41. In Memoriam

When Snake Friend found the Playful Dead, he noted that the skeleton was not terribly playful.  In fact, Playful Dead was, at this moment, Industrious Dead: scrubbing away at the dust, muck and moss that had attached itself to the headstone.  "What are you doing?" asked Snake Friend.

The skeleton continued on, not even giving a look over to the snake.  "Just spending time with her-- I miss her.  Making her resting a little nicer, maybe caring for her as she cared for me: by washing and holding space together and talking, " answered Playful, "I can't even remember the number of years it's been since she passed." 

Snake Friend was puzzled.  "It's been a long time, and no one else visits any of these... there are other things you could be doing, Playful!  Come play!  Why are you here?" gently hissed the snake, slithering around the stone.

The skeleton paused, sitting on their heels and observing the site.  After a time, Playful Dead placed the clipped flower in its holder, lit the incense (sandalwood, her favorite) and drew that flame to the pillar candle to carry home.  Playful patted his friend's head.  "I am here, because I would not be here now, if she weren't here first."


IN MEMORIAM shows one of the Playful Dead caring for a headstone at a gravesite.  The skeleton, along with Snake Friend, lean in, wiping down the stone; brushing away leaves and vines that have sprung up; and caring for the space of an ancestor's rest.  These are birds (or maybe bats) that are flying in the distance as the skeleton tends to the task of caring for the resting home of a wonderful and sacred soul.  There's love, and honor, and recognition in its maintenance; while the enveloping vines note the return to nature we all participate in through our passing, the Playful Dead's care is a comfort to both the skeleton and the Departed. This card appears when the Querent is being encouraged to care and connect with those who came before, and honor the legacy and connections left behind in their passing(s).  

The Shadow Suit addresses deeper layers and life themes, while asking us to make longer-term commitments and changes to our habits.  How can we fully embrace the experiences that make us more deeply human, and spiritual?

Could relate to: hearing or seeing important experiences of those who have come before, resolving generational trauma, appreciation for sacrifice, determining end of life decisions (even "just in case") , reading old letters and journals

Key Questions:

  • Is what I'm doing honoring our Departed's wishes?

  • How do I reconcile the strengths and the faults of the Departed, towards creating an honest understanding of them?

  • When I perform an action, how is that contributing to those who will outlive me?

  • How do I give thanks for sacrifice?

  • Is there a gift the Departed given me (either physical or personal) that can be useful to the broader community or world I live in?