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The Tarot of Eli-Major Arcana: Thoth-ATU 13-Death & Gothic Tarot-Key 13-Death

Western Qabalistic, Tantric, and Alchemical Tarot Card Comparisons.

· Gothic Tarot

Thoth- ATU 13-Death

The Child of the Great Transformers; Lord of Death.

Death- ATU/Key 13, is known as the Path of Nun on the Qabalistic Tree of Life and connects the 6th Sephiroth- Tiphareth-Beauty, with the 7th Sephiroth-Netzach-Victory. This connection may seem illogical to the mundane person who fears Death; However, Nun, a Hebrew letter, means Fish (illustrated on the Thoth card) and is also the Hebrew simple letter for Movement, as represented as the running skeleton on the Thoth Card and the Grim Reaper angel of death on the Gothic Tarot Card. The Soul, who is Tiphareth as the "Sun of God", moves towards manifestation on Netzach. Hence, Beauty has Victory over what once was Death Matter, by bringing it into the motion of Life.

Gothic Tarot- Key 13-Death

Patient and ever watchful.

The 24th Path of Nun runs from Tiphareth (Beauty) to Netzach (Victory) on the Tree of Life, and is one of the three aforementioned paths that leads from the Higher Self to the Personality and Visa Versa. The initiate may experience the Higher Self on any one of these three Paths, Art (The Path of Samekh), The Devil (The Path of Ayin), and Death, the Path of Nun; but the lessons of all three must be mastered. The figures of the Art card, the Devil card and the Death card are all different aspects of the same thing; The Higher Self, which is a collective of many "selves". In fact, Death is invariably linked to the Art Card. If you will but examine the Art Card, the Alchemy of joining opposites, by pouring water and fire down into a golden Cauldron, that is marked with a Raven and Skull image of the German word Kaput (German for Death) implying the Alchemical action of caput mortuum that is happening inside the Cauldron which is putrefaction and putrefaction is what the Death Card is all about. Out of the putrid, arises the new and pure. From compost to lush Tomatoes! Life arises out of the putrefaction of the past.

On the Path of Nun, one is literally launching the consciousness into the Dark Unconscious of Quantum-Universal Origins. This takes courage and determination, for the consciousness appears to be extinguished in the Universal Collective Unconscious. I liken the awake self- consciousness of the Brain, to an Artificial Intelligence, and the Unconscious (Realm of Intuition and imagination) as the Real Intelligence. This artifice aids me in trusting the dissolution of my consciousness, as a transition towards re-birthing, where it is purified of illusion and the deception of being a material being. In fact, the word meaning of the Path of Nun, Fish, reveals the whole arcane doctrine of the Qabalah, as it is the symbol for the "first matter" and/or "thought", that moves within the Infinite Ocean of Unconscious. Interestingly, since Nun is a verb, it means to "sprout or grow", implying the Skeleton is a perpetual seed. that sprouts or grows from the putrid.

The perspicacious student will note that the Tree of Life has a Path for Death, that of Nun, but seems not to have a Path for Birth: However, The Devil, Path of Ayin ("I"), "enchains" our personality in matter as it leaves the Higher Self on its ever more condensed journey down the Tree of Life. Therefore, the Devil is seen as a card of Birth. Plus, there is the fact that both Death and Birth are essentially the same transition. As one is born in visible light and/or "outer World", their "I" sight dies to the invisible or "inner world", just as the personality transitions from the outer world back into the inner world at physical death. Hence, the One Energy Transforms itself by the process of destruction of energy phases. From one phase to another is evolution. From Higher Mind, to personal mind, our Identity becomes less spiritual and more physical as the senses blind our "I's" to the world they are from. The "I" becomes victorious in Death, as it returns to the Solar Self of the Soul and loses all physical senses. Hence, Death has always been shown using psychopomps like the Norse believed the Valkyrie to be, to pick you the "Victorious Dead" and take them to paradise.

