Alchemical – Death

Hello and Greetings!

Today we are discussing the 13th Arcana of the Tarot titled Death. We have previously covered this in prior posts, if you haven’t visit and click on the death card for a list of past posts.

Today we would like to discuss the aspect of the Death key and the process of alchemical Putrefaction or Putrificatio. The Alchemical tarot by Robert Place is the model that I use for Alchemical Tarot work. Along with the keys passed to me by the “inner processes” of this key its easy to use and relates specifically to alchemy.

Putrefaction is the process where something of gross form is purified and “spiritualized” or , brought to its most base form such as a irreducible essence. This is somewhat of a old term because the alchemists , although esoterically inclined and familiar with the Doctrine of Emanation , were not able to speak about this understanding “openly” but instead used complicated and albeit confusing models of symbolism and chemical reactions between seeming scientific terms.

Basically what is meant by Putrefaction is to see the internal structure of the matter being “worked” upon. For instance if the alchemical transformation is being done on a piece of fruit. we shall look at the physical representation then start to see deeper. What are the hidden or occult secrets of the fruit? What is the hidden structure of this fruit? How does it operate, what does it effect astrally? is there a God that the fruit has an affinity to ? This process is what the alchemists called “Solve et Coagula” to “solve” means to see the deepest essence of something to solve the problem of the alchemist is to realize the gold of the dross. Coagulate means to crystallize this vast arcana into a “seed thought” because through the process of Coagulation the entire superstructure of noetic realms can be accessed through this “idea” in the highest of kabbalistic “worlds”. This is one of the secrets of tarot imagery. The “pictures” are Theosophic and Theurgic Hieroglyphs.

Once we Solve , then Coagulate we compress the Solved “form” into our subconsciousness to build our psychic structures around the terms and pictures. meaning when we now see the “skeleton” we think of the solved structure we have installed or in the language NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) “Anchored”. This assists with a mental anchor or reference point when the work of Ascension is presented in the Bardo of Death.

The psychological process that the 13th Key of the Tarot represents is that of Blackening or Nigredo – this is the way that negativity or antithetical behaviors, emotions and thoughts or deeds are dissolved by the “solving and coagulation” of ones “alembic” or life experiences. Irritating, annoying, bothersome, people, who agitate, confuse enrage make one forget become fearful etc. Essentially the things that are considered “dark chaotic and destructive ” are the “prima materia” of the alchemist. Once we are able to go through the purgation of the Blackening process we move on and are guided toward deeper alchemical stages that of yellowing, and whitening.


Umm … did i Forget Something?

Greetings! Today we are going to discuss the topic of forgetfulness as the second portion of the tripartite division on the topic of Death.

in the Zohar when the letter Tau asks to be the letter that is honored for creation it is turned down because when a Hebrew term is evaluated it is a “entity” of and in itself. For example: in the Zohar it says EMET is the Hebrew word for Truth, so Tau makes its case to be given the “seal” of Elohim. Elohim says that Tau is also the “seal” of the word MAVET which means Death in hebrew. The science of the Zohar is extremely complex but essentially the words in the Torah are commented upon in the Zohar and Sepher Yetzeriah. Sepher Yetzeriah is the metaphysical and oldest treatise on the letters of the Torah, and Zohar is more of a Soul commentary on the Torah with some additional material from Rav’s and Masters upon the letters.

Which leads us into the next topic in the GENESIS scripture it says that ELOHIM Said “taste the fruit of the tree of knowledge … one will surely die”. Yet the Serpent says that they will not die. A wonderful explanation from Daskalos has been given to this mystery. Since the serpent is a manifested creature and not of the Absolute nature of the creator it would stand to reason that the serpent wouldn’t consider a loss of wholeness as death, however from the view of a higher consciousness ie Elohim, Death would be anything that separates one from Absolute Beingness with the creator of All, or as the Gnostics called it the Unknown Father BYTHOS.

