It’s the reading all of my clients fear: drawing the Death card…and it means you will die.
The funny thing is that I didn’t really pay attention to the reading at the time. I didn’t think I’d actually die. It was only later that I found the journal entry of the reading, read the prediction, and realized that I had been warned.
But it was too late. I was already dead.
When Death came to me it came as a vision of a snow-covered mountain top – cold, severe, and unsympathetic. “This is happening,” it said in icy realization. It did not care if I was ready. It would not consider a negotiation. And so I reacted as I think many would: I was petrified.
Even now, as I revisit that vision in my mind, I remember the fear. My insecurities, desperation, and stubbornness rose to the surface like buried demons. I begged to continue living. I begged for more time.
Prior to this, I thought I had sophisticated philosophies, inspired wisdom, and rooted beliefs. I had hoped for a more elegant reaction to death’s approach. But that’s not what happened. Instead I saw my own desperation and doubt. And then a new thought entered my mind:
This was a test.
The vision of death’s mountain passed and I was still breathing. I had faced the cold indifference of death, but I had reacted with fear instead of peaceful acceptance. In what could have been the last few moments of my life, I had acted like a scared and stubborn child. I could have focused on the beauty of my life, on the golden memories of my past, or on the green possibilities of life after death. But I didn’t. I thought my mind would have been more ready, more accepting. It wasn’t.
It occurred to me that I had failed. I was silent for two days after the vision. I began putting away all my religious studies, philosophy, and spiritual books and tools. I had to accept my failure. If I was going to move forward, I would have to do so from scratch.
The first thing I said when I regained interest in speech was, “I will be nicer to others.” It wasn’t much, but it was the only starting point I could see. And with that intention on my lips, I did one last tarot reading before I packed away my deck.
I drew one card: Death.
Then the message came: “This is a spiritual winter. Be quiet and reflect. Be still and look for signs of spring.”
That’s when I knew what I had already suspected – I was dead. The existence I once had had passed away. Now the real test presented itself: I had to choose who I would become in this life after death.
But I was drained of all energy and belief. I was exhausted and unsure how to continue. I turned off my mind and followed routines and instincts. I let myself pass into my spiritual death, finally embracing it for what it was. I stayed here for a while
It was in this state that I eventually found the other side of death: creation.
It took almost two years for me to recognize spring. Just as a seed grows in deep soil or a child develops in the quiet womb, life began to stir in the darkness of my spiritual death. When my spring finally came, I admired the elegance of my own transformation. I was stronger, healthier, happier, and purer in my intent. I returned to my decks, books, and tools with new wisdom, power, and insight. I had discovered a new sense of self and purpose.
Death, it turns out, is glorious in its total transformation.
Now I encourage my clients to take a breath and express thanks if they draw the Death card. Let death claim its harvest. Let it take the old so you can become new. I remind them as I remind myself: death is not the final act – it is the darkness before dawn and the winter before spring. Stay quiet, enjoy the peace, and look for signs of spring.