Card no. XIII: The Nameless Arcanum

Written by Mary

This card bears the symbolic number XIII, and on it is depicted a skeleton holding a scythe. People are too quick to interpret this as representing death, but it is not the case. The Nameless Arcanum is more a sign of upheaval, new things, the destruction of a past state, and moving on to something else.

It represents radical change. It is not necessarily a negative card. When found with the Fool, it means that the consultant will find the strength to make all their hopes come true. The Nameless Arcanum can also evoke a person's transformation; someone brutally finding their way and changing, to follow the path that they have chosen for themselves.

The radical change that this card evokes can be either voluntary or forced. Of course, death can be a part of these changes, but it is not the only meaning of this card. Above all else, it symbolises the end of something, of a state of being.

Drawn face up

The Nameless Arcanum drawn upright signifies violent change; the end of one state in order to pass onto another, one that's more serene, and full of hope. Something will die and been born again in another way, in a new form. This passing, this loss, is painful but necessary to move forward. It could be the end of emotional ties, dreams, plans. This card can signify the start of a new life, a new emotional situation, a new job...

Its meanings: rebirth, death, transformation, rupture, change

Drawn upside-down

The Nameless Arcanum drawn upside-down is negative. The consultant will have trouble accepting the violent changes in store. They are unhappy in their current lives, and consumed with worry. They are stuck in a tunnel, and won't react as they should to the troubles that they encounter. They will let themselves go. This card can announce death.

Its meanings: sadness, failure, depression, grief, discouragement


Whilst being a symbol of great renewal, this card can also be a sign of suffering.

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