Change and Transformation

Arcana, does not mean physical death. Rather, the Death card portrays symbolic death-a change or transformation. Often, it heralds the end of a familiar or more comfortable mode. It conveys a release which is necessary for growth and expansion. Perhaps it even brings a whole new set of principles which will guide you spiritually, emotionally, psychologically or financially. Joseph Campbell, author of A Hero with A Thousand Faces, describes times of personal change as periods when “The familiar life horizon has been outgrown; the old concepts, ideals, and emotional patterns no longer fit; the time for the passing of a threshold is at hand.” The sunrise depicted in the background of the Death card holds the promise of the transformation which is about to take place: the death of the old self, but also the dawning of a new day. The Death card is a cue that you are at a “threshold”-a crossing into a new phase, unbounded by the past.


It was inevitable that the death card would rise out of my Tarot pack, signaling the inevitable change and transformation that comes on a journey like this.

Few who come to Lemuria can, or should, bypass the Valley of Bones where ancients like Cerridwen still reign supreme.

My life is changing again. Comfortable habits and routines that I have had are being altered. With each day comes small deaths.

It is hard to lose old ways. Memories rose as I sat drawing, small fragments to be treasured and held lovingly.

I am mourning what was and coming to terms with what is.

16 responses

  1. You explain the Death Card very well. Like you, I’m going through a lot of change and transformation and keep getting card in readings. Your picture captures the feelings associated with this phase of life very well.

    1. I am finding, as I gaze at the image, that it really does capture much of how I am feeling. The reaper seems saddened. My overwhelming feeling, as my life changes, yet again, is an abiding sadness.

  2. This is an unusual rendition of Death since you have portrayed it as a woman, not a male grim reaper figure. Your analysis of death equaling change is spot on, I believe.

    Another powerful image.

    1. It is different Lori. I deliberately made the reaper a woman. Also, the reaper usually has no face and no feelings. I feel this reaper has some compassion and is not at ease with the imposed change and transformation that is happening to the woman lying on the ground. The void as my mother slips, ceases to be who she was, is difficult. My life is transforming.

  3. A slow and gentle sloughing of the old skin – difficult yet natural. Your portrayal of the reaper as female feels absolutely right to me – think of Cerridwen and her cauldron – the old energies transformed and transmuted into the new. You are producing work of such strength in their emotional rawness, you really are letting us in – it is a privilege to accompany you.

    1. Your insight is so valuable Jill. Thank you.

  4. Not knowing too much about the cards, I’ve always thought the death card portrayed the end of life. You have interpreted so well and I understand it does not necessarily mean the end. Instead it is transformation and that is good for all of us as we move through life.
    It is good that you are drawing. And your drawings are nothing short of fantastic.


    1. It is the little deaths along the way that are the hardest. No wonder many long for the scissors to cut the cord between body and spirit and to be freed from all of this 🙂

  5. This is really valuable, Heather, as change is one of the things we often don’t know how to deal with. Great image. Also great to read how everyone is responding to this new idea.

    1. It is important to face and deal with this. The Death card is possibly one of the major ones to confront, along with the Wheel of Life.

  6. A change of space, a freedom from the body, a chance to grow wings, and soar into other worlds beyond this one. . . thanks for reflecting on the ‘death card.’

    1. Even seeing what is happening to me through my drawings helps me see differently.

  7. I’ve been there after the Reaper- seeing it as a woman is natural too me; right even.

    Wonderful work Heather.

    1. I appreciate your first hand affirmation of this A.M. It is me on the ground at the moment 🙂 I feel like I am being killed by a thousand cuts.

  8. It is amazingly hard to have to re-order your life, isn’t it? But then, without these sorts of changes, our lives might not move forward the way they need to. But why does it have to hurt so much sometimes?

    1. It is hard to maintain a life and move forward Jane. Some days I find it all overwhelming and feel I am being killed. A bit melodramatic I know but that is how it feels.

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