Path Death, Ego Death, Resurrection

I’ve been listening to Tom Campbell’s model of reality, My Big Toe, while purging the remodeled master bath and bedroom of old, now unused tools. Finally listening to Campbell is part of my recent rebellion lap around Buddhism and its theories. While cleaning my bedroom, I found an old fortune cookie fortune. It reads, “All things have an end.”

Earlier in the evening, I had decided to pull just one tarot card after sitting. The impulse flashed up as an imperative while I was brushing my teeth. My query formulation for the one-card draw was this, born of my knowledge-access frustrations around my current level of practice: “In the next 3 to 6 months, how should I contemplate and actualize in practice all the messages and signs I’m receiving?”

How My Path Will Actualize in 3 to 6 Months: Death

The card I turned up was major arcana Death. And the words in the manual, echoing almost exactly the fortune cookie fortune I had just found, leaped starkly forth: “All things come to an end.” This card means that a major karmic change is on its way, that nothing I can do will avert its coming, for it is certain, and that I should regard the transition that will be suddenly upon me as beneficial.

The message is to offer no resistance to the major change (an important ending) that is coming, but to meet it head on by shedding outdated beliefs, habits, attitudes, dogmas, and practice paradigms now. Out of this coming major karmic death will arise new life. I am to clear all mental clutter and complicating intellectualizing noise, sit in silence, and listen. The card’s message is to begin now to shed everything that has long been dead in my life. It is funny that this card turns up on a day I was “shedding” tons of material possessions from my bathroom, giving all to Goodwill.  I will receive the message I’m seeking from above by listening from a cleared and clean place.

I think I have drawn the Death card only one other time since I have owned this tarot deck. It is a chilling card to turn up. I decided next night to throw some clarifying cards around it. Death is associated with a hard, intense transition—a shock of loss that will be forced on me and that I need to accept and adjust to, go with instead of against.

What This Reading Is About: Queen of Swords Reversed

This was the hardest card to read in this spread in this spread, but here goes. This card is traditionally about having a strong concentrated mind and communication skills. It is about accepting no bullshit, about rebellion. The queen is disciplined and demanding. The eyes in the raven’s wings are both featured in and attending to the landscape of signs. Thus, we look to the outer world for signs of our inner progress, demanding answers. The card is saying, I think, that my concentration on signs has intensified my inner frustration rather than assuaged it, and I’m communicating that frustration to others, which I have been. It is enjoining quiet and delay of communications.

This card is not, however, in an advice position in this spread. So  it is not necessarily to be taken as advice, but instead is revealing what has been churning in me: that I’m  frustrated with my path, rejecting dogma, and basically putting all this rebellion on display. This queen stands up to bullies and authority figures. She rejects dogma. No bullshit! A companion of mine is pointing my blind spots out to me in a rational, sometimes critical way. Am I’m practicing discriminating wisdom? Will I behead him?

What This Reading Is Not About: Six of Disks Reversed

The Six of Disks appeared in my most recent tarot reading. There it was about manifestation: dreams, vision, and upcoming book. In reverse it indicates a Pandora’s Box: Once something begins manifesting, and escaping, it cannot be put back in a box. The card can indicate ambition and passion. This reading is not about any of this ambition to manifest. I take this to mean that visions, dreamwork, and author collaboration are not meeting with death due to overambition. The Death card is about my frustraton with my path stall-out, period. Good to know!

What to Do: Nine of Swords Reversed

This card features a temple of eternity. It signifies enlightenment. The black and white pillars are reversed from the usual left-to-right order, depending on which side of the threshold you stand. This card is about crossing that threshold but also remaining in the human world. In reverse, this card means “death,” but what appears as death is actually a passage into eternal life. This card, especially in a fourth position as it is here, warns against rushing and overthinking everything. I must remain human and maintain my human relationships, so one foot remains in physical reality, the relative. I need to remain grounded.

Outcome: Judgment

This card signifies resurrection from death, specifically ego death, with a new body, as indicated by the phoenix rising from the flames on the picture. This reading is marking the death of the old path of practice and the rising of a new body. I have been having regular astral body experiences as I gave up on my main practices because they stalled. Perhaps the next few months will extend these themes. Dreamwalker mentioned that when one leaves his or her body, in shamanic terms, the event is “crossing the guardian of death. The arising of the second, body is “resurrection.” 

