"Death" card on our holiday...
Last week my family (that’s husband, daughter aged 14 & three sons- 9, 11 & 12) went on our first “proper” holiday. We found loving holiday homes for our 7 pets, packed up our camping gear and headed off.
I was excited- I love holidays, but each time I read for this holiday the reading was dominated by 1 card- Death. I was not best thrilled.
The couple of weeks before the holiday were manic. I may be a workaholic, but it felt as if every client I have ever read for wanted an appointment in the week before I went away. I missed meals, ate as I was dropping or picking up the children, and my husband suggested booking an appointment just so we could check the best route to Wales. I’m not complaining- I am perfectly capable of saying “no” but I love my work and I seemed to lose all sense of balance or boundaries.
Meaning that when we arrived at the first of our three holiday destinations I felt overwhelmed with exhaustion, and not fully there. I felt a deep pull to be back in my workspace- I literally felt as if I had left a part of me behind. I couldn’t quite remember who I was.
The Tarot card “Death” is about endings, letting go, moving on, allowing new growth.
Different decks deal with death in different ways- I have been much influenced by the Druid-Craft Death card.
When I interviewed Phillip Carr-Gomm about the deck (you read the interview here) he said the death card was his favourite in the deck. He loves the way that birth & re-birth are illustrated in the card- a very Druid concept.
The nurturing way the crone holds the skull, the way the smoke rises gently up. Letting go as if a whispered prayer for the future.
And this was the focus of the holiday for me. Gently held in the most beautiful woodland I looked at my children and realised how independent in character they are (even if they are lazy and like to have everything done for them!)
How step by step they are walking into their own lives, how my role as “Mother” is changing, allowing room for me to become a little more myself again.
This has been evolving for a while now, but sometimes it is hard to see change when you are living in the midst of it (why the 8 of cups- take a break to see life form a different perspective-can be such an important card.)
Though Death is perhaps not as challenging change as the Tower- it does have a difficult side. All change in the end is difficult- even if it is change we are welcoming.
And so there were difficulties on our holiday. You could argue that any family of 6 camping in one tent will have their issues, and it probably wasn’t as tempestuous as it could have been. But there were subtle changes at work. My husband & I wanting to sit, drink coffee, and chat. My teenage daughter wanting to be independent- but not sure how to achieve it. The family was breaking free of the tight knit times of young children, and stretching, growing. It felt like a loss (and I think we all felt it) but also an opportunity, a welcome, a release of the hard years- juggling hungry toddlers and children that needed a parent’s attention NOW.
When a major Arcana dominates a reading I like to look at the next card in the journey to see where the card is taking me. After Death comes Temperance.
Now if you have followed my work you may know I dislike this card, the only one I dislike more is the Queen of Cups.
Why do I dislike Temperance- because it represents Balance, and I am NOT a balanced person. I would rather work flat out for 7 days then slump and do nothing. Raising my children has been very intensive- with bedsharing, home schooling- very focused on me as the main- exclusive- caregiver.
But balance is now demanded. I have lived my life by having one overwhelming focus, and committing completely to it. But now I want to enjoy being a Mother, Wife, Professional, and (if I can remember how) Myself. I am in the blessed position of having several things I want to dominate my life, and needing to balance them.
So the holiday was the ending of a way of life. Of the madness of trying to be a fulltime Mum, Wife & Professional each and every day. I step into Temperance, each day balancing the different roles in my life. And I am actually quite excited.