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Comfort and the Death card

February 23, 2012

Death -- Tarot of the MastersThis week has been a sad one for me. Two of my dearest friends died; one today and the other a few days ago. Both had been battling illness for a while, so their deaths were not totally unexpected, but they were a blow nonetheless. So I decided to reread some things that I have written about the Death card to see what message it might provide at this time.

First, I found a couple nice quotes:

Each separate being in the universe
returns to the common source.
Returning to the source is serenity. — from Tao Te Ching #16

Death is not extinguishing the light; it is putting out the lamp because the dawn has come. — Rabindranath Tagore

I also rediscovered the following insights which I had gleaned from Thich Nhat Hanh’s book, No Death, No Fear: Comforting Wisdom for Life.

According to the Buddha, there is no birth and no death. “Life” is just a temporary manifestation along an infinite path of existence. When we see through that illusion of death, we can begin to enjoy and appreciate life in a way that is fulfilling, meaningful, and fearless.

If you would like to read a bit more about the illusion and mystery of death, I invite you to also read a post about the death card that I wrote last year

Postscript: For anyone who has lost someone recently, I suggest the song by Escape Club called I’ll Be There.

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7 Comments
  1. I am so sorry to hear about your friends. I hope they are at peace now, and that you can find some comfort in those beautiful sources you quoted above.

  2. Mike permalink

    James –

    The Death card of your deck recalls the paintings of Caspar David Friedrich. So many of Friedrich’s scenic paintings evoke deep deep solitude. The intense silence of snowfall and the quiet of the moonlit graveyard at night. Isn’t that also an aspect of Death: the deepest solitude we can possibly feel when we are most truly ourselves, when the daily routine peels away and we are naked and free of all worry and effort? Such a moment is a wondrous thing to share because it is so rare a time when we are present enough to share it….Yet this is a place we each know….behind the curtain….behind the mask….

  3. Lauren Fein permalink

    Dear James,

    First, I’d just like to extend my condolences to you, and to let you know that I will add you to my prayers. Your views, philosophies, and readings on death are in sync with my own. I know that your spiritual path will give you comfort at this time. I’d like to suggest “Angels In My Hair” by Lorna Byrne for your reading list. I think this book will also give you comfort. Perhaps now is also a good time to let you know that I bought your “Tarot Affirmations” from Amazon and I am finding it to be amazing! You read and work with Tarot in an honest, spiritual,and life-affirming way. Your book is a real blessing, and now I am doubly glad that I signed on for your workshop at the Readers Studio. Be well and take care of yourself. Nurture yourself and be good to yourself. I will be keeping you in my prayers. Your new friend, Lauren

  4. Amy permalink

    I’m sorry to hear about the loss of your friends, James. This was a thoughtful and inspirational post.

  5. The all-knowing Self was never born,
    Nor will it die. Beyond cause and effect,
    This Self is eternal and immutable.
    (Katha Upanishad Part 1, 2:18)

    The adorable one who is seated
    In the heart rules the breath of life.
    Unto him all the senses pay their homage.
    When the dweller in the body breaks out
    In freedom from the bonds of flesh,
    What remains? For this Self is supreme!
    We live not by the breath that flows in
    And flows out, but by him who causes the breath
    To flow in and out.
    (Katha Upanishad Part 2, 2:3-5)

  6. Thank you, everyone, for your wonderful comments here. I do really appreciate it.
    Bright Blessings,
    James

  7. Eimear Paine (sorry) permalink

    The major value in life is not what you get. The major value in life is what you become. Jim Rohn

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