Meaning of the Death Tarot card

Death Tarot CardThe Death card is card number 13 in the Tarot. In the Christian tradition, this number is considered a bad omen, probably because during the Last Supper there were 13 guests – the twelve apostles plus Jesus Christ, who was soon after betrayed by Judas.

But the elements that make the Death card a disturbing figure do not end here. The most obvious element is undoubtedly the skeleton that represents Death and leaves little room for interpretation. But this is also accompanied by a huge scythe that cuts through the souls, and parts of mutilated bodies lying on the ground.

However, Tarot cards are rarely read in such an obvious manner. In fact, the Death card is neither a terribly negative, nor an exclusively negative card.

The depiction of the Death card in such a gory manner was probably no more than a way to exorcise the figure shown.

General interpretation of the card

Death is not a purely negative card. On the contrary, it is often not a negative card at all.

One of the possible meanings of the Death card is to free ourselves of our afflictions, our thoughts, our worries.

Death is also a very precise stage of life. It therefore represents a phase of a cycle, which leads to renewal. Its meaning is therefore the end of the current situation, which gives birth to a new situation.

It can be an invitation to forget the past. In fact, without “Death” there would be no space for whatever may arise from it afterwards.

Death is also an invitation to rejoice in life. Herodotus tells us how at the end of the dinners of wealthy Egyptians, a man would walk around with a wooden chest containing the representation of a corpse, reminding everyone to drink and make merry, because after Death we will all be like the corpse.

Finally, it should be remembered that Death is an extremely just and fair figure: it affects everyone, regardless of social class, wealth, or position of power. In the Death card, one or more severed crowned heads are depicted lying on the ground for this reason.

Specific examples of possible meanings:

  • Without closing a previous situation, nothing good can come of it in the future.
  • A situation stalls because there is something to close. For example, without genuine forgiveness of those who have made a mistake, things can never really move forward.
  • The end of your worries. A situation that has kept you in a state of suffering for a long time is finally drawing to a conclusion, with all the good things that can arise from it later.
  • Something is about to change. And it will change with a precise, clearly recognizable event, with a definitive and unmistakable transition.
  • If you are not willing to forget the past, you are not providing space for new situations to reach you.
  • Justice will be done. Someone more powerful than you, whom you have never been able to stomach, will soon get their comeuppance, and will pay for their despicable conduct.
Rob Sánchez

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