You’re smiling and shuffling your deck of tarot cards, chatting to your client. You pause, tuning in to whatever you use to get yourself in the right frame of mind. You cut the deck and lay down three cards. As you turn them over your heart lurches sickeningly. Right next to each other are Death and the Tower.
Your first instinct might be to sweep the cards back into the pack and start again. Indeed, that’s exactly what I did at a tarot-themed birthday party once when I turned the Ten of Swords, The Tower and Death in that order. My victim was a young, bubbly lady – I couldn’t bear to bring the atmosphere down, and luckily she believed my lie about not having shuffled the cards properly after the previous reading. A few months later I had the opportunity to check up on her and apparently nothing untoward had occurred in her life at that point. Phew.
Let’s say that you do a reading for yourself and those two generally unwanted cards appear. How do you interpret them?
First of all don’t fall into an abyss of despair. Be calm. Look at the other cards; try to pick up the thread of a story. See how they relate to what is happening in your life. Breathe. Remember that all the cards are neutral until overlaid with our life experiences and expectations.
Now remind yourself of both cards’ positive meanings. What? You didn’t know there are positives about The Tower and Death? Let’s take them one at a time.
Tarot Death card
Death represents the endless cycle of life. Look at the card. You will more than likely notice green shoots or budding flowers, depending on your deck. Death presages new life. Death can represent endings – the end of a period of work, the end of a relationship or indeed, death. Very often death is a welcome relief to both the person dying and to their family. It’s an end to pain, the end of dragging a tired out old body around, the end of a good life. This is natural death and is usually expected. It could be a beloved old pet or your great-granny. Be glad for them that their suffering is over. Death always means ending followed by new beginning. Death also tells you this cycle is inevitable.
The Tarot Tower
The Tower is another mixed meaning card. I always explain it to my clients thusly: it seems like the worst thing that could happen has happened but later you’ll look back and understand that it had to happen. Life changes and usually improves dramatically after a Tower experience. Your home gets flooded but here you are, all safe and sound with your family. Belongings lost, yes, but it brings home how unimportant possessions are when compared to the people you love the most. A new appreciation and deeper love is born. You’ll get through it and come out the other side. I liken it to the song, “I can see clearly now the rain has gone.”
Tower + Death interpretation
When the two appear together, then it is likely that something is going to happen to knock you for six. It’s also something you can’t do anything about. It could be relatively minor, but devastating at the time. Or it could be something major. Take a deep breath and determine to go with it. You can roll with life’s punches. This *is* life. The old cliche, “this too will pass” couldn’t be more apt. Repeat it.
Worrying about it is a waste of energy. All worry is a complete waste of energy. Learn to live in the moment. Deal with the crisis as it happens, step by step. You’ll be of no use to anyone if you break down.
More than likely, you will find that the cards were referring to a minor happening. Your hamster dies or you write off the car, walking away with a bruise or two. These things shake you up when they occur, but you learn something from them. When Hammy dies, you learn how to deal with grief. When you break your car, then you make sure that you never drive like that again. Or, if a tree has fallen on it, you always park somewhere safe. These are life’s little nudges; letting you know that you aren’t invincible, that things will happen but you can deal with them. You can emerge stronger, brighter and more determined than before. You realise where the truly important things are – and usually they are right next to you. Tell them you love them.
Remember: don’t freak out. Pay attention to the other cards. What’s happening right now and how might those cards relate to it? Learn to live in the moment and let the future take care of itself. Develop a worry-free attitude – you’ll deal with problems when they arise. Most importantly, like my young lady at the beginning, know that it’s quite possible that you didn’t shuffle the cards properly.
A real in-depth look at Death
A close examination of The Tower