Here we are now told in GENESIS that ADAM was put into a deep sleep. ADAM is not a “male” its A_DAM or “man from earth”. This means that ADAM is a symbolic term of MANKIND not some patriarch. This ADAM was put into a state of sleep or “forgetfulness”. Mankind forgot its essence and thus became divided. Not lost just sleepy this is why Buddha upon his realization was given the term “awakened one”. What are we awakening to? The answer is inherent in the question. We are like the prodigal child that has asked for all the happiness here and now and have become enslaved to our MATERIALISM.

In the Nag Hammadi (see links site to for library of NH) there is a portion of scripture titled “The Gospel of Truth” In the ‘evangelion veratatis’ the writer Valentinus says that “the fog was called error or forgetfulness” this Forgetfulness is the same of that of Death. We are in a temporary amnesia of our Divine origin or Monadic Self. We know this because the Gospel of Truth says that the Error has no “root”. Root here means unity with the Unknown Principle. Therefore let us try and carry a spirit of blessing to all our activities. The only way to experience this “fog” is by karma and ignorance of the Buddhists or “reaping what one sows and sin” of the Christians. For SIN means “hammartia” and is a archery term “missing the mark” not eternal damnation!

FL Cor Meum Lucidum

Till Death Do Us Part

Death of the physical vehicle. These experiences are common to all and represent the same process in sleep as death of the physical vehicle. The problem is forgetfullness. We all know that sleep eventually ends and some can even do sacred ‘erodinia’ or lucid dreaming to establish spiritual and monadic contact with ones inner light.

In the Tibetian Book of the Dead (Based upon the Guhyagarba Tantra) the Lama guides and instructs the initiate through the process of the journey through the bardos’ of conciousness.This is where the initiate is given their chance to perform the process of disolution and has a small window or opportunity to either be completely liberated without remainder or enter back into the world embracing the life of a bodhisattva.

This intensive meditation is designed to combat forgetfulness and assist the initiate with the process of ‘conciously dying’. This is very advanced work and to be completely honest takes lots of time in Generation and Completion practices to completely master. For our purposes we will focus on the term “forgetfulness” rather than initiatic methods regarding death.

one of my favorite Gnostic Scriptures about “forgetfulness” is Hymn of the Pearl. In this hymn the lost person discusses how his parents clothed him with a robe (aura) and ring, and how he was given a pearl etc. etc. (see link on side and search, great story) In this story the traveler ‘forgets’ his parents and homeland, this story is indicative to me of our ‘lost word’, or the descent of persephone, its the same thing. essentially its the amnesia of our true beingness.

One of the secrets of immortality is to dis identify with mortality as a state of ‘fixed’ and ‘absolute’ being. This is similar to calling the reflection in the mirror oneself, so naturally by leaving the presence of the mirror the self reflected will be eliminated as well. Should a person cling to this image there will be tremendous anguish and agony. The problem is that its not just mental that the disconnection must occur at, there are several planes of manifestation that the reflected self has been incarnated upon.

This is portrayed in the skeleton and the sickle. The skeleton has for a long time represented death and or threat to mortality, the sickle is used to cut wheat or reap a harvest. funny how we call death the ‘grim reaper’ and a sickle symbolises the God Saturn. In the process of merkabah and the paradosis one ascends through the powers or archons of the 7 spheres of the planets. In this path of ascent the 3rd planet/sphere is Saturn. It is said that if one doesn’t purify themselves they are stuck in this realm and can proceed no further.

