(Little) Death


According to the Oxford English Dictionary “La petite mort” (French for “the little death”) is an expression which means “the brief loss or weakening of consciousness” and in modern usage refers specifically to “the sensation of orgasm as likened to death”.
More widely, it can refer to the spiritual release that comes with orgasm or to a short period of melancholy or transcendence as a result of the expenditure of the “life force”. So, “little death” is a metaphor for a sexual orgasm. Scorpio – and Pluto – is all about transformation by (sexual) revelation. I was always convinced that the Tarot card Death it’s a symbolical reference to “the little death” and not to the physical departure from this world.

Scorpio is the eighth sign of the zodiac, and that shouldn’t be taken lightly – nor should Scorpios! Those born under this sign are dead serious in their mission to learn about others. There’s no fluff or chatter for Scorpios, either; these folks will zero in on the essential questions, gleaning the secrets that lie within. Scorpios concern themselves with beginnings and endings, and are unafraid of either; they also travel in a world that is black and white and has little use for gray. The curiosity of Scorpios is immeasurable, which may be why they are such adept investigators. These folks love to probe and know how to get to the bottom of things. The fact that they have a keen sense of intuition certainly helps.
The Scorpion symbolizes Scorpio, and that is no accident. Much like the Scorpion would rather kill itself than be killed, those born under this sign are in ultimate control of their destiny. It is life on the Scorpion’s terms, too, since these folks promote their agenda (they are quite the executives) and see to it that things go forward. Others may find this overbearing (it can be) and even self-destructive, but that’s the beauty of the Scorpio: they have tremendous regenerative powers, much like the literal Scorpion can lose its tail and promptly grow a new one. Fearless Scorpios rarely lose; they just keep on going, since they are stubborn and determined to succeed (this Scorpio trait is in keeping with the Fixed Quality assigned to this sign). Scorpios work as hard as they do so they can someday sit back and feel satisfied with themselves. These folks are intense, passionate and filled with desire. They’re also complex and secretive, so don’t expect to get much out of them, lest they become suspicious and exit stage left. It’s best not to bet against Scorpios, either, since these folks are surprisingly resourceful.
Scorpio is ruled by Pluto. When Pluto was discovered in the 20th century, it was also assigned to this sign. Pluto was known as the God of the Underworld in ancient Roman times, so when coupled with Mars, expect some intense energy to head toward Scorpions here on Earth. This planetary combo makes for people who are motivated, penetrating and aware. Scorpions don’t miss much, since they are highly attuned to the vibrations of others. They are intuitive, probing and very focused on knowing who’s who and what’s what. Scorpios can lose their temper (and even become vengeful) when someone gets in their way, so it’s best to give them plenty of room. Remember, they’re unafraid, and a loss today simply means an opportunity for victory tomorrow.
The Element associated with Scorpio is Water. As opposed to the ‘roiling seas’ seen in other Water Signs, a better motto for Scorpios would be ‘still waters run deep.’ Those born under this sign are as emotional as their waterborne brethren, it’s just that they’re not as likely to show it. The Scorpio’s emotions are repressed, kept under cover. Again, these are secrets to be used another day. That said, be aware that these folks are clever, perceptive and always in the mix. Their ability to see into things can sometimes be a curse for Scorpios, however, since they can take an insignificant matter and turn it into a huge slight. Beware the Scorpio who feels crossed! These folks can turn vindictive in no time flat. Luckily, once Scorpios catch their breath, they will return to their usual determined and loyal (albeit strong-willed) ways. Finally, while Scorpios aren’t above some subtle manipulation to get what they want, they’d much rather take a scientific, even mystical path. The Scorpio-born are powerful and passionate, qualities that serve them well, as long as they don’t let them deteriorate into self-indulgence or compulsion.
Scorpios love competition in both work and play, which is why they’ll air it out in sports and games. Extreme sports are right up Scorpio’s alley, as is most anything that will test their mettle. They’ve got to have an adversary, since it makes the game that much more fun. Scorpio’s colors? Powerful red and serious black. When it comes to love, though, Scorpios soften up a bit and are caring and devoted with their lovers, even if they do hold on a bit tight. Scorpios are also lusty in the extreme (how else?), so they need to be mindful of their reproductive organs.
The great strength of the Scorpio-born is in their determination, passion and motivation. Scorpios don’t know the word quit, which is why they usually get the job done. A powerhouse? Like no other. (Source: astrology.com)

