The Death tarot card scares people. It’s the card that elicits the most gasps and cringes when it comes up in a reading. But the Death card is one of the most misunderstood cards in the deck.
Traditionally, this card shows a skeleton on top of a horse, wearing armor and holding a flag. A religious man is appealing to Death and the dead and sick lay on the ground in front of him.
Despite the imagery, this card rarely has anything to do with actual, physical death. Instead, it’s a card of rebirth. It’s about change and letting go of the past to move on to something better.
Like the mythical Phoenix rising from the ashes, the Death card indicates one cycle is ending and another is beginning. There is a major transition happening where you must leave your old life and start something new.
In The Fool’s journey through the Major Arcana, this card follows the sacrifice and acceptance of The Hanged Man and represents what happens after that sacrifice. Once you let go of what you can’t control, you will be reborn into a place of clarity, acceptance, and action.
Keywords for the Death Tarot Card
- Transformative rebirth, like the Phoenix
- Final endings, involuntary change
- The end of one cycle and beginning of the next
- Letting go and moving on
Keywords for the Death Card Reversed
- Lethargy, sleep, inertia
- Refusal to accept change
- Hope destroyed
Patterns and Correspondences of the Death Card
- Major Arcana = the lessons along your life’s journey
- Number 13 = an “unlucky” number, as in Friday the 13th
- Zodiac sign = Scorpio
Keep reading for sample tarot readings using The Death card, but first…
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The Death Tarot Card Meanings for Love
If you’re looking for new love, you must be absolutely, completely, and totally over the relationships you’ve had in the past.
You must move on. Your next relationship will be radically different from anything you’ve experienced before, so quit carrying old baggage. It’s too burdensome and you won’t need it anymore.
You must transform your beliefs, habits, and patterns to allow something new to enter your life.
The Death card is a card of final endings, so if you are worried about the state of your current relationship, this doesn’t bode well.
You must give up the past, which includes your dreams, expectations, and ideas of what the “perfect” relationship looks like, before you can find the love you’re meant to have.
The Death Tarot Card Meanings for Work
The Death card indicates involuntary changes and major transformations. Be prepared for the worst, but expect the best eventual outcome.
This is actually a positive card, so even if things are dire (you get fired, or lose the promotion, or screw up somehow), it really is for the best. Things will work out, although probably not the way you want or expect.
Let go of what isn’t serving you and your dreams, and allow for new growth in your life. You must let this situation end completely before you will be able to move on to something better.
The Death Tarot Card Meanings for Health
Does the Death card sometimes indicate physical death? Yes, sometimes. Rarely. Almost never. It’s not even worth worrying about.
Because people die. It’s what we do. We don’t like to think about it, talk about it, or even acknowledge it. But it is one of the few guarantees in life.
What really matters, though, is how you live, and that’s the ultimate message of the Death card.
You get a second chance with every new minute of every day. Don’t burden yourself with the baggage of your past. Start fresh by putting all of your past where it belongs – behind you. Use this time in your life for regeneration and rebirth.
Let go of what doesn’t serve you, such as guilt, body shame, and Doritos. Focus instead on your transformation. You are the alchemist of your life and the only one in control of the outcome.
The Death Tarot Card Meanings for Money and Finances
There is a big change coming. BIG. And you’re probably not prepared for it.
Instead of taking a big risk right now, put your financial foundation in order. Are you debt-free with enough savings to live off of for the next 6 months? Work toward that goal, not some pie-in-the-sky possibility. With that kind of financial security underneath you, you’ll be able to handle almost everything thrown your way, including once-in-a-lifetime opportunities and investments.
If you’ve made big financial mistakes in the past, move on with acceptance and integrity. You can transform your relationship with money by taking control today.
The Death Tarot Card Meanings for Spiritual Guidance
You must give up the past and your guilt, shame, and regrets, before you can move on. Fully embrace yourself – all the good and all the bad – to allow room for new spiritual growth.
Spiritually, we are all seeking wholeness and belonging. We want to find our place in the world.
The Death tarot card isn’t the end of the world. It’s our wake-up call to fully embrace the present moment and the few things fully within our control.
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