…

Then there are all the changes happening in the world this year. They forced many, including me, to re-evaluate where we stand and therefore to transform in fundamental ways. Yay!

The whole planet is creaking and groaning with all the changes that are happening and, quite honestly, many of them are rather terrifying. The environmental issues we are facing are a ticking time bomb. Even if we do all we can, we have changed the climate permanently with the damage we have done already. The one thing I could do, and what I chose to do once I realised that no other personal choice of mine would have a bigger impact on the environment, was to go vegan. Mind you, it may still be too little, too late.

I’m not trying to be a gloom merchant here but we need radical change from the majority of people on earth, like right now, for future generations of humans to even have a slim chance of thriving. Go on, bury your head in the sand if you like – it’s our grandchildren who will pay for that!

Many well-known and well-loved people died this year. On the 10th of January, two days before my birthday, we lost David Bowie… I lost count a few months in. So many deaths.

And then there is Syria and other war zones around the planet. Death is everywhere in 2016. Yet everyone is doing everything they can to pretend that it will never happen to them… One of the best lessons I learned this year, thanks to attending Buddhist meditation sessions, is that we are better off by far if we meditate daily on our own mortality – a habit that felt oddly familiar to me. I believe I did this as a young child. My teacher suggested the possibility of a past life as a buddhist, which seems plausible.

In October this year, I did a talk at the 2016 UK Tarot Conference about Death in the context of the Tarot and how to use the cards to avoid the top five regrets of the dying. Preparing for this talk was a Death experience in its own right. It was my first big public speaking engagement in the Tarot community and knowing that I would be talking to peers, some published and already in the public eye, made me doubt myself rather a lot. But I cracked on with it, prepared as well as I could and came out enjoying the experience as well as the feedback I received.

Only the other day, a dear friend of mine on FB who is an Episcopalian minister over in the US, shared a photo of herself and some cards that represent key events that shaped her life. I thought that was such a lovely share, so I’m shamelessly borrowing that concept below… It’s true that Life deals us a set of cards and it is up to us how we play them…


For all the terrifying changes that are happening now, I still feel filled with hope and optimism for the future. 2016 was a good year if we can look at it as a year of awakening to some unpalatable truths which, unlike the New Age pap we’re being sold, won’t ‘resonate’ with very many… However, if we accept responsibility for where we are and the sacrifices we all need to begin making, we finally have a chance to turn things around and snatch life on earth back from the clutches of greed and commercialism.

2017 will be a good year too, I have no doubt about it. My perspective on transformation is that all change is good because God is good and we have the Holy Spirit as our Helper. Embrace grace and you will be better off than if you are pinning your hope on political and military solutions. You will find peaceBe the change you want to see in the world. Do what you can and know that we are many.


Lisa Frideborg