The Death Card in the Tarot

Thinking a lot about death today, which led me to think about the Death card in the Tarot.

I’m a Tarot reader. I do readings for people professionally and have for almost 20 years. It’s a sideline for me and I love it because I love the cards. There are hundreds of decks to choose from. I own a lot of them!

The image of death is pretty scary in the Tarot. I recently had an opportunity to read for a graduating class of high school students and a couple of them got the Death card in their reading. It was pretty scary for them, as you can see in the images below.

Death 1

Death 2

I thought the Death card was appropriate for the ones who got it. They had family issues and were going off to college, to begin life anew.

In some decks they call this card “Transformation” because that what it’s really about. If you look carefully in the first card, the Rider-Waite version, (the original cards upon which the others are based, some quite loosely) you can see that the Sun is beginning to rise in the background. The Sun symbolizes new life and rebirth, which is the true meaning of this card. As the acorn falls from the tree, so is a new life reborn.

The Death card does not in and of itself mean a literal death. It’s metaphoric meaning is to strip away all that does not serve you to make room for the new to enter. New life, new relationships, new beginnings cannot enter your life unless the old useless stuff is cut away. Sort of the like the Feng Sui concept of cleaning out your closet so that the energy can flow freely through your life. Since everything is energy, if there is old dead energy blocking the way, new energy cannot enter.

So the Death card coming up in a reading is a good thing. It’s not always an easy ride, but nothing that is really of value ever is.

This is my favorite Death card image. The Butterfly symbolizes change and transformation. I like that. Because that is what the Death card is.

Death 3


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