A neighbour wanted to ask a question about his 89-year-old mother who was in hospital and ailing by the minute. The family doubted that she would last another day, and he wanted to know how long she would live.
While we discussed what the question should be, I shuffled the deck. Two cards fell out.When I turned them over, on top was The World, and behind it was the reversed Page of Coins.
They looked like something that was worth discussing.
We might have expected the Death card to fall out, but The World is the last of the major trumps so it can show the end of a whole cycle, before the beginning of a new one. This seems quite appropriate for someone approaching the end of life.
The woman can be getting ready to step through to the other side, but is being held back by the reversed Page of Coins. The World is confident, but the reversed Page isn’t.
It was as if the mother was not sure what to expect for her future. The values she had followed in her daily life were not much use to her now, but she didn’t know (yet) what the new values should be. If you are used to being in the visible world, how do you prepare for the invisible one?
This was a new thought for the neighbour, but it made sense to him. He began to think that he should be re-assuring the mother, being quietly confident on her behalf in the face of the unknown. The thougts and actions of the family and friends – crying, worrying, and being generally miserable and pessimistic – were not helping the mother.
The question asked was: Would the mother be alive a week from now?
The answer was the Knight of Swords, so, Yes.
One week later, she was still going strong.
I’m thinking that the next post should be about the morality of answering this kind of question.