Nov. 14 Tarot Class – The Death Card

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On Saturday, I had the pleasure of the company of five very bright, enthusiastic women for my class on the Death card.  Since even experienced readers can have difficulty when this card turns up in a reading, we spent some time discussing attitudes and depictions of death across centuries and cultures.  For example, in ancient Greece, Death was a male figure called Thanatos, who was the twin brother of Hypnos (sleep).  His counterpart was a female figure, Eros, the life force.

We also discussed memento mori through the ages (works of art designed to remind humans of their mortality) – interestingly, in the ancient world, memento mori were reminders to celebrate and live a joyous life; it wasn’t until the rise of the Christian church in early medieval Europe that they were reinterpreted as reminders to live a virtuous life.  We also talked about the Danse Macabre, renaissance faires, Black Plague, and funeral and burial customs.

I also played “So Sprich Das Leben” from the Medieavel Babes.  It’s a traditional German medieval piece, a dialogue between Life and Death.  Death tries to claim the world as hers, but every time, Life reminds Death that the world does indeed belong to Life.  If you haven’t heard this piece, I highly recommend it!

Everyone shared their experiences working with the card, including some instances where it actually referred to a physical death in the reading, and how to handle  that situation with compassion and grace.

The afternoon took an artistic bent as we pulled out the markers and pastels and took some time to draw our own Death cards.  While mine certainly won’t win any prizes for artistic realism, the symbols were dramatic!

A bit more discussion, and then we had two contests for prizes donated by our affiliate, Tarot Media Company.  Since Death is usually numbered Card 13, we went around the table, and the person whose birthdate was closest to the 13th of the month.  Rose Red won (her birthday is the 14th), but she already had the deck we were giving away, so Kim won it. She opened it on the spot, and gave us all a chance to ooh and aah over it.

Then, for the deck bag prize, we played Tarot Poker.  I passed a deck around, and everyone drew a card. Majors trump minors, World high. Susa drew the Priestess card – a fitting one for her, I must say! – and won herself a new deck bag!

We chatted a bit more, and finally everyone headed back into the day.

Susan Gold of Tarot Insights wrote about it on her blog!

Comments from the attendees:

Kim von A: Anastasia, I truly enjoyed the class …was it just last Saturday?  I think the part I enjoyed the most was that it wasn’t just another..”this symbol means this” or “when this card appears with this card you should read it this way.”  The quotes about death and the observations of the other students gave an interesting perspective on the subject and added to my overall view of interpreting the death card.

Susa B: I loved learning about the diversity of concepts about death from different cultures, during different
times, and how that is reflected in the many Tarot Death cards.  Little tidbits, like the names of the Angels of Death from Christian, Jewish and Muslim cultures added to my collection of folklore.

Rose Red: I really enjoyed the interaction you encouraged in the class. She gave us information but encouraged us to talk and express our views as well as listen to what she was presenting. I also loved the quotes from the different time periods as they pertain to Death and the Death card through the ages. It was interesting to see the cycles of how death is viewed as cultures grow and change.

Carole Pierce of Crossroads Tarot: I’ve never been in a  tarot class that has an arts and crafts component, I really loved it, and would love to do similar or other projects.  I really enjoyed the workshop, and it gave me some great ideas for my classroom.  Thank you for such an inspiring afternoon!

I hope to see everyone at the December 12 class, Tarot and Holidays!  Details and registration information can be found on the Tarot Media Company website.

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