The Death Card and the Hermetic Marriage of Jupiter and Saturn
We have recently experienced a great and rare astronomical event that happened late last year that gave us an opportunity to connect to the Light of the Creator. On December 21, 2020 Saturn and Jupiter aligned in a ‘great conjunction’ where they appeared in the night sky as one bright star, being only .1 degree apart from each other. This event ushered in the new age of Aquarius.
In Roman mythology Saturn is Jupiter’s father. The 21st of December will witness the son (Jupiter) reuniting with the father (Saturn), which is similar to the biblical story of Jesus Christ’s crucifixion, when Jesus returned to the Father upon his death on the cross, and they were united as one. This concept of returning to God upon one’s death is (believe it or not) portrayed in the tarot’s Death card. I feel that once you have learned the hidden meaning within the Death card, you will be enlightened and hopefully excited about this astronomical event that happened on the 21st of December, the winter solstice.
The many secrets and mysteries concealed within the Death card are portrayed through a combination of allegory and symbolism, which encompass a multiple of different esoteric understandings needed in order to convey just one spiritual concept depicted within the card’s illustration, thus allowing one to comprehend the wisdom of the card’s spiritual message based upon their own level of esoteric understanding.
In Kabbalistic tarot astrology the number 4 corresponds with the 4th sefirah on the Tree of Life called Chesed. Chesed is ruled by Jupiter, who just so happens to rule over Sagittarius and Pisces. By aligning all the number 4 tarot cards in a row from least to greatest value, beginning with the Pips in an accordance to the value of their suit, followed by two Major Arcana cards in an ascending value according to their Roman numeral, will create a six-card layout that forms the path for either a Sagittarius or Pisces to follow which will teach them how to achieve spiritual enlightenment. Moving forward, the Death card, assigned to number XIII, is associated with the path of the 4’s because 13 when reduced is 1+3 = 4, and because 13 is (technically) the number 4 card with the greatest value it is placed at the very end of the path, representing the final stage of enlightenment for either a Sagittarius or Pisces to evolve to. Being associated with Sagittarius, this card reflects the planetary influence experienced on the 21st of December. This card contains the key to enlightenment for (signs ruled by Jupiter) both the Sagittarius and Pisces signs, but in actuality, we are all influenced by Jupiter’s energy this time of year, and we will all be effected by this conjunction, no matter what sign we were born under. I understand how this can appear odd, to be associating the Death card with the concept of spiritual enlightenment, so please bear with me as I reveal clues hidden within this card that will shed light on its positive characteristics, leading you to uncover quite a few fascinating secrets.
The first clue to understanding this card and how it coincides with this astrological six-card layout is by adding up the sum of all the Roman numerals of the tarot cards included in Jupiter’s path of 4’s. The first five cards leading up to the Death card are all numbered 4, which gives us 4×5 = 20. These five cards lead a person down their zodiac sign’s path, enriching them with practical guidance and life advice, preparing them for the final stage of their spiritual growth, represented in the Death card, Roman numeral XIII (13). This now gives us the numbers 20 and 13, which added together equals 33. 33 is the highest degree one can achieve in Freemasonry, and its associated with the highest level of conscious awareness achieved in Kabbalah. The number 33 is associated with the Christ, and Christ Consciousness. This is because Jesus was 33 years old when he was crucified on the cross. That day of his death, Jesus was reunited with the Father. Jesus became one with the Father, sharing the same super conscious. Furthermore, there are 32 paths on the Tree of Life in Kabbalah which lead one up the Jacob’s ladder along the chakras of their kundalini. The elevated soul progresses past the 32nd path (or branch) and transcends up and out of the Tree and into the realm of the 33rd, achieving a union with the Divine Creator and the Cause of all things. Obtaining this connection to the Divine Intelligence is the apex of enlightenment.
Another clue is located on the black flag that Death is holding. This flag adorns the Tudor Rose which symbolizes the conclusion of the War of the Roses. This war was a long and bloody civil war between two feuding royal families who battled over the control of the throne of England after the death of King Henry the V. As the war dragged on, the country’s people grew tired and famished, and when they felt as though they couldn’t bear it any longer they were hit with a plague. The royal families realized the fate of their country’s inevitable demise if they were to continue with this war, which lead them to agree on a compromise. The two feuding families decided to join forces equally, which was culminated with the marriage of these two royal families; the York’s and the Lancaster’s. This family feud stretched out for 32 years, between the years 1455–1487. Here, we see again another connection to the number 32, which is associated with the elevated soul’s transcendence into the higher realm of Christ Consciousness. Kabbalist teach us that Jesus Christ died on the same day he was born, meaning his birthday. Therefore, he was 32 years old prior to the day of his crucifixion, thus transcending to the age of 33 years upon the day of his death. Christ died upon the cross, on his birthday, and then was immediately reunited with the Father. This ‘reuniting’ with God is associated with being ‘born again.’ This symbolism is portrayed in this card, where we see the Death knight returning to the Pope, meaning Father, thus Death has ‘re-u-knighted’ with the Father. Not until after the marriage which united the two royal families was the knight finally spiritually ready to reunite with the Father. (uniting the two as one)
This concept of time needed for one to become spiritually ready aka spiritually cleansed is encoded within the number 40. 40 is a very significant Kabbalistic number seen throughout the Torah, as well as the Tarot. You will notice that there are four X’s on the knight’s horse’s neck strap, which alternate between the four skulls. The skull is an obvious symbol for death, but can also represent death to things confined within the skull, such as the mind and its beliefs, referring more so to the death of one’s fixed mindset and limiting beliefs. The timing and severity one must endure for spiritual cleansing is relative to each individual. The number 40 is associated with the time period for cleansing because 40 is the Hebrew gematria value for the letter Mem, meaning water, which encompasses the cleansing power that water provides. The four X’s on the horse’s neck strap are Roman numeral’s that represent a value of 10 each, which has a sum of 40 when combined altogether.
