The Death Card – Will I Die?

One night, I stayed up all night playing poker with Tarot cards. I got a full house and four people died. – Steven Wright

I love Steven Wright, but I always cringe just a little when someone repeats his joke on Twitter – and it happens a lot! It plays into the hands (excuse the pun) of those who are a little afraid of tarot cards. As I have been known to say: There’s nothing magic about tarot cards; they are simply paper, paste, and some pretty pictures in ink. The magic is in our heads.

La Mort - DeathA little while back, a potential client was enquiring about a reading, and made a bit of a joke about avoiding the “Death” card, because (and I’m paraphrasing here) while he knew that having the “Death” card come up in a reading didn’t always actually mean death, presumably it could mean death, right?

The way that my readings work is to give you information to empower you. My aim is always to enable you to write your own story. This means that really the only way that the card we call “Death” would represent physical death is if you were engaged in risky behavior that might lead to your demise if you didn’t do something about it. I would assume you’d want to know about that! The truth is that this card, depending on the context, can have many meanings. Sometimes it means making a “clean sweep” and discarding something from the past and moving on into the future. Sometimes it can mean divesting yourself of toxic “friends.” Just the other day, I had “Death” come up at the conclusion of a reading about a relationship; knowing that it would worry the client, I pointed out that in this context, my interpretation was that if something did not change, the likely result would be that the relationship would end. I was delighted when my client got back to me and said they had already done something about it, and the situation was much better.

So, my recommendation would be to stop seeing the “Death” card as a “bad card” and maybe start seeing it as a wake-up call or a card of opportunity.

What’s This “No-Nonsense” Stuff All About?

No NonsenseI was recently approached by someone inquiring about a tarot card reading who said “I saw your tarot link on [Facebook] and I became curious about your nonsense answer”.

At first I felt a bit insulted, because I thought they were implying that I didn’t take tarot reading seriously; it took me a while to realize that English was not this person’s first language, and that they were referring to the “No-Nonsense” byline I use when describing my readings. Fortunately, I was able to explain what I meant.

I thought, however, that it was worth explaining a little about why I use that term, and what it means in terms of my readings. To me, especially when considered together with the concept of empowering the person being read for, it really sums up my entire approach.

Firstly, I always endeavor to demystify tarot. I don’t believe it’s anything magical, although the results often make it seem like it is. I don’t couch my readings in any pseudo-mystical, airy-fairy terms. I don’t wear special robes, burn incense or do anything remotely new-agey…although I do like to read with new-agey ambient music playing, as it seems to enhance my concentration (but more about that in future post).

My tarot cards of choice are the Jean Noblet Tarot de Marseille, which was originally created in 1650, and recently restored. Without the layers of occultist symbolism that have been added to tarot decks over the years, I consider it especially “no-nonsense.” The deck is not magical. I consider it to be the equivalent of a tool-belt, purely functional. I have no need for many different decks, unlike some tarot readers. This one does the job, and it does it well.

Like many European tarot readers, but unlike many American readers, I read using only the major arcana, the tarot “trump” cards. This is because I believe that the major arcana is like a scalpel that gets to the heart of any matter very efficiently, and that’s what my approach is all about. Similarly, I basically use one type of spread or layout of cards, because the way I lay out the cards also helps me get to the essence of the question.

In conclusion, you know what you’re getting when you ask me for a reading: No BS. No smoke and mirrors. Just some advice on the best path to take for you to achieve your goals. No-nonsense!

I would like to think that people would find that approach to be refreshing. What do you think? Please let me know in the comments below.

(Photo Credit: J Mark Dodds)