The Personality constructed consciousness and/or self-consciousness, is indeed seemingly extinguished in the limitless Universal Unconscious causing a period of "forgetful sleep" before the Personality exits the Higher Self again and produces another operative artifice known as self-consciousness that issued to operate another material form in the name of the "Sun/Son". The exception to this recycling process, is when the consciousness accompanies the personality back to the Higher Self, without needing physical death to do so. This is done when the consciousness has become discriminatory and/or discerning, and knows the tricks of Matter, i.e. the illusions of senses, that the personality experiences on the physical plane (The Devil card). These illusions or delusions come from the perspective of separateness and survival thinking and the other boundaries of the physical form. Thus, the fear of Death, must be conquered by the consciousness "that won't experience the death sleep". That is to say, the mercurial consciousness that knowing transfers from body to body, by becoming a "Mercury", messenger of the physical world to the Soul and visa verse.

As above, so below!

The Great Work, is Life itself, as a Wholeness where the avatar of our soul; the” alive" persona, are no-longer perceiving themselves as a divisionism of separates all trying to prove themselves to a Creator that by the very process of creation, had already Approve them into being!

Those who are seeking approval (fear rejection), a survival mechanism of the social animal, are what I call "fish in the Ocean, looking for water." and/ or "Wanna-Be's" who forgot that they already Are Approved of!

The Beauty of Tiphareth, the Psyche or Higher Self, is that once you return to this aspect of Self as a messenger personality, you return to your body knowing you, as a personality, are completely accepted and therefore, do not fear rejection in the least (a mask wore over fear of death). In other words, you "Know Thyself" as being both Above and Below and regain the knowledge that you are not a personality, but a Soul/Sun/Son of the Divine Creative that creates persona's to represent its intelligence in the Material Realm, from which Spirit does not come, but comes to.

The Tarot Card- Death-key 13, is called the many texts of the Mysteries, "The Child of the Great Transformers" and also the "Lord of the Gates of Death"; Implying that Nun is not the Great Transformers themselves, he is their Child. Thus, Nun is not Death itself, rather Nun is the keeper of the Gateway into Transformation. Roughly, this states that the "first matter", thought, is the Gate keeper of Transformation, which is not too difficult to "wrap your head around", if you understand that how you "perceive yourself” transforms your reality and/or" I AM" declares "ME". Therefore, this card is more about a "spiritual transformation", rather than an actual physical death.

After Traveling One of the Three Paths of the "Dark Night of the Soul", where your consciousness is torn down, as decided by the Feminine aspect of the Higher Self, and relieved of all that is not worthy of you. You are then sent back down the Tree into your Malkuth-body transformation as an Active Soul rather than a reactive persona. This personal death of perspectives changes our "I" sight, from man-made reality to the Real perspectives of the Great Work; To become an Aware-Sensual-Soul/Sun of God, rather than a socially made personality. This transition is only possible by returning to the Higher Self....Your brain can't do the job as it is an artificial sense of self who is programed by its reaction to environment, propaganda, media, rulers and peers!

To reiterate, Nun. is the Hebrew word that means Fish, which is the symbol for the First Matter. There is also an alchemical symbol of this Path as putrefaction, which is the decaying black mass in the crucible that eventually transforms into purity and is considered a trans-formative process of turning death into new life. Both the Thoth Tarot-ATU 13 and Gothic Tarot-Key 13- cards symbolizes this trans -formative process as a scythe, a harvesting tool that is also a symbol for Time. Time is under the control of Saturn-Binah, the giver and destroyer of Life. This process is best Illustrated in the Thoth card as the sweeping scythe, harvesting souls, and the trans-formative bubbles of new life in its wake, all of which, support this analogy of life giving and life destroying. (Life eats itself to stay alive.)

The skeleton is the frame work that holds the organs and can be seen as a seed of the body as the minerals that are attributed to bone construction are the "seeds" of organic forms.

The astrological sign attributed to Death-ATU/Key13, is Scorpio, a transformative sign of three symbolic images, the Scorpion (represents putrefaction in its lowest form) the Serpent (Lord of Life and death whose undulating movement represents the twin phases of Life, that we call Life and Death) and the Eagle ( represent exaltation over matter). Thus, we have the transformation from a dangerous earth-crawling creature, to a serpent which symbolizes the personality- a frequency of mind, weaving its way upward to become an Eagle (behind and above the Thoth Deck figures head) that sours above all heads. All of which are represented in the Thoth Tarot Card as movement. Movement being seen as change/transformation, which is the skeletal pattern of the Universe. For it is only by constant change can entropy be overcome. Alchemically we can say Scorpion=putrefaction, the Serpent in the Cauldron= undulation of life and death, Eagle= the purest form of gas-the exaltation above solid matter.

