Learn Tarot: The Death Card

Element: Water
Planet: Mars, Pluto
Astrological Sign: Scorpio
Numerology: 13, 4
Hebrew Letter: Nun

Keywords: Transformation, Mortality, Rebirth, Liberation

Reversed Keywords: Cessation, Depression, Stagnation

Change and transformation can seem scary when you think about it intellectually, but often transformation comes with a very visceral feeling of lightness, of that deep relief that comes when you cast off a mantle that has become too heavy. This is the lesson that the Death Card teaches.

And more often than not, this is what the Death card represents – an ending to a phase, a cycle, a role. The transformation is deep and shakes the foundation of things so much so that it can feel like a symbolic death. Seldom will this card mean the actual death of a person, but it can bring up a deep sense of mortality and urgency because the changes are so profound that it can serve as a reminder that our lifetime is finite and time passes quickly when you are leaving one phase of your life and entering into another.

The lesson of the Death Card rests in the way the Fool, who is journeying through these phases, moves through it. And change, transformation, and endings can either be liberating or oppressive. The secret sauce is in the embracing of this change.

This is the lesson that we face over and over again while moving through the life lessons of the Major Arcana. Suffering happens when we resist the reality of what is. If an ending is upon you and calling you to let go in order to change, transform and evolve, dive in. The Death card prompts you to embrace it and surrender to the ride it has for you. This won’t guarantee there won’t be pain and grief, but it does guarantee it will be smoother and perhaps faster and infinitely more rewarding than if you resist. Which is what leads to the reversal.

Reversed Death Card Meaning

When faced with change, if we resist, neglect or sink into denial depression can set in. Worse, stagnation can occur and there are countless examples around us all of the friends and loved ones who are stuck in the same life stage for years long after it might have been time to move on. We see this in relationships that should have ended for the benefit of both partners, jobs that are soul-sucking, but now habitual and on and on.

In many ways, the reversed Death Card can mean a very real soul death where a person is just stuck with no movement other than the rumination of obsession or habit that keeps them stuck and makes their lives smaller and smaller as time passes.

If this card comes up reversed in a reading there is a long dead phase, commitment, life scenario that you are holding onto that needs to be released. There is a denial of movement forward that requires your awareness, acknowledgment and action.

Tarot Deck:  The Wild Unknown

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