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What the Cards Mean: Death


Death: Though most people get nervous when this card appears in a spread, the Death card is really just about endings and transitions. The Death card is a massive force of energy that comes upon the Fool quickly, creating sudden change. Imagine it like a big gust of wind shaking everything loose and free. This wind releases the Fool from his bindings that were suspending him in the Hanged Man card, and he finally drops to the ground, confused and disorientated. It may take the Fool awhile to reorient himself to his new surroundings, circumstances, relationships, etc. but he will find that when he does he has transformed and is ready for the next phase of his life. When the Death card shows up, it is just letting us know that we are coming to the end of a cycle or phase. When we graduate from college, the time of student life is over. If we are single and become engaged, guess what? The single phase of our life is coming to an end. If we have our first baby, that means we’ve transitioned to the parenthood phase of life. Sometimes you can see it coming and sometimes you cannot. With endings, however, comes a sense of loss and mourning. Sometimes these will be sad transitions and sometimes not so much. The Death card reminds you it is OK to mourn and let go of the past. It’s healthy and part of the process. However, you must let go and move on to the next level. Life is always about change and evolution. The Death card reminds us this cycle never truly stops. If an ending is not accepted then a new phase cannot begin.


If the Death card is reversed or compromised in a spread then it means the Fool is fighting the transition period or a new phase of life. The severity of this can depend on how one handles change. Do you like and appreciate change? Or will you dig your heels in, resist it and wallow in grief over what you have lost? The reversed Death card indicates you are unable to move on from the past, you are stalling the inevitable change or you are heading towards an impending disaster because you are holding on too tightly. The compromised Death card could indicate this new transition may be too traumatic and the readjustment too difficult. It could also indicate that an end is inevitable but you do everything in your power to avoid or delay it. This delay can prolong pain and prevent new grow in your life. Inevitably we all must go through these phases in order to grow and mature. Embrace and trust in your process, as it helps the Death card to be a welcome sight in a spread, instead of a card of doom and gloom.


Keywords: change, transition, transformation, endings, new beginnings, mourning. Reversed: Resistance, stuck in grief, refusing to accept your new circumstances, not letting go.

Illustrations from the Morgan Greer Tarot Deck were reproduced by permission of U.S. Games Systems, Inc., Stamford, CT 06902. c. (March 7, 2018) by U.S. Games Systems, Inc. All rights reserved.

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