Many people have lamented how 2016 took all the best people from us. I agree. 2016 was the year that claimed my mother.
A year to the day that I learned my mother had liver cancer, she slipped away into eternity. It was a #3 day.
I can't help but notice associations between things, particularly numbers. The Empress being the number three tarot card, the 3rd of the month, and even the year 2016 totals to nine, a multiple of three. Yes, for me, 2016 was the year of The Empress.
The Empress, is traditionally often associated with a bird, perhaps a vulture or an eagle. Despite there being no credible evidence linking tarot cards to ancient Egypt, the word and creature itself, 'Vulture' is linked with motherhood in Egyptian hieroglyphs. Is it a happy coincidence or a legit reason that a vulture, or an eagle type bird traditionally appears on the oldest and most traditional Empress tarot cards? That knowledge is probably lost to antiquity.
The Egyptians associated the vulture with the cycle of life and death and life again. There was even a vulture cult devoted to the eternal cycle of life, death, and rebirth.
When mom was sick, we had many, many conversations about the afterlife, supernatural occurences and things she felt she couldn't discuss with anyone else. Growing up she and my father called me their 'spooky kid,' the one that had a few too many unexplainable but uncanny experiences that made them wonder...
I promised mom that I would talk to her every day. She was worried that I wouldn't recognize when she was present, and she told me that she'd try to come back as a bird, or maybe even a butterfly, and that it would be during an unusual encounter with one of those winged creatures that I'd know she was present. The bird connection with tarot hadn't occured to me during our conversations, but in the weeks following her death I've had nothing but time to recount and reflect on our many conversations. Once the bird connection hit me, it made perfect sense that a winged creature was the correct symbol for mom, and the perfect symbol for motherhood. And the winged association fits in so perfectly with the Empress who is the tarot's embodiment of the best of motherhood and feminine maturity and lifecycle associations. I've had a few small bird and butterfly experiences since her passing, just enough to remind me of her ongoing and forever presence and relevance in my life. My daughter had the first encounter, a profoundly unusual experience with a butterfly at face level, following my daughter up the street the day my mother died.
When choosing mom's urn I looked for either birds or butterflies, and found one with butterflies. In my collection of charms and trinkets gifted to me from mom, the most recurring little trinkets she had given me were all winged creatures. Ceramic butterflies, metal or enamled humming birds, stained glass birds, etc. Even a little pin of an winged angel. In retrospect, winged creatures was the one recurring theme in gifts exchanged between us, and neither of us ever realized it during our years together or the conversations at the end. It was just our thing.
There is so much to say about mom being an Empress, but she possessed a touch of the High Priestess too, many of her secrets remain a mystery, and until the day she died she possessed a little of her childhood innocence. I never completely got though the veil. close, but not completely.
I know how brutal 2016 was for many of us, recounting the many celebrity lives that were claimed. How many of them can be associated with a winged creature, communication, or flight? How many can be associated with an eternal message, and the cycle of life? I'm guessing all of them.
I know of two other women who lost their mothers this year, making my personal awareness of mothers lost in 2016 at a total of three.
We might be inclinded to say Goodbye and good riddance to 2016. But let's remember, that in the wake of The Empress, means new life.
Happy New Year Friends. Happy 2017!