Thursday 8 November 2018

Scorpio in the Major Arcana: Death (part 2)

In Part 1 of our look at the Death card, we saw the phoenix rising from the ashes of the fire that consumed what was no longer needed – not unlike the bonfires consuming fallen leaves, or the fires in the fields, burning away the debris after the harvest – in order to prepare the ground for the new. 

Death (trimmed):
© Shadowscapes Tarot
The Shadowscapes Tarot also draws on the promise of renewal with its phoenix rising from the ashes of the devastation, the tearing down of what has been, now ready for what’s to come. It's one of the more 'optimistic' versions of the Death card, I think - the fiery-red phoenix looks upwards and outwards towards what appears to be a sunny future... What do you think?

Death (trimmed):
© Zillich Tarot
Christine Zillich’s and Margarete Petersen’s Death cards both invoke the Crone in their depictions of Death. There’s an element of looking backwards and forwards with the Crone-Hermit, and that ‘crone knowledge’ or wisdom associated with the Hermit is necessary in order to make the changes that Death demands. 

The Zillich Tarot’s Death shows a crone-like figure in black, butterflies – a symbol of transformation – around her. 
Death (trimmed):
© Margarete Petersen Tarot

In Margarete Petersen’s version, we see two serpents – another symbol of transformation: one white, one black. There are links back to her High Priestess, Chariot, and even the Lovers in the way she’s used duality and opposites in her work. Her Death image is almost a mirror image: white serpent meets black serpent; Death, in the form of a cloaked skeleton, stands behind the white, earth-bound figure. Out of the dark comes light. A bit like the phoenix, then?

Margarete Petersen Tarot, AGM-URANIA/Deep Books, 2004.
Shadowscapes Tarot created by Stephanie Pui-Mun Law and Barbara Moore, published by Llewellyn
Zillich Tarot, created by Christine Zillich, published by U.S. Games Systems, Inc.

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