Scorpio, The Eagle. The nose is the most prominent feature of the Scorpio; it is large, heave, and hooked, resembling the bill of the eagle, the brows are bushy, the eyes sharp and piercing; the jaw is very heavy; the glint of the eye, and the set of the jaw indicate the great determination which is the most prominent characteristic of the Scorpio. The face is angular, complexion murky, and hair dark, with a peculiar ruddy tinge noticeable when the sun shines on it. The teeth are large and subject to early decay. The body is short and thickest, with a short, thick neck resembling that of the opposite sign, Taurus.
Scorpio people always stand up for their rights, and never submit to imposition, through prone to ride roughshod over others. They are full of worries over things that may happen, but never do, and thus make life a burden to those around them. Sarcasm that stings like a scorpion is ever upon the tip of their tongue, yet their love is strong, and their aspirations lofty. Thus there are two natures struggling in the Scorpios and they need much sympathy and forbearance from their friends. In the hour of danger they never flinch, but perform deeds of heroism with a disregard for self that amounts to foolhardiness. The mind is sharp, cool and collected, therefore Scorpio men make good army officers and excel in surgery. The Scorpio woman has a large family.
The Sun in Scorpio accentuates the good traits, and gives a love mysticism; but Mars, the ruler, brings out the worldly side of the sign and makes scoffers and skeptics. (Source: rosicrucian.com)

As the outermost planet in our solar system, Pluto is also the farthest from the Sun. It has only recently been discovered, having come to light (albeit a dim one) in 1930.
Pluto’s energy may be subtle, but its results will hit you like a ton of bricks. This planet is about transformation, regeneration and rebirth. Things aren’t pretty with Pluto, but they do get done. Pluto says ‘out with the old and in with the new,’ and we’d better be ready for it. If we’re not, this planet will simply have us wallow in our misery. Pluto asks us to transcend that which we know, redeem ourselves in the process, and come out stronger as a result.
For all that Pluto (re)creates (it also governs the reproductive system), it loves to destroy. This planet rules destruction, death, obsession, kidnapping, coercion, viruses and waste. That’s definitely not pretty. Pluto also governs crime and the underworld, along with many forms of subversive activity (terrorism, dictatorships). This planet is about all that is secret and undercover, that which is hidden from view. Is this the story of good vs. evil? Yes.
No one will deny Pluto’s power (it rules atomic power, too) and intensity. This planet’s energy is often focused on the masses and what the collective will do. Pluto beseeches the masses to look inward (and to their subconscious) to see what’s there. It may be scary, but Pluto doesn’t care. This planet knows how to push buttons.
It takes Pluto approximately 248 years to complete its orbit around the zodiac. Due to the eccentricity of its orbit, it takes this planet between 12 and 31 years to pass through a sign. It rules Scorpio and the Eighth House. Pluto is the last of the transcendental planets and is the higher octave of Mars. (Source: astrology.com)

8th House, House of Reincarnation (Death). Cycles of Deaths And Rebirth. Sexual relationships and deeply committed relationships of all kinds. Joint funds, finances. Other person’s resource. Occult, psychic and taboo matters. Regeneration. Self-transformation.
Eighth House is about Death, legacies, the marriage partner’s finances, occult abilities and faculties latent but nearly ready for manifestation.

The Destroyer (Outlaw) embodies repressed rage about structures that no longer serve life even when these structures still are supported by society or by our conscious choices. Although this archetype can be ruthless, it weeds the garden in ways that allow for new growth. The Destroyer is a paradoxical character whose destructiveness reflects the death drive and an inner fear of annihilation. Their quest is to change, to let go of their anger or whatever force drives them and return tobalance, finding the life drive that will sustain them. Living on the cusp of life and death, they are often surprisingly humble. (Source: uiltexas.org)

The number 5 – Pluto, Active/Emotional (Water)
Positive traits:
– Regeneration, spiritual, passionate, resourceful, expansiveness, new and visionary ideas, observant, versatile and ever-changing, catalyst for changes, dynamic, curious and exploring, promoting, resourceful in using freedom constructively.
Negative traits:
– Restless, discontent, vague, jealous, obsessive, suspicious, dissatisfaction, keeping secrets, lacking in application, manipulative, unyielding, arguments enjoined with silence or sarcasm.

