The Death Thoth – Crowley Tarot | Thoth Tarot Deck
|Die and be born, grow and die.|
|Make room for new things.|
|Fear (fear of death).|
|Inner understanding, consistency.|
I. Background of Thoth Tarot Death card
The Thoth Tarot Death card shows the dance of death, representing the eternal cycle of the principle of “dying and giving birth” in its mutual impact. We see a skeleton kneeling, holding a scythe to harvest all withered things falling through a cloth of fate. The separation of dead threads makes the bubbles rise out of the muddy dirt, where life is sprouting. It is climbing the threads of time as the shining fabric, constantly expanding into new shapes of time and space. It was the death that created them by stirring them up from the scum of the bottomless abyss. The instinctive movement of this eternity is symbolized by a poisoned scorpion that lurks between two dead flowers of the swamp (lotus and lily). Along with the snake, fish, and eagle, it is a symbol of rebirth.
The Germans knew that their Lord Odin could walk on the stars to reach the distant worlds that belonged to the next life if he changed the form before he did it. His body lay there as if sleeping in death. However, he himself turned into a wild bird or a wild animal (here, it corresponds to the danger of the scorpion), a fish or a snake. According to Crowley, Thoth Tarot Death card illustrates the association of rotting, fermentation of the alchemy process, that – as well as humus – is a prerequisite and a basis for a new life or a new impetus for development.
II. Analyze and describe Thoth Tarot Death
1. Motif (Death)
a. The principle of death
The humanization principle of Death is portrayed as an endless series of transformations into a new life. According to Crowley, this card itself represents the dance of death: “This picture is a skeleton carrying a scythe, and both the bones and the scythes are prominent Saturn symbols. This may seem strange because Saturn has no clear connection to Scorpion, but Saturn represents the basic structure of existing things”.
b. Skeletons and scythes
Primarily during the Middle Ages (not just during that period), the Death was identified with Saturn and skeletons because it was only regarded as a destroyer, and thus, is the archenemy of mankind. The soul can be immortal, but the form to connect it to this life is our body, and that is exactly the form that death destroys. Life and death, before and even now, are not considered to be parallel but are seen as victims of each other. However, because the scythe is in the hands of the dead hanging on the threads of life itself, we realize that it is the cycle of death and rebirth. On another level, the scythe is a crescent moon, corresponding to Hecate – a Greek god of death, miracles, and magic.
c. Hemet (crown of Osiris)
Saturn as a reaper reflects our fear of death. However, we should not equate it with actual death. The helmet on the head of the skeleton is the crown named Atef of Osiris, an Egyptian God of the afterlife. He, the husband of Isis, became a victim of his brother’s lie, Seth. Seth tore him into fourteen pieces (there are many sources that claim to have twenty-seven pieces). However, the God Anubis collected all the pieces, and Isis awakened her beloved husband to a new life.
From this beginning, Osiris became the master of the domain of death in the west and was the guardian of the water of life, expressed in the ancient Egyptian Bible: May Osiris someday give me the water fresh. We see the same thing in legal traditions. The preacher tells of the journey into the world below, where they face demons within them who literally tear their flesh from the bones. After symbolic death is always a rebirth, and following the cutting of flesh is a miraculous advance to enter a new body.
a. Dance of Death
Death is the dominant factor in the cycle of “growth and decline”, connecting the continuous shapes of creativity together. Because we often only look at each thing without seeing the threads connecting them, our misunderstanding of death is serious. People only find inner tranquility when overcoming the fear of a fact that cannot change that everything must have an end, otherwise, there will be no beginning.
From there, he will no longer resist the installation of nature because the old life creates humus so that a new life can be born. This layer of humus corresponds to the mud of the soul that the Death stirred up, because, with his scythe, the Death created bubbles in which the shapes began to be created by him with his dance. The dance of Death expresses the connection of death that always contains births related to those deaths. In this way, the fruit that is ripe within us for life is death. When people understand this, death is no longer a contradiction to life, but rather a counterbalance to birth.
b. The rebirth
So, birth represents the other pole of the cycle of “death and rebirth”. This is expressed in figures of people dancing in bubbles. Through his appearance, Thoth Tarot Death seemed to open a door and allowed a glance inside a wave. All life is based on the background of absent-minded death because all new things are formed on the transient of the old. When we refuse to accept this fact, we are resisting the consistency of creation in the image of Death.
c. C.G. Jung
I have just completed a series of observations about people with spiritual lives that I can follow until death is near. The approaching ending is often represented by symbols that are also signaled by changes in psychological state in ordinary life, which are symbols of rebirth (…). I have the ability to repeatedly monitor the signs of oncoming death close to the time of return to a year, even in cases where the external situation does not allow for those thoughts. So, death was set long before it actually happened. I was amazed to see that the unconscious mind did not care much about death. Accordingly, death is probably not an important issue. The subconscious seems to be concerned only with how people die, which means whether the attitude of the subconscious to death is harmonious or not.
