The Tarot “Death Card” Isn’t A Bad Thing

Death comes to us all, not because it’s stalking us, but because it’s a part of life. As such, it’s constantly with us. For centuries, professional card readers have incorporated this fact into their everyday lives and have interpreted the meaning of the Death card.

For those afraid about having this card revealed during a tarot reading, you have no reason to worry. Each card of the tarot deck tells a story. Since death is part of everyone’s story, it’s only natural that this card is part of the deck.

At number 13 in the Major Arcana, the Death card is part of a story created long ago by a society that revealed the path of life in visual form. The depiction of a person being pierced or hurt by a sword may be frightening to many. However, it’s merely a reminder that death itself is the process of transformation. 

The “death” implied is not necessarily physical, but often a shedding of old ways and the beginnings of new adventures. It doesn’t mean that someone is literally going to die. 

The Death Card And The Major Arcana

ancient gypsies

Some people believe that the gypsies introduced the entire 78 card deck to Europeans many centuries ago. A plausible explanation for their involvement with the cards is that they came across several decks while traveling in southern Europe, the cards themselves being from two different sources.

Certain members of gypsy tribes interpreted a more profound meaning into the depictions they saw, and the result was an invaluable tool for divination. Over seven centuries ago, the Death card was already being interpreted as a foreseeing of change. This change could be either in the future or the past.

Depending on the other cards revealed during a sitting, it could mean several things. The three most popular ones are:

  • An upheaval is about to occur
  • The subject can’t let go of the past
  • The subject is on the brink of a discovery

Everybody is fascinated by the prospect that their future might be revealed to them, even if the cards indicate only vague possibilities. We all wonder about death since we view it as the very end of everything.

The Death Card Doesn’t Mean We’re About To Die

Instead, it points to changes in the human experience. As a person grows, parts of them “die,” and a new phase of life is born. Ancient civilizations had a way of making the obvious seem profound, and the normal become extraordinary. In other words, they were very dramatic.

Much like hypnotists modify situations to make their subject more vulnerable and open to subconscious revelations, tarot cards have their own obscure number patterns that work on the mind of the reader and the client.

For example, the Death card is number 13 and is exactly ten cards up from the Empress card. The Empress symbolizes birth, a transition from a past life to the present. It’s important to note that these practices weren’t meant to confuse or trick the subject.

Instead, they were designed to create an agreeable inner atmosphere for the reader or fortune teller. In other words, the numerology patterns of the Major Arcana are a tool the reader uses to become focused on the task at hand. The belief in the axiomatic system of mathematics is the most important part of the process.

The Death Card Has An Interesting History

death card history

The Death card is a part of a story about a young man – known as the Fool – and his journey through life. However, the life journey is not just about being born, growing up, traveling the world, seeing the sights, and ultimately dying. It’s more complicated than that. 

It’s the story of life in its most complete context. We can witness the transformation of life by watching a seed grow into a plant. When that plant “dies,” we see another transformation from plant to fertilizer—creation, reconstruction, death, and rebirth. The Death card can mean change in many ways. Some examples of this are:

  • Graduating from school
  • Changing careers
  • Coming to terms with the previous passing of a loved one

It can symbolize birth, puberty, or menopause, depending on the direction the card is facing.

Very rarely does the card indicate a physical death. Still, in certain circumstances, it may reveal the continued grief of an individual who has suffered the loss of a loved one and has not fully recovered or gotten on with their life.

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You Have To Believe

fire walking

Consider a fire walker that performs in front of a live audience. They have no special ointment on the feet. The fire is most definitely real – and very hot – and yet they suffer no burns. Some would argue that there is some kind of microlayer protection, while others believe the skin is fake.

Real fire walkers know the true reason for success. They convinced their mind that their feet were in contact with something cool and refreshing. The result is a powerful belief system creating a fact. Tarot card readers use this same principle.

Having studied the cards in great detail, they are in a mental state of perfect belief and comfort that the cards will reveal the facts about their subject’s life. They convince their minds ahead of time that the cards will reveal themselves to them and they do.

Considering how often the projection turns out to be correct, there is no popular scientific proof that this is anything but genuine. Why else would theoretical physicists have such an interest in tarot card readings?

So Why The Image Of Death?

the grim reaper

We are already experiencing death, as the number 13 card reveals. We have been experiencing “death” from the moment we were born. Probably even long before that even.

The Death card reminds us that life doesn’t have a beginning or an end. Father Time doesn’t exist as a shadow that follows us but is instead a part of our body and mind.

He’s in every metamorphosis we undergo. From the growth of our bodies from fetuses to adults to the memories we keep and those we toss. He’s in all the changes, both important and seemingly useless ones, whether we realize it or not.

Don’t Be Afraid Of The Death Card

father time

It serves its purpose as a reminder that change is inevitable. The story behind this card is the continuing maturation process, letting go of childhood, discarding painful memories, and other personal transformations.

Consulting a professional tarot card reader that genuinely believes in the meaning of the Major Arcana can enlighten us on where we are going, what we are doing wrong, and how best to correct it. The true miracle of the cards is triggering the subject’s belief system and focusing on what we can accomplish.


Angela Moore founded Psychic Review Online in 2008 after being scammed out of her life savings by a psychic con artist. Since then she has devoted her time to rooting out the frauds and helping people find a real psychic reader.

  1. Very nice article, just what I was looking for.

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