Here is a card that first invites terror, until understood by the initiate. First 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, it that all form is comprised of the First material---Thought
! The fish is the symbol representing the first matter.
Which is appropriate since all though-forms come from Binah, the Great Mother Ocean of Conscious. 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. This activates thought-form into living form. We have a Skeleton galloping about, swinging it's Scythe of death, which represents the Transformational aspect of the first law of thermodynamics," One energy that cannot be created nor destroyed, only transformed" . So this card is about the Transformation of the Personality as it proceeds downward
from the Higher Self into the World of Matter. The Death-Key 13-The Path of Nun, is not easily understood by the survival personality of the body. The Hebrew word Nun means Fish, and is a simple letter of movement that describes the first matter as a "fish in the Ocena of Binah" who is the Mother of
Consciousness. The Esoteric title of this Death card is , the Lord of the Gate of Death. Pointing out that this card isn't the Transformation 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 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 depicted as punishment for sin, which is only a propaganda ploy.
To further expand its meaning, the Qabbalist know this Path of Nun as the path of which the Solar Energy of the Son (Sun) of God is transformed into the first sphere, or pattern of energy (often called the etheric grid) underlying the physical-material world. 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. In other words, the Etheric Grid that holds our material forms together is our Self of Image! Yet another aspect of our Transformational nature that points out," That how we see the outside world---is how we create our outer image"! What we must remember here is that all eye sight is "I"sight and we cannot see what we don't see as ourselves! I AM is the power that creates our "reality". How I identity myself ---is what I see!
Netzach, 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 Personalitie'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" i.e.. The Darkness. This is the Most difficult surrender --the total surrender of life to the Creator of Life, "The Great Dark Womb of Binah" but it must be done to achieve cosmic awareness (Your Divine inheritance), which begins the process that is often called "Born again" and is a rebirth of the Personality in a expanded and liberated state that some would called "Saved". For in truth, when one lets go of the possessive sensual self....they step out of the Karmic wheel of Personality death, into one of incarnations remember, and Cosmic Inheritance accepted as a Higher Self expression into Form operation and are no longer "captured by sensation" but know its purpose in the Great Work. When we Know that Imagination is our Conscious, and that we Imagine ourselves into Self, we know longer seek blame for our inner pain, emotional dysfunctions, i,e, our "Feelings". Instead we know that we think a "feeling" and then the body enacts it. If we thing 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 within the body. Our reaction to other's actions, is our own feeling and is not a creation of another. This part of "enlightenment" is most difficult to realize, because of our survival mind of sensual personality believes in victory over enenies, as a character positive and wishes to be permanent master of our brains. Lucky for us, 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 ourselves! Our personalities (some call ego) are not permanent, they are recyclable, and we can recycle them best by giving them directly to the Higher Self who created them "Beautiful" before they became "ugly in their own feelings". This is the Willful death, and the way to go about achieving it is "enlightenment" ...The Gnostic way of traveling. The Gnostic Qabbalah is one of those journeys up the paths of Enlightenment, back to our Divine Family Inheritance of "I AM". If you will examine the 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 card has many Alchemical means, Spiritual meanings and Psychological meanings, and requires a great study before you can willingly die as a personality and be reconstructed by the "Sun of God" as It's Personality. We must know that as a personality, we cannot Know Christ----but the Christos knows us! To "Throw thyself into the Abyss" is to trust your creator absolutely. After all, I am made manifest, which could only mean that Originally I was a Loving Expression of the Greater Self...but the constant manipulation of my definition by culture, religion, propaganda-media, and sensations, has made the personality lose sight of itself and become lost in the Forest of babble were it blames the trees for its fear. . The Tree in that forest we should know, is the Tree of Life, and upon finding it, we Know Ourselves and never again shall we experience bafflement. So when this card is thrown during a reading, it is about a transformative moment in ones own Personality. Not a death in the family or their own. That is the paradigm of the 10 of Swords, Ruin.
Thank you for your interest and comments. May you live long and prosper.