Postscript: Reinterpretation a Week Later

These cards were thrown right when my now deceased friend Terri unexpectedly entered hospice care after years of suffering uncomplainingly the assaults of cancer and chemo. My query for the tarot was specifically about my own path of practice for the next 3 to 6 months. When I first saw the Death card, however, I instantly thought of Terri. Now that she did in fact die 5 days later, plunging me  into the most profound practices of bardo connection with her for the next 49 days, I am reconsidering that this reading may be about her death and my intermediate-state practices piercing into the reality of death and the unreality of it as some entropic end state. The February to April bardo practice for Kory, Kerry’s friend, opened new terrain of the heart and the paranormal (a second body in which I travel, launching from hypnagogia). So soon I’m doing the practices again for someone who was my best friend in my formative years and someone who had meditated several times a day for two decades. She was the one who coaxed me into taking up meditation in 2010. The life interpenetration with her is profound. In short, if this practice does anything for real, then it has a high chance of success this go around. I know she was and is not afraid, but prepared. She was used to being formless and will remain calm and concentrated. She has a good chance of complete liberation, I’m confident. Maybe the cards are showing more ego death on my part via my complete immersion in her death.

I had a dream this morning. Parts of it were clear, but the transition from scene to scene was missing, the effect being one of simply appearing elsewhere by magic. There were three basic scenes.

Third Party to Myself

In the first one, I was young and slim. I was at a party or gathering of some kind, outside a wooded home with terraced landscaping. I think it was near the ocean, for the air was thick as with warm salt billows of air. There were Japanese lanterns lit.

As the dream began, I was descending down the terraces as though they were giant stairs to the street level where I could leave. I am an introvert, and I had the feeling in the dream that I wanted to get away from the crowd, from the demands placed on me to interact with gusto. In this scene, I was not just in my body but alternately watching me descend. So the “I” was hard to locate, slippery, shifting.

As I was almost at the bottom of the yard, at street level, a man caught my eye in the periphery, and I certainly caught his eye. I’m not positive who the man was. I didn’t have a clear view of him, but something suggested that it was Wayne, my old alcoholic boyfriend. 

Piece Goods Shop and Rose-Covered Fabric

Suddenly, he and I were in an old fashioned piece goods shop. There were some bolts of fabric on a shelf. I pulled one down that had a white background covered with a pattern of red roses. I told Wayne, “I’m going to buy this and make myself a new party dress.” Wayne always loved me in my dresses, so he approved of this plan. However, I was lying: I didn’t plan to make any dress, for I can’t sew and I knew this in the dream. I was deceiving him, telling him what he wanted to hear.

Funeral Procession, First Person, and Fake Weeping

Then the scene changed again. I was standing in a church with others. We were all facing the back of the sanctuary. It was a funeral. Men dressed in black were proceeding into the sanctuary, toward the altar. I never turned and looked at the altar. I looked at the men. They were in double-file. There was no casket, for I kept looking for it. The men all had their heads hung and were crying. I was in my own body now, and I hung my head and pretended to be sad and weep. I could see that I was wearing the rose-covered sundress that I didn’t and couldn’t make. In actuality, I was not sad at all and perhaps even secretly glad that I was getting away with some kind of deception in only seemingly blending in and doing what I was supposed to.

What the… .?

I’m flying to Tallahassee tomorrow for the funeral of my beloved brother-in-law of 44 years, Buck. He was a sensitive man, too sensitive to have endured intact the horrors he survived as a decorated Marine on the front lines of the Vietnam War. He was only 17 years old when he enlisted, and the only survivor in his platoon. His best friend died in his arms on the battle field. 

Buck suffered since that time from post-traumatic stress disorder and depression. He had a bad stutter when he returned to the homeland. It improved over the years, unlike the depression.

Buck was always kind to me, since I was a child. I remember being on a boat at St. Teresa, Florida, and fishing for the first time. I caught my first fish, and we threw it in a bucket of sea water, with the other fish that others had caught. When I found out that these fish were slated for death, I started crying out of sympathy for the fish I had caught. I cannot remember who was with us, but I was thought silly for caring about that fish. Buck, however, was sensitive to my sensitivity. He released that fish back into the ocean for me. I will never forget this, nor the long walks and talks I had with Buck along the beach afterward, many times.

May the current and future children of this Earth be released, as was my fish, from the insanity of death and woundedness by war.

Buck had this funny habit of insisting that my sister Jill and I greet him with a peck on the lips. The cheek was insufficient offering. He was family, for 44 years. He was 68. It is hard to comprehend how fast he went (2 months of illness) and that he will not be there for holidays.

May Buck be released from all suffering and back into life, as was my fish by his hands.