Card Meanings,  Major Arcana

Hallowe’en: Deviant Death


Nic is a member of TABI and has her own little tarot reading service called Coffee Cup Tarot. Currently she is a free reader for TABI and going through the endorsement process.

Step on up, grab your pumpkin spiced lattes, burn those cinnamon candles and huddle in with your blankets. It is officially October which means I am officially allowed to bleat on about how its Autumn and how Hallowe’en is on its way (and sulk about that fact it should have an apostrophe in the name).

So I feel that it is fitting to pull on one of the cards which either people love or feel incredibly fidgety and weirded out by – Death from the Deviant Moon tarot by Patrick Valenza (review can be found here).

There is the classic symbolism of mother and child; mother experienced, nurturing and life bearing. The child is more sporadic and prone to tantrums but innocent and full of energy.  We see that this mother is heavily pregnant, I personally get the impression that labour can’t be far off and she is fending off her child who appears to be attempting to clamber back into the womb, a home they knew so well.

Life for a child is hard; from a soft, warm womb where feeding is without effort to a cold, loud, noisy and bustling world outside. They have to learn skills to feed, we are born a little too early biologically so they are entirely dependent on adults and they need learn so much. That’s all before stepping intl social and political issues of this world. It can be a hard life so it’s hard to blame them for wanting to go back to where its warm and safe.  Jealousy might also rear its ugly head here. Nurturing a new child who is receiving attention.

The mother herself is holding the child back with her foot on their head. I always get the impression of a loving mother and never view this card as violence, aggression or repulsion to the child. It is the patient mother teaching a hard life lesson – it is what it is. 

That is the Death card. Now to borrow a little from Gandalf, it is true that it doesn’t matter what we want or how we would do things, all that matters is how we deal with what we have and sometimes life just isn’t prepared to give us what we want.

The childs term in the womb has ended. That’s it, they can’t go back and retreat into the alleged safety of the past. We can’t do that in life either. If something, a relationship or situation, is ending we cannot necessarily stamp our feet and burrow into it, hoping it stays.  The mother patiently reminds us that we must live life as it is. Is it really so good and life so bad? To live in a lonely shell with no experiences or faces or understanding rather than facing the world and knowing love or joy or what it is to see the beauty of nature. Similarly, we must remember that experiences are invaluable, when they end the pain of that death is fleeting.

Finally, her round belly is a symbol of hope. Life is an ever-toiling cycle. Death sweeps away all that has served its turn and gives way for new life and new experience. Something new and exciting will be born.

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