Tarot Card Comparisons: The Thoth Tarot, key13-Death and the Babylonian Tarot, key 13- Death/Ereshkigal
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Thoth Tarot & comparisons

Tarot Card Comparisons: The Thoth Tarot, key13-Death and the Babylonian Tarot, key 13- Death/Ereshkigal

The Tarot of EliKey 13-Death. 1st law of thermodynamics (physics) "There is only one energy that cannot be created nor destroyed but only transformed (and transmitted)."

What we mortals of immortals should understand is that life/death are two aspects of the same state of being. Alive is life-death, as form is time-space, there are no divisions. 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."


Death is the Scorpio symbol in the deck. There are three symbols of Scorpio in the key of 13 (1+3=4 completion) which represent three stages of transformation and/ or death and rebirth stages:
  1. The scorpion represents that part of ourselves that is willing to protect, and move away from conditions which cause pain and hurt. Letting go.
  2. The snake sheds old skin in order to rebuild anew. This reminds us that in order to transform old identities, we must be willing to let go of the old and move on
  3. The Eagle or Phoenix, is about vital force, of immortality and regeneration. The bird in or nature is vital free spirit who is irrepressible and ever changing. 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. 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 move on to expand and liberate Life!

Death-key 13, is known as the Path of Nun on the Qabalistic Tree of Life. Nun, means, Fish (illustrated on the card) and is also the Hebrew simple letter for Movement. (Thus the running skeleton).

The Path of Nun runs from Netzach (Victory) to Tiphareth (Beauty) on the Tree of Life, and is one of the three aforementioned paths that leads from the Personality to the Higher Self.

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.

On the Path of Nun, one is literally launching the consciousness into the Dark  Collective Unconscious of Universal Origins. This takes courage and determination, for the consciousness, no mater how big it thinks it is, appears to be extinguished in the Universal Unconscious. I liken the consciousness to an Artificial Intelligence, and the Unconscious as the Real Intelligence. This artifice of perspective, aids me in trusting the dissolution of my consciousness, as a transition towards re- birthing my identity, purified of illusion and deception. 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" that moves within the Infinite Ocean of  Unconscious, i.e. Thought. You may realize that thought is a material as from it all forms are created . In fact without the first material of thought, there is only No-Thing!

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, enchains our Personality in Proton- Matter as it leaves the Higher Self on its journey down the Tree of Life. Thus the Devil is 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.  The One energy Transforms itself by the process of perspective changes; of energy identity phases. From one phase of Self-Awareness to another.

The Personality constructed consciousness, is indeed seemingly extinguished in the Unconscious, as would an atom seem to be extinguished in a Galactic Cloud. This individual disappearance into the Collective causes a period of "forgetful sleep" before the now cleansed Personality exits the Higher Self (I AM) again and produces another operative artifice known as consciousness/Me,that is used to operate another material form. The exception to this recycling process, is when the consciousness and Unconscious are in a balanced union, a Wholeness of Psyche, that 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 knows the tricks of Mater, i.e. the illusions of senses, that  the Personality experiences on the physical plane. This has been called by Gnostics, as "dying daily". These sensual illusions or delusions of the physical world, come from the perspective of separateness and survival thinking of the physical form. Thus, the fear of Death, must be conquered by the consciousness "that won't experience the death sleep", that is, the consciousness that knowing, faithfully, transfers from body to body by Personal Higher Self knowledge. Everyone of us can be a Dali Lama!

The Great Work, is Life itself as a Wholeness, not 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, 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.

We may be rain drops (personalities) from the Soul cloud (Daäth), that forms because of the Union of the Great Sun (The Fool-Higher Self) and The Great Ocean of Binah (The will to form of the Divine Collective Unconscious- The Empress), but each raindrop is proved in the Soul Cloud, (High Priestess)  before it falls into the Ocean of Life (Yesod). Whereas it becomes the "Water of Life", of which all things are composed of and operated by!

Raindrops become fish in the great Ocean of life, as sperm become "beings" in the great Womb of mother.

Life is breath. The Greek word Spiro, is the root word of Spirit and spiral. Therefore, (logic jump here!) you the Spirit, are the spiral breath of the body. You are the Life and the body is alive (Self and Selves). Thus "seeking a life", is analogous to a fish in the ocean seeking water. You, the Psyche, are Life. The body is what you make alive, and because of "freedom of choice", the body you make alive, is your soul (sole)responsibility!

