Sunday, October 23, 2016

Life and its passages.

I have news!

  1. Next weekend, I'll be attending the World Fantasy Convention in Columbus, Ohio. I'll be on a panel called "The Fantasy of the American Heartland" Thursday afternoon, Oct. 27th, at 4:00pm. If you're planning to attend the convention, I hope you'll stop by and say hi.
  2. At long last, the omnibus of the Pipe Woman's Legacy series is just about ready to go out the door. Release day ought to be sometime this week. Keep an eye on the usual social media sites.
  3.  I'm also overdue for sending out a newsletter, so be on the lookout for that, too.
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Maybe it's the time of year -- Samhain is only a week away -- or maybe it's that we have lost so many great people in 2016, and we still have two months to go. But Death seems to be on my mind a lot lately. (Witness my Mabon post of just a few weeks ago.)

But death isn't always bad.

Take the Tarot, for example. This is a photo I took of the Death card from the first Tarot deck I ever bought. When this card shows up in a reading, people who are unfamiliar with its meaning have been known to freak out. And why not? It's the thirteenth card! Everybody knows thirteen is an unlucky number! And there's a skeleton on a horse! And the sun is setting on the horizon!

Really? Maybe it's rising.

And what about that flag Death is carrying? On my card, the flower is red, but in regular Rider-Waite decks it's white. (What can I say? It was a cheap deck.) White is the color of beauty and purity, and it can also symbolize immortality.

The thing we tend to forget when we get all worked up over death is that something has to end before a new thing can begin. What this card actually signals is the start of a period of transformation -- the death of old ways of thinking and habits that have been holding us back. Or it can mean the end of a season of life -- say, the transition from high school to college, or from childlessness to parenthood, or from the working world to retirement. Of course you're glad to be on the threshold of this new phase of life, but it's also a bit frightening. Once the old way is behind you, you can never really go back.

On the card, Death is wearing armor because it's invincible. Nobody yet has gotten out of this life alive, and nobody living has escaped profound change of some sort.

In that sense, Death is just a phase. We're standing on the threshold of the transition from the old way of life to the new. Negotiating the transition may be tricky, and it will likely be painful. But it's going to be worth it in the end.

Speaking of beginnings, NaNoWriMo starts in a little over a week, and you may have guessed by now that the cycle of death/transition/rebirth will be one of the themes in my NaNo novel this year. But don't worry -- I promise it won't be too serious.

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These moments of deathly bloggery have been brought to you, as a public service, by Lynne Cantwell.
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