Truth about the Death Card
In every movie or TV show in which there is a tarot reader or card featured, it seems like it is always the Death card. It maybe that it is the most feared card of the deck. This is because most people have a fear of physical death. It is the old question of what happens when we die that instills the fear. But that question is for another time. What is it about the Death card that makes it so scary?
A black armored skeleton riding through an apocalyptic world with people dying at his feet, it is an image the can invoke a lot of fear and anxiety. However the symbolism in the card tells a more positive message. In this message are signs of change and growth.
The symbol of the skeleton dressed in black brings up thoughts of the Grim Reaper or the Angel of Death. In the card the black armor symbolizes that death is the power of being invincible and unconquerable. Death comes to everyone; it is part of the natural life cycle. This figure rides upon a white horse; white can mean purity or spirituality. The tassel on the helm of the skeleton and the saddle are red which signifies desire. This Death rider reminds us of the inevitability of change and with the desire and purity of Spirit we can take on this change.
On heraldic black banner that the rider carries there is a white Tudor rose, this rose signifies life, the power of life comes from death. There are 2 sets of 5 pedals on the rose, in numerology 5 is the number for change and 10 breaks down to a 1 which is new beginnings. This means that with life ever changing, there is always a new beginning.
At the feet the Death rider there are 3 people: a king, a child, and a woman. In this card each will represent how we respond to change. The king is the ego; the king is lying down in a death position. This can indicate that the ego may not make it through the change. Sometimes letting go of our ego can help us see the path of change. The child is facing the Death rider as if he was unafraid of the change and welcoming it. The woman is kneeling with her head turned away from the Death rider. She knows that change is coming but she does not like it. There is also a priest or hierophant blocking the path of the Death rider. This signifies that if you believe that the change will be good for you, you will succeed in the change. Have faith and embrace the change.
In the background of the card are many smaller symbols that you may be drawn towards. Such as the two pillars with the sun rising between them. These pillars are similar to the ones in the Moon card. They signify a gateway to unknown knowledge. Because when we embark upon change we never know how it will come out. The sun symbolizes a new beginning, much like a new day or fresh start. With it being between the pillars it is the knowledge that you need to create a new beginning.
For me this card can indicate a big transition in life, like going from one phase of life to the next. These changes can good or bad depending on how you look at it. For example, if in a spread you get the two of cups, Lovers, and Death cards this may indicate a possible engagement or the beginning of a new relationship. However, I have found that in spiritually aware people this transition can be moving from one phase of your spiritual contract to the next. It could also mean that you are beginning to transition into working on your core issues.
Like with any tarot deck or reading the symbols may vary from person to person and reading to reading. No meaning is set in stone. Spirit will guide you to the right meaning for that reading. With all of symbols and meanings for this card, is the Death card still scary? That is for you to decide.