The Tarot of Eli, LLC: The Thoth Tarot-ATU/Key 13-Death

western hermetic qabalah, tantric, alchemical, astrological, and numerical tarot card comparisons.

· Thoth tarot

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Thoth-ATU 13-Death

  • Color: Green blue
  • Musical note: G
  • Sign: Scorpio (fixed water)
  • Meaning: Fish
  • Simple letter: movement

Esoteric title:

The Child of the Great Transformers; The Lord of the Gate of Death.

1st law of thermodynamics (physics) "There is only one energy that cannot be created nor destroyed- only transformed." And I might add, also transmitted.

What we should understand is that alive and dead are two aspects of the same state of Intelligence we call Life. Being Alive is a life-death cycle of recycling. Here, Life simulates itself as an "Aliveness" and transforms itself as a "Death". Since form is time-space, there are no divisions between alpha and omega and/or beginning and end. In fact, recent studies in genetics have proven that the time of gestation of a fetus can determine how long it lives, but they think this is based on nutritional crop growing times. However, as a Spirit- Soul, I know that I design the death of a body at the time I design its life. Therefore, this card represents the Universal Principle of Letting Go and Moving On. As Crowley stated: " The Universe is Change; every Change is the effect of an Act of Love: all Acts of Love contain Pure Joy. Die Daily. Death is the apex of one curve of the snake Life: behold all opposites as necessary compliments and rejoice." The Key 12, The Hanged Man, shows the soul as a baffled or hung Anthropomorphic individual, whose head/Psyche is in the world of the Serpent of Life and Death.

The Tarot -Death is assigned the Scorpio symbol. There are three symbolic images of Scorpio in the Thoth key which represent three stages of transformation and/ or death and rebirth stages:

  1. The scorpion represents that part of us that is willing to protect and move away from conditions which cause pain and hurt. Letting go.
  2. The snake sheds old skin to rebuild anew and grow. This reminds us that to transform old identities, we must be willing to let go of the old and move on. This is the driving force behind sexual union.
  3. The Eagle or Phoenix is about vital force, of immortality and regeneration. The bird in our nature is a vital free spirit who is irrepressible and ever changing.
  4. The skeleton represents the inherent body structure that allows movement and change within our self-expression as well as, it is the bones of who we are and represents our ancestral lineage and our commitment to grow and evolve through birth/death cycles.
  5. The Crown represents expanded consciousness, where one has conquered the survival mind of the animal. To be honest all of us know we don't survive this manifestation. We, as Creator Souls, move on to expand and liberate Life!
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There are many esoteric aspects of the Death card, also known as The Path of Nun. The Hebrew word, Nun, means Fish, which is the symbol for the First Matter, i.e. Thought. There is also an alchemical symbol of this Path as putrefaction, which is the decaying black mass in the crucible that eventually transforms into gold and is considered a purifying trans-formative process of turning death into new life. Therefore, the symbol for death is usually colored black, or wears black clothing.

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The Thoth Tarot card symbolize 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 Illustrated in the Thoth card is the sweeping scythe, harvesting souls, and the trans-formative bubbles of new life in its wake. The Thoth Tarot depicts a skeleton that can be the symbol of Samhiel -the death god or the Death Goddess, Samothea, both of which, support this analogy of life giving and life destroying.

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

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As stated, the astrological sign attributed to Death- ATU/key 13 is Scorpio, a trans-formative sign of three symbolic images, the Scorpion, the Serpent, and the Eagle. Thus, we have the transformation of a dangerous earth-crawling creature, to a serpent which symbolizes the Astral Light, weaving its way upward to become an Eagle which is shown behind and above the Thoth Skeleton's head. Often the symbols of Death are shown dancing. A dance which represents in the Death 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. Change pushes life forward.

Here is a card that first invites terror, until understood by the initiate. First, it is important to understand that this is not a "physical death" card. The Path of Nun connects Tiphareth (Beauty) with Netzach (victory) and is about the flow of Personality from the Higher Self (Tiphareth is the Energy Intelligence of the Christos) into the Imaginative Intelligence which is the seed of all thought-form. What many of us forget is that all form is comprised of the First material---Thought, which begins a disturbance in the electromagnetic paradigm!

