“What happens to us after we die?” “Where do we go?” ” Why do some folks seem to hang around after their death?” These are questions that have lingered in our psyche from almost the beginning of time. This is going to be a quite lengthy post and I hope that you will accompany me as I write. This is what I believe…
Sometimes spirits remain at or near the site of their death, especially if it was sudden and unexpected. They remain confused and don’t know or accept that they have died. Sometimes they do not go to the light for reasons such as the fear that their existence will end, fear of the unknown, fear of going to hell or being judged for past deeds. These spirits are bound here because of their own fears.
Other spirits stay behind to make sure their loved ones are ok or to pass along one final message. Often they will contact the living to assist them. Almost anything that a spirit feels compelled to do before it goes to the light can make it remain here until it feels comfortable with how they have left things.
Guilt can also be a reason for a spirit being stuck here. They may feel like they have left the family or loved ones too soon and uncared for. This is also the main reason why suicide victims and other spirits whose death was caused by their actions (alcoholics, drug overdose, etc) remain behind. They feel guilty over taking their life or contributing to their death.
The living can also hold a spirit here. By not letting go of them, they can be bound here by our love and unable or unwilling to go on until the living can come to terms with the loss. They feel that they left things unsaid, undone, etc. and they feel guilt over it. This keeps the spirit from going over many times simply because it does not want us to feel this way or be that upset. After having said all that…
This is my story….
The year is 1975… The Vietnam War is ending as Communist forces take Saigon and South Vietnam surrenders unconditionally… popular films such as Jaws and Benji are playing in major theaters… Alice Cooper, The Eagles and John Lennon play daily on AM radio stations…and I turned nine years old. My parents had separated, after eleven years of marriage, and my mother had contacted a lawyer to proceed with a divorce…you see, my father was a deeply troubled man who suffered from alcoholism for most of his adult life and was very likely suffering from mental illness as well…a family trait going back several generations.
Later that year in November, my father, Calvin Sinclair Christy took his own life. I can still remember that sickening feeling in the pit of my stomach as my mother tearfully broke the news to me that day after returning from school. The only emotion I remember feeling was a terrible sadness for my mother having to deliver such devastating news, I don’t remember feeling sad for myself, just sad for her because she carried a terrible burden that she now had to share with me.
The days that followed seem like a blur now, the family showing up to show support, the funeral and then the military burial at the family plot in Eastern Washington (my mother and I did not attend due to the fact that it was a great distance away from where we lived and my mother felt a great need to shelter me from any further trauma) That small little fact that we did not attend his burial haunted me for many years after that because the sense of closure that we all need when facing a loss of a loved one was left open. For many years my child brain held on to the hope that maybe my father was not really dead after all, maybe somewhere he lived on…somewhere… and as silly as it sounds now as an adult, it has affected me to this day.
Although I am all grown up now, there has always been a part of me that searched for answers about my father, what was he like, how did he think, what was special to him…I have always wished that I had been given the chance to know him as an adult…then one day it suddenly dawned on me…I realized that the Tarot may hold answers that were always just beyond my grasp! Maybe, just maybe, I could connect with my father and provide the closure that for so long had eluded me. The following Tarot Cards are in reply to the question of my father “What do you have to say to me”
Now, being a tarot reader, I know that detailed questions are the best way to get information but for some reason I felt compelled to simply ask in generalities…perhaps out of fear that I would get a detailed answer that I may or may not want to hear, so I took the easy road. As I looked at the cards, they quite literally took my breath away.
I didn’t start out reading reversed cards but it always bothered me when I read because I always had the feeling that without reversed cards that I may not be getting the whole picture so I incorporated reading them and as my fellow readers know, many reversed cards in a reading have a message of their own. Usually, reversed cards indicate a blocked or stuck situation and given the nature of my question, these cards being reversed told me that my father’s energy is blocked or stuck.
With the Seven of Cups, we normally see that we are faced with many options or avenues that we can choose to go down but at the same time, we must also have clarity of mind in order to make wise, informed choices and not be distracted by the stuff of daydreams and wishful thinking. Having the Seven of Cups reversed indicates that there were opportunities for him when he was alive and even now, in death, and that he is either not taking them or acting on them for whatever reason..The Ace of Swords tells me that perhaps he is having trouble seeing clearly and may even be stuck in a never ending loop of guilt, shame or regret.
All of these are very powerful emotions and fear, often a great motivator, can also become a dark prison. In his life, my father was not a great communicator, he rarely shared his feelings and I never once saw him shed a tear. This very well could be the case now, I do not believe that “what makes up who we are” changes…even after we pass. We still somehow retain our thoughts, feelings and even the very hang ups we had while we lived. The Wheel of Fortune reversed indicates to me that this is not something pertaining to the past but a very present state of being in which my father is having great difficulty moving on, also indicated by the Eight of Cups reversed. It almost feels as if he is unsure how to make the connection to move on.
I sat with these cards for a couple days and looked at them often, I asked myself many times “Is this correct…?” “Is there something I’m seeing that isn’t really there?” It is difficult to read for oneself sometimes simply because we, as readers, are very close to the question and issue at hand so I decided to contact a really awesome lady who helped me shed some light on the cards that I drew. As it turns out, I was not as far off base as I had thought I was and she suggested that maybe I should intuitively draw some cards from the Coins suit to add some grounding energy in order to help him move on.
It wasn’t as difficult of an exercise as I had thought, four cards seemed to pull at me immediately as I looked through the suit of Coins and these are the cards that spoke to me the loudest…
The very first impression when looking at the four cards I had pulled was that before me lies a story, a progression so to speak, of thought. The Eight of Coins is about assessment, “where do I go from here” and when applied to my father, I see him hesitating, wondering what should he do next, where should he go. Followed by the Five of Coins, which indicates need and want…of going through hardship and given the picture of the figures inside a church, I am reminded that my father had a very dim view of Deity and on occasion even proclaimed himself an atheist.
In my heart of hearts, I do not believe that my father truly felt this way, I think that maybe he was afraid to believe in a power greater than himself and with the opinion of many mainstream churches denouncing suicide as a sin and worthy of the concept of hell, I feel that this idea and very real fear binds him from moving on to where he needs to be. What greater stumbling block can you imagine than to be certain that you will go to hell and suffer from the guilt of knowing that you took your own life. That, to me is the very definition of hell itself, not a destination that you may be headed towards but a state of mind that binds you.
In the Ace of Coins, we see an angel holding out a Coin almost as a gift. I see this as a sign that I have a gift to give my father, one of release and comfort…of knowing he is going to be okay and the fear he feels is not justified. There is nothing to fear by moving on and he can finally be at peace with his loved ones that have already passed on, intimated by the Ten of Coins. Now the ball is in my court, I have an opportunity to do something amazing and beautiful, I have the chance to help my father find the peace he so desperately sought in his life and still seeks from the other side.
It’s a difficult thing to let go of my father…I wasn’t given the chance to say goodbye while he was alive but now it is time for him to move on and I am struggling with this. I feel selfish, I feel like it was just yesterday since he’s been gone and now he must go again . I know deep down this is the right thing to do but it hurts…more than anyone can imagine. It’s hard to lose someone to such a tragedy once only to feel you must lose them all over again and this is my struggle.
Elisabeth Kubler-Ross famously wrote that there are five stages of grief… Denial; Anger; Bargaining; Depression and Acceptance and this is very true. I now find myself experiencing them all over again but with a little hope and a whole lot of faith, maybe my father and I will finally receive the closure that has escaped us both for so long.