A knight rides on a white horse waving a black banner with a white rose. Seems innocent enough. However, upon closer inspection, we see that this knight is a sepulchral figure adorned in armor trampling over a variety of beings including a king, clergyman, young child and mother. The message here is that Death comes to us all; there is no escape. But what to do with this information for it is really quite bleak, isn’t it? The answer lies in the card. When we look more closely we notice signs of life…the white rose of rebirth and the sun arising in the distance between the two pillars. After death comes life, just like the African violet bloom at the top left corner of the picture here. It is on its way out, having bloomed into fruition, and is now making way for new blooms to come along. Nothing lasts forever. With this understanding of endings–whether relationships, family members passing, loss of a job–let us remind ourselves that on the other side of death is life and the prospect of new beginnings.
You might think it ironic that I place this optimistic proverb side by side next to the Ten of Swords where a man lies face down on the ground with ten swords stabbing him in his back. Is this not the sorriest sight ever, the ultimate betrayal, death knell, no holds barred of an ending. And then right next to it a hopeful homily forecasting a bright future. It is a visual oxymoron.
The way I see it is that when you have reached the end of the line and what’s done is done and truly over, there’s really only one direction to go after that and that’s up. Even though the man is lying face down in a pool of his own blood, his body limp in death, even though the night is pitch black, and a body of water and mountains loom in a desolate landscape, my eye goes to the band of yellow light which signifies a new day, a new beginning and all the hope that comes with that.
It’s time to accept the loss and move on. Good things are to come.