3. Three levels of development
a. The lowest territory (scorpion, the flowers of the swamp)
The scorpion is crawling on rotting plants in dangerous mud, which is an unhealthy source of energy that creates decay. At the same time, the fermentation process heats up the “dead and born” principle because its work corresponds to the production of soil from the residue of decay. On this lowest level of the Thoth Tarot Death card, we see it as a gravedigger buried that into the ground and thus, created new humus. However, not death against life, but the self always delineates the boundaries for death by not letting the energy sources flow away but accumulating as protection from fear of death. Therefore, Thanatos – the instinct of death, is not the desire to die, but the reaction to the blocked life that is seeking its way out of the act of destruction. Crowley writes:
The scorpion symbolizes rotting in its lowest form. The stress of the environment has become too much to bear, and the element of attack has voluntarily obeyed the change, and so, the element of potassium thrown on the water began to ignite and accept the cover of hydroxyl sprout.
b. The medium level (snake, fish)
The snake and the fish mean double water that represents the symbols of the subconscious. That snake is the snake of death and life, the fish is both a manifestation of the power of giving and preserving the life of the water and the monsters that are swallowing everything. The snake is also the traditional symbol of immortality. It was the snake who stole the herb of life that was difficult to obtain from Gilgamesh and engorged. From there, the snake peeling its skin is not to die – according to myths.
Crowley himself assigned the fish symbol in Thoth Tarot Death card the most importance and associated it with the ancient fish that Oannes is probably the most famous. He was seen as the teacher of wisdom for the Sumerians, the Akkadians, and the Christian Christian congregation from the beginning who judged him as equal to St. John the Baptist. The priests served him wearing a fish mask, so, an open mouth fish-headed covered their heads. That is the basis for the modern bishop’s hat.
In this card, Death is described as a teacher of wisdom, as Psalmist says: “Dear Lord, please teach us that we must die so that we can be wise.” The fish is the sacred symbol of Christian doctrine, where it is assessed equally with Christ and is a symbol of the Immortal Self. A Greek word denoting a fish is JchThYS, interpreted as a poem in which each letter represents one word: Jesus Christus Hyios Sotet (Jesus Christ, son of God, savior).
c. The highest level (Eagle)
The highest level of the Thoth Tarot Death card is the Eagle, symbolizing the rise of a solid object. Early chemists thought that, in certain experiments, the purest (lightest) elements flew up as a gas or vapor (Crowley). Often considered the most common representative of the four elements, the location of scorpions has almost never been described by a scorpion, instead, is a snake or an eagle.
This can be explained by the notion that the Scorpion supply (according to the zodiac) symbolizes extreme trends and is a mediocrity. Here, it has just been displayed in the dark and unsaved form like a snake (scorpions are watchmen for most holy lands: Where they appear is where they signify to the taboo topics) that it just expressed at the highest level, the form of salvation as the mighty eagle.
III. Interpretation of Thoth Tarot Death
1. Background of Thoth Tarot Death (death and rebirth)
The broad theme of death and rebirth is the topic of countless myths in all cultures. The heroic characters of men and women, went down to the abyss to return to earth after confronting the demons. The dead and resurrected people were swallowed up by monsters and sprayed out, then, they returned to the world above with the deepest experience.
In ancient Egyptian myths, This metaphor is expressed in the revival of the assassinated Osiris. The cult of Orpheus, the mysteries of Dionysian, the mourning for Attis, Tammuz or Adonis and the Babilon-Sumerian traditions of the Ianna people going down to the underground world, all symbolizing human confrontation before death and rebirth.
2. Overview of Thoth Tarot Death
Death means the beginning and the end, and therefore, is the pioneer who is indispensable for the newness to come. However, the Thoth Tarot Death card, for the first time, introduces us to the natural end of a situation. This is in contrast to the Ten of Swords – the card representing the early and sudden termination. Once again, it is time for us to leave: leaving youth, leaving a loved one or leaving great moments. Experience is not necessarily painful. The beginning can be connected to a happy event (starting from a single life) or a necessary event for survival (being born).
Living means constantly leaving because, at the beginning of each road, there is also the end of another road. This becomes clear to us at the deepest level, which in fact, has nothing to lose, and therefore, has nothing for us to, and can, cling to. Recognized from this point of view, even any speculation about possible rebirth becomes meaningless and unimportant, it is an expression of the greedy self-clinging to life (rebirth) rather than the result of wise understanding towards the eternal wheel of “dying and being born”.
On the level of our consciousness, Thoth Tarot Death card means that we have reached the end of a development process and have to give up our old image in this world or renounce our old destiny. When viewed with the eyes of the Creator, Death is a symbol of the ability to let go, so that the old can transform into humus. There is nothing more alive than dead, but we are afraid of death because we think it prevents us from living (the suffering that is not expressed always creates terrible connections to death). On the highest level, this trump card means that we get a new perspective on death.
In the field of career, Death often means ending our previous activities. It challenges us to leave our position and become comfortable taking on new tasks. So, it is the number of the inevitable cycle of life when it brings a new beginning to each end. Projects, business negotiations and hopes faded away. It evokes in our minds the grasp of the meaning of changes and the acceptance of death as a pioneer of something new. Internal experiences lead to external changes, and when we accept that ending is necessary, we can start with a sense of success.
In our personal relationships, Thoth Tarot Death card means a period of development that is coming to an end, usually, it also indicates the end of a relationship. If we resist the beginning or the change and do not let the other person go, we are suppressing the signs of change or of the stages. Anger and frustration are described as an image that permeates us. A lake is accumulated in us, and gradually we will be plunged into the swamp of lack of ability to accept that ending is a necessity.