Crowley: Death XIII (Num – 13, Scorpio). This card is attributed to the letter Nun, which means a fish; the symbol of life beneath the waters; life travelling through the waters. It refers to the Zodiacal sign of Scorpio, which is ruled by Mars, the planet of fiery energy in its lowest form, which is therefore necessary to provide the impulse. In alchemy, this card explains the idea of putrefaction, the technical name given by its adepts to the series of chemical changes which develops the final form of life from the original latent seed in the Orphic egg.
This sign is one of the two most powerful in the Zodiac, but it has not the simplicity and intensity of Leo. It is formally divided into three parts; the lowest is symbolized by the Scorpion, which was supposed by early observers of Nature to commit suicide when finding itself ringed with fire, or otherwise in a desperate situation. This represents putrefaction in its lowest form. The strain of environment has become intolerable, and the attacked element willingly subjects itself to change; thus, potassium thrown upon water becomes ignited, and accepts the embrace of the hydroxyl radicle.
The middle interpretation of this sign is given by the serpent, who is, moreover, the main theme of the sign. The serpent is sacred, Lord of Life and Death, and its method of progression suggests the rhythmical undulation of those twin phases of life which we Call respectively life and death. The serpent is also, as previously explained, the principal symbol of male energy. From this it will be seen that this card is, in a very strict sense, the completion of the card called Lust, Atu XI, and Atu XII represents the solution or dissolution which links them.
The highest aspect of the card is the Eagle, which represents exaltation above solid matter. It was understood by the early chemists that, in certain experiments, the purest (i.e., most tenuous) elements present were given off as gas or vapour. There are thus represented in this card the three essential types of putrefaction.
The card itself represents the dance of death; the figure is a skeleton bearing a scythe, and both the skeleton and the scythe are importantly Saturnian symbols. This appears strange, as Saturn has no overt connection with Scorpio; but Saturn represents the essential structure of existing things. He is that elemental nature of things which is not destroyed by the ordinary changes which occur in the operations of Nature. Furthermore, he is crowned with the crown of Osiris; he represents Osiris in the waters of Amennti. Yet more, he is the original secret male creative God: see Atu XV. “Redeunt Saturnia regna.” It was only the corruption of the Tradition, the confusion with Set, and the Cult of the Dying God, misunderstood, deformed and distorted by the Black Lodge, that turned him into a senile and fiendish symbol.
With the sweep of his scythe he creates bubbles in which are beginning to take shape the new forms which he creates in his dance; and these forms dance also.
In this card the symbol of the fish is paramount; the fish (Il pesce, as they call him in Naples and many other places) and the serpent are the two principal objects of worship in cults which taught the doctrines of resurrection or reincarnation. Thus we have Oannes and Dagon, fish gods, in western Asia; in many other parts of the world are similar cults. Even in Christianity, Christ was represented as a fish. The Greek work IXThUS, “which means fish And very aptly symbolizes Christ”, as Browning reminds one, was supposed to be a notariqon, the initials of a sentence meaning “Jesus Christ Son of God, Saviour”. Nor is it an accident that St. Peter was a fisherman. The Gospels, too, are full of miracles involving fish, and the fish is sacred to Mercury, because of its coldbloodedness, its swiftness and its brilliance. There is moreover the sexual symbolism. This again recalls the function of Mercury as the guide of the dead, and as the continuing elastic element in nature.
This card must then be considered as of greater importance and catholicity than would be expected from the plain Zodiacal attribution. It is even a compendium of universal energy in its most secret form.

Waite: Death XIII (13). The veil or mask of life is perpetuated in change, transformation and passage from lower to higher, and this is more fitly represented in the rectified Tarot by one of the apocalyptic visions than by the crude notion of the reaping skeleton. Behind it lies the whole world of ascent in the spirit. The mysterious horseman moves slowly, bearing a black banner emblazoned with the Mystic Rose, which signifies life. Between two pillars on the verge of the horizon there shines the sun of immortality. The horseman carries no visible weapon, but king and child and maiden fall before him, while a prelate with clasped hands awaits his end.
There should be no need to point out that the suggestion of death which I have made in connection with the previous card is, of course, to be understood mystically, but this is not the case in the present instance. The natural transit of man to the next stage of his being either is or may be one form of his progress, but the exotic and almost unknown entrance, while still in this life, into the state of mystical death is a change in the form of consciousness and the passage into a state to which ordinary death is neither the path nor gate. The existing occult explanations of the 13th card are, on the whole, better than usual, rebirth, creation, destination, renewal, and the rest.

