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A Darker Shade of Pale; The Usefulness of Death's Shadow.


“Sorrow prepares you for joy. It violently sweeps everything out of your house, so that new joy can find space to enter. It shakes the yellow leaves from the bough of your heart, so that fresh, green leaves can grow in their place. It pulls up the rotten roots, so that new roots hidden beneath have room to grow. Whatever sorrow shakes from your heart, far better things will take their place.”

Rumi

Death is a funny thing...

Well it ain’t that funny come to think of it. We Yorkies are renowned for a macabre sense of humour. A wake can certainly be amusing...all that spirit, all that loving and hating, all that familiarity tied up in an afternoon of goodbyes amongst the petits fours and currant buns all washed down with strong tea. If you are one of the great and the good you might get a free bar and cooked grub but for the unwashed it is a case of making a fond farewell; as in life then so in death.

Death is an expensive pastime.

The sycophantic society gleans neatly and ruthlessly from the departed knowing that there is no come back other than the kerching in the coffers of the taxman.

Terry Pratchett also made light of death and I have to say his Death character is rather alluring; oh I do like a chap with a bit of charisma!

“ALL THINGS THAT ARE, ARE OURS. BUT WE MUST CARE. FOR IF WE DO NOT CARE, WE DO NOT EXIST. IF WE DO NOT EXIST, THEN THERE IS NOTHING BUT BLIND OBLIVION. AND EVEN OBLIVION MUST END SOMEDAY. LORD, WILL YOU GRANT ME JUST A LITTLE TIME? FOR THE PROPER BALANCE OF THINGS. TO RETURN WHAT WAS GIVEN. FOR THE SAKE OF PRISONERS AND THE FLIGHT OF BIRDS.

Death took a step backwards.

It was impossible to read expression in Azrael's features.

Death glanced sideways at the servants.

LORD, WHAT CAN THE HARVEST HOPE FOR, IF NOT FOR THE CARE OF THE REAPER MAN?” Terry Pratchett, Reaper Man

But this missive is not necessarily about physical death.

It could be about physical death if you wanted it to be, but I think transformation is very much like the act of death itself. All that shedding, all that letting go and the shuffling off coils. Only it is done within the internal landscape and just like passing over it is game changing.

The kind of death I want to talk about is the rebirth variety.

The kind where you know you gotta go through something, heaven knows what but whatever it is it will certainly put distance between you and the past, the past throws up a portal and above it reads, ’’Abandon hope all ye who enter here.’’ In other words your transformation is such that there is no return, your past has become another room in another dimension and your grief is a terrible beauty as you realise you are never going to be the same again!

Say ta-ra to those things that don’t serve you. Drop the superfluous and discard the habits and attitudes. Ditch the situations and issues that block and bewilder because you aren’t going to need any of them where you’re going!

I am all for conscious transformation.

This means being in your heart and stepping into the wilderness for your time in Van Dieman’s land. Prepare for being lost and adrift as your time out of your comfort zone will serve you well as upon your resurrection you will fall back to earth, whole and primed.

Conscious transformation means going into the underworld. This is because it is the only means of moving forward and knowing that you have to. Distractions and denial are not part of the deal, but instead we must march towards the crucible where the soul becomes tempered like gold.

At this point we don’t have any airs and graces. So just put on your best Hollywood smile and step outside your mind. This is tough as it is not clear where one is heading. You are vulnerable but vulnerability means that there is no room for love.

In its darkest aspect Death is not the liberating angel of Azrael.

Nor is it a promise of a future but Death comes creeping by making an entrance from the wings, ready to turn a life into turmoil. Dreams are spoiled, plans are ruined, the creative flair is thrown into jail, hope and faith become the servants of pessimism, renewal and rebirth are but paradigms that live on somewhere down the rabbit hole. Your disconnection is complete.

In a society metaphorical death can be dangerous if unobserved and not witnessed by the sleeping and the mindless. Let’s face it, this is what is expected of us and we play our hand well. Conscious transformation will at least wake the Sleeping Beauty to her destiny where she is offered a starring role.

Death in society is destruction and the sanctity of life is meaningless.

It is the tearing down of a forest, it is the monolith built to honour the greedy and the profane, it is the plunder of resources, it is the illusion of all is well, it is the rubbish tip of decaying utopias, it is the carnage of dis-ease and infertility, it is the cleansing of the nonconformist, the artist and the shaman, the writer and the muse. There is no need for liberation from the death of death itself.

These transitions that we call death are in fact a way of preparing us to let go. Jung tells us that the first part of our life is about learning to live whilst the second part is about learning to die. The trick is to die well! Death holds the key to our understanding of the nature of life but like the nettle can we grasp it?

What we hope from Death is an awakening.

Tired of the illusion, frustrated with the ideals of the past, absorbed in our misery and torment, the spirit wants to transcend and be freed of its limitations and boundaries. Are we listening? The development and the ability to listen to our intuition is key to our spiritual survival.

Death is a formidable teacher.

Rebirth is an expanded consciousness, an unfolding universe, an ego that has new vistas as the new self becomes aware. Death ensures a clear pathway for your higher self to connect with you and for you to merge with in all your sense of being.

DEATH IN A READING.
  • Try to get in the habit of talking to your cards. Have a mental discussion with them.

  • Is death a physical one or a spiritual one?

  • How should I prepare for what is to come?

  • What am I leaving behind?

  • What am I aspiring to?

  • What is the nature of my transformation?

  • What can I learn from Death?

  • Steps forward.

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