Alchemical Study Group - XIII Death


(from the book)

"Grind it earnestly until it be possessed with death of the intensity of blackness like dust."
--Rosarium Philosophorum (pg. 45)

Death, as a skeleton, stands chained to the alchemical vessel, which has been blackened in the furnace. At the center is a well-formed nigredo, which is also represented by the raven on the shoulder. Morgana, the Celtic goddess of death, is accompanied by a raven. The skeleton's bow and arrow are medieval symbols of death. in medieval pictures. The image is inspired by plate 9 in Philosophia Reformata, by Mylius, 1622.

Death is always the number thirteen in all Tarots. This is the number of lunar months, and lunar deities rule death.

The alchemical process of Death is putrefaction, which has no modern chemical counterpart because, unlike the alchemist, we no longer believe that chemicals are alive. In putrefaction, the composite material is dissolved (putrefied) in heated moisture. One method to accomplish this is to grind up the matter, moisten it and place it in a humid oven. The celestial essence will then separate from its elementary composition. Literally, the matter rots and stinks.

Tarot wisdom: After we have gone through the fall on the Wheel of Fortune and have finished our suspension as the Hanged Man, we are ready for a new beginning. But death is necessary in order to have a new beginning. We must allow the old to pass away so that we can usher in the new. Initiation into mysteries involved death of one's old self. We see this necessary death also in the myth of moon god, who dies every lunar cycle in the new moon and is reborn again. This death and rebirth is the essential theme of the alchemical process. We go through many deaths in life, every time a phase or cycle comes to an end. Jobs, relationships, health, wealth, spiritual growth--all involve endings and beginnings. The trick of keeping steady on the path is knowing when it is time to let go, and allowing Death to claim it. Mourn and give what is passing its due, but don't linger in the grief. Something new and better is rising on the horizon.


Black Sun

Here is Plate 9 Putrefaction by Johann Daniel Mylius, [Philosophia Reformata (1622) ]


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Can someone name the 13 lunar deities? Thanks