The 13th Tarot Card and the Three Aspects of Scorpio
The Death Card offers perspective on life that allows us to find new life amidst breakdowns. The three aspects of Scorpio can guide us through actual deaths, deaths of identity, and more. Find out which aspect you relate to most and how to apply them to your life below.
The Death Card is the 13th card of the tarot's Major Arcana. It is predominantly about letting go so that we can evolve. This card is a symbol of change and growth. It embodies the idea that from death and destruction, there is an opportunity to build anew. When you pull this card it is an invitation to let go of the things you are unnecessarily attached to so you can experience new things and evolve to be a truer form of yourself.
It can also be a way to see hope in a situation that otherwise seems dismal. If something is ending that you don't want to end— a job, a relationship, living in a particular place, owning something you love, even a tube of your favorite lipstick— pulling this card can remind you to invoke a more holistic vision that will allow you to embody whatever new life comes after this death.
This card is represented by the zodiac sign, Scorpio. Scorpio has three aspects to it that give a beautiful structure that can help you relate to this card and reflect on your life.
- SCORPION: Scorpion is the base aspect of death. This is the physical discomfort of whatever is ending, and the fierce need to protect or take care of yourself during the transition. Think of the scorpion's sting, it both protects the animal and causes great discomfort.
- SNAKE: Snake is the symbol of the cyclical nature of death. As Aleister Crowley puts it in The Book of Thoth, the snake is the "sacred Lord of Life and Death." Everything dies, and from those endings, new life springs forth. Snake reminds us to let go of our old identities in order to form new ones.
- PHOENIX/EAGLE: The bird part of Scorpio represents the aspect of death beyond the physical world. It is from the perspective of this lifeless oneness that we can get insight into how to become more and more ourselves.
Apply these aspects of Scorpio to your situation by adopting the perspectives of each of these animals in turn. I suggest journaling but you can do it as a mental exercise as well.
First take the perspective of the Scorpion. Write about your feelings of discomfort, and the pain you are experiencing without judgment. Then transition into writing how you can protect yourself (what boundaries can you create?) and what self-care you can do during this time.
Now take the perspective of the snake. Write out, "Death leads to new life." Then reflect on that statement. Do you believe it? Does it spark a specific idea?
Lastly, take the perspective of the Phoenix/Eagle. Imagine that a being wiser than you is looking at your situation, and write from that point of view. What are you attached to that is not serving you, that you should let go of? What are you appreciative of during this breakdown? What can you do to become more yourself? What new life would you like to cultivate during this time of death? Is any new life already showing?
Using the symbol of the snake, the reminder that everything dies, to trigger the bird perspective of the Death Card has the power to unlock a whole new way of living. In the face of death, your perception can become remarkably clear. All of a sudden it is evident what values matter to you, what inspires you, and what beauty is all around you. The objectivity that death can provide, reinforces the value of showing care to all of the people and things you love. Even in the midst of breakdowns, you can use the perspective death provides to find things to be grateful for.
ADDITIONAL SYMBOLS FROM THE DEATH CARD:
- SKELETON: The underlying structure that continues even as our identity dies and is reborn again and again.
- CROWN: Expanded consciousness— the oneness we return to after death.
- SCYTHE: Cuts through to yield new life, i.e. the plants of the harvest are killed in order to give sustenance to humans and animals.
- FISH: Often associated with symbols of resurrection, for example, Christ.
- FOUR: 1 plus 3 equals 4, thus the Death Card is related to the number four cards as well. Emporer: own your personal power and ability to lead. Four of Disks: know boundaries and limitations. Four of Swords: be open to truces and negotiations. Four of Cups: follow your heart and what is meaningful to you. Four of Wands: know that we are already whole.
In addition to my own understanding of death, I referenced The Tarot Handbook by Angeles Arrien and The Book of Thoth by Aleister Crowley, for this post. I highly suggest both of these Tarot guides— especially if you use the Thoth Deck which both of these guides are based on.