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Death & Tarot: What Does The Death Card Really Mean?

Updated on January 24, 2012

Oh No! Not DEATH!

This is probably the first card that pops into most querrent and new readers minds. The word Death carries an awful lot of linguistic baggage, and many assume that the death card is some sort of bad omen or sign of bad luck.


A Good Omen

For most experienced readers, the Death card is actually a very good omen, especially in upright. It doesn't mean that you are going to die, or anyone you know or care about is going to have something bad happen to them. All it means is that a change is coming, and that there is probably going to be a part of yourself that you no longer find is necessary, that is going to "die".

This is a very good thing, because with a little death, there won't be room for more life and more growth. Just as you get a hair cut when you no longer like or need the length, you also cut out negative patterns, behaviors or attitudes you no longer need, when the time is right.

All the death card is telling you, is that now is the best time to make these changes. Or that these changes are coming, and you should prepare for them.


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    • I Am Rosa profile image

      Rosa Marchisella 5 years ago from Canada

      ***Thank you!!!*** I find it extremely tiresome to see the Death card being portrayed as some dark omen in movies and tv. I appreciate you posting this correct explanation.

    • ScottLoogan profile image

      ScottLoogan 5 years ago from High Point, NC, USA

      That is a good explanation. But I'm not sure if I really believe anything is inevitable. I don't think we're all fated for everything with just a few actual free choices.

    • profile image

      PWalker281 5 years ago

      For me, the Death card signifies "inevitable" change, change that, like the real death, is going to happen whether you want it to or not. So I think Death as a metaphor for that kind of change is quite appropriate.

    • ScottLoogan profile image

      ScottLoogan 5 years ago from High Point, NC, USA

      You're completely right. I think that something we should be pondering is: why did the makers of the Tarot deck choose to put a Death card in? What was their intention? Why not something fluffy like a baby animal or something to represent change? I think it's because it was necessary to make people really pay attention to the card. It represents change. Sometimes good change, sometimes bad. The change itself might actually be wonderful, but the process may be painful. Example: you break-up with your significant other, which is very painful; but soon after you find someone who is even more right for you, the one you've been waiting for. The Death card is there to prepare us to deal with the change and the process of the change happening. Some people also fear change as much as real death in their life, so to them there's not much difference in the meanings of the card. The Death card is there to remind us to accept change, and to move on with our lives.

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      PWalker281 5 years ago

      Thanks for sharing this insight about the meaning of the Death card in the tarot deck. Mainstream media has done a hatchet job on this card and others (e.g., the Tower) by constantly portraying them as a "doom and gloom" omens. So the more voices out there that can correct this misrepresentation the better. Rated up and useful.