The term "Dark night of the Soul" , a term coined by St. John of the Cross, refers to the darkness of unknowing, where the psyche is striped of the desire nature of the personality. This leaves a dreadful emptiness, almost a complete disinterest in everything. Personally, upon experiencing these three Paths of the Dark Night; The Devil, Art and Death, I was left only a thought of despair repeating over and over again, abolishing any other desire or thought. It was," I can't be YOU, you must be me." The Higher Self-responded to that by sending my "skeletal awareness" directly to the Dark Sea (Abysmal Womb) of the Great Mother Binah, who then broke down and reassembled the Personality into that of the Divine Child, and I awoke as the "Will to Be" and/or the I AM of the Great Mother of Form.

As stated: the term "Dark Night of the Soul" was first coined by St. John of the Cross where he said:"...although this happy night brings darkness to the spirit, it does so only to give it light in everything; and that, although it humbles it and makes it miserable, it does so only to exalt it and to raise it up; although it impoverishes it and empties it of all natural affection and attachment, it does so only that it may enable it to stretch forward, divinely, and thus to have fruition and experience all things, both above and below...". Hence, upon conquering the Path of Nun, the Soul is reconstructed as the Personal Simulation of the Higher Self, and the emptied brain is filled with the Primary Imagination...The will to form and the Understanding of the Great "Womb with a view".

This inner journey is a very hard journey to explain and it requires one not to be concerned with living or dying. Hence, one does not fight, or try to swim out of this ocean of darkness. Rather, one becomes a mechanical motion, pushing ahead and/or descending with great faith, as Life's processes have no value, one still mechanically crawls towards the Higher Self by sinking into the dark depths. Moving forward in a total darkness, inch by inch, the Soul (Psyche) begins the process of "putrefaction", believing, but not always so sure, that there will be light that will eventually appear and lead the way. It was a Red dot of light that appeared to me out of indescribable nothingness. The Great Red Binah, known as the purifying Force of resurrection, and/or "the Scarlett Woman", bathed me and with caresses, peeled the "dead" identities from my Psyche, an act of Divine Love and sent me back down the Tree into Tiphareth and the Fiery Light of the Higher Self and arriving in the Body as an indescribable ecstasy. Once a Divine Child always a Divine Child....somehow we've forgotten that, and therefore, disinherited ourselves/our personality, from the Macrocosm.

Mars rules Scorpio. Scorpio rules the sex organs. Thus, this Death Card, represents a Sexual energy, a reproductive energy which is consciously directed in a physical exercise such as that of Tantra, or that of Crowley’s Middle Pillar, an activity best represented by Crowley's Death Card. The initiate is now following the "Path of the Flaming Sword" upward, (see Robert Wang's-THE QABALISTIC TAROT), which is both destructive and constructive and not for the weak of character or for those who fear death, as shown by trying to dominate or control others or how they think about one.

Gothic Tarot-Key 13- Death Card, as did Crowley in the Thoth Card, departed from the tradition set by the Golden Dawn or the older Marseilles cards. Here the Angel of Death is the image, yet that is also what one would call the Lord of the Underworld, who has many names in mythology. Here, also we could call her Samothea, who has hanging from her scythe, an hour glass that represents time. Time being the greatest predator of all forms.

The Tarot- ATU/Key 13-Death, when thrown during a reading, suggests:

  • Time, Age and transformation.
  • Rarely does it symbolize physical death and only if borne out by the accompanying cards.
  • For the Querent, this is the Principle of letting go, and moving on.
  • A rebirth out of Old conditions. 
  • Putrefaction as the last step towards Purification.
  • A type of transitional metamorphosis which destroys the something old to build the something new.
  •  A Realization of Life Power as it is released from past confines and revitalized by change and regeneration.
  • Transformation of the personality. 
  • Making room for the new.

If ill defined by the surrounding cards:

  • Fear of Death and all its prodigy:
  • Fear of Rejection,
  • Fear of discomfort, 
  • Fear of .... anything.

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