In bardic terms, trump XIII is N, consonant of negation and newness (clearing the board in order to create a new pattern, so to speak), which is nion the ash, wood of handles (that whereby man grasps nature, wiping clean what it would have and replacing it with what man would have, as in the Aesop's fable concerning the forest offering man the ash from which he makes the axe-handle that spells the forest's doom). So trump XIII would be the equivalent of the "I am not this, I am not that" (Yoga) meditation whereby one disconnects with all the conventional self-definitions.Melanchollic said:The Hermit seeks to know the mysteries of life, and Death has the answer. Through Death can we know wisdom. The Fool represents the 'divine folly', the freedom from all conventions that great illumination brings.
LeMat, in bardic terms, is the no-thing or space which separates people or objects and is H, or huath the hawthorn (a hedge), whose term in the (probably Orphic) hymn Hercules on the Lotus (reconstructed by Graves from the Boibel Loth names of the ogham letters) is 'I, the Benignant One' or 'Guardian of Boundaries'. It is what keeps one person from experiencing karma meant for another (though it does not of course prevent our feeling sympathy for other).
Certainly death is a goad, but it seems to me a deeper wisdom is to see each life as a bead on a long string of lives eventually culminating in enlightenment, else all would seem futile n'est ce pas?The uncertainty of death makes each moment precious, and therefore beautiful. It frees us from procrastination, the illusion that we have an infinite amount of time, that we can put off living until some future time. This is one possible way to see Death as Wisdom.
One should make clear distinction between death of the 'self' (which you rightly put in single quotes) and the denial of the existence of any individual self whatsoever (hence of responsibility), which is prominent in Eastern philosophy (and some Western mysticism) and even ascribed by the Theravada Buddhists to Gautama himself, thus distorting his anatta doctrine (futility of seeking self amongst the 5 skandas). It is definitely the ego, the false I, not the actual self, that alchemy seeks to 'kill', this in order that it cease to cloud one's view of the real or divine self beyond (when looking towards the inner horizon, that is, not the outer).There is also the 'allegorical' Death spoken of in many spiritual traditions. It is the death of the 'self' that enables us to be reborn on a higher spiritual level. This death appears often in alchemical engravings.