Wednesday, 30 November 2011

loving something that death can touch

Grief at the loss of a loved one is sometimes touched upon in Tarot and as a reader the necessity for sensitivity and understanding is of paramount importance. I've personally done many readings for querents suffering in the midst of bereavement and they always wish to focus on how to move on and how to process their emotions healthily and effectively. I never do readings regarding the well being of a lost loved one 'on the other side'. I don't think those kinds of readings are helpful in terms of assisting those left behind and I certainly don't think I have any ability to get in touch with the dead. Death is a part of life and its process should be respected and accepted in its entirety in order for us to move on from the pain of loss. Part of death's process is the inability to spend physical time with the deceased. Using a medium to contact a loved one is risky for those who are emotionally shattered or in shock. I believe it's much more helpful to counsel and guide a grieving person through each stage of the bereavement process rather than offering hope of some kind of metaphysical reunion.

Here are some of the most obvious phases we go through when we grieve:
  • Denial
  • Shock
  • Anger
  • Fear
  • Sadness
  • Guilt
  • Physical illnesses

We will often shift between several of these states over the course of a day and it can be difficult to reach an emotional plateau for even an hour or so and find some peace in the midst of the pain. A Tarot reading is never going to be absolutely instrumental in your progress but it can be a useful and effective tool on the pathway if the following goals and advice are sought after and given:

Open up to friends and family - Talking through your fear and sadness with someone you can trust and lean on in hard times is part of letting go and gives way to acceptance. Empathy can banish fear and kind words can soothe frayed nerves.

Seek professional counselling or support - If it's obvious that the struggle to cope with grief is long-standing or particularly intense, a Tarot reader may suggest that following the reading you attempt to reach out to a trained health professional for more in-depth analysis and support.

Turn to your faith - Many people find great solace and comfort in their belief system or spirituality in times of grief. The Tarot will always give you sign posts towards this kind of thing if it's necessary and the very process of getting a divinatory reading should, in itself, encourage you to turn to spiritual solace and meditative contemplation to achieve balance and perspective.

Face your feelings head on - Although denial is a natural part of the grieving process, we shouldn't drop anchor there. A Tarot reading should assist you in processing the difficult feelings that come after acceptance has been reached. Sorrow is the toughest part for most people. It involves breaking down, crying buckets of tears and having to accept something that it is unquestionably difficult. Use the Tarot's messages and signs to strengthen your resolve during this difficult time.

Look after yourself - Many bereaved people forget to look after their physical health. They may neglect themselves or find it difficult to care about their well-being. The Tarot has lots of cards relating to the importance of caring for your physical and mental health, particularly when you feel that you're at rock bottom. Those little things we can do to nurture ourselves during the hard times will make the world of difference in the long-term. Tarot also holds key pieces of advice regarding reaching out to others and being honest about how the loss is affecting you.

Do things in your own time - Don't let other people tell you how to feel. If you want to cry, cry. If you want to express anger, disappointment or shock, do so. Don't believe the old myths about the importance of being strong and holding back the tears. Fear and sadness are completely natural reactions to death and if you don't go through those stages and process them properly they will probably come back to haunt you later on.

Use creativity to process emotions - Make a scrapbook or a mix album, write in a journal or express your thoughts in letters to others. Celebrate the life of the lost one and show other people in tangible, creative ways how you've dealt with the struggle and what you really want to express about how it's affected you.

Tarot is so often considered to be rather a light-hearted pass time and, whilst it does have that whimsical air to it, it can also be a fantastic way to cope with some of the most difficult stages of our lives. Tarot represents the whole of human experience. Each card addresses one of life's key factors which none of us are exempt from, making it unifying and full of empathy and truth. Helping querents through grief should always be done with respect and discretion.