Tarot Card Comparisons: The Thoth Tarot-Key 13:DEATH & The B.O.T.A. Tarot-Key 13: DEATH
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Tarot Card Comparisons: The Thoth Tarot-Key 13:DEATH & The B.O.T.A. Tarot-Key 13: DEATH

The Tarot of Eli  The Thoth Tarot-Key 13 Death,The Path of Nun of the Hermetic Qabalah:
The Astrological sign assigned to Key 13-Death is Scorpio. Movement is the primary activity of the Mars force that rules Scorpio. The Emperor-Key 4, is the Mars force during day light while Death is the Mars force in the dark of night. Nun, is one of the three paths to the Higher Self (the others are,The Devil, and Temperance) this is again the "Darkness of unknowing",i.e. "The Dark Night of the Soul".

Saint John of the Cross described this journey of Personality in Spirit (applies to all three paths to the Higher Self).." although this happy night brings darkness to the spirit, it does so only to exalt it and to raise it up; and 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...."

It helps to remember that the word spirit comes from the  Greek root word --Spiro (breath), as does spiral, and in this card we see the "serpentine" force wrapping/spiraling around the Fish (Alchemical symbol of "First Matter") weaving its way upward  to become the Eagle which soars above all heads. The scorpion, the serpent and the eagle are all symbols of Scorpio its spiral-occult motion in the Astral Matter (fish) as it soars upward  to make the transition between personality and Higher Self. This "First Matter" defies word description and could be best understood as the quanta of quantum physics, and yet even more invisible for it is "thought", "Mind Stuff", although there are even greater mysteries than that in its make up.

All that is involved relates to sexual polarities (Sexual energies to some). Scorpio rules the sexual organs as Mars rules Scorpio. It is the reproductive forces which is consciously directed in practical exercises such as that of the Middle Pillar. The Thoth Deck Key 13-Death, is the card that best indicates this activity.



The Path of Mem:


  • Path color:Green-Blue
  • Musical Note: G
  • Sign: Scorpio
  • Word Meaning: Fish
  • Simple letter: Movement
  • Esoteric Title: The Child of the Great Transformers; the Lord of the Gate of Death.

Dr. Paul Foster Case (creator of B.O.T.A.) wrote in the Thirty-Two Paths of Wisdom: The Twenty-fourth Path is the ..."Imaginative Intelligence, and it is so called because it gives a likeness to all the similitudes which are created in like manner similar to its harmonious elegancies".

The mystery of The Path of Nun is also described in the Gnostic Text-The Nag Hammadi Library--(Gospel of Thomas), where Jesus was quoted as saying to his disciples when asked the question:"Shall we then, as children, enter the kingdom?"

Jesus said to them:" When you make the two one, and when you make the inside like the outside and the outside like the inside, and the above like the below, and when you make the male and the female one and the same, so that the male not be male nor the female female; and when you fashion eyes in place of an eye, and a hand in place of a hand, and a foot in place of a foot, and a likeness in place of a likeness; then you will enter the kingdom."

Since Gnosticism (Jesus was a Gnostic Nazarene) embraces the Qaballah and the Tree of Life....the above quote must be understood before one can successfully travel the Path of Nun to its conclusion in the Higher Self of Tiphareth. On the Tree of life illustration, the Path of Nun is the blue-green path from Netzach (7-Victory) upwards to Tiphareth (6-Beauty).

Dr. Paul Foster Case (Western Master of Qaballah) wrote: "Key 13 tells the Secret of Secrets...he who knows the secret has in his hands a power which might be used to overturn the world. Yet no person learns it until he is truly prepared, and more than anything else, this means such ethical preparation that no temptation to misuse this power could ever be sufficient to turn the knower from the Path of strictly conservative and beneficial application of the force he is able to control."

It pays to remember that Transformation is how The One energy and our Souls move throughout the Universe of "Self Awareness" ; Death, is a seed to grow yet again. 

So I repeat, Death-key 13, is known as the 24th 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 self-consciousness/ personality to the Higher Self-Conscious.

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 self-consciousness, no mater how big it thinks it is, appears to be extinguished in the Universal Unconscious, as does a rain drop in the vast Seas. I liken the consciousness to an Artificial Intelligence, and the Unconscious as the Real Intelligence. 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-------i.e. Thought.