FraterLucis CML


Welcome back.
We are now moving into the 13th arcanum of the Tarot and will be discussing the Key titled Death. From the very start this card has to be discussed from its title. Death is a very controversial topic, to say the least. It is the lynch pin of the “unknown” that really makes it a shocker. In Mahayana Buddhist teachings they say that we are all equal in the fact that death will occur, and all also are equal in the fact that we don’t know when!
This is one of the reasons that Shakyamuni Buddha (Siddharta) decided to take death as a principal to prove the impermanence of even the enlightened state called Nirvana. Death has had a major impact on society and history. Ancient civilizations had developed mythology , and shamanic like priesthoods that dealt with specific death motifs. Since its evident that Death is a necessary ‘transistion’ its also apparent that because its unknown this brings on a sense of ‘doom and dread’ to those who are NOT acquainted with deeper and more subtle levels of consciousness.
In Buddhist psychology for instance the two major instincts of the self are attraction and aversion. Attraction to the things we want and feel bring happiness, and Aversion to the things we don’t want and that interfere with happiness. The main mix up is with the attraction to things that don’t bring happiness because of their transient nature, and aversion to practices that do bring happiness because of their insignificance or value in relation to temporary states of pleasure, misidentified by the term happiness.
In Freudian and Jungian psychology these drives are called Eros and Thanatos. Eros is the feeling of “love” and can be for self or another “object of desire”. Thanatos is the feeling of “loss” and can come from the unwillingness to accept or come to terms with the force of “Death”.
This being said we are now ready to discover the deeper aspects of such a powerful state of existence and the results of thinking that come along with it.
The term “escatology” is the study and philosophy of conciousness after death. this is the major fear for alot of people this state is commonly known as “Heaven or Hell”. Escatalogy to really work has to have a salvific component because its whole purpose is to infuse morality for a future event that will recall ones actions and evaluate according to the ‘merit or demerit’ of those behaviors. The problem with this is not its “nuts and bolts’ but its usage from people and groups that extract it from a doctrine of karma and reincarnation. for instance
In most eastern thinking and philosophy the individual accumulates what is called Karma by actions performed in everyday life. These aren’t really negative or positive inherently but do create a impression that is recorded and is brought to ‘fruition’ or ‘ripening’ meaning ‘expression in circumstances’. When this happens one will feel happiness or suffering because of this supposed event that is rooted in ones personal or group karma. This is supposed to be the reason for “believing” in a savior. This is what is being saved ones Karma. However its funny that while totally dismissing the doctrine of karma, the orthodox has rather called it Sin and says from birth we are all given “original sin”.
here’s an argument. if we are born into original sin , how is it that this “saviors” death is able to redeem it? and if its redeemed why must we believe in the person to gain salvation. This is a sensitive subject but it must be addressed. Karma is similar to Sin, but Sin is a term used differently than Karma. Karma is also tied to Reincarnation. Shakyamuni Buddha found that by meditation and deep awareness a stop gap could occur within the karmic cycle and one could ripen seeds of the ‘clear nature of mind’ this is actually a state of consciousness called sinless and perfect.
So we see that both Shakyamuni and Jesus had adherents that perpetuated a Escatological teaching of action-result and salvation of belief in the person hood of each of these enlightened men.
Here’s where we will twist things, the divergence now will be from the Orthodox to the Esoteric. In Theosophy the individual is presented as consisting of seven planes of manifestation from the rays of a planetary logos and solar logic forces. These planes are the actual forms of consciousness of a human being. The secret of this key is also talked about in the Corpus Hermecticum IX that says “For there’s no death for aught of things [that are]..”
The things that are, or Ta Onta is the definition of Gnosis. Death can only decay and destroy things that do not exist as realities. The truth is that Death is everywhere. Every time something goes away and another thing takes it place there is what is called Death. Breath is Death, the death of the exhaled life makes way for the life to be given again in the next breath. This is why Roshi Suzuki says that ‘exhallation is the place of rest and calm’. When its time the exhale will be the final letting go. The reason why Death has such a hold is because of the Attachment force and the paranoia and morbidity we experience when ‘loss’ arrives.
Death is very natural and in Hermetic and Kabbalist thinking the Gnosis of death is really the revelation of subtle levels of existence and reality. Jung in his Red Book called many ordinary people living the “dead”. This is because in order to be alive , we must be attached or identified to the things that are.
This card is packed full of symbolism and clues to this process. It will take a while till this card is dealt with in its entirety . Please feel free to contact or comment regarding this post

FL. Cor Meum Lucidum