After dipping into the Minor Arcana – and the excitement of the Samhain Tarot Blog Hop! - let’s look at Scorpio in the Major Arcana. Given what we know of Scorpio, it probably comes as no surprise that the card associated with Scorpio (in the system I follow) is ‘Death’. Death, as in the end of a cycle – something that’s necessary in order to allow something new to grow and develop; transformation. Not physical death, or at least, not necessarily.
Traditional depictions of ‘Death’, number 13 in the Rider-Waite-Smith tarot, show us a knight in armour on a white horse, a king dead underfoot, a religious figure in its path, sometimes children. The Druidcraft uses different symbolism in its image.
|Death (detail): Druidcraft Tarot|
Here we see the Cailleach (the ‘crone’ aspect of the Goddess) and her cauldron of rebirth. The flames beneath it symbolize the transforming power of fire – it transforms water to steam, for instance. In the background we see a dolmen, a place of burial, but also a place of initiation and rebirth – which is also reflected in the approaching dawn on the horizon. An adder watches her from its cranny, representing death as transformation, the shedding of the skin, rather than as the ‘end’.
The creators of the deck, Philip and Stephanie Carr-Gomm, write in the accompanying book that this card “does not convey a sense of hopelessness but instead hints at the potential that death offers for transformation and rebirth”. I agree with this, and feel that it conveys the intense power associated with the (re)cycling of life through death and birth; all 8th house-Scorpio issues.
Druidcraft Tarot created by Philip Carr-Gomm and Stephanie Carr-Gomm, illustrated by Will Worthington, published by Connections