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The fish, besides being the meaning of the Hebrew letter-Nun, is also the traditional symbol that represents the first matter. Which is appropriate since all the thought-forms come from Binah, the 3rd Sephiroth on the Qabalistic Tree of Life. She is the Great Mother Ocean of The Collective Unconscious. The Fish is also the ancient symbol for the Vesica Pisces. In this Crowley card, we see a serpent wrapped around the fish, this is because the Activating Principle of Vibration---The Father Fire/Electric force is shown as serpentine and because the serpent is another symbol for the Astrological sign of Scorpio and the sexuality of the Scorpio sign. The Scorpion, another of the 3 symbols for the sign of Scorpio, is shown at the bottom of the Thoth Card. The serpentine forces activate thought-form into living form.

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The Thoth Card depicts a Skeleton, gaily galloping about, swinging its Scythe of death; a scythe that represents the Transformational aspect of the first law of thermodynamics," One energy that cannot be created nor destroyed, only transformed". So rather than an "end", this card is about the Transformation of the Real Person as it proceeds downward from the Higher Self into the illusion of the World of Matter. The Death-Key 13-The Path of Nun, is not easily understood by the survival bases self-conscious of the body, who's foundation of self-identity is based on a child's fear of rejection. To the self-conscious, death is the ultimate rejection: However, to the Soul, death is but a reboot and to organic matter, death is "life eating itself to stay alive" and/ or a way to conquer entropy.

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The Esoteric title of this Death card is, the Lord of the Gate of Death. Pointing out that this card isn't the Transformation process itself but directs the personality "downward" into incarnation. It is the Path of the Flaming Sword, meaning that this is the path of emanation of the Lower Creator-Energy of the Sun into matter which was shown in Genesis, as the Archangel Michael herding Adam and Eve out of the Garden of Eden, with his flaming sword, often errantly depicted as punishment for sin. Is more like an early Christian fear fear-based propaganda ploy used to discourage the worshipping of the original Moon God-Sin of Mount Sinai. Sin was born of the Queen of Heaven- Inanna and ruled the Land of Sinim (Isaiah 49:12), which meant "land of the lunar mountain" and was an older form of Zion. The Moon was always associated with life and death, as it was both light and dark, as well as being thought to "killing" the Sun at night and then resurrecting the Sun in the morning. This belief led to the many dying sun god (son of God) religions.

To further expand its meaning, the Qabalist know this Path of Nun as the path of which the Solar Energy Psyche of the Son (Sun) of God is transformed into the Netzach sphere, or pattern of intelligent energy that is the realm of the Conscious Creative Mind. This part of the Great Work involves psychological re-orientation where there is a perceptual change about the nature of reality and about what constitutes Self. Yet another aspect of our Transformational psychosomatic nature that points out that how we see the outside world is merely Self viewing itself. Psyche using the soma, to examine identity. Therefore, how we mentally/emotionally identify ourselves, becomes our psychosomatic "outer image"! What we must remember here is that all eyesight is an aspect of "I" sight and we cannot see what we don't see as ourselves! I AM is the power that creates our "reality". How I identify myself ---is what I see as an assumed perspective!

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Netzach, the 7th Sephiroth on the Qabalistic Tree of Life, is the progenitor of Desire Nature, as the name Victory, if examined, will reveal. The path upward from Netzach to Tiphareth (Beauty) is when the Real Person's very will to live and/or function in the sensory condition of the body, is abrogated on the Path of Death. Here the temporary nature of the sensory illusion that the personality thinks it is, is correctly self-perceived. On the upward trek on the Path of Nun, the personality undergoes a "willful" death, surrendering everything that it perceives itself to be to the "Great Unknown" of the Psyche/Soul who then shares this data with the Universal Collective Unconscious. This is the Most difficult surrender --the total surrender of life to the Creator of Life, and then to "The Great Dark Womb of Binah" but it must be done to achieve cosmic awareness and/or to receive Your Divine inheritance. Body death begins the process that is often called "Born again" and is a rebirth of the Personality in an expanded and liberated state that some would call "Saved" but really is just a "rebooting". For in truth, when one lets go of the possessive sensual self....they step out of the Karmic wheel of Personality death, into the Real Persona- one of incarnations remembered, and Cosmic Inheritance accepted as a Higher Self-expression; A Real Person, who was meant to operate the body, before it was told not to be itself by the society, parents, or academia and indoctrinated through the senses as" pleasure/pain training (Brain washing)."

However, do not make the error of thinking sensation is a bad or lesser thing, for to know its purpose in the Great Work, is to "Know Thyself" and sensuality is "magic" to the Soul, who has no such combination of senses, as does the human body (33 senses according to the Tantric Yogis). Yes, we have inherited many more senses than the 5 senses of taste, touch, hear and see. For instance, a sense of balance, a sense of up and a sense of down, a sense of intuition, a sense of heat and a sense of cold etc. When we Know that Imagination is our "Mother of Conscious", and that we Imagine our frequency of energy into Self (Psyche into Soma), we know longer seek blame for our inner pain, emotional dysfunctions, i.e., our "Feelings". Instead, we know that we think of a "feeling" and then the body enacts it. If we think ill thoughts, we get ill feelings, and the body becomes the manifestation of that illness! How we felt is no one's fault but the Personality Program within the body. Our reaction to another's actions is our own feeling and is not a creation of another. We also learn that Malkuth, is the Kingdom of the I-Magi-Nation, where we are the Master of our Masterpiece; A masterpiece made of both the Quantum Universe of the Psyche, and the Atomic Universe of the World, but never limited to the rules of Nature. Hence, a magic palace of intimacy.

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This part of enjoying the senses fully, rather than dividing them into "good and bad" categories, is a form of "enlightenment" that is most difficult to realize. Not because we are stupid, but because of our survival mind built out of "fear of rejection" rules our sensual personality and believes in victory over enemies (those who reject us), as a character positive and wishes to be permanent master of our brains. Lucky for us, "Old Sam" (Samhiel) or the female version, Samothea, Death, intervenes, and frees us from the self- inflicted tyranny of survival thinking and we realize that the enemy we seek to conquer has always been our indoctrinated selves! Our personalities (some call ego) are not permanent, they are recyclable masks, and we can recycle them best by giving them directly to the Higher Self who created the "Beautiful Person" before they became "ugly in their own feelings". This is the Willful death of a Self-Consciousness, and the way to go about achieving it is "enlightenment" ...The Gnostic way of traveling.

Johann Jakob Bachofen said," Maternal life moves between two poles. Its realm is not that of being but that of becoming and passing away, the eternal alternation of two colors, the white of life and the black of death. Only through equal mixture of the two is the survival of the material world assured. Without death no rejuvenation is possible... the positive power cannot for one moment exist without the negative power. Death, then, is not the opposite but the helper of Life". Like I said, "Death pushes Life along, as does Dark Energy push the seen Universe."

For those who don't know who Johann Jakob Bachofen was or is (22 December 1815 – 25 November 1887) he was a Swissantiquarian, jurist, philologist, and anthropologist, professor for Roman law at the University of Basel from 1841 to 1845.

Bachofen is most often connected with his theories surrounding prehistoric matriarchy, or Das Mutterrecht, the title of his seminal 1861 book Mother Right: an investigation of the religious and juridical character of matriarchy in the Ancient World. Bachofen assembled documentation demonstrating that motherhood is the source of human society, religion, morality, and decorum. He postulated an archaic "mother-right" within the context of a primeval Matriarchal religion or Urreligion.

Bachofen became an important precursor of 20th century theories of matriarchy, such as the Old European culture postulated by Marija Gimbutas from the 1950s, and the field of feminist theology and "Matriarchal Studies" in 1970s feminism.

[From Wikipedia the free encyclopedia]

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The Hermetic Qabalah is one of those journeys up the paths of Enlightenment, back to our Divine Family Inheritance of "I AM". If you examine the Thoth Death card, you will notice that at the end of the Scythe swing, bubbles of new life are forming showing us that The Transformation is not an end, it is a beginning into a new and greater adventure! This Tarot card has many Alchemical, Spiritual, and psychological meanings, and requires a great deal of study before you can willingly die as a personality and be reconstructed by the "Sun of God" as It's Persona. We must know that as a personality, we cannot know the full extent of the "Christ within"----but the Christos knows us! To "Throw thyself into the Abyss" (often called the "Dark Night of the Soul") is to trust your creator absolutely. After all, I Am made Me manifest, which could only mean that Originally I was a Loving Expression of the Greater Self Awareness...but the constant manipulation of my definition by culture, religion, propaganda-media, and misinterpretation of sensations, has made the personality lose sight of itself, becoming lost in the Forest of babble were it blames the trees for its fear of being rejected. The Trees in the Hermetic Qabalah's Forest are the many reflections of the Tree of Life, whose leaves are the Tarot Cards and upon understanding both, we Know ourselves and never again shall we experience bafflement.

