The Death card is perhaps the most misunderstood card in the tarot deck. It elicits gasps whenever it shows up, but it’s really not that scary. In fact, depending on the context, it can be one of the most positive cards in the deck.
Upright, The Death card represents letting go of the past and starting something new. It shows that one cycle is ending and another is starting, so it can be considered a card of rebirth and rebuilding.
While this card shouldn’t scare you, it does usually indicate a major shift or change.
When you see The Death card reversed, it means you’re resisting a major change. You might fear what’s coming or feel hesitant to give up the past. Regardless, you’re not moving forward.
The reversed Death card warns that you can’t improve your situation without accepting that parts of your old life are over and it’s time for something new. This card can show you how you’re resisting change and help you think about what you need to do to embrace it and look at things from a new perspective.
The reversed Death card can also serve as a warning that you may be repeating mistakes. Resisting change can make situations stagnate, and you may keep having the same problems over and over again.
This card tells you to take a step back to evaluate your situation and ask if you’re happy with the way things are. It can show you that while familiar patterns are comfortable, you need change to grow as a person.
Reading this card using the “blocked/restricted” reversed meaning
Let’s jump into the ways you can read your reversed Death card. First, you can use the “blocked/restricted” meaning. When you read your cards this way, you’re looking for an obstacle blocking the card’s upright meaning.
For The Death card, this means something is blocking your transformation or ability to let go and embrace change.
Say you pull the reversed Death card when thinking about your romantic relationships. You’ve been single for a long time, but you recently met someone you really like. The two of you are getting closer after casually dating for a while, but you’re hesitant to move to the next level.
Here, the thing that’s blocking you could be your fear of having to change major aspects of your life. Being in an actual relationship means making accommodations.
You might need to make them comfortable in your home by giving up some of your space, or give up more of your free time as you spend more time with them.
Fear of compromising and losing some of your independence and space may be causing you to resist the change.The reversed Death card can serve as a reminder that you’ll never have the close relationship you want unless you give up parts of your old life and start a new one with your potential partner.
Reading this card using the “opposite” reversed meaning
You can also read your reversed Death card using the “opposite” meaning. When you read your cards like this, you’re looking for the opposite of the card’s upright meaning.
For The Death card, this means instead of transformation and letting go, you have stagnation and clinging to the familiar. You know there are other options in front of you, but you’re sticking with what’s comfortable, even if it’s limiting your growth.
For example, say you pull the reversed Death card when thinking about your job. You’ve been in the same job for a while, and it’s comfortable. Still, you’re feeling stuck. There’s not much room for you to progress in your company, and you feel you’ll be working the same 9-5 for the rest of your life.
In the back of your mind, you have other dreams. You want to write a novel or maybe you want to start your own company.
Here, the reversed Death card can prompt you to go for it. If you have the savings, there’s no reason you shouldn’t take a chance to live the life you want.
Yes, it will be a lot of work. You’ll need to start over and do lots of planning, saving, and there will be setbacks. But in the end, at least you’ll know that you tried, and betting on yourself might be the best decision you ever make!
Reading this card using the “worse” reversed meaning
You can also read your reversed Death card using the “worse” meaning. When you read your cards like this, you take the card’s upright meaning and put it in a negative light.
For The Death card, this means you’re letting go, transforming, and making changes, but it’s not working out the way you want it to. Maybe you rushed into things or you haven’t thought them through completely.
It might be time to slow down and hold on to some of the things that are working for you.
Say you pull the reversed Death card when thinking about your growth and development. Maybe you’ve been promoted or recently landed a new job. You’re meeting new people, making more money, and things have been changing quickly.
The freedom and flexibility are great, and you’ve been spending your money on things you could never afford before, but the reversed Death card can serve as a warning here that it’s time to slow down a little. Don’t get carried away with this new lifestyle and neglect what’s important to you.
Have you still been spending time with the friends who have always been there for you? Are you still doing hobbies that enrich you and leave you satisfied?
Here the reversed Death card reminds you that new opportunities are exciting, but make sure you don’t lose yourself along the way.
Reading this card using the “no/not” reversed meaning
You can also read your reversed Death card using the “no/not” meaning. When you read your cards like this, you put “no” or “not” in front of the card’s upright meaning.
For The Death card, this means “no transformation,” or “no significant change.” There may be a change happening in your life, but it’s slow-going and you’ll need to be patient to see the results.
Say you pull the reversed Death card when thinking about your health. You’ve started a new exercise and diet routine to get in shape and feel better. But after a couple of months, you don’t see any difference in your appearance.
Here, the reversed Death card can encourage you to be patient and celebrate small wins. Even though you don’t see a physical change, ask yourself how you feel.
Is it easier to get up in the morning and fall asleep at night? Are you proud of yourself?
Being patient with yourself is a huge part of self-care. A significant change will come if you stick to your plan, even though you might have to make adjustments along the way. Here, the reversed Death card can show you that even when you don’t see a big transformation right away, you’re still moving in the right direction.