To be able to die, The Fool must wake up and see his real situation. This wakefulness initially occurs in some flashes and for a few short seconds, can expand and start appearing more frequently for more extended periods of time. This way the blurry and spotty picture of himself, that The Fool sees becomes more stable and more precise. At this point when The Fool managed to see and know himself relatively clearly, he sees within himself many things that horrify him. When The Fool discovers those horrifying things and realizes that he’s a Fool, he decides to remove all the terrible things that exist within him, that makes him a Fool.
After many attempts and efforts, The Fool will realize that he’s powerless to change anything and everything remains exactly the same as before. If The Fool honest with himself, he will understand how powerless he is and will realize the extent of his nothingness. This realization of his nothingness will eventually create the understanding and the courage required to “die.” When I talk about the death of The Fool, I talk about the death of his “false ego,” “false self.” Those are the same unnecessary aspects which exist within him and hinder his growth and spiritual development. Those are exactly the same aspects which cast the “golden calf” when “Moses” was absent. Those aspects must die to create conditions in which a real self can be born.
But this is not simple at all. How can such hindering aspects be defeated? Does The Fool have the power and the tools to defeat those titans which grew stronger and stronger for his entire life?
Well, by starting to see himself, The Fool already managed to weaken those aspects, and with the help of the tools and his efforts which he learns about at every phase of his journey that is represented by the various cards, he will eventually be able to die and be born again.
The awakening Fool’s word:
“Sometimes I understand how absent I am! And I feel the barrier between myself and the world. In those rare instances, it is clear to me that everything is a dream. But I cannot hold onto this understanding, for it is too abstract. It evades me the moment I try to focus on it, to grasp it.
I’m doing everything to not awaken from the dream which lasts for my entire life. Although most of the time it’s a nightmare, I prefer to remain in that nightmare than to wake up. I perceive the awakening as death, death to that dream/nightmare, which is my life. In those moments a desire for awakening momentarily breaks out. But the moment passes, and is replaced by self-pity.”
“It’s been a few months since the sharp and cruel honesty managed to somewhat sneak in, someone breaks into my swinging consciousness. It was accepted fully without any doubts or denials. Cast itself on the bright side of my consciousness, perhaps even created the clarity itself when it broke in. By placing facts while using images, it left all the defense mechanisms unresponsive, petrified, frozen in their place, utterly useless. I had to absorb the painful yet blessed blow. I had to agree with it and admit that I’m trudging along in the same place for so many years.
So narrow and dense is that place, that at that moment it was impossible for me to understand, how for so many years I was able to delude myself that I’m taking big leaps across open spaces while turning over and over again around my own axis. It brought me a map or perhaps revealed a hidden map I had all along, which focused my place and recommended a preferred direction and destination. I used this unforgettable map only upon honesty’s next visit.
It was a defensive mechanism, which recovered, shook off its stagnation and put itself into gears. The sophisticated, cunning, well-oiled machine worked its way and landed the blow. So I found myself walking treading along the same place for another year.
The map instructed me to act, give up my favorite whims that settled in every corner of my unknowing psyche. And although I saw and recognized myself clear on that map and could not disagree with it, the act of giving up was too difficult, nearly impossible and the change was terrifying.
The comfort that formed and grew within the form, the inability to do and the fear of changes were used as a fine fuel for the machine. It creaked at first, trying to overcome the new enemy, then abruptly changed direction and adopted a new approach. A sweeping agreement! “We must indeed act by the map’s recommendations, but… Is it not sheer recklessness? It’s better to try again on my own!”
When the words “my own” faded into the void, my identification with that defense mechanism, was “perfect.” Its act was a success, it managed to overcome the danger and left behind it only ruin. The disappearance was fast and complete, a few second before darkness, I could see a few more machines starting to work, more noisy cogs, creating more sleep dust, darkness, and ignorance.
Another year, in the same dark, narrow place, full of dreams… But this time, it was something different, something new. There was a shred of honesty left, and it would not stop reappearing, again and again, stubborn, irksome and growing. The defense mechanism managed this time to silence it and keep it in a restricted space, but it would not cease reappearing. Every time it would appear, it would remind me of the narrow place I was in, reminding me of the map and forcefully pushing towards the exit, toward salvation.
Did honesty broke my defense systems again after a year, or was it the same shred of original honesty that managed to grow and overcome all the mechanism? The result was the same, I looked again and saw myself naked, the masks fell off again and I realized that I didn’t move even a step from my original place. This time the shock was harder than the last, and this time I knew a change must take place. The multiple defense mechanisms understood as well that this time they cannot stop me. They accepted their defeat with a submission but secretly began hatching a new plot. So when I accepted the fact that I am too weak and too ignorant, the search for help has begun..”
The card displays a character that represents Death. The false “self” is defeated and dead, and all of its demons are defeated along with it: the self-deception, the imaginary picture, the identification, the false suffering and so on… On the left side of the card, we see a baby which hints the birth that comes after death. As I already mentioned, the process of death began when The Fool reached “The Lovers,” the “Justice” and “The Tower” cards. Already at this stage, The Fool must give up his old life form to continue advancing. He must sacrifice his old life form, for something new that will help him develop and leave the cave.
The Indian god of justice, “Yama,” also represents death, the guardian of the “Dharma” or the cosmic rules- the fate. Even when he represents “Justice,” he represents the beginning of dying of the life before the awakening. In the “Death” card The Fool reaches the end of the second level, and from this point, he will only advance on the third level.
Make use of death: We cannot talk about the “Death” card without referring to physical death. We can use it as an auxiliary tool in our spiritual work.
“Execute every act of thy life as though it were thy last”
This is not an easy approach, but if we try it and treat every moment like it’s our last, we can make use of “death” and create within ourselves the proper conditions for awakening.
The Moon symbolizes the final phase before The Fool’s death. The Fool is already outside of the cave, and in The Star card he was already exposed to the light of the stars as reflected in the pool and later to the light of the stars themselves. Now he’s also exposed to moonlight, which is a more powerful light, but it’s still not the light of the Sun.
The Fool is already awake, but there are still some forces that hinder him and prevent him from dying and being reborn. He’s still affected by those forces that hold him tightly, which originate in the cave which he left behind. He must overcome his fears and the many concerns arising from the same factors we talked about: the false ego, the lies, the imagination, and so forth.
The two wolves or dogs represent those hindering forces. One of them is that same dog which is familiar to us from “The Fool” card that symbolizes those difficulties, the friction and the suffering which The Fool tried to escape. He was always by The Fool’s side, and “The Moon” card is the last stage he can reach. The next stage The Fool must take alone. The second dog represents The Fool’s false self which at this stage is separated from him but still affects him. Behind The Fool, we can see the pool which we have already seen in “The Star” card from which a scarab emerges. The scarab hinting at the possibility of a new life, death, and birth, arising from work with emotions (water), the transformation of the emotions into a more delicate form of energy, from which the real self will be created.
The two towers symbolize the boundaries. The Fool must cross them in order to die and be born again. In other words, this is the real and final departure from the prison to freedom. As long as The Fool located within the boundaries symbolized by the towers, he’s still affected and ruled by The Moon.
According to some sources, the Moon controls all organic life on earth. It is the Moon which makes the most planetary influence on organic life, and it is in charge of how things run. The Moon is fed by the organic life which gets absorbed into it after death. In order to break free from moon’s grasp, The Fool must wake up, die and be born again. This way, he will pave his path and will be free from the Moon’s influence in his life and in his death.