Death with Ten of Cups

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Witches Tarot by Ellen Dugan and Mark Evans

I need to preface this post with a disclaimer: normally when the Death key comes to the surface in a reading, I take pause in going straight to that Chicken Little reaction of someone’s going to die! Most Tarot readers and students know that Death doesn’t necessarily mean anyone’s mortal coil is about to unwind any more than The Devil means Satan is going to show up unexpectedly to your dinner party or that The Lovers means you’re going to meet Mr. or Ms. Excellent or that The Hermit means you’re about to go out and buy a vinyl copy of Led Zeppelin IV.

However, as a Tarot reader that has instilled in myself to be cognizant as to what on a card might draw my attention during a given reading, today I found myself drawn to the two towers behind the boy in this rendition of the card. I was pretty sure I remember it from the Rider Waite, but I went and referenced it anyway to be sure… yep, they’re in there too.

I wonder how many of you are thinking of where I’m headed, or if you yourselves have gone there at any point in time. My mind quickly went the the fateful day of September 11, 2001, an eternal blight on the collective consciousness of the United States, and to some degree, the rest of the world.

I’m not going to go all David Icke meets Nostradamus at a Masonic dinner party here. I’m not going to fold dollar bills presciently or convert 9-1-1 into specific foreboding font symbols. I just can’t help but reflect on the degree of death focused in a single time and place that occurred on 9-11-2001. I’d say it is just a coincidence that it shows in this card, but…

Let me not digress into too many stories of Archons and Reptilians and Annunaki and ruling elite family cabal globalists. Rather, I want to look at what came to mind as I see the Ingalls family play out in Tarot syndication on the card to the right. I want to look at the juxtaposition of the big mean spooky boogeyman of the Tarot abreast it.

Here’s the thing: In talking about the tragedy that irrevocably tore our society asunder fifteen years ago this year as I write this, I do think about the symbol that Death is intended to convey in the Tarot. I see the Ten of Cups talking about what is on the other side of the door or river or chasm or realm or Van Allen belt or veil, that it is a glory, a jubilation, a realization of a reward when the new life is attained and realized.

When I put this in relation to that horrific memory and image that that fateful tragedy invokes, I ask myself where the rainbow is. How have we grown to become better people, better human beings, better members of society? It is a highly debateable idea by many that the Holocaust brought about a raising of consciousness of sorts, an awakening of the self-awareness of humanity within that was long dormant, that could only be jarred awake through such an extreme atrocity. Viktor Frankl, himself a Holocaust survivor, echoes this to some degree in his book Man’s Search For Meaning.

Yet here we are, a decade and a half after the September 11 attacks and I have yet to see any lotus bloom growing out of the mud. We invest inordinate amounts of time and energy putting “security” measures in place that are intended to make us feel more safe yet have the unintended (debateable by conspiracy theorists) effect of making us feel less safe. We have discarded the notion of personal privacy offhandedly. We have added another race, religion, and culture to our collection of Them that are out to get Us. We immediately release the hounds to sniff out the extremist Islamic group du jour after the town cry of every newscaster generated by an attack upon a group of people like a war vet reacting to a car backfiring.

I’m waiting to see us arise from the horror and tragedy of that event into a place where we see our unity and interconnectedness, where the deaths of those 3000 victims of the event and the resulting deaths 100 times greater in number from the reaction to the event are not in vain. I can’t see a burgeoning police state with its Orwellian overtones being worth the number of lives lost. I can’t imagine the departed soul believing its death was meant to propagate jingoism and racism for decades to come.

Death indicates a transition where a state of being must come to pass to make room for a new consciousness. If we cannot move into creating a beauty and new light from the ashes of the fallen towers, we are still in the throws of death and have not yet transitioned to the side where a new life is born. We are still wandering through the rubble no matter how many illuminated monuments we construct at Ground Zero. Endless wars and wary eyes on every Middle Easterner will not bring justice. Balance, growth, and renewal only comes through the joy that is created from the loss. This is what we are still waiting to find from this tragedy, and it seems to be slow in coming, as the evidence of it has yet to come forth.

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Justice with The Sun

Legacy of the Divine Tarot by Ciro Marchetti
Legacy of the Divine Tarot by Ciro Marchetti

As cool-sounding as the word comeuppance is, I’m not a fan of it at all. Its backbone is the principle of vengeance, illustrated with Old Testament-meets-Greek mythology pissed off jealous deities, mobs armed with raised pitchforks and torches yelling “Hang ‘im!”, jilted spouses dumping arsenic into philandering husbands’ morning cups of coffee, all that ilk.

The prevailing idea of justice is as busted as an egg on a crowded trampoline. Its basis pretends to be the idea that payback will be enough of a bitch to inspire the original offender of an injustice to pull a 180 and exclaim in his best Lou Costello voice what a bad boy he’d been.

Have we not watched enough street-gang movies? You know, where the one guy bumps into Merrick, so he’s going to get him back by having Gustafson’s brother whacked, then Gustafson kills off Merrick’s entire family, his financial advisor, his team of attorneys, and his best mechanic. Never at this point does Merrick say “Maybe I took this too far.” No, what Merrick does is hire a team of assassin infantry to take out the entire township where Gustafson lives, including the bakery where he gets his favorite baklava. That’ll show him. After all, he got what was coming to him, right?

I don’t necessarily get the math that the book of Genesis’ ghost writers employed, but apparently Cain had some mark that was akin to a backgammon doubling cube, where if someone wanted to have Cain taken out the guy doing the wet work would be avenged seven times, then vengeance on the whacker would be seven times seven, going on and on like an exponentially generating Matryoshka doll fractal factory. That makes sense to me. The meting out of justice rarely resolves with the recipient saying “I guess I deserved that”.

In all reality, justice has nothing to do with reversing the damage inflicted by an act of malice or careless indifference. In our society it has everything to do with the illusion that as a victim or victims we will feel great joy and relief once the smiting has commenced upon our wrongdoers. We somehow think that we can reach a nice warm bath level of joy and relaxation once that bastard Rutherford had been sentenced to 25 to life or better yet, fed to cannibals with halitosis on a Wednesday afternoon in the middle of rush hour traffic in triple digit heat index.

Truly, in that definition of justice there is no joy in retribution. The avenged are merely left grinding their teeth at the knowledge that an injustice occurred. The “justice” brought onto the perpetrator does not magically create a time machine that erases the past infraction, so in reality there really has been no correction, despite the watered-down nomenclature used to describe our penal system.

So here’s what I consider justice: Justice is a reckoning with a resulting recompense. Justice occurs when the offender comes to the realization that a great damage has been done to their fellow human being and finds themselves called to take action that prevents themselves and others from inflicting the same harms as they once did. They carry out these actions in perpetuity, knowing their work is never done and this purpose had now become their life’s central theme.

For us to experience true healing in our society in the face of malice and depraved indifference, we need to rethink the idea of justice as setting all the “wrongdoers” adrift in the ocean, far away from us, or slapping them even harder than they slapped us so they can “feel a bigger hurt than they made us feel”. If we can take the approach of there but for the grace of [insert deity or theology here] go I we can see these assailants as not separate from us, but as part of the giant organism that is the human species. Only then can we understand that through facilitating their healing can there be any possibility that they themselves will work toward healing others through acts of recompense. Any other means of dispensing justice leaves us with an factorial level of runaway retribution with no end in sight.