The Death – La Mort Tarot | Tarot de Marseille
I. Overview of the Death – La Mort Tarot
The most common mistake regarding this Major card (the Death – La Mort Tarot) comes from a superficial custom causing it to be labeled and sometimes named Death. The burden of this lack of precision weighed on the interpretation of the Death XIII. Apparently, the central image is a skeleton with a scythe, which is a traditional symbol of death. However, there are many factors that allow us to eliminate this simple interpretation.
On the one hand, the Major card XIII – La Mort Tarot has no name. After a dig that the Hanged Man has achieved, this card calls for a thorough purification of the past, a revolution in depth without words or before an individual’s speaking phase, in the darkness of that gloomy terrain, it is our own undiscovered area, from which our humanity emerges a matrix.
On the other hand, if you notice that the number 13 is not the last number of the Major Arcana, it is slightly above the middle. If the card indicates the end, it must be 22. The location in the deck’s center of the card reminds us of the cleanup, a revolution that will become necessary for the renewal and the following up, step by step towards realizing the world completely. Moreover, this card (Death – La Mort Tarot) without the name but the number which is the repetition of the Fool, the card without the number but the name.
The similarity between the two forms is quite clear: the skeleton of this card XIII may be the Fool when we look at the X-ray image. We can deduce that these two Arcana cards represent two sides of the same fundamental energy. However, if the Fool is the first achievement, a contribution, a liberation, then this Major card XIII – La Mort Tarot conjures up a job similar to plowing or reaping, preparing the land for a new life. Once again, there is a clear clue to help us get rid of the simple interpretation: this skeleton is the color of flesh and blood, the dominant color of organic life. This is the skeleton inside our body, the bone, the essence of life, the structure of the whole movement, not the skeleton that we leave when we start this life.
II. Keywords of the Death – La Mort Tarot
Change – Mutation – Revolution – Anger – Transition – Purification – Harvest – Skeleton – Cuts – Achievements – Removal – Destruction – Promptitude.
The white bone on the ground implied a skeleton (skeleton – derived from the Greek meaning “dry”), but even this bone was moving towards a new life. The bone was pierced seven holes, looking like a flute, the instrument only expected a stream of air to emit music; this aura is most likely a God. Therefore, it cannot be deduced that Major card XIII means “Death” – La Mort Tarot. But we can see the fundamental change, a revolution or a complete change in this card. The human figure with a vivid (red) and spiritual (blue) scythe, is in the process of making his nature, a deep nature inside.
He was holding the yellow handle of the scythe, the color of wisdom: through the dream and contemplation stage, the labor that has spent now reaps success. Aggression or anger, whether expressed or tolerant, can often be seen in this card. However, it is possible that this work is like an energy outburst, a liberating and rapid explosion. It is a process of elimination, consider the ego as a field and tame it. There is no need to endure a useless factor; narrow concepts and value systems that are imprisoning us have been swept away, followed by complicity that binds us in an inanimate status or chaotic mind. All the constraints of dependence have been removed, allowing us to regain lost freedom, which is the freedom that the Fool originally symbolized.
The black ground that Major card XIII – La Mort Tarot was working on was a reference to the sediment in alchemy or the puddle of mud from which the lotus rose in the Buddhist tradition. It is the color of the subconscious, the emptiness and the profound mystery on which we can see both sides. We do not know if it was cut out or sprouted from the black soil – no matter in which case, the skeleton relied on itself to keep going. The image of the father and mother was soon deposed, so the profound nobility of men and women appeared in the look of the model was refined. Thus, the two royal traditions are born here, just like two growing kinds of grass: one is dark green – the color of apprehension of spiritual intuition, and the other is yellow – the color of the active mind and positive wisdom.
- Figure 1: A bone flute, suggesting a musical instrument in Tibetan tradition;
- Figure 2: Two severed heads on the ground may be inherited concepts from parents;
- Figure 3: Four holy name behind the skull;
- Figure 4: On the top of the spine, there is a flower or a lively red knot;
- Figure 5: Hidden heart.
