Death Tarot Card Meanings

Pamela Coleman Smith, 1909

Death Keywords: Transformation, Transition, Endings

Death Tarot Card Description

Death is a skeleton, dressed in black armour and riding a white horse. He holds a black flag depicting the Rosicrucian Rose which symbolizes life. There are skulls and crossbones depicted on the horse’s reins and his eyes glow red. There are four people depicted on the card – a king lies beneath the horse, a bishop stands before it with his hands stretched out imploringly, a maiden kneels before it with her head turned away and there’s a small child holding the maiden’s hand and holding flowers in her other hand. All are equal and powerless in the face of Death.

In the background we see two pillars – the same pillars that we see in The Moon card. The sun of immortality rises between them. There’s also a boat floating on a river, a reference, perhaps, to Charon ferrying souls across the River Styx to the afterlife.

What Death Means In A Tarot Reading

Death is the card of change and transformation; of ending one phase of your life and starting another. This change is necessary and unavoidable. The transition from one phase to another won’t be easy, but there are things you can do to make it less difficult. Don’t try to resist making changes in your life that you know you need to make. Listen to your intuition and recognize habits, behaviours, or lifestyle changes that you should change to improve your life. If you work with this energy of transformation, you’ll find the process a lot easier. Remember that this is change for the better. The rising sun between the two pillars tells you that, once the transformation is complete, you’ll enter a brighter new phase in your life.

It may be that you’re contemplating a career change. The appearance of the Death card tells you that it’s almost certain you’ll make that change. You’ll likely find the process difficult, but it’ll be worth it in the end. Once you’ve made the change, you’ll be glad you did so. It may also be the case that you haven’t been considering a career change, but that circumstances force you to do so for whatever reason. The Death card tells you that even though you may not be prepared for this change, or may not want it at all, it will be a change for the better. If you can try to work with the energies here and accept the changes that are happening, you’ll make the process somewhat easier on yourself.

Your circumstances may change – perhaps you move house, end a relationship, start a new relationship, move to another city. Equally, Death may indicate a change in you – in your outlook, your beliefs, your ideas. Death doesn’t always mean physical transformation. It can often signal a transformation within, during which you will grow spiritually and emotionally. Undergoing this metamorphosis, or transformation, won’t be easy, but you will emerge from the process with a new understanding of yourself, your relationships, your own wellbeing, and your spirit.

There’s a growing trend among Tarot readers to read the Death card as entirely positive. And while there’s no doubt that the changes that will happen, or that are now happening, will lead you to a better place, the element of pain and suffering in the card shouldn’t be ignored completely. The transformation will, almost certainly, be difficult for you in some way. You may fight hard to resist the changes that are happening. There’s no doubt, for example, that even when you know that a relationship is no good for you, or that it has run its course, it’s still very difficult say it’s over and to move on. Try to remember, however, that there’s a bright sun rising in the distance between the two pillars on the card. You’ll get through this. Your future is bright.

Death Love And Relationships Tarot Meaning

Your relationship is transforming. It may be that you’re moving to a new phase in the relationship. The circumstances that bring about this transformation won’t be pleasant. It will be a difficult transition, but it will absolutely be worth it.

It may also be that your relationship is ending and, of course, this is a painful process, but remember that bright sun on the horizon. You’ll be glad in the end that you went through this.

Death Career Tarot Meaning

This phase in your career will end and you’ll move on to something even better. You won’t enjoy the process and may even find it scary, but you must go through this. It may be that lose your job, or your business closes, or perhaps the career path you’ve chosen is no longer the one for you. Whatever the situation, one phase will end to make way for something new. Take heart in knowing that whatever job, or career path, is ahead is even better than the one you have now.

Death Correspondences And Attributions


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