When Jesus was dead his burial was done with great care and love.
Joseph of Arimathaea, a disciple of Jesus, asked Pilate in secret (fearing the High Priests) if he could take away the body of Jesus. He had bought a grave for Jesus in a garden. Legend is that Joseph of Arimathaea went to England with some followers. He came to Glastonbury carrying a staff grown out of Jesus crown of thorns. He thrust the thorn staff in the ground and it immediately took miraculous root, and it can be seen there still on Wearyall Hill. Nicodemus –a man who once came secretly in the night to speak with Jesus- is the other man who helped with the burial. He brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, more then a hundred pound. They and the other disciples took the body away and bound it in linen cloths with the spices. The body was laid down in a new tomb in a garden.
The disciples took great care of Jesus, I wondered: What did Jesus mean to his disciples? I have used the Voyager Tarot to pull a card from for an answer to this question, and I picked Death.
Coming into contact with Jesus and his teachings must have been the most important event in their lives: something that changed everything (Death means radical change).
First of all, they loved him. Secondly I think Jesus meant “renewal” for them, new ways of life and being. The autumn leaves on the card -a far away promise of the spring- and the shedding of the skin of the snake are showing renewal. They could have hoped that religion, culture and society would be reformed so that poor and sick people were valued. That could have hoped gentleness would prevail: a king on a donkey. Possibly they secretly hoped that healing their gravely ill was possible. The branch of Joseph of Arimathaea accentuates the accent on renewal and new ways of being. Out of the staff, made from thorns, symbol of Jesus abuse and suffering, new life miraculous took root. Furthermore, they probably admired Jesus for choosing his death so bravely - that he did not walked away from the consequence of his teachings (Death in the Voyager is among other things a choice).
But there is more to this card. The card is ambivalent, for although its promise is renewal and transformation, the card is called “Death,” and the card shows many symbols of it. At the time of his burial the life of Jesus is ended. Jesus is no longer there and his disciples feared for their lives. They could not pass his message along. Joseph of Arimathaea and Nicodemus were among the people who followed Jesus, but hiding that because they were afraid. We, living in the twenty-first century, know the stories about the appearances of Jesus after his dead; we have the accounts of an empty grave, but the disciples did not have that at the time. When Jesus was crucified it meant the end of their hope -- and who knows they felt it much earlier, for the threats were there as soon as Jesus taught in public. If they felt this earlier or not, his death meant the end of hope and uncertainty how to go on with living, having to find a new meaning.
On the one hand, Jesus meant for the disciples hope for renewal. But on the other hand, his death meant loss of hope and the challenge to form their lives anew. Either way, meeting Jesus caused a radical change in their lives, and they loved him dearly.