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 (meaning Eye), 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 self-identity phases. From one phase to another.

The personality, constructed self-consciousness, is indeed extinguished in the Universal Collective Unconscious causing a period of "forgetful sleep" before the personality-fractal exits the Higher Self again and produces another operative artifice known as consciousness used to operate another material form and/or creative tool. The exception to this recycling process, is when the consciousness (animus) and Unconscious (animus) are in a balanced union of daily communication/communion, then the Higher-Consciousness (result of Anima-Animus union) accompanies and thus carries the personality (accumulated individual environmental data) back to the Higher Self, without needing physical death to do so: much like the Tarot-Hermit carrying his own light in the darkness of limitless light. This is done when the consciousness has become discriminatory, 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 individual 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 transfers from body to body by fearless personal union with the Awakened Soul: The Soul that owns its own body, and is the only Law of that Form! Or as Aleister Crowley Stated: "Do what thou wilt is the whole of the Law: the Law is love".

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.
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). Thus "seeking a life", is analogous to a fish in the ocean seeking water. Besides, as Life, everyone you see is another way to be life!

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  Thoth 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 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 (the fractal is torn apart), relieved of all that is not worthy of you ( is not a perfect copy of your soul-fractal); as decided by the Higher Self. Once reconstructed, the new Fractal of self is then sent back down the Tree into a  Malkuth-body-transformation where the perspectives of the Personality have changed from reality to the Real perspectives of the Great Work. In other words, 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 B.O.T.A. Tarot-Key 13: DEATH, is shown in a scene of sunrise, rather than sunset as one would assume.
This is because the Transformation of Energy, is full of inspired meaning.
Again, the Hermetic Qabalah teaches us the real meaning of death, which is not an end, but a change, a motion and a  transformation. 

Death is but a gateway into a larger life reality. Because of the freeing of self-imposed limitations, our conscious can now expand and transform into the Original Collective of the Soul and not the fitful trammels, and tribulations imposed on it by physical "survival thinking". Life depends on disintegration for the release of energy. For if form doesn't transform, it becomes too stable or crystallized (like carbon to diamond) and energy is bound in entropy rather than released to Live again.

The traditional image of death is shown on the B.O.T.A.  card with his steel scythe; steel is attributed to the planet Mars. The Crescent shape of the scythe also hints at a relationship between Key 13 and to Key 2. The T-handle is a Tau cross. 

The three severed hands, two active and one passive, represent the Works Card (3 of Disks).

The end of the Picean age is shown as a severed foot, while the rising sun depicts the beginning of the  Aquarian age.
The man's head symbolizes Chokmah-Wisdom while the Woman's head represents Binah-Understanding.
The Fool's white rose is also depicted as a rose bush, while up in the left hand corner, is the symbol of the seed and/or orphic egg.
All the meanings depict the knowledge of the Hermetic Qabalah.

1st law of thermodynamics (physics) "There is only one energy that cannot be created nor destroyed but only transformed."
2nd law of thermodynamics: "All things proceed from order to disorder".

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, 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 triple Scorpio symbol in the deck.There are three symbols of Scorpio, as shown in the Thoth Qabalsitic Tarot-Key 13 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. 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 while carrying our own "enlightenment" to the next destination!

When the Death card-Key 13 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. 
  • 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 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, your comments  and your supportive donations. May you live long and prosper.















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


2 Comments to Tarot Card Comparisons: The Thoth Tarot-Key 13:DEATH & The B.O.T.A. Tarot-Key 13: DEATH:

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JJ on Tuesday, February 21, 2017 1:17 PM
Thank you so much for your time and effort writing all these posts, Eli. I truly appreciate being here!
Reply to comment
 
Eli on Wednesday, February 22, 2017 11:57 AM
Hi JJ. Thank you for your grateful comments, for it does take time...even answering the comments can take an hour a day! However, this knowledge belongs to us all. It is our inheritance, therefore, I blog it rather than bind it up in a copyrighted book. It is not mine to own. We all belong to the Universal Collective Unconscious, and therefore, each other. Thank you again. May you live long and prosper.

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