Tarot Key 13: The Final Transformation, 24th Path of Wisdom


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Introduction: A Journey of Self Discovery and Transformation

Embark on a profound journey of self-discovery and transformation as we explore the intricacies of the 24th Path of Wisdom, encapsulated by Key 13 – Death. This path represents a pivotal stage in our spiritual evolution, offering insights into the process of shedding old paradigms and embracing new possibilities. Join us as we unravel the symbolism, delve into the alchemical principles, and navigate the twists and turns of this transformative path toward self-realization.

Embarking on the Journey

Key 13: Death Tarot

We started our journey on the Path of Return in the 32nd path of Key 21 and the Administrative Intelligence, then journeyed into the paths to complete the Personality triad of Malkuth to Netzach.

We then continued our journey to Tiphareth our Higher Self in the 26th path of Key 15 and onto the path of Key 14 and the Intelligence of probation and trial.

Now we need to continue on our journey to finish crossing the threshold into the third and final path that leads into Tiphareth and the Higher Self, the 24th Path of Wisdom of key 13. To do this we need to start this journey in Netzach, Victory our desire nature.

We are starting our journey from our desire nature so we may travel to the Ego, the true self, the Higher Self in Tiphareth.

The Significance of Tarot Key 13: Death and Transformation

Key 13 has the sun rising in the East. The rising heralds a new day and is the forerunner of change. This relates it to Daleth and Key 3 the Empress and creative imagination. 

“Death is a change in our perspective. To our Higher, larger Self, to incarnate was a death, as we had to narrow down our larger self to focus on a tiny part of ourselves, to work on that part in this incarnation, our personality.”

The Power of Change: Embracing Transformation

Death is a change in our perspective. To our Higher, larger Self, to incarnate was a death, as we had to narrow down our larger self to focus on a tiny part of ourselves, to work on that part in this incarnation, our personality.

We cannot stay the same if we expect to grow and evolve to our higher level of ability and awareness. We die daily, as a third of our cells in our body die each day as this is needed so we may continue to live.

But we often use this power of change in a negative way. We will create some awful situations for ourselves, unconsciously, just so we are not bored. Unexpectedly Key 15 will help with this as this tarot key shows the Great Magical Agent of Alchemy. It is the first path that leads from the Personality triad to Tiphareth the Christ consciousness.

This is the power that creates, either what appears to be good things or those that are called bad. It is the One force, the strong force of all forces, but to the ignorant it is the devil in key 15, as we misuse this force in hideous ways through our ignorance, but to the wise it is the Angel in Key 14, the second path leading into Tiphareth.

The One-Self, which is limitless, gives birth to all the multitudes, its manifestations are always in constant change, even though The One Self itself is changeless and indivisible, but it manifests in ceaseless change.

In the absolute sense there is not change for the No-Thing, the One Being remains eternally Itself throughout the whole series of appearance. But this No-Thing includes ALL, everything, so much that is beyond our understanding and knowledge. But in a relative sense, this spectacle of transformation is actual and requires the dissolution of forms, related to the Mars and Venus centres along the spine.

The future holds what we have earned, in agreement with our past action and with patterns we are now making.

The river in this key flows to the sun from the North and bends toward the East. From Key 16 and Mars to Key 3 and Venus on the faces of the Cube of Space.

This change of direction indicates a change of direction in the current of energy related to this key. The river begins in Key 2 related to Sub-consciousness and memory and flows through the other keys and into this one.

This is the reversal of the currents of the Mars force, the creative and reproductive energy. It kills out old mistaken conceptions of the place of personality in the scheme of things and replaces them with the perception of life eternal. Change is never our enemy if it is a constructive and beneficial application of the force that we are able to control.

Harnessing Creative Imagination: Key 15’s Role

The scythe in key 13 has a T shaped handle suggesting Tav Key 21 The Administrative Intelligence and Saturn. The blade is made of steel related to Mars and the Exciting Intelligence of the 26th path of Wisdom and to the Intelligence of Will of Geburah on the Tree of Life.

The figure in this key, related to change, is using the scythe, with the principles of limitation and of breaking down, to harvest. It breaks down old and outworn forms of creation.

It is harvesting two heads, related to Chokmah and Binah – wisdom and understanding.

Binah and understanding is the perfection of the Great Work when the Queen, Kallah in Malkuth and the Divine Mother of Binah are made one.

Chokmah and wisdom is the Father and the Son in perfect union in beauty.

Through using the principle of limitation (related to Saturn) and the principle of breaking down (related to Mars); if used in a positive way; we can harvest more of this.

Navigating the Path: From Netzach to Tiphareth

Both the paths of key 15 and 13 on the Path of Return go upward into Tiphareth the central sphere of the Christ consciousness. This is the imaging making faculty of humanity. We are made in the image and likeness of God, we create, and we are creating our world.

The skeleton is also harvesting three hands and a foot.

Two of the hands are springing up and active, the other is passive, palm downward.

The active hands are the new works that result from transformation. They are the hand creative related to creative imagination.

The passive hand is Yod the Great Hand.  It is the hand of The One who does all.

The one foot is related to the Piscean age that we have now moved out of as we move more into the Aquarian age.

The hands and feet being reaped represent our higher powers which are unfolded after the initial awakening.

If our world looks like the pictures in key 15 and 13, bondage and death then that is what we have created from our understanding and level of wisdom we have gained so far.

But if we can do that, then we can also create something better. We already have the ability to create, to image, as we are the offspring of The One Being. What we need is to make our images closer to reality.

