Tarot Card Comparisons: The Qabalistic Thoth Tarot- key 13-DEATH & The Jungian Tarot-DEATH-The mother as gateway.
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Tarot Card Comparisons: The Qabalistic Thoth Tarot- key 13-DEATH & The Jungian Tarot-DEATH-The mother as gateway.

The Tarot of EliThe Qabalistic Thoth Tarot-Key 13-Death[and all hallows eve].

1st law of thermodynamics (physics) "There is only one energy that cannot be created nor destroyed but only transformed."



What we 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, the Death-Key 13 Tarot 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  assigned the Scorpiozodiacal symbol in the deck.There are three symbols of Scorpio in the key 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 and grow, as does death. This reminds us that in order to transform old identities, we must be willing to let go of the old and move on.The Snake also represents the "sexual forces" of Kundalini.
  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.
  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 Crowned helm, 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 individually.

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.  Consciousness is but a fish in the Great Ocean of Universal Unconscious. I also liken the consciousness to an Artificial Intelligence, and the Unconscious as the Real Intelligence of The Divine Creative. This artifice 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, this first material is often called "thought". (Tree of Life Illustration is from the book: The Qabalistic Tarot by Robert Wang)

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 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 to another.

The Personality constructed consciousness, is indeed seemingly extinguished in the Unconscious causing a period of "forgetful sleep" before the Soul-Personality exits the Higher Self again and produces another operative artifice known as consciousness used to operate another material form. The exception to this recycling process, is when the consciousness and Unconscious are in a balanced union of daily communication, where the unconscious daily absorbs the consciousness experiences, then the consciousness accompanies and thus carries the personality (accumulated environmental data) back to the Higher Self, without needing physical death to do so. This is done when the consciousness has become adept at discernment, and knows the tricks of Matter, i.e. the illusions of senses, that  the Personality experiences on the physical plane.

These illusions or delusions come from the perspective of separateness and survival thinking of the physical form and are but masks of light/conscious, that Darkness/Unconscious, puts on so it can see itself. Thus, the fear of Death, must be conquered by the consciousness "that won't experience the death sleep", that is, the consciousness that knowing transfers from body to body by Personal union with the Awakened Soul. In other words the consciousness doesn't sleep in the dreams of the Unconscious, as is common, but Identifies itself in the dream as "I AM" and begins lucidly walking, transforming and experiencing the dream; knowing persona's are but masks (persona: is Greek for Mask) and are not our consciousness. Hence, losing the mask, doesn't make the identity loose consciousness!
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 in water.

Life is breath. The Greek word Spiro (Breath), 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). Therefore "seeking a life", is analogous to a fish in the ocean seeking water.

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

In the Hermetic mysteries, the  Thoth Tarot Card- Death-key 13,  is also called "The Child of the Great Transformers" and/or 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 belongs to the Psyche, which 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 manifested reality.

After Traveling one of the Three Paths of the "Dark Night of the Soul", where your consciousness is torn down by its Mother/Unconscious and relieved of all that is not worthy of you, 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!

Those who practice  Hermetic Qabalistic Tarot and/or are readers of my blog, know this charming fellow as Death- Key 13. In the British Isles, he was known as LORD DREAD or DREAD LORD and the end of October is his Holy Day (holiday)! He is also known as the Semitic version of the Asiatic Sana, Samara (Aryan), or Samarium,"the leveler" And most of us know that you can level things very well with a skillful usage of a Scythe; a very particular harvesting tool of this dancing fellow. 

He is the JUDGE OF THE DEAD, identified with the underworld King Yama and in the Sama Veda (Hindu), he was called the "Storm god", clothed in black clouds.  In the Rig Veda, he was Rudra, the god of storms and medicine (shown with three faces), as one knows, medicine of the ancients was particularly nasty!
 In Europe and Asia, the black clouds of storms became the usual depiction of this deity, dressed in a hooded black all encompassing robe. The later version of him is called Satan, he was Prince of the Power of the Air, another way to say he has a  "Stormy" nature.

