Key 13 – Death

The Twenty-fourth Path is the Imaginative Intelligence, and it is so called
because it gives a likeness to all the similitudes which are created in like
manner similar to its harmonious elegancies.

“The Twenty-fourth Path is the Imaginative Intelligence, and it is so called because it gives a likeness to all the similitudes which are created in like manner similar to its harmonious elegancies.” – W. Wynn Westcott, The Sepher Yetzirah.

According to “Book T” – Time, age, transformation, change involuntary (as opposed to 18, Pisces). Or death, destruction (only latter with special cards).

The Imaginative Intelligence is represented in the Tarot Deck by the Trump Card known as “Death.” This path leads from Netzach, a state of development characterized by abstract though, material love, material sensuality and theocentric devotion to Tiphareth where bliss is characterized by detachment. Individuals who are dominant in the emotional world would rather die than give up their attachments. However, in order to grow an individual must let go of their attachments. To the emotionally centered person, this is Death.

In the 8 Circuit Model of Consciousness developed by Timothy Leary, the Fourth Circuit, the Socio-Sexual Circuit is analogous to the stage of development represented by Netzach. Leary postulated that the Fourth Circuit was triggered by a neurotransmitter called “oxytocin.” Oxytocin is an interesting little guy. It is the chemical of emotional attachment, and it is unique to mammals. It floods through mothers during childbirth, triggering mother-child bonding. It is also triggered by the high levels of seratonin present when two people are “in love.” This little chemical is responsible for our family ties and our social circles. The Fourth Circuit is also about religious devotion. Religion is another one of our social behaviors that binds communities together. If you think about coming of age rituals like batmitvahs, confirmations and dozens of other ceremonial bindings, they occur during adolescence – the time when the Fourth Circuit is imprinted.

When you consider the social binding power of oxytocin, think back to your first crush or your first love and feel that euphoric high. Now remember your first breakup — that devastating, soul-wrenching experience. People kill themselves or other people during breakups. The ripping pain is the root of violent divorces, powerful fatal attractions and operatic suicides. That pain is the power of the Death Card. Think of the pathos with which battered spouses defend their partners. That is the power of oxytocin.

If we take Leary’s cue and then apply that little neurochemical to religion then a big light is shone on the strength with which people defend their religious devotions. If anyone has ever experienced a “falling away” from the religion in which you were brought up, you will recall the numbing loss, depression and bewilderment of spiritual crisis.

So, after all that operatic pathos, why would the Adepts refer to this path as the Imaginative Intelligence? Because Imagination is how you create things. Create an image with the power of your heart, represented by Tiphareth, and fuse it with all the power of desire and emotional devotion from Netzach and you will create what you want.

Before you can do this, however, you must learn how to detach. You must experience the emotional patterns of letting go.

This is the lesson of Death.

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