We can also see discrete feet and hands lying on the black ground, some with perfect shape, others have an intact shape. Are they being cut off? Or are they growing out? In the second possibility, we can say the new thing is sprouting from the surface. If we take a closer look at the skeleton image, we will see more than one face. There is a shadow of the face looking sideways as if the darkness of the earth rose to its head, and the mind was empty. The eye of the skeleton looks like a dragon biting its tail, symbolizing the endless nature of the universe.
The head of the skeleton (Death – La Mort Tarot) takes the shape of the moon, the sign of receptiveness, and the back of the head, if you rotate the card horizontally, we will see in the gaps, which mark the words Yod-Hay-Vav-Hay, creating the holy name. The sum of the number of letters in these four letters in the Hebrew alphabet is equivalent to the number 26, the number of the divine, of which 13 is exactly half.
This number is divine, but not completely, it works in a form. The pelvis and spine of the skeleton borrow the colors of the scythe: blue and red, as if these two colors (lively action and mental comprehension) create the foundation of growth throughout the spine, like a blade of wheat, reaching for a red four-pointed flower to support its head. Hiding between the pelvis of the skeleton, there is a blue heart which seems to tell us that it works with love. The knees and elbows have a three-pointed flower or a red clover, again indicating activity at strategic points in the body. The knees and elbows are the position of Karma, of communication with the crowd. One leg and arm of the flesh-colored body imbued with a light blue color.
This is a kind of communication and activity, both physical and spiritual, both human and divine, with death and immortality. The mask looks scary. Even knowing the skeleton hides the divine activity, we still feel frightened by its appearance and look at this image as a crippled and intellectual character, reaping randomly without a little respect for life or beauty. It appears as a threat that cannot be invoked, like an unjust and ruthless death. However, its actions indicate the path of transformation and bring us from death to immortality of personal consciousness.
III. Interpretation of the Death – La Mort Tarot
Death – La Mort Tarot requires a subtlety of interpretation. Negative predictions will be harmful and useless: there is no need to read this card in the sense of death, crippling or disease. Some fortune-tellers become frightened when they first see this card in a spread. The necessary thing is to explore the major change that it implies, which changes are desirable or ongoing, and which may be the threats to avoid.
Sometimes, it can revolve around the need to be expressed, and sometimes, the terrible anger needs to manifest. So once again, Major card XIII – La Mort Tarot refers to the unconscious aggression or the need to express an energy that the consultant does not know how to interpret in a positive way. In this case, we should see whether the energy in the Fool (the same direction, the same movement, but less negative meaning) could not be more appropriate. But when a change is needed, Major card XIII will bring about a radical speed, which creates considerable relief.
IV. When the Death – La Mort Tarot speaks up
“If you push yourself to go faster, you will catch up to me. If you slow down, I will catch up to you. If you walk slowly, I will accompany you. If you turn around, I will dance with you. Because our encounter is inevitable, face me once! I am the shadow inside you, the big laughter behind the illusion you call reality. Being patient like a spider, attached as a jewel in your every moment, I am the person you share your life with – or if you refuse, you will not be able to live in truth. You can run across the world, but I am always with you. Since you were born, I am a mother who constantly brings you into this world. So, let’s enjoy! Only when you grasp me will life become meaningful. The demented people, who do not recognize me, are clinging to what I possess without realizing it. There is nothing without my mark. The eternal impermanence, I am the secret of the sages: they know they can only move on my path.
“Those who cooperate with me will become powerful minds. Those who deny me, seek to flee in vain, will lose the pleasure in fleetingness. Although they exist, they do not know what to do. When being stuck in pain, they do not know how to live”.
“Children cannot imagine me. If they can, they are no longer children because I am the end of childhood. Those who recognize me on their path will become adults. They know they belong to me. I devour all the difficulties, achievements, failures, love, despair, pleasure, pain, parents, children, pride, illusions, and their wealth. I destroyed them all. My greed is endless; I even destroyed Gods. But once I touched the last one, the true God, once the masks were decomposed in my gut, I learned from that God. In his indescribable mystery, in his invisible presence, I killed myself. I just swallowed the ego. Each ego has a distinct taste, the latter is bitter and more smelly than the previous”.