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The term "Dark night of the Soul" refers to the darkness of the passage from known to the unknown, where the psyche is striped of the desire nature and of the personal identity. This leaves a dreadful emptiness in the consciousness, a complete disinterest in everything. Personally, upon experiencing these 3 Paths of the Dark Night, The Devil, Art and Death, there was left only a thought of despair repeating repeatedly, an abject surrender of self, abolishing any other desire or thought. For me, 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 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 Desire of the Great Mother of Form. This inner falling into the abyss is an extremely hard journey to explain and it requires one not to be concerned with living or dying. One becomes a mechanical motion, pushing ahead with great faith, as Life's processes have no value, one still mechanically crawls towards the Higher Self. Moving forward in a total darkness, where reason and nightmare dance together, my psyche moving 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 darkness.... The Great Red Binah, "Mother's blood" the purifying Force of resurrection, as the Red Star bathed me and loved me (indescribable ecstasy) and sent me back down the Tree into Tiphareth and the Fiery Light of the Higher Self. Once a Divine Child always a Divine Child....somehow, we've forgotten that and have thus disinherited ourselves by giving our personality up and becoming a cultural personality, a perversion created out of fear of punishment, i.e., fear of rejection all of which are "off shoots" of Fear of Death.

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St. John of the Cross first coined the term "Dark Night of the Soul" 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".

Upon conquering the Path of Nun, the Soul built personality is reconstructed as the Person 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".

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Mars rules Scorpio. Scorpio rules the sex organs. Thus, this Death Card, of the Thoth, represent 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. The initiate is now following, from the below up, the "Path of the Flaming Sword", which is both destructive and constructive and not for the weak of character, or for those who fear life's rejection.

The Death Card, 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. A type of transitional metamorphosis which destroys something old to build something new. The Realization of Life Power as it is released from past confines and revitalized by change and regeneration.

Nun: Fish. Key 13-Death Tarot Card of Thoth and traditional tarot.

The Story of NUN is best shown in the Story of Noah (Noach):

There are generations of Noah---Noah was a righteous man, perfect in his generations. Noah walked with God.

                        Genesis 6:9

One "being righteous in his generation", is a relative statement. After all the ten generations between Adam & Eve and Noah, were a steady stream of immorality, greed, corruption---mankind was a nasty being at the time, dependent on the survival mind. So, Noah, who secluded himself from the culture and kept his morality---looked good. Like comparing copper to silver, silver looks better. But when comparing silver to gold, gold is more valuable. Comparing Noah to a modern man of goodness, well...Noah would lose. For example, years later when God said he would destroy Sodom, Abraham bargained with God --always trying to save at least a few people. Noah didn't even consider it, he just followed orders. His silence showed that he didn't consider others very often, if at all. This story points out that what we call morality, righteousness, and goodness, even what is considered" good or bad" action, is all relative to the times and culture of the observer. What we think is right and wrong changes with culture and evolution. So being the "Best you" that you can be today, will most often change to an even "better you" in time; just do the best you that you can today. We were never built "perfect", not because God couldn't build us perfect but because Perfection is a state of stasis; Carbon in its "perfect state", is a diamond and is useless as organic matter. Stasis, meaning "non-motion", which is not how Energy Moves! Our Perfection is a state of motion driven by change. Hence, we are always "creating-seeing error in that creation-and correcting it." And we all know, that unless you do it; that is, get your butt moving into a motion of active creation---you are unable to sense the error in thought and thus never correct an errant creation. And all creation has error---because of the Law of Entropy! (.... everything proceeds from order, into disorder. --Second Law of Thermodynamics). So, by being what we know best today----we'll be able to know more in the future. This is the Story line of Nun. It is about Spiritual Relativity, i.e., Everything is relative.

