I see tarot as intuitive art. The cards are your paints, the table is your canvas, and your mind is your brush. Not all tarot readers’ art will look the same. Some interpretations are darker than others. One thing for sure is I am not into scaring people.
So today I wanna shed some light on Arcanum 13 (the Death card in modern decks) and give you some clarity on what it really means, so we can change our perspective around it from fear to freedom!
The first clarification is that traditionally this card was left unnamed! In the Tarot de Marseilles, the earliest tarot system in existence, it was called ‘The Unnamed Arcana.’ Changing that to ‘Death’ misses the point entirely. Whereas leaving it the only unnamed card in the deck gives insight into the mystery and depth, and leaves so much more room for interpretation. This card was originally intended to be contemplated deeply.
The second clarification is in the symbolism and colors. In the Jodorowsky Marseilles deck the skeleton is flesh colored and has vibrant blue and red along his spine- life force. There is nothing ‘dead’ about this character. Far from it actually.
In this energy the most vital part of us is working. Sometimes we have to be ‘stripped down to the bones’ so to speak to access this pure part of us. This leads us to the true meaning of the death card: purification.
This is big purification energy. The action is harvesting, removing, clearing out, cleaning, minimizing, bringing things back to their raw, pure state, and revealing the truth. This is a necessary process of nature. If we didn’t harvest the food after it grew it would sit in the dirt and rot, and we’d starve to death! If we didn’t regularly clean our living space we’d live in filth and be depressed! If we didn’t purify our self-destructive tendencies with meditation or therapy we’d live in delusion forever!
Furthermore, if we look closely we see what the skeleton is harvesting is actually body parts! This is interesting. It’s almost as if he’s using a metal detector to detect parts of himself that have been buried in the dirt, long forgotten, and now with this new vital energy he’s able to find them, harvest them, and bring them back to life!
The final clarification I’d like to make is that the purification I’m speaking of simply means a return to the truth. Finding your personal truth. Remembering your integrity. This has a lot to do with the sacred masculine (Shiva energy) which is very much about concentrating your energy on truth and not being swayed from it.
So we come to find that it’s our sovereignty, our truth that we’re harvesting!
Next time you get this card, know that your integrity is coming back to life, you’re harvesting your freedom, and the only thing ‘dying off’ is fear.
I hope this was helpful. If you need me shoot me a message! Much love 🙂
Photo by Lauren Alexandra Photography