The Death Spread

the death tarot spread

“It takes a lot of courage to release the familiar and seemingly secure, to embrace the new. But there is no real security in what is no longer meaningful. There is more security in the adventurous and exciting, for in movement there is life, and in change there is power.”
– Alan Cohen

Sometimes change is thrust upon us and sometimes we crave change while fearing it at the same time. Facing the unknown is scary (and what makes us say ‘better the devil you know’) but it makes us feel alive. The more we embrace change, the more alive and empowered we become. In other words, the more we die, the more we live! This is the power of 13 (XIII Death) – the 1 of the Self (I The Magician) merging with the 3 of Nature (III The Empress).

We often long for change after a crisis when much of what we knew has been lost or taken away from us and sometimes when we just feel stagnant. After a crisis, maybe all we need to change is shifting the pain and sorrow. If much was taken away from us, we may need a new action plan for the future too. Once we discover we are in a rut with our lives, we may feel like we are dying as the Plutonian energies start nudging us to get moving again. Whatever your reasons for wanting and/or needing change, I have the perfect tarot spread for you – the Death Spread!

The first card in the spread (left) looks at was is naturally dying and you can just let go of. The middle card looks at what you need to kill (transform) and the card above it shows how. The card to the right shows you what is killing you (an outside influence) and the card above it shows you what you can do to transmute this influence.

I recommend working with one of the darker decks for this spread. I chose the deliciously dark and visually stunning Bohemian Gothic Tarot by Karen Mahony and found that the companion book added some valuable insights too.

  1. What is naturally dying. What is naturally dying right now in my life is represented by the 8 of Swords here. This shows me that I am gradually getting unstuck. I have felt trapped by grief and sorrow but I can feel the clouds of my mind lifting. My unwillingness to help myself and the game-playing of past relationships are giving way to new models of relating to both self and others.
  2. What I need to kill/transform. What I need to kill/transform is represented by the 7 of Wands which is very aggressive-looking in the Bohemian Gothic Tarot. This card shows me that I need to transform a tendency to argue about things… I flare up and am easily offended at times. This causes me to lose my self-dominion and makes me reactionary. Not good.
  3. What is killing me? I laughed when I pulled the card for ‘what is killing me?’ Death here shows me that much of what I find really difficult right now has to do with great planetary shifts and Plutonian influences in my birth chart. Pluto is transiting my 7th house and will continue to do so for another few years. This makes the relationship space very challenging. So what can I do to survive if not completely transmute these influences?
  4. The solution. The solution is represented by the World card, which according to Karen Mahony relates to ‘finding your joy’ and ‘dancing through life’. When I dance, I’m happy. When I dance, stuck energies become unstuck. I take this as a nudge to stay connected to my True Self through the dance. When I don’t dance, I put the lid on my creative source and am easily pushed out of alignment with my purpose and thus my joy. The equation is simple: I make sure I am happily aligned with my Creative Source and nothing can push me off centre.
  5. How to manifest a positive solution. The answer lies within yet another card that is about finding joy in life, the 9 of Cups. While the World card speaks of finding one’s joy in terms of being aligned with one’s life purpose, the 9 of Cups speaks of finding joy through life’s little pleasures. Contentment is easy to come by if you are easily pleased… and that I am! A nice cup of tea or the scent of a rose can give me great pleasure. Every day, I need to seek out beauty and simple luxuries. Sharing beauty with others brings me enormous joy!
  6. What awaits on the other side. The card to the far right shows me what is waiting on the other side of transformation – the 6 of Pentacles. Success. Moon in Taurus. Generosity. Equality in giving and receiving.

I hope you enjoy trying this Tarot spread and I would love to hear what insights you gain as a result in the comments below!

Blessed Be!

Lisa

Comments 8

  1. Sharing beauty with others…like sharing this reading. I love the Bohemian Gothic deck. It's great for spreads like this one.

  2. Lisa, thank you so much for sharing this spread. I am struggling with change too. Wanting it and feeling terrified of it! Wanting to let go, and wanting to stay in my safe little egg.

    It reminds me of Hermann Hesse'd book "Demian", in which he says: "The bird is struggling out of the egg. The egg is the world. Whoever wants to be born must first destroy a world.". It's a bit how the "Death" card feels – in order to be born, you have to destroy what no longer serves.

    The process can be painful and frightening, but it's the only way you can spread your wings and fly…

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