It's the type of meditation where you look at the card, read the meaning, then look at the card again to memorise it, and then close your eyes to relax and breathe deeply, taking yourself down into a meditative state.
Once there you visualize the card in front of you like it's a huge painting and walk into it. For me, the background was identical to a hiking path at the nature reserve, so I went down the path through the summer birch trees till I reached the spot where Death was waiting. The staff and flag were leaning against the tree & he was smoking a cigarette, didn't see me till I was almost there. He threw it away soon as he realized I was close & grabbed the flag up again to stand like it showed in the card. Then he asked me if I knew what the flag meant.
I repeated what the meaning in the book had said about the rose and freedom & he nodded (I couldn't see the face on him). Suddenly there was the sound of a million running little feet and a HUGE cloud of yellow butterflies, a whole herd, went between us down the new pathway (the sound effects were great even though the butterflies weren't running on land). We both watched them go. Another batch came 'running' up behind us, like another little train & they went by at 20 miles an hour, with a few stragglers trying to catch up. I asked if that happens a lot & he nodded to that too.
When I looked inthe direction they'd all come from I didn't see any more approaching so I turned around in place to look in all directions and it still looked like the hiking trail at the nature preserve. Then came the sound of MORE running feet but no butterflies this time. They were little 1 foot high men in kilts waving swords all running down the path to us and past in the direction of the butterflies, yelling FREEDOM! FREEDOM! like from the Braveheart movie. They all went by, but the last one stopped and turned, lifted up his kilt and WAGGLED at me! It's one of the few times I've burst out laughing for real during a meditation exercise. He turned and ran off after the others then. Death shrugged & that's about the time I stepped out of the card and ended the meditation.
Honestly, sometimes my mind is truly weird when I let the subconscious try to tell me something. The Strength card with the little parachuting mini-Hitlers forming a congo line on top of the Sound of Music hill were a stitch too (got the point across about 'mini-dictators' as the negative side of the card, they ended up yelling in unisen "Ve Vant To Be Alone!" which is the opposite of the card's potential meaning about a person NOT wanting to be alone, but oh well.) And the Hanged Man way up in the trees in another meditation was actually watching a big screen tv to 'see the game'. The only words of wisdom he would give me is that sometimes you can't see the forest for the trees, that's why he was up so high. That, and to 'watch the game'. He was too involved to chat further and I couldn't see the image on the screen from where I was so that was a short meditation.
HudsonGray, thanks for letting us know what else Robin Wood said about this card! What you posted made me look closer to the path and what is going on on the ground of this card.. And if you look at the unblocked path, it almost looks like it is a U-turn... So if you choose that path things will remain the same... you are u-turning and going right back where you were... But if you choose the path that death is standing at the you must go through change.. Very cool!
"Death"...such an ominous title for a card that is actually so full of potential. Change is often scary and the Grim Reaper figure represents this well. Also, when the Grim Reaper is around, one can bet that an "ending" has already occurred or is sure to eventually present itself. But with every door closed, a window is said to open...letting in fresh air, fresh ideas, and fresh possibilities. Perhaps "Death," when viewed with this perspective in mind, is not as threatening as first perceived.
I liked how Robin showed that one path was blocked by the figure. In readings I have viewed this symbol in at least two distinctly different ways. Possibly the figure is warning us not to go down that path and even physically getting in our way to help us avoid making a wrong, even dreadful, choice. Perhaps the blocked passage is one, as Robin suggested in the book, that is simply closed to us, but not particularly bad (and maybe even was good for us in the past)...we once took that path; it is off-limits now; not an option; time to move on. The Reaper even points to a cleared path as a road that may prove better for us...kinda depends if you trust the Reaper's judgement or not, which I feel may be open for some debate or at least careful thought, depending on where this card lands, what the original question was in the first place, and if it's reversed. I try to meditate on just what choices are available, so that I don't jump to conclusions or misinterpret what the cloaked guy is trying to say.
I love Birch trees in general, and they are particularly meaningful in Robin's depiction of "Death." How can things be too scary for long when you're travelling in a forest of white Birch trees?... which symbolize "Beginnings, purity and cleansing," as Robin listed in Chapter 5, "Common Symbols."
The beautiful, huge, white rose on the flag further symbolizes the rebirth that can come from drastic change. Things won't be frightening for too long!!
I figured this card would get the most posts - close
I too really love the treatment Robin has given this card. I must say it possibly my favorite Death card - possibly because it so well emphasizes the idea that the card is about change.It is such a great image and color use.
I think by not using the traditional skeleton, reaper, and the almost cliche black robes; this Robin has given this card a new paradigm and much less threatening feel. It is still fairly ominous - but less threatening.
this one is a lot more pleasent then the marseilles one! Not that scarry!! I prefer this one!
I see it as a very misterious card the cloaked death closes the path and points the other way. A better way?
Another word that comes to my mind is "uncertainty". Things are cloaked, hidden, not clear...
I need to look at the other posts again and take some notes, to learn more about the simbolism of this one. Lots of things to pay attention! For example i didn't knew that Butterflies stand for transformation...
A figure stands, actually blocking my way. Dressed, head to toe, in a red hooded robe, even the face was hidden. In fact, there was a surreal sense that there was no face. Yet I knew this visage was looking at me. Eyes without a face? The drape of the robed arm was a cascade of flowing blood-red material. It? He? She? whatever, was pointing the way toward the left fork. I look at my surroundings. I am in a Birch forest, and the scent was earthy, but new. I can hear the sounds of a forest, all twitters, and buzzes, and ribbits and even the gurgling of a brook somewhere.
Though I could not see a hand, the other robed limb grasped what I think might be a staff, until I see it rising above this being's left shoulder; a metalic and deep-gray cloak marriage of pole and material. It is, in fact an immense flag, upon which rests a white rose, in full bloom, with green leaves peeking out from beneath the petals at odd angles.
A fluttering out of the corner of my eye catches my attention. A happily flitting butterfly dances just below the sleeve, heading in the same direction this 'Red Robin Hood' was recommending.
Song for Death: Don't Fear The Reaper by Blue Oyster Cult.
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From the first steps of the journey, the transformation begins. Each teacher brings me to a reflection, not so much of new information, but new perspectives on the knowledge kicking around inside my brain; different ways of viewing the world, myself, and ways in which I can manifest, to a greater degree, the essential me.
Death is transformation, to the point where old layers begin to fall away, and a shining new outer being evolves from the ashes of the old, because the inner self is being nourished, attended and resides in the driver's seat of the vehicle.
My Earth Walk has become an intensive inner study, in ways I could never have imagined, though may possibly have glimpsed in those brief moments of ecstacy, in the give-away that the Sacred Dance of Life requires.