The Beauty of Tiphareth, the Higher Self, is that once you return to this aspect of Personality, you return to your body knowing that you, as a Personality, are completely accepted and not fearing rejection in the least ( a mask of fear of death)! In other words, you "Know Thyself".

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; we are Nun! 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.  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 trans-formative process of turning death into new life.

After Traveling one of the Three Paths of the "Dark Night of the Soul", where your consciousness is torn down, relieved of all that is not worthy of you, ( as a raindrop is purified in the Ocean) as decided by the Higher Self, and then sent back down the Tree into your Malkuth-body  transformation, the perspectives of the Personality change from reality to the Real perspectives of the Great Work; to be an aware-sensual-Soul, rather than a socially made personality, is only possible by returning to the Higher Self. Your brain can't do the job as it is an artificial sense of self!

The Babylonian Tarot, Key 13, Death, Ereshkigal, is in absolute agreement with this process of Transformation of the consciousness. 
Depicted is the Sumero/Babylonian twin sister of Ea, Ereshkigal, "Queen of the great below". Her Akkadian name was Allatu, roughly translated as meaning strength.

One of the names of the land of the dead was, Arali (it had many) and was thought to be a guarded and gated opening to a stair case that lead to a chamber below the Absu, the fresh water sea below the earth.
Death was considered the great equalizer, as it eliminated the arrogant titles of Kings, and treated them just as it would the slaves.  No one is less or greater in death. The underworld as was the home to other chthonic deities and a few demons, such as the galla, whose job was to fetch the dead.

Ereshkigal was often referred to as the dark sister of Ishtar, therefore, she can be equated to the shadowy alter-ego, whose behavior is aggressive and ferocious. The reader of the Sumerian mythos will find Ereshkigal's rage, both primeval and boundless.
The underworld of many ancient religions, even the one's thinking they are most modern, is often the metaphor for the dark unconscious/animal mind (self-unaware psyche) with all its fears, jealousies, unwanted desires and repressed psychic impulses.  Thus Ereshkigal, represents all the raw, instinctual impulses that have been shunned and shoved into the subconscious. Therefore the rage, and ferocity of Ereshkigal, represents what happens to our  personality-consciousness if it ignores and suppresses our culturally unwanted psychic material; the oppressed and shunned instincts, will leak out in unhealthy and unwanted ways.
Therefore, Ereshkigal will not be ignored. She/the Unconscious, will force us to see the truth about ourselves; no mater how unpleasant. Only by shinning the Light of the Higher Self, into the Dark Crevasses of our Underworld of oppressed instincts, can we find the freedom so necessary to the Divine Self Awareness that is both the "Great Work" and  our Whole Self of Inner and Outer Union...."As above, So below" .

The Babylonian Tarot card shows the astrological sign of Scorpio is beneath the enthroned Ereshkigal, ruling over her realm of the dead.

The Thoth Tarot, 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 who is Illustrated in this card is the sweeping scythe, harvesting souls, and leaving the trans formative bubbles of new life in its wake; all of which, support this analogy of life giving and life destroying.

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 are the "seeds" of organic forms.

Again the astrological sign attributed to Death-key13 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 (behind and above the figures head) that sours above all heads. All of which are represented in the Thoth Deck 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.


The term "Dark night of the Soul" 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, there 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."     (click on dark masked figure for further Death info}
The Higher Self responded to that outcry, 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 a very hard journey to explain and it requires one not to be concerned with living or dying. As one reenters the Womb of Creation itself, 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, 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 in her blood red attire. A purifying Blood Red- Force of resurrection, Bathed me, \Loved me/resurrected me (indescribable ecstasy)  and sent me back down the Tree into Tiphareth and the Fiery Light of the Higher Self. 

Once a Divine Child (Perspective of  Divine Self) always a Divine Child....somehow bathed in sensuality, we've forgotten that, and thus disinherited ourselves by giving our Soul-personality up and becoming a cultural  man-made personality out of fear of pain/punishment.

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".  

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

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 exercises 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" , 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 others before they can "eat you".

The Key 13 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 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.
Thank you for your interest, comments and supportive donations. May you live long and prosper!















When this card is thrown it means that we are eliminating what is no longer in service. 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. This is a brief, so for more information Email <info@eli-lsmerchantile.com>.Thank you for your interest, your comments  and your supportive donations. May you live long and prosper.

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