The Celts know him as the god of SAMHAIN, the Feast of the dead, Christianized as All Souls day. The Medieval Gnostics called him SAMMAEL OR SATANAEL or at least they were accused of  worshiping him as such. But the Worshiping concept is suspect as that was the accusation of those who accused them of heresy.
What is interesting, in early Britain, Samuel had a female counter part, SAMOTHEA (Death Goddess) who seems to have been another form of SKADI  or SCATHA. Samothea, was considered to be the goddess of the mysterious (Arcane) land of Hyperborean, the land where Pythagoras traveled to learn the arts of letters, astronomy, and science from this All Wise Lady.

Qabalists know that Hermes/Thoth is depicted as the Magician (Magus) of letters, words and sound, while the Art of Forms (astronomy) is definitely the Domain of Binah as the Star card and science from The Art Card...(Alchemy) where He and She combine to make All, making the Dread Lord a Hermaphrodite.
Thus one might say that Hyperborean was the Supernal Triangle of the Tree of Life , known as the World of Aziluth, which is across the Abyss and a place you can only reach after a death of your human realities.

According to the pagan lunar calendar, festivals were celebrated on the "eve" rather than the day. Thus Halloween or All Hallow's Eve, was the original festival that was later displaced to the following day. The Irish called this Holy Night, the Vigil of Saman.

Christian's of the day, described this night as heretical practices, where magic charms and divination', reading the future with Witches mirrors and nutshell ashes and other objectionable rites: Even the unholy act of ducking for apples in tubs of water, which was said to represent souls in the Cauldron of Regeneration.

But Halloween is not just limited to past superstition, even today it is believed that if a girl peels an apple before a mirror, on Halloween,  she will see the image of her future husband in the glass.  
However, today's celebration of parties, and candy/gift giving actually follows the original version of Samuele's day, as the original divination was considered to be Oracular utterances by the Elder dead (Ancestors) who came up from their tombs on Halloween, bearing gifts for the children of their living descendants.

Sicilian Halloween tradition, states that, " the dead relations have become the good fairies of the little ones." There are many more traditions across Europe. Even in Lithuania, there were burn offerings of domestic animals to their god ZIMIENNIK (Samanik), believing that if the Lord of the underworld accepted the offering on behalf of the dead, the spirits would do no harm.

The Fact That Death is seen as an active force, relates to the fact that Death, acts like the Dark Energy that pushes the Universe outward, by pushing Life forward.
The objective Self, the Mortal Form, may fear it's own demise, but the Subjective Self, (that is 99.6% of You) does not. Spirit knows Death to be but a tool that transforms, as is Life, which Transforms Self Concepts in to Self-Reality.

On that note :The celebration of Halloween, should be a celebration of the Spirit who survives mortality, knowing full well, that by owning your own beast/body, you can push your Identity Forward into the Invisible Universe---and be Lord over Death. Thus, the Thoth Deck Death Card is a Rebirth Card, where we drop the old, and become the new.
So Party on "boys and ghouls", you are really celebrating your mastery over death on Halloween! It is only the Fear of Death that enslaves your Soul, which never dies and reincarnates personalities!
 Say hi to old Sam and Party hard, so that spring may be full of bounce!

The Jungian Tarot- Death: the Mother as Gateway,
depicts the Jungian idea that death means "return to Mother"i.e. the consciousness to the Unconscious.

The traditional archetype of the "Grim Reaper' is shown with both Scythe
and hour glass, for when its time, he levels both the just and unjust alike.
He is crossing a bridge that is crumbling behind him, over murky waters, representing the end of the past and the start of a new beginning.  In the back ground is a Woman with arms outstretched, representing the Gate way from one state of consciousness to another.

Again, Jungian philosophy, emphasizes the significance of the Mother who bears the Son, teaches and nurtures him, and no matter what independence he has gained, to whom  he must return.

When the Qabalistic Thoth Tarot-Death, or the Jungian Card is thrown during a divination, it implies:


    • 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. 
    • Querent is in the process of Spiritual Transformation.
    • The Death of old perspectives, giving birth to new ones.
    • The Querent must address their feelings about overwhelming transitions, of which death is only one.


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