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Everyone has relative perspectives based on their life experiences. Often that is why one believes one thing, and another believes the opposite to be true. I've personally learned not to believe everything-I think. Do it---Know it by the constructing and operating of it---not by just taking my own or everyone's word for it. Lazy minds are from sleeping Souls who let others tell them what is right and what is wrong. These Souls experience a Dreamless sleep that is known as death. My Soul is the Skeleton with the Scythe, who continually transforms my personality by "trimming off the wasteful thought" and recycling it into greater action (The fish is a symbol of the First Matter). This "Soul psycho-dynamic Surgery" of constantly evolving thought, is frightful to a self-conscious personality that sees change as an enemy. In truth, Transformation is change, and it is the only constant in this Universe. Therefore, I trust the Soul as I know that "me" is not in-charge of this rodeo we call life----My Soul Persona is, so I respect my "I AM" mentor and do the best I can---at the moment. I Find that the best surgical device for errant thought is the Qabalah, as it is a step by step procedure into our Great Work, where we come to Know Ourselves and the how and the why the Divine Masculine and Divine Feminine (both are States of Energy Conscious-God "Electric State" and Goddess "Magnetic State") spent 14.7 billion years coming to a "conclusion of probabilities" but not of "possibilities", that is the fractal of identities created by I AM that is "me". Being a dancer, whose rhythm is "Alpha and Omega" which intercourses into Form, I now know that Paradox has a personality, it is Human!

This is the Twenty-Fourth Path of the Tree of Life and is called the Imaginative Intelligence because it gives likeness to all similarities which are created in like manner---from thought into form. Our Psyche is an exact copy of this principle called Imaginative Intelligence, therefore behooving us to "do unto another as we would have done to ourselves." But this is an idea generated from knowledge that everyone you see is another way of being you; Generated from Knowledge, not belief. For belief, is subject to exceptions caused by peer pressure/i.e., fear of rejection and is a passive mind rather than an active one, as it isn't "doing" in fact it is a "non-doing" who fears change. We must act on knowledge that we have, it may not be the best, but the best you know and that promises to get better by learning from doing, i.e. experience. Once again Trust Your Inner Self-(Soul) it built you for Life's purpose. As I like to say, " You were loved into being, praised into Manifestation and Adored as a Self-Presence".... from True Parents--the Divine Feminine and the Divine Masculine! So, it's okay to be you, and remember that "you" is a continual progressive cycle of renewal. To change is exactly why you were built! It helps to see yourself as a Fish in an Ocean of Energy Conscious; this Ocean built a fish of Itself, so that it could flow through that "person" and Be Itself. Oceans can't see, taste, touch, smell or hear themselves, unless they are "within" themselves as a fish. Self-Awareness requires Energy Conscious to become conscious (Personal Conscious) to be intimately aware of its actions. The Divine Creative built itself (us) so it could "Above All Things Know Thy Self".

Again, it is to be noted here, that the Sweeping Scythe, is producing bubbles that represent the dancing new life forms produced by the putrefaction of the old forms. Their dance is the new motion of life that arises, as if gas bubbles freeing themselves from the putrefaction of the old forms, who reside in stasis at the bottom of the Amniotic fluid of the Sea. This conceptualization is continued in the Fish symbol, which is a paramount illustration on this card. The attentive student will note that the serpent and the fish are the two principal objects of worship in cults that taught the doctrines of resurrection or reincarnation (Oannaes and Dagon, fish gods of Western Asia). Even in Christianity, the Fish represents the Christ. Even such esteemed scholars as Browning, reminded us that the Greek word, IXThUS,"...means fish and very aptly symbolizes Christ." IXThUS, was supposed to be a notariqon; the initials of a sentence meaning, "Jesus Christ Son of God, Savior". Also, The Gospels are full of miracles involving fish, and the fish is sacred to Mercury, because of their swiftness, silvered brilliance and cold bloodiness. This again recalls the function of Mercury, the god, who is the guide of the dead, a messenger of divine will and as the continuing lasting elastic element of Nature, which is what the Soul wishes to create as a personality. This is a card of significant importance, which must be understood if we wish to translate the compendium of Universal Self.

When the Death-Key 13, Major Arcana Tarot card is thrown during a reading:

  • It is about a trans-formative moment in one's own Personality. Not a death in the family or their own. That is the paradigm of the 10 of Swords, Ruin.
  • Giving up your sense of self to a feeling of merging with another or The Greater Self who is both life-death.
  • We are pruning and composing.

The Death Card represents, time, age, and transformation.

  • Rarely does it represent physical death, it is the death of the old personality by the enlightened process of Spiritual growth.
  • Physical death is only shown by this card if the accompanying cards support the concept. (Such as the 10 of Swords-Ruin,)
  • Mostly, it is the principle of letting go and moving on, re-birthing out of old stasis conditions.
  • Realization of Life power, which comes from change. 

Thank you for your interest, comments, and supportive donations. May you live long and prosper!

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