“Thanks to me, everything became dust and collapsed. But I do not think it is tragic. I turned destruction into a process of magnificence. I wait for life to show its ultimate beauty; this is the time I removed it with that beauty itself. When everything touches the limits of development, I begin to destroy it with a love used to build it. So happy! Pleasure that cannot be counted! My eternal destruction paves the way for relentless creativity. If there is no end, there can be a beginning. I am ready to serve your eternity. If you dedicate to transformation, you will become the owner of the fleeting moment because you will experience that moment in its endless intensity. Because of me, desire is created in the abdomen, in the genitals. Copulation used to conquer eternity”.
“If you do not have a flesh-and-bones body, I will not exist. If you become a pure mind, pure spirit, I will disappear. If there is no material, I will not exist anymore. So, are you dare to bet your flesh on my mouth? To win, you must give me everything you have, but it always belongs to me. Your ideas, feelings, desires, and needs all belong to me. If you want to keep something, even if it is small, then you, who is nothing and has nothing, will lose it. You will lose eternity”.
“Let’s get this straight: in the darkness, I am the eye of an unimaginable thing that you can call God. I am also the will of God. Thanks to me, you turn to God. I am a divine door: He, who entered my territory, was a sage, and He, who could not be consciously walking through my door, was a child trembled with fear and covered in its fragments. You must enter me with purity. Let’s give up everything, even impartial objectivity; let’s destroy yourself. Only when you disappear will the Lord appear”.
“Do you want strength? By accepting me, you will be the strongest. Do you want wisdom? By accepting me, you will be the most knowledgeable person. Do you want courage? By accepting me, you will be the bravest one. Let me know what you want! If you become my lover, I will give it to you. When you feel that I am part of your body, I will transform the concept that you think of yourself. I will make you die in life and give you a pure gaze of death: two independent niches through which only God is watching us. That moment became terrible; everything turns into a mirror, and you will find yourself in everything, every shape, every process. What you call “life” becomes a dance of illusions. Reality and dreams no longer differ”.
“Do not be shaken, do not be afraid, let’s enjoy! Life, even though it is illusory and fleeting, still shows its greatest beauty at that moment. By giving me your gaze, you will understand that being alive is a miracle”.
“I do not like people recognizing me before coming to their perfect timing. I want people to call me in the precious moment they capture who I am. If you come to me by suicide, I will not bring wisdom because you have imitated me as violent destruction. I am not an unreasonable disaster. I have a deep meaning; I am a great initiator, the invisible teacher captures beneath the material. When frantically pleading with me, you make me angry and make me act against my will. Only those who reach out to me with full awareness give me great happiness. But most species come to me with stupidity through war, crime, perversion, disease, and disaster. Rarely does anyone reach the state of pure Consciousness in which I become the pinnacle of understanding. Those individuals who never stop recognizing me, while I am a surprise to others. The person who resigns his fate with the thought of accepting being my prey will live in leisure, freedom, and joy, will face aggression with confidence, have no nightmares, and realize his desires. Losing hope, we will also lose our fear”.
“Do not give me your hand because I will make it rotten immediately. Let’s give me your consciousness. Let’s dissolve in me to finally become “the whole”!
V. Traditional interpretations of the Death – La Mort Tarot
Profound Transformation – Rotation – Cut – Eliminate what prevents us from moving forward – Stop an Illusion – Beneficial ending – Anger – Revolution – Aggression – Harvest – Mourning for a person or a situation – Hatred – Violence – Clean – Complete purification – The nature of change – The work of the subconscious – The destructive face of God – Death is like the great mask of God – The transferability – Eliminating the old to make way for the new one – Operation on the human skeleton – The main movement – X-Ray – Psychologist or person who accompanies change.
More The Death Cards from Famous Tarot Decks
1. The Death Rider Waite Tarot Deck
In the card, The Death Rider Waite is riding on a white horse, holding a flag with two main colors, white and black. He appears as a skeleton because it is the rest of the body after death. The armor he wore symbolizes invincible and indomitable.
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2. The Journey Wildwood Tarot Deck
The Journey Wildwood Tarot is located on Samhain day, the holy November 1st after Halloween. The card is intimately linked to the crescent moon, belongs to the Water and Earth elements.
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3. The Death Linestrider Tarot Deck
The Death Linestrider refers to a period of transformation and transmission. This card urges you to throw away the “dead burden”, clear up the things that are hindering your growth, and welcome a new spring.
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