First things first, don’t be afraid you’ve pulled the death tarot card! Along with the Tower and the Devil, Death is one of the most feared cards in a Tarot deck. This is normal since most people fear dying and any card representing such a thing would naturally be viewed as negative.
Thankfully, it doesn’t have to be so. The ‘death’ represented by this Major Arcana card is almost always a symbolic one, symbolizing the end to situations and connections that no longer serve us in a positive way.
If you’ve drawn the Death card in a reading, resist the urge to reshuffle the deck. A powerful message is being presented and it’s time to listen to what is being said.
Death Tarot Card Key Words
Before diving deeper into the upright- and reversed Death card meaning, and its connection to love, career, and life, below a quick overview of the most important words connected to this Major Arcana card.
- Upright: ending of a cycle, transitions, getting rid of excess, powerful movement, resolutions
- Reversed: resisting change, fear of new beginnings, dependency, repeating negative patterns
Death Tarot Card Description
The image displayed on the face of the Death card shows a Grim-reaper-like skeleton riding on a white horse. He wears a suit of armor and is holding a black flag with a white, floral pattern and the Roman Numerals XIII (thirteen). His posture and suit show his dominance and inability to be defeated.
The Skeleton’s surroundings are just as important to the overall meaning of the card. As the different genders, classes, and ages of those shown affected by Death remind us the final ending is the one thing over which money and power have little influence.
In the background, a boat sails down towards the sun, which symbolizes new beginnings and hope. It serves as a reminder that transformation can happen all the time. Just as the sun sets, it also rises and it’s a cycle that never ends.
Death Tarot Card Meaning Upright
One of the reason’s that the Death card is such a powerful one in the Upright position is because it carries so many different meanings. For many readings, the Upright Death tarot card signifies completing a chapter, putting the past behind you, and cutting out what is unnecessary. It can also signify a transition or middle ground between one phase of life and the next.
The key is to welcome the Death card in a tarot spread instead of avoiding it. What path is number thirteen trying to point you toward? After all, there is no new beginning without an ending.
Money and Career Meaning
Embrace change of the Death tarot card shows up in the context of your career! If you are unhappy at work, in your current field, or with your financial situation, you don’t have to ‘take things lying down.’ This may mean leaving your job, filing for bankruptcy or focusing on credit repair, or selling a home.
You have control over your life and the way you react to every obstacle that comes your way. The Death Tarot card urges you to eliminate what isn’t necessary, do what you can, and embrace what can’t be avoided. It seems like it is time for an ending and a rebirth in every area of your life.
Love and Relationship Meaning
Death and love in tarot readings spell trouble, especially if you’re wondering if you should stay or go. But the Death card doesn’t have to represent a current relationship. In fact, it can also suggest a need to let go of a past love or hurt that is affecting the future. This is especially true of single people who are wanting to start dating again.
If your relationship is toxic or you and your partner aren’t compatible, it might be time to accept this and move on. On the flip side, if you truly believe you have found your soulmate, you must both bury your past and embrace a new beginning not tainted by yesterday’s troubles.
Health & Spirituality Meaning
Don’t panic! The Death tarot card rarely ever represents physical death, even in a health reading. Instead, it represents big changes that need to be made if you want to bring yourself to a point of optimal health. Are there things that you can do that might seem difficult such as eating better or refraining from drinking alcohol, that might improve your current condition? If so, start making these adjustments.
Spiritual readings including death involve letting go of old ways of thinking. If you want to live authentically, you must put aside thoughts and patterns that no longer serve you. Make spiritual growth a top priority. Read, meditate, and study universal laws.
Death Reversed Meaning
The Reversed Death Tarot card is similar to the upright Death card in it still involves a path of sweeping change. However, there is an added component when the card falls upside down: a great deal of resistance. I think that all of us can resist this tendency.
Although we might like to think that we ‘embrace change,’ how do we react when we lose a job, our spouse asks for a divorce, or our children get sick? Does a financial setback or a major car issue send you into a tailspin? If the Death card appears in reverse, ask yourself, what am I avoiding letting go of? Meditate on the answer and your path of least resistance will appear.
Death Tarot: Yes or No
Some Tarot experts would rule Death in a yes or no reading as a no card, but I don’t think the answer is this ‘cut and dry.’ It truly depends on the question at hand. If you are asking about holding on to something you are connected to but concerned about such as a difficult relationship or work situation, the answer is ‘no, cut your losses.’
However, if you are seeking guidance about a possible new beginning such as leaving your job and starting your own business, the answer is a more positive one.
Important Card Combinations
Death and the Lovers Card or the Hierophant
When Death is paired with either the Lovers or the Hierophant, relationship changes are imminent. Many times, this signifies a break-up or divorce. Even if you stay together, things will not stay the same. If the ending is not something you want, remember that pain is only temporary. The ending of one relationship is often followed by an even better one if we choose to accept and let be.
Death and the World
This combo with the World tarot card stands for completion. Something that you have been pouring a lot of time and energy into will soon come to an end. This doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing. It’s simply time to move on to much greater heights. The closing of a chapter is the very first step in that process.
Death and the Devil
The Devil and Death cards–what a pairing! The Devil often symbolizes addiction. When connected to Death, the Devil can represent triumph over such struggles. Although this can be related to drug abuse there are many other scenarios. For example, these two cards might signify overcoming an illness or breaking the chains of a toxic relationship. It might also mean stopping a bad habit such as smoking, overeating, or gambling.
Death and the Moon
If you are looking for a message from Death and the Moon, this is it: there is light at the end of the tunnel. When things are really difficult or change seems to inescapable or unbearable, try your best to keep your thoughts focused on what you want, not the reality. Doing so might seem counterproductive, but it will allow you to make decisions based on what brings you joy instead of pain. In the end, having faith over fear will allow you to manifest your greatest desires.
Death Tarot Card Inspiration
Although I write all the descriptions based on the Rider-Waite Tarot deck, it doesn’t mean that I use other decks too. One of my favorite things is to browse the web for beautiful tarot decks and cards. Here you can find a small selection of beautiful Death tarot cards. Did you create a tarot card yourself and want to share this, I would love to hear from you!
Death Tarot Card in a Reading
Does our interpretation of the Death tarot card resonate with you? Our community loves to hear your thoughts, so please take a minute to let us know in the comments below!