The letter X is also the ancient Hebrew symbol for the Hebrew letter Tav, which was written as an X. Tav means truth, mark, sign of the cross. So, we see here on the horse’s neck strap the symbolism of death on the cross, alluding to Jesus Christ’s crucifixion. Soon after Jesus’ death, the cross became a symbol for Jesus and has been used by Christians since the 2nd century. Another symbol for Christ is the fish. Coincidentally, the Hebrew letter assigned to the Death card is Nun, meaning fish. The spiritual aspects associated with fish directly relate to the spiritual concepts revealed to us metaphorically through Bible or Torah allegory containing the number 40.
Jesus Christ’s life is an example for us to follow if we wish to unite with the Higher-Self, be one with God, the Father, which is obtained only after we experience an ego-death, which would lead us to feeling as if we had been ‘born again.’ This is also an example of the Hermetic-Marriage, which is the idea of one’s body consciousness (ego) leaving their physical body in order to transcend up into the realm of the Super Consciousness where it becomes one with the Higher-Self. The Hermetic marriage is a coming together of the two polarities, the duality, which is ever present in all creation, appearing as positive and negative, masculine and feminine; cleverly symbolized by the two opposing families involved in the War of the Roses. According to the famous scholar, philosopher, and mystic, Manly P. Hall, “Both positive and negative are opposite poles of one circuit. Spirit itself knows no polarity, but manifests through polarity to the accomplishment of the Great Work.”
Another interesting thing to note, as we decode the symbols on this card, and reveal deeper meaning, is the hidden symbolism found within the Tudor Rose on the Death knight’s flag. You will notice the rose has ten petals and five leaves, which gives you the number 15. With further examination, you will find that there are exactly 30 seeds in the center of the rose. This gives us the numbers 30 and 15, which added together is 45. 45 is a significant number found throughout the tarot, as well as in planetary magic. For instance, 45 is the sum of all the numbers in the 3×3 magic square of Saturn. Throughout the tarot, Saturn’s planetary influence is represented by the color black, hence the black Tudor Rose flag and the black armor worn by the Death knight. Saturn is known to be the planet associated with death, and depicted in modern times as the Grim Reaper. Saturn influences past-life karmic judgements, as well as being the lord of time, which are both themes portrayed in the Death card.
Concealed within Saturn’s magic square is the spirit of Saturn sigil aka the Seal of Zazel. Planetary seals are used to seal in the planet’s positive traits, while at the same time acts as a protection shield from any of the planet’s negative influence. Saturn is a maleficent planet that influences poverty, oppression, karmic baggage, and has a slowing down effect on all things in general. The Seal of Zazel acts as protection from Saturn’s maleficent influence, allowing one to draw down desire and prosperity without being contaminated with any sort of restriction or judgment. And on a further note, this seal acts as a portal into the astral dimension, which we are able to access through meditation practices and by opening our third eye. By way of meditation one is able to strengthen the third eye, which is essentially Christ Consciousness, allowing them access through this portal which leads into higher dimensions. Obtaining enlightenment, (Christ Consciousness), is the key that opens the portal door. Interesting to note here is that the Seal of Zazel looks similar to a key hole, or eye.
The Hebrew gematria value for the name Zazel is 45. Zazel is known as the spirit of Saturn. Agiel is known as the intelligence of Saturn, and shares a similar gematria value of 45. By adding the sum of the two spirits of Saturn together we get the numbers 45+45, which equals 90. 90 is the value of the Hebrew letter Tzaddi, meaning fish hook. A Tzaddik, meaning righteous one, refers to someone who is a pure channel of Light and who remains in a constant communication with the Source. For instance, Moses was considered a Tzaddik. A Tzaddik is said to always be in a conscious state of meditation. The Tzaddik dips his fish hook into the astral waters and receives godly insights and divine inspiration needed for him to manifest prosperity for the soul purpose of enriching other people’s lives. In other words, a completely selfless person. Saturn is the darkest of the planets, but it is in the darkest of places that we can reveal the most Light.
