Happy Winter Soul-stice! Today, we officially welcome in Winter, a season traditionally linked to death and darkness. A season of hibernation—of going inside and of turning inward—to prepare ourselves for new life and new light in the spring. Earlier this year, my family lost our dog, and I’m still mourning her loss. Yet, as I went outside this morning to play in the fresh snow with our new puppy, I was reminded that life is a never-ending cycle of growth, change, death and rebirth.
When I give tarot readings, people are always afraid to get the Death card, but it’s actually my favorite card in the deck, because it doesn’t just represent loss; it also represents transformation and rebirth (you can see the rising sun in the background of the card). New life always follows death. New growth always follows decay. Just look at nature. As the sky grows dark with each setting sun, golden light fills the sky with each new sunrise. As the trees are stripped bare every winter, new blossoms burst into bloom every spring. And since our outer world is a direct reflection of our inner world, this same cycle of death and transformation is at work inside of us. Each new season and each new day is a chance to let go of whatever no longer serves our highest good and greatest growth, so that new or dormant parts of ourselves might bloom into being.
For Halloween this year—also known as the Day of the Dead in some traditions—I wanted to honor this beautiful, life-evoking energy of Death. So I dressed up in black, with an hourglass around my neck as a reminder that everything passes (joy, fear, sorrow, pain, life, even death itself), and I handed out Death Certificates to my friends so that they could look at what they needed to shed and release in their lives in order to make room for new growth.
Today, I wanted to share this exercise with you, too. May you find the courage to lean into the darkness, to embrace this energy of death, so that you may be transformed and your light may shine even brighter.
Make Your Own "Death Certificate"
Before you fill this out, close your eyes and take a few deep breaths to center yourself in your heart. Then, pull out your journal or a blank sheet of paper and write out the answers to each of the prompts below without thinking or judging what you're writing; simply let the words flow, stream-of-conscious. After you've finished, you may want to burn the paper or tear it up and throw it out, as a symbolic shedding.
Date of Death: (fill in the blank)
Time of Death: The exact right moment
Cause of Death: Inner Wisdom
I am ready to release ______________
from my life, in order to make more space for ______________.
I am thankful for all of the lessons it taught me, like ______________
and the ways it transformed me, like ______________.
I let it go with love & gratitude so that it can be reborn as ______________.