The most feared card in the Tarot – Death

One of the Tarot cards that we fear and dread the most in a reading

So you got the Death card……panic, panic ‘OH NO!’… I hear you say.

Firstly, slow down, take a breath and slowly exhale.

Here is my take on this card

I personally think it is one of the most misunderstood cards of the Tarot. Does it mean either I or someone close to me is going to die? The Tarot being steeped in allegory indicates that  this card rarely tells us about a physical death.

Now we are going to take a good long look at it and dissect each of the difference aspects of this card.

Take the Death card from your Rider Waite Tarot deck

The golden skeleton dressed in black armour is probably the first thing the draws your eye. The skeleton symbolises spiritual foundation and our inner growth.  IT can also represent the death of unwanted thoughts as the skull is considered the seat of the mind as well as immortality. His black armour protects him making him invincible and unconquerable.  The white horse he is mounted on represents purity.  Death is the ultimate purifier.

The banner being held by the skeleton has a black background represent the absence of light, being matter before it takes form. The five petalled white rose tells us that form has taken shape as beauty, purification, promise and immortality.  The rose is also symbolic of engaging the senses in this experience.  The skeleton is riding from left to the right tells us that what you have been manifesting in your subconscious is coming into your consciousness.

The four figures or aspects of ourselves

  1. the deceased or wounded king is your persona or personality
  2. the child is your innocence
  3. the maiden your immaturity or purity
  4. the priest is your spiritual beliefs

In the background there is a boat sailing down what is perceived to be the River Styx that carries souls on their journey. It carries the ship and its passengers into their future. The two stone pillars are guarding the gateway to the sun symbolising the knowledge needed to gain immortality. It represents the dawning of a new day or new beginnings. The sun is about life and growth, about endings and new beginnings. Every day the sun comes up and goes down. The pillars and sun are replicated in the Moon card. The sky is grey indicating impartiality. There is a lot going on in this card so it is easy to get overwhelmed by it. Cycles are reflected in this card, natural cycles, winter evolving into spring as well as the cycles of our inner development. This card is card of change and transformation, after we have mourned, cried and grieved, we pick ourselves up and move forward into the new beginnings.

Just this card’s energy is about Death but not on the physical plane but on a psychological plane. Death is about clearing away the old to make way for the new.  A new way of thinking, a new way of living your life in true alignment.  It signifies the death of the old ways of thinking, feeling or behaviours and starting again with a clean slate and managing your life or aspects of your life totally differently.

Some areas and aspects to consider working with when you get this card in a reading:

You can consider looking at recognizing that it’s might be time to let go of patterns, actions, habits or attitudes that are not longer serving you.   We often keep doing the same things without analysing whether they are still useful and working for us.  As we mature we often need to change how we manage aspects of ourselves.  With the Death card its highlighting that now is a good time to do this.

If you have some unfinished mourning which can be the loss of a job, relationship or a person (not necessarily death but someone you no longer have contact with). Sometimes you can get stuck in the mourning and this card is a reminder that it is time to let go and move on.

You can work on letting go of any unresolved feelings of abandonment, rejection or isolation to move to a new beginning.

Hope this helps when next you get Death in a reading. 

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