Worth bringing up again is the Hebrew letter Nun, which is assigned to this card. As mentioned earlier, Nun means fish, and the spiritual aspects of this letter share much significance with the Death card. The fish swims freely in the astral realm, surrendering to the organic flow of nature which inevitably leads them to enlightenment. The fish drifts through the sea of emotions; feeling, absorbing, observing, and learning. They learn about themselves by observing others. The fish develops empathy for others, and is then able to understand how his words as well as his behaviors effect the other people around him. Empathy is the key to opening up your heart. When your heart is open you are able to access your inner Sun (or Son), and it is through this inner Son where you form a direct connection to the Super Consciousness of the Father. Jesus said that the only way to the Father was through him. Jesus represents the sacred heart, and the Father represents higher-consciousness. In order to open up your heart, you first need to forgive others of the past, and then (most importantly) you must learn to forgive yourself. This is the reason the Death knight is approaching the Pope (Father); Death is asking for forgiveness.
Let us take a closer look at the Tudor Rose on the Death knight’s black flag. Do you notice how the rose’s five leaves form an inverted pentagram? This is the exact style of pentagram depicted in the Devil card, which just so happens to be located directly over the Devil’s third eye. This pentagram connection that these two cards share links these two cards with the planet Saturn. The Devil and the Death card both contain positive and negative aspects influenced by the planet’s energy. Furthermore, these card’s pentagrams are identical in style. The boxy style shared by these two pentagrams are formed within the confines of Saturn’s magic square.
The inverted pentagram represents the concept of drawing down desire from the astral plane in order to manifest that particular desire in the material plane; the world of matter. In other words, drawing forth the macrocosm down into the microcosm, thus creating something from nothing. This idea is similar to the Kabbalists’ concept of how the Light enters into a vessel, and how the Light forms matter.
Do you notice the shape of the Pope’s hat, and how it resembles the head of a fish? This is the hat worn by the Babylonian fertility god Dagon, who was depicted as being a half man, half fish. Dagon was one of the 70 sons of the god El, who is associated with Saturn. The number 70 is the numerical value of the Hebrew letter Ayin, meaning eye, to see. Ayin is the letter assigned to the Devil card. 70 also happens to be the gematria value for the Hebrew word Sod, meaning secret. We see now, within this card’s symbols, that the Death knight is asking the Pope for forgiveness in order for the Pope to offer up his blessing, which is to grant the Death knight with the knowledge of the Pope’s secret, which is how to access the portal of Zazel. According to Hermetic teaching, access through this portal to higher dimensions is done by opening the third eye.
The Death knight receives the Pope’s blessing and he receives this uncovered truth. This new truth will crush the knight’s old and limiting beliefs. This new truth will set him free. He has become like the fish. And what happens when you try to hold a fish within your grasp? It immediately slips out of your hands. The Death knight will no longer be controlled by his limiting beliefs and a fixed mindset.
The Pope grants him passage through the two pillars, which are located in the card’s background. The knight crosses over into the world of the unknown, leaving the past he once knew behind him. He continues walking up the path as the sun rises over the horizon, marking the dawning of a new day.
The knight walking into the Sun is symbolic of the Christ returning to the Father, because it portrays the knight returning to the Source of the Light. Metaphorically, this describes how the night dies when the morning Sun rises. From here, the knight will begin a new adventure into a new and unknown territory as a reborn soul.
I will finish this article with a verse from the Book of Exodus, which I believe ties in the message I am attempting to convey.
And God said, “I will be with thee. And this will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God on this mountain.”
Here we have God speaking to Moses (the Tzaddik), and He is promising Moses that they will soon be together as one on Mt. Sinai. Moses was given the Ten Commandments on Sinai in the presence of God, where Moses was able to see God’s back, which caused Mose’s face to glow. When Moses returned back to the Jewish people they saw his face radiating with the Light of the Creator, letting them know that Moses was truly in the presence of the Lord. God uses the phrase ‘I will be with thee’ (כי אהיה עמך) numerous times throughout the Torah, explaining His ever presence. ‘I will be with thee’ (I will be with you) has a gematria value of 181. 181 is significant here, because the number 181 is the sum of the values for the spirit of Jupiter, 136, and the spirit of Saturn, 45, which are both formed within their planetary magic squares (136+45 = 181). Furthermore, when you reduce 181 numerically you get 1+8+1 = 10, and then further reduce the double digit into a single digit, because numerology does not deal with multi-digit numbers, and you end up with 1+0 = 1. Thus, the spirit of Jupiter (the Son) will join as one with the spirit of Saturn (the Father) on December 21, 2020. These two planets will be only .1 degree apart from each other. So close, in fact, they will appear as one bright star.
This ‘great conjunction’ has been coined the term ‘Christmas star.’ This term Christmas star combined as one word forms the word Christmasstar, which can be read as Christ-master, suggesting that Christ is one with the Master aka the Father.
12/21/2020 = 1+2+2+1+2+0+2+0 = 10 = 1+0 = 1
Echad is the Hebrew word for ‘one’, and it has a gematria value of 13; significant here because the Death card is assigned to Roman numeral XIII.
Written by Grant Isaac