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Death is not the opposite of life, but a part of it.’’

Haruki Murakami


In Rider-Waite deck, the Death card is illustrated as a skeleton knight riding a pale horse at sunset.

The lesson to not get gripped by fear in the face of death is an important one. Same lesson should be remembered while encountering the Death tarot card. Its grim depiction obscurely hides the illuminating message of this card: “In every ending is there is a new beginning.”

Death acts as a necessary force of nature. As the source of life unfolds creation out of itself, every creation urges to return back to its source.

 In a tarot reading, the Death card represents times of inevitable, powerful transitions. Specifically, how you choose to cope with painful endings.

This card is rarely interpreted as physical death. It rather suggests major life changes, grieving process or the need for letting go.

As we all know, number 13 is popularly synonymous with bad omen. In actuality, it is no more or less lucky than any other number. This superstitious belief aside, in numerology number 13 represents cycle of rebirth and transformation.


The Death Keywords

  • Major transition
  • Ending
  • Rebirth
  • Letting go



  • Fear of change
  • Resistance
  • Clinging to the old

The Death Upright

Guidance: You are in a powerful phase of transition. There will be times in your life where you are challenged, where you desperately hold on to inevitable. No matter what you are going through right now, this is not the end. Let go of your self-limiting beliefs, destroy the old ways that is leading to nowhere. Believe within you that you are going to come out stronger on the other side.

Love: The Death card suggests that you are in the wake of a transition in your love life. The relationships will undergo a major change, emotions and beliefs will be questioned. It often signifies painful changes such as end of a relationship or the necessity of moving on from the past. With that being said, it can be positive as well. In this case, you are closing one door to open another. If you are willing to undergo the transformation this card brings, you will create room for a much more loving and joyful future.

Work/Finances: You are in a transition phase in your career, often signified by a loss or an ending. Changes the Death card brings are inevitable but necessary. The struggles concerning your career and finances are happening for a good reason. Perhaps you are unhappy in your current situation but afraid to change your direction. However unpleasant it may be, you need to move forward confidently. Leave the mistakes in the past but keep the lessons for the future.

Health: When you draw this card in your health reading, don’t be afraid: It is very rarely indicative of actual physical death. On the contrary, it often suggests releasing, cleansing and healing. You are going through a major change, whether it is about your health condition or other aspects of your life. If it is taking a toll on your strength and energy, consider focusing on your self-care more. Pay very close attention to your body’s signals at this time.

Spirituality: What the Death card brings here is spiritual transformation, often invoked by a painful loss or ending. Yes, it is tough and confusing. This process is going to bring out your deepest emotions to the surface and awaken many aspects of yourself that was unknown to you. If you can go beyond the sadness, anger and grief; in amidst that intensity you will also find your true strength and light.

Guidance: Consciously or subconsciously, you are blocking the flow of events rather than going with the flow. However much you resist, you also know deep within that it is time to let go of things that are obstructing or hurting you. So the question is, what are you afraid of? Sometimes, all it takes is a shift in perspective. Once you make a decision to break out of your comfort zone, you are going to find more inner strength to push forward.

Love: The Death card talks about a necessary change in your mindset, behavior or in your love life. When reversed, you don’t want to let it happen out of fear or dependency. It is about something that keeps you stuck: perhaps an unrequited love, a past break up, or holding onto a dead-end relationship. In any case, it is better to let go than to hold on. Free your heart from the old, so that the new love can come in.

Work/Finances: The Death reversed card represents resistance to a new direction. If you are feeling blocked, delayed and stagnated in your work life, you may be trying to hold onto something that has run its course. Don’t let fear, failures or losses define you. You need to accept the change you are faced with, whether it is good or bad. Only then you can take charge of your life and direct it to success and abundance.

Health: Again, don’t bring physical death to mind with this card. This reversal points to the necessary changes you resist making. When you draw it, think about what you need to do in order to break away from bad habits and negative emotional patterns. There may be a potentially serious underlying situation that requires your attention.

Spirituality: Main theme of the Death reversed is still the same as the upright: spiritual transformation. If it is brought by a shocking, painful event; it is understandable that you’d rather distract yourself rather than process your emotions. You may even question your faith and hope at this time. That is why you need to allow yourself time and space to truly experience your feelings rather than to hide them. You will recover, stronger than ever.

The Death Reversed

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