Watercolor: Scorpion Suicide


TW for philosphising about self-harm:

This image was inspired by this paragraph from Book Of Thoth (Crowley’s book of Tarot interpretation, based around the Thoth deck). It’s on the section regarding the Death card, which is generally associated with transformation in far broader senses than simply dying:

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.

I tied this particular passage with cutting, or at least my frequent motivations for it. I’ve read a lot of things about people cutting themselves “to be able to feel”. For me, it’s always been more when I’ve been feeling a hell of a lot, often about a situation which, at least in the immediate, is beyond my control, or in which common sense solutions would only create worse repercussions. (In childhood, this is done by parents and teachers. In adulthood, this is done by bureaucracies and various social prejudices.) Seeking release through cutting, I suppose in a base sense, could be an attempt to create the sort of breakdown followed by a reconstruction–a literal coagulation no less.

Or maybe this bloodletting/performance rant by the artist Rev. Steven Leyba can put into Trigger Warning-laden images what I’m thinking of this – it seems to move almost from release to an attempted exorcism of All That Disgusts:

Now nothing I’m obsessing over should be taken as a complete interpretation of all the complexities of the Death card and more than it should be taken as a realistic description of the natural habits of scorpions. I don’t want any serious occultists going apoplectic, and even more, I don’t want any armchair occultists going into pissing contests of one-upmanship over how much more arcane knowledge they have on such things than me, or the next one, or the next one. Nobody wants that, it’s both irritating yet dull as fuck.

To read the actual interpretation of the Death card from Book of Thoth, click here:



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