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TOtOP - XII - The Close (Death)

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Silverlotus  Silverlotus is offline
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TOtOP - XIII - The Close (Death)


Astrological Influence - Scorpio
Element - Water
Month - October, November
Contributor - Sylvia Gainsford
Flowers - primroses - early youth; borage - warning of change to come


Death haunts the left side of this card. His shadow extends much further then one would expect, perhaps as a warning that Death's reach (and the reach of this card) is further then we think. He carries a scythe, which can be used either as a tool or a weapon - to harvest or to kill. In contrast, on the right side of this card sits a small (rather chubby) baby. One figure obviously is meant to represent an end, and the other a beginning.

A river (the same from the previous cards?) flows through this card. It is rather large here, but still claim. If we take it to represent the subconscious, as in previous cards, then perhaps we can say that the subconscious is contributing a good deal to the situation represented by this card.

In the river stands a heron. In ancient Egypt, this bird was representative of things to come, as well as being the first life form to appear on the ground that arose out of the watery chaos. A barn owl flies above the baby's head, representing night and death. Together these two birds give us death and rebirth, a major message of this card. The final animal (or insect if you prefer) in this card is a Death Head's Hawk moth, representing a soul journeying from life into death.

The plants on this card are the primrose, representing early youth; the borage, warning of change to come; and the forest of fir trees found on other cards in the Major Arcana.
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My Thoughts


I suppose it goes without say that this card doesn't represent actually, physical death. With the change in the title of this card, it isn't likely to be an issue even with the most inexperienced of sitters. Actually, I think this is one of the best alternate names for the Death card. The Connelly Tarot name of Transformation is good too, but I think the image is too obscure.

So, if this isn't physical death, what is it? To me, it's about clearing out the new. It's time to get rid of that bad habit you've been meaning to kick, or maybe a push to finally leave that job you hate. It can also indicate a change in your spiritual quest. It might be time to try something new. Not necessarily to leave your religion or your path, but to explore another part of it. Perhaps move deeper into your practice, or withdraw from it slightly.

If working with darker issues, like shadow work, this card could represent a loss of some sort, or maybe a sadness or illness you have not been able to overcome. Now is the time to leave it behind.
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I see this card as a reminder that "This too shall pass". The card bursts with life. But, right there, in an obvious place, is the figure of Death. Because it's off to the side, I feel that the card is saying that death is part of life, can't have one without the other. Same thing with change. Everything must transform, it's a law of nature. The death's head moth was a little larvae in a chrysalis once, look at it now. And it's due to reproduce, lay it's eggs, and die. It's all the cycle of time.

I see a lot of similarities between the meaning of this card, and the wheel. Whereas the wheel would represent a more immediate change, or a small change within that which is perpetually changing, which would be represented by "The Close".

The river can also signify the "River of Life" which we are all traveling. It brings to mind the Egyptian myth concerning the River Styx, which all souls had to cross to get to the afterlife, so they could be judged, and reborn. In some mythologies, souls take the form of Owls, or Cranes (herons). In others, these birds are guides for souls to the otherworld. This would tie in with "Crossing the River" as well.

I see life as a series of what I would call "Minor Deaths" before the all consuming event. Everything has it's time, and what's gone is gone. But something new always replaces it, and there is much wisdom in being able to see that.

As far as the Borage and Primrose, in spellwork, Borage can be used to promote courage and bravery. Primrose, for truth.
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This is a very powerful image.

Death stands on the other side of the river but his shadow reaches the banks where we wait. Notice how every living creature is looking towards Death, as though acknowledging his role in our lives. There is no fear in this image however, simply calm acknowledgement, and the baby even tenders a chubby arm towards the skeletal figure smiling at him.

The immediate visual impression of this card is one of peace and beauty. Death's presence is a reminder not only of our mortality but also perhaps that life itself can be fairly confronting, and that the times when this happens can strip us right back to essence, sometimes right back to bare bones."I will free you of the burden of the flesh"

Death is not to be feared. It is the great Transformer, on the path between Netzach (emotion and inspiration) and Tiphareth (beauty and creativity). "....Live fully through discovery and wonder. Drink deeply of life's cup. Show the joy of life to others and you shall not find me an adversary....".

The art work in this deck continues to charm me. It is delicate but rich at the same time. It reminds me of dreams, almost etherial in nature but rich in meaning.
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As I walk through the valley of the shadow of death…

We are always in death’s shadow, it can come to any one of us at any time. Some fear it, others court it, while most simply ignore it. “Inevitability” is the key; it is inevitable that all things must end, and accepting this is one of life’s hardest lessons.

The child in the picture will enter into many situations that open and close. Sometimes we say “thank good that’s over!”, other times we say “I wish it would never end”.

Whatever the situation, whether joyous or sad; this card is telling us kindly but firmly that it is time to move on.
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