Often feared, the card of Death in Tarot is indeed about things coming to an end, but it is always immediately followed by rebirth. The purpose of Death in Tarot is to make room for something else.
It is therefore the card of endings and new beginnings at the same time. Death poses the question: Are you ready?
Death's Meaning & Messages
Death in Tarot is one of the most feared and often misunderstood card of the deck.
There's no arguing that it can bring up a challenging message, especially when a change is hard to accept. But Death is the card of rebirths and new beginnings above all.
Death does announce the end of something: an era, a relationship, a job etc. but it does not announce actual physical death. So let's get this out of the way.
When you look at the card of Death in details, you'll notice some very important things. The color yellow is very present, representing spiritual awakening. The Sun in the distance is rising between two Towers (possibly the same as those depicted on the Moon card, from a different perspective). This symbolizes a new dawn and the need to make decisions. A woman, child and spiritual leader welcome the arrival of the skeleton, for they know that there is more to arrival than what meets the eye.
Finally, the waters flow abundantly in the background, representing change, rebirth and the transformative power of Scorpio and its dark ruler: Pluto.
There is hope in the card of Death. Here's a chance for a brand new start, where everything is possible.
Upright, Death announces an imminent change. Something is coming to an end and there is simply nothing you can do at this point. Embrace the changes and make the most of this situation. Focus on the opportunities that will emerge.
Keywords: Endings, new chapter, radical transformation, time to move on.
Reversed, Death can reveal one's incapability to let go. Don't hold on to the past as you're only hurting yourself. What's done is done and now's the time to move on. Resistance will only prolong your suffering.
Keywords: Delusion, fear of change, living in the past, blocks from the past.
Positive meaning: Expect radical changes and transformation in your relationship or approach to love. Something is changing forever. It could be a break up or the end of a chapter. The rest of the spread will inform you further.
Negative meaning: Break up, unexpected ending, inability to let go
Positive meaning: Big changes are happening in your career. A position may be terminated but something else is already on the horizon for you. Don't cling on to something that you've outgrown anyway.
Negative meaning: Loss of a job, a project or contract being cancelled.
Positive meaning: Expect a new season starting for you, something big is changing. Selling property, liquidating assets, etc. Be ready and make sure to have your house in order.
Negative meaning: Loss, unfortunate turn of events, unpleasant surprise.
The card of Death rarely stands for one particular person but more likely for a situation (possibly with a specific person if that's the question at hand.)
In rare cases, it could depict someone very intense whose effect on your life is radical. And obviously... a Scorpio.
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Death & the Minor Arcana
Buckle up! Wands and Death often announce unexpected and rapid changes! These could be radical too.
Transformation expected at work or in your social circle. There could be a change of location in the cards too.
Negative/Reversed meanings: Unexpected loss of a job, projects cancelled abruptly.
Radical changes in a relationship could be around the corner. There could also be a big change in regards to a physical condition.
Emotionally, a brand new day could be starting for you after a long dark night of the soul.
Negative meanings include: A break up or shocking revelation. A difficult diagnosis could be brought to you.
What was true in your home and finances will no longer stand. You better be ready for big changes, possibly moving houses and a new approach to money, for better of worse.
In a negative spread: A financial crisis, a substantial loss.
The Swords and Death make for a rather dramatic spread and are a lot to take in. Time to make big decisions, say goodbye to what is not working and show your strength of character.
There could be very difficult endings and goodbyes in the cards, whether it be a break up or another kind of relationship coming to an end.