Eliphas Lévi: XIII (13) Death – La Mort. An effort must now be made to learn the truth concerning the greatest and most consoling, yet also the most formidable of the Minor Arcana − concerning Death. Now, in truth, Death is but a phantom of your ignorance and fear. Death has no existence in the Sanctum Regnum of existence. A change, however awful, demonstrates movement, and movement is life; those only who have attempted to check the disrobing of the spirit have tried to create a real death. We all are dying and being renewed every day, because every day our bodies have changed to some extent. Be troubled lest you soil and tear your bodily raiment, your coat of skin, but fear not to leave it aside when the time has come for a period of repose from the work of this world.
Leave not your material garment for ever, until the time for your departure has come; that is, destroy not your own life, for it may be that you would awake to find yourself naked, chill, and ashamed: it may be too that such a corpse feels its own necropsy. Do not attempt to preserve the bodies of the dead, let nature do her work at once; let there be no worship of a dead body, for it represents but the ragged old clothes of a life.
Do not grieve for the beloved dead, for they are even more alive than you. If you regret the loss of their affection and support, you may still love their memory, and waft messages to them, and perchance may receive an answer; for by the aid of the Keys of Solomon the barriers of the thither world, the plane of disembodied beings, and even of the heaven, may be raised for a moment.
Understand well that the life−current of the progress of souls is regulated by a law of development, which carries the individual ever upward, and there is no tendency to a natural fall. Souls shall only fall who elect to descend and choose the evil rather than the good. The material plane on which you live is a prison to you, and if souls fall and come back to it, they become again imprisoned.
If you desire to communicate with those who have passed on, you must.
But be warned in time against many deceptions, for your fancied souls in heaven may be but phantoms of the air; elementaries, shadows of humanity energised by elemental beings; mere senseless astral forms, and of no more value than the mirage of dreams.
Necromancy, and Goetia, which is Evil Magic, do produce such shells and demons, apparitions of deceit. If, however, you are an adept of the True White Higher school, you will at all times condemn and challenge the practice of such fatal science.
The only possible mode of communion with souls of a higher sphere, who have passed beyond the terrestrial aura by reason of the change called Death, is by dream or ecstasy; but on waking to common consciousness there will be no recollection present in the mind of what has passed, because, owing to the change of plane, each idea necessarily suffers a change of form − a recurrence of the dream, or a return to the ecstasy, recalls what has gone before.
It is a curious fact that most persons fail to remember anything of good and happy dreams, even althought they do often recall dreams of sin and folly and absurdity; the reason being that these latter are more closely, and good ideals are less closely, related to our very materially minded lives on earth.
Now if the purely minded adept and pupil of the Higher Magic does seriously aspire to communion with a soul on the plane above him, the true way is as follows.
But again you must take warning that unless the aspirant is pure, and the strong with health, and wise in procedure, there will be grave risk of disordering the mind, or of catalepsy, or even of death.
Every puerile and commonplace thought must be banished from the mind, for if this be not done, and if a ceremony of such awful solemnity be entered upon lightly, frivolously, or from a vain curiosity, there will come a moment when the dread “King of Earth” will appear and punish. The mind and emotions must then be raised to a pitch of sublime exaltation proceeding from a pure and disinterested love. Bring to remembrance all the sweet sayings of the departed one, formuate her aims and good efforts, collect around you all that belonged to her and reminds you of her face, form, and personality. Observe the dates of her birth and death (and of any special events which have drawn you two together); choose such a day. Prepare for this date by daily retiring to a quiet room, if possible where she has lived, or where she has been, and pass an hour there in darkness, or at least with the eyes shut, pondering over her words and ideas, conversing in imagination with her as listening to her conceived answers. When the day comes near you must for seven days, and should for even fourteen days, abstain rigorously from useless communications with other persons, from follies, from demonstrations of affection to all others, and from every form of physical and mental excess; take but one meal a day, and drink no stimulant nor narcotic liquids.
When the fateful day has come, take a portrait of the beloved one, a sun picture is the best (photograph), or if a painting, it should be one executed with the greatest care and detail. With great care and delicacy prepare the room and the collected objects which have belonged to the deceased, make them all spotlessly clean, and give especial care to the portrait; place it in a good position, and decorate the frame with the flowers she loved. During the day you should pass several hours in the chamber alone, seated in contemplation of the portrait and the ideas and reminiscences of the dead friend.
When the even has come you must bathe, and clothe yourself in clean linen, and put on a white mantle. Enter the sacred chamber, fasten the door and perform the Conjuration of the Four Elements. Upon a chafing−dish you then burn wood of the laurel, with aloes and incense. There must be no other light in the room. When the wood and incense have burned down and the fire is at the point of extinction, then in a deep and solemn voice call three times in succession upon the name of the beloved dead one. This you must do with all your force of heart and of spirit, with intense will power; close the eyes, cover them with the hands, sink on your knees and pray.
Then at last, after a solemn pause, call softly and with sweet voice the name of the loved one three times; and open your eyes, and see…….


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