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The Llewellyn Encyclopedia
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Analysis of the Death Card of the Tarot

This article was written by Carl Llewellyn Weschcke on November 30, -0001
posted under Death

The Death Card in the Tarot

  • The 13th Major Arcanum 
  • image: Skeleton as the Grim Reaper
  • Hebrew letter: Nun
  • Divinatory meaning: change, transformation
  • 24th path on the Tree of Life connecting Netzach to Tiphareth.

 Qabalistic Description. The 13th Key, the 24th Path. The Final Equalizer. This path leads from Netzach to Tiphareth. It is the initiation in which the Personality willingly undergoes “death” to attain the knowledge of the Higher Self. The Personality is dismembered, reassembled and absorbed into the Higher Self. It is death and resurrection through the voluntary self-sacrifice that is the transformation of mundane ideas into purified thoughts. Nun means a fish.

Card Description. The sign of transmutation and disintegration. The skeleton which alone survives the destructive power of time, may be regarded as the foundation upon which the structure is built, the type which persists through the permutations of Time and Space, adaptable to the requirements of evolution and yet radically unchanged; the transmuting power of Nature working from below upwards, as the Hanged Man is the transmuting power of the spirit working from above downwards. The colors are blue-green, both dark and pale, the two dominant colors of the visible world, and the flashing colors of orange and red-orange.

Interpretation. Time, age, transformation. Change that is involuntary as opposed to The Moon, XIX. Sometimes death and destruction, but rarely the latter, and the former only if it is borne out by the cards with it. Compare also with the High Priestess.

Psychological Value. This card can help you understand your own past history, uncovering the unconscious origins of present problems. It also helps you to have a real effect on the “time element” of your life, as well as helping you learn how to manage time and understand its influence. This Arcanum can assist you in eliminating old outmoded habits which have become obstacles to progress. 

This Arcanum can help you to develop sincerity, precision and depth of analysis, as well. (According the Divine Tarot of Aurum Solis  -  Divinity: Kronos;  Greek Letter: Omega.)


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