Death Tarot Card Meaning

The 13th card of Tarot, often feared and misunderstood, can be surprisingly beneficial. Don’t judge a card by its name: Death is, above all, the card of new beginnings and rebirth.

While the card of Death holds messages of painful endings, it is also one that holds a message of hope. Something may be lost forever, or gone forever, but something new is about to begin. The seed has already been planted.

No important change comes easily and a new page in life always involves difficult choices and moments. Death calls for faith and the hope that destiny will take you where you need to be.

It is in no way an easy card, but definitely not as dark as what it seems at first.

See also this related post on the positive sides of the 8 scariest Tarot cards.

Associated star signs: Scorpio – Capricorn
Element: Water
Season & Time: Autumn / Early Winter – November – Tuesday / Saturday
Prediction speed: sudden changes with long term effects 

Death Tarot Card Meaning

 The Advice of Death: accept changes for they will allow you to grow. Your current situation is not viable.

Death Tarot Card Meaning

The Warning of Death: don’t rush into new ventures. The time may not be right for changes.

Note: some readers will use an upright Death to see its negative messages, and a reversed Death for the positive ones. I personally ready it like any other card, upright being mostly good and reversed usually more difficult. Always trust your intuition based on how the card personally speaks to you.

UPRIGHT MEANINGS

Death is the card of changes. Good or bad but as necessary as inevitable. A deep transformation will occur and a new day will start. We could be looking at a liberating break up, the end of a contract that was not satisfying or the will to start life anew on solid foundations.

Keywords: changes, endings, progress, disaster avoided, strength, a new era, transformation, a lesson learned

REVERSED MEANINGS

In a negative spread or reversed, Death speaks of most difficult changes. And ending that you are not ready to accept. A break up that is not wanted by one of the partners. The inability to deal with the inevitable evolution of things. With heavy cards in the spread such as the Tower, the Fool or a reversed Chariot, we could well be looking at accidents, physical injuries, serious danger.

Keywords: danger, denial, hurt, injuries, death, accidents, violence, loss, mistakes, break up

LOVE – Positive meanings: a deep change in a relationship, for the better. A new love is about to start. Some time spent alone will prove to be highly beneficial. Negative meanings: a sudden break up, an unwanted separation. A hopeless love.

FINANCES – Positive meaning: inheritance. Benefits coming from someone else’s loss. A new way of managing your finances. A new start.  Negative meanings: a source of income is no longer available. Sudden and definitive financial loss.

WORK – Positive meanings: a project comes to an end. A positive outcome after a series of bumps in the road. Negative meanings: the card can speak of sudden unemployment, a business closing down. An exam failed or a painful change of direction.

PERSON – An outsider. Someone who is starting their life over after painful events. Negative meanings: a violent or cruel person, a killer, a maniac, someone deeply depressed.

Cards Association with the Major Arcana

DEATH & THE STAR

Very positive changes ahead. You may not control the situation and it’s totally fine. Let the universe carry you, everything will be alright. If Judgement is nearby then you can expect some very good news or the favourable answer you were hoping for.

DEATH & THE MOON

Some difficult feelings need to be dealt with. You are afraid of what tomorrow may bring and you live in the past. Deep changes must occur. This association also speaks of nightmares and ancient fears.

DEATH & THE SUN

A new love in your future. A relationship may change completely or a new partner will be met soon. Big changes and a solid relationship ahead.

With a positive Wand card (4 of Wands for example): a crisis at work is overcome.

Cards Association with the Minor Suits

WITH WANDS

Two main messages are possible, depending on the surrounding cards (as always). Option one, your current situation is not satisfying at all. A change is needed. Option 2: you are about to take your career in a whole new direction. With the 4 of Wands (and a positive spread): a professional crisis will be overcome.

WITH CUPS

Changes in matters of the heart. If reversed or with reversed cups, it announces the end of a love story. With the 6 of Cups, a love that will not last. With the 3 of Cups: a deep change that will bring happiness. Cups and Death may be speaking of health issues too. With positive cards: healing and recovery (for the soul or body).

WITH COINS

Death and Coins are often a negative association.
Loss is usually the message.
With the Ace of Coins: an inheritance. With the 5 of Coins: very serious financial issues.
With the 9 of Coins: debt.

WITH SWORDS

A difficult association and often a scary sight, Swords and Death speak of difficult endings and painful beginnings. With the 2 of Swords: the end of a troubled relationship. With the 6 of Swords: serious loss / starting all over. With 10 of Swords: a funeral.