The faculty of Locomotion or motion is assigned to this key. It is important that we move on and not get bogged down in our transgressions, as life flows on and we must flow with it.                                                                        

Our skeleton is the foundation of every motion. This is the basis of all bodily activities, and of life.

The bend in river has the same meaning as the twist in the skeleton spine at the Mars and Venus centres, related to the reproductive and creative imaging force and to the change of direction of the current of this Mars and creative force.

It is the seed power. 

The seed in this key is a hieroglyph for the process of manifestation. The inner smaller oval is the source of the radiant energy differentiated as ether, fire, water, air, and earth.

This energy fills the space, the larger oval, and fills that space with forms of energy whose combination constitutes the body of the universe.

This One Power, the Seed-power is also represented by the skeleton.

The Alchemical Process: Transforming Self and Reality

The skeleton walks from north to south, from the darkness of ignorance to the light of perfection.

This is the path of Shin on the Cube of Space, as we awaken from our coffins of ignorance into our true Selfhood.

We need to make right images. When we make bad ones, not in line with reality, we need to learn from this, and move on. This is linked to our desire and philosophy of life in Netzach Victory, where we began our journey in this path.

The pain, misery, and limitation we experience are due to the forms or appearances taken by the One Force, under the influence of our mental imagery.

The path of Key 13 is in the Formative world but also at the top part of the Physical world. (The 4 planes or worlds being Atziluth the archetypal, Briah the creative, Yetzirah the formative and Assiah the physical.)

The formative world is where the idea and thinking of the Creative world starts to attract astral material, it is the design of what will eventually manifest in the physical world of Assiah.

Tiphareth is at the centre of the formative world, Yetzirah related to the suit of Swords in the Minor tarot (with the top of Tiphareth in the Briatic or creative world), as the Tree of Life is drawn.

We know the importance of forming the right mental images. We must visualize ourselves as having a body which readily responds to the Will-power at work through our personality vehicle. Our clear image of this changed individual, which will be a perfect and a beautiful body, both in function and appearance, has suggestive power which sub-consciousness will accept.

In response to that suggestion, sub-consciousness will begin to set in motion processes which lead to the desired transformations. We do not need to tell sub-consciousness how to do these things. It already knows. Tell it what we want it to do and make our picture as clear and concrete as we can.[1]

Energy follows thought and emotion our dominant desires. These are the desires and emotions we have in Netzach Victory level. This is the Magician of key 1 assigned to attention, and also to the opposites of Life and death.

The Great Work of Alchemy is designed to bring about spiritual, mental, emotional, psychological, and physical changes in this vehicle, our bodies, physical and more subtle and our personality instrument.

We are also told that Dissolution is the secret of the Great Work, relating it to the Mars force. The Great Work is the alchemical process of transforming our personality vehicles (physical, and higher bodies) so they can be finer instruments, more perfected, for our Higher Self and ultimately for the One Life. To be a more open centre, a clearer channel for the One-Self to express through.

Ruach, Spirit or Life Breath is centred in Tiphareth and is represented by Key 0 The Fool. This key shows the Life Power about to descend into the next cycle of physical life, into the valley from a mountain top, so it can reach the next one.  The mountain range peaks ascend upward to Kether. Key 0 is assigned to Uranus the planet that is exalted in Scorpio the zodiac sign of key 13. The white rose in this Key is a symbol of this, as it is the same rose of Key 0.

All the power that ever was or will be is here now. As stated at the beginning of the Pattern on the Trestleboard.

The Fool is a symbol of faith in Divinity. This feeling of security is to know that no matter what happens, there are always higher mountains to climb. This spirit of adventure is a necessity for an aspirant.

Embracing Unity in Duality: Life and Death

The same power which leads to birth also controls the physical changes that result in dissolution or death.

These are not two antagonistic powers, fighting against each other, one making life and the other death.

There is only a single power, Kether is Yekhidah, the indivisible, but this power has a twofold manifestation.

“With the pure thou shew thyself pure, and with the froward thou wilt shew thyself as forward” [2]

The meaning of froward, an archaic term, is (of a person) difficult to deal with; contrary (opposite in nature in character, diametrically opposed), perverse.

The following is from the book ‘Light on the Path’ written down by Mabel Collins

21. Look for the flower to bloom in the silence that follows the storm : not till then.

It shall grow, it will shoot up, it will make branches and leaves and form buds, while the storm continues, while the battle lasts. But not till the whole  personality of the man is dissolved and melted—not until it is held by the divine fragment which has created it, as a mere subject for grave experiment and experience — not until the whole nature has yielded and become subject unto its Higher Self, can the bloom open. Then will come a calm such as comes in a tropical country after the heavy rain, when nature works so swiftly that one may see her action. Such a calm will come to the harassed spirit. And in the deep silence the mysterious event will occur which will prove that the way has been found. Call it by what name you will, it is a voice that speaks where there is none to speak — it is a messenger that comes, a messenger without form or substance ; or it is the flower of the soul that has opened. It cannot be described by any metaphor. But it can be felt after, looked for, and desired, even amid the raging of the storm. The silence may last a moment of time or it may last a thousand years. But it will end. Yet you will carry its strength with you. Again and again the battle must be fought and won. It is only for an interval that Nature can be still.

Cultivating True Selfhood: Rebirth into Kingship

Our philosophy of life, our One desire, from Netzach has to match what a Lesser Adept of Tiphareth is so we can travel the path of key 13 Death, and change. Death to the false understanding we have of personality and rebirth into our kingship, our true Selfhood.           

[1]Tarot Fundamentals lesson 29, page 2

[2] Pslam 18:26