Does it not come as a shock to see (13) Death following immediately upon yesterday’s Ace of Cups as if to rob us of life’s blessings before they can be enjoyed? Yet, if we are to live fully in the twelfth week of Trinity, the week of the (12) Hanged Man it is meet and proper that we bring some solar light to bear upon the sudden appearance of (13) Death. Today we are confronted with one of the tougher of the Upper Arcana. But we should also keep in mind that the Upper Arcana deals less with our exoteric and quotidian life and more with the esoteric life of the psyche. What is it, in that context, that kills? Remember, the New Testament text for this week concludes with the statement that
the letter killeth, but the Spirit giveth life.2 Corinthians 3: 6
The “letter” equates to literal-mindedness, such as seeing the Ace of Cups followed by (13) Death as meaning that our blessings are about to be taken from us through death. Literally speaking, of course, it is true that we will certainly have to give up all the blessings and all that we love in this life when we die. And it is true that, as Gary Vee delights in telling us, we are “gonna die!” But what the Upper Arcana calls upon us to do is to become receptive to that “literal truth” through the life-giving spirit that is active NOW by taking upon us the posture of the (12) Hanged Man and to see – with Gary Vee – that it is through (13) Death that life gains its meaning and its beauty and then to “do something about it” by living life in the spirit of the Ace of Cups rather than in the letter of (13) Death.
Here’s Gary Vee hammering home the message to an admirer, who gets it immediately: