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 www.gnostictarotcards.com 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.