To be, or not to be

uKufa13 Death – UKUFA

CONCEPT Transition; Transformation; Regeneration; Letting go; Metamorphosis; Rebirth

Ukufa invites you to heal through transformation.

The process of transformation and change /Letting go and moving forward /Inner powers of imagination /Becoming the authentic you

/Endings and new beginnings /The power of regeneration /Old cycles prevent and hinder growth /Constructive ability /Great resources /Secrets

This card almost never signifies physical death, it represents the metaphor for death and rebirth in life.

The iTongo Tarot’s visual is probably the most different to traditional tarot decks. I moved away from the skeleton as ‘death’ because in African folklore it is the chameleon and lizard that were tasked to bring the message of death to mankind.  In other tales about the moon (dying and regeneration) mother moon sent Mantis and the hare as her emissaries.

The death card is probably the most maligned and misunderstood of all the cards.  Most people take in a breath and fear what is coming next – generally 13 Death is not about physical death, rather it is a metaphor for death and rebirth in life.  The concept is about transition and transformation.  As we let go there is regeneration.  Without change there is no moving forward.  We need to use our inner powers of imagination and our ability to construct or restructure our lives. I like to see this card as one of the ‘worker’ cards that can bring positive change.

Within each of us is our greatest resource – we have the power through our thoughts, dreams and emotions to change everything, we have the power within to transform ourselves.  It all starts with YOU!  If we want to see a different world around us, WE have to make a change.  We need to clear out old patterns, habits and thoughts that prevent our growth.  We have to live openly and honestly.

Nothing in life is guaranteed except change and death.  Throughout our lives we will experience change – some easier than others.  As we grow and mature, we accept that we need to learn new things, to make adjustments to our lives and our outlooks.  We accept that our view as a nine year old is different to a teenager, then as adults.  So why when we believe we have reached maturity to we stop developing and growing.  We should never stop making those adjustments.  As we learn though experience we are changed, our view of the world is altered and we need to adjust and adapt our way of thinking and doing.  When we fail to follow through we build patterns that hinder our growth.  We get stuck in this rut, and keep cycling round without actually going anywhere or achieving anything.

The energy of 13 Death brings us an opportunity to make those changes.  It allows us to transition to the people we want to be. Like the Chameleon we need to adapt and adjust by transforming ourselves to suit the moment, the time and the emotion.  The more accepting we are of the need to change, the less dramatic or traumatic the changes will be.  The purpose of this change is not to destroy but to create space to allow regeneration or habit, soul and attitude.  As they say … when a door is closed and window is opened, the issue is do you have the courage of your convictions to follow through?

Partnerships and relationships that are not working need to be changed.  Either sever ties or consider the changes that need to be made together – take that leap of faith together, if this is not possible then let go, its for the greater good.  The same would apply to your working environment, if you are stagnant, don’t enjoy what you do or even feel undervalued, then this is the week to make the choice to move on.  Make your voice heard through honest and open discussion or simply make the change.  It serves no purpose to cling to the familiar out of fear of the unknown, just remember that the power to choose is always yours.  Know when enough is enough.

When we do our daily meditation/contemplation or prayer, we should explore what we need to let go of; how can we transform our life and explore where new growth is possible.  We need to make space for the new, if we don’t let go and clean out our mental and emotional closets we cant add new ideas, hopes and dreams.  Its too difficult to search through all the debris to find what really matters, what is true.  Examine all aspects of your psyche.  Even if some patterns are old and familiar, if they no longer help or add value they need to go.  It’s a bit like a physical closet, the rule is if you haven’t worn it or used it in 2 years, time to throw it out – the very same goes for mental attitudes, emotional stands and even physical being.  The time for change is now, the guarantee is that we will all die, rather we look back on our lives and know that we lived our best life, we met life head on and transformed ourselves as we matured, becoming the person we were destined to be.  Cultivate a positive attitude, its always darkest before the dawn, but the dawn always comes – face a new day inspired and with the strength to follow through.

How Death came to Mankind – from iTongo Tarot

According to Zulu legend, God (uNkulunkulu) arose from beneath (the seat of the spiritual world) and created in the beginning men, animals, and all things. He then sent for the chameleon, saying, “Go, Chameleon, and tell the nations of men that they shall not die.” The chameleon started his journey, but walked slowly, loitering on the way, eating a shrub called ubukwebezane.

After some time, when the chameleon had not returned uNkulunkulu called the lizard ordering him to make haste and tell men that they shall die. The lizard outran the chameleon with the message, and told men that they shall die. When the chameleon eventually arrived and delivered his proclamation that man shall not die, the men refused to listen as they had already heard the words of the lizard and accepted what he said.

And so it happened that through the slowness of the chameleon and the speed of the lizard death came to all men. From that day, the chameleon was cast with his peculiar halting gait, which makes it impossible for him to run.

The San share a story with the Khoikhois and several other African races about the sending of the message of death to man. The San say that the Moon sent an insect to Man with the following message: “As I die and dying live, so ye shall also die and dying live”. Off went the insect with his message but his legs were rather short and, unable to see very well, he lost his way many times.

Soon he was overtaken by an inquisitive hare, which found out the purpose of the insect’s errand and thought to himself, “I will carry this message myself and, as it is an important one, it will bring me fame and glory”.

He left the insect trailing along and bounded away. However, the hare, being naturally hare- brained, soon garbled the message as he ran. He arrived at his destination and his version of the message from the Moon proclaimed to all men on earth: “As I die and dying perish in the same manner you shall also die and come wholly to an end.”

The Moon, when she heard of this, took a stick and angrily hit the hare, striking a cleft in his nose and lip that remains to this day. In retaliation, he scratched the Moon inflicting bruises and blotches on her face.

The Khoikhois despise the hare, and will not eat its flesh. They say that it was the chameleon, however, and not the insect that first carried the message, and they mock its slow gait. The San also mistrust the chameleon and if they find a dead one in their path, they cover it with twigs to avert a misfortune.


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