The Death card in the Tarot represents transformation, letting go, and new beginnings. Contrary to its name, it rarely signifies physical death. Instead, it symbolises the end of a chapter in your life, making way for growth and rebirth. The thing that can upset people about the Death card energy is that it deals with inevitable endings. Not everyone is a transformation junkie. It’s human nature to resist change and want to cling to the status quo.
Here are some traditional card meanings for the Death card
- Transformation: The card encourages you to embrace change and let go of old patterns, beliefs, or relationships, allowing for personal growth and transformation.
- Endings and Closure: It signals the completion of a phase or situation in your life, urging you to accept closure and move forward. This may refer to the end of a relationship, job, or a phase of your life.
- New Beginnings: With every ending, there is a new beginning. The Death card suggests that letting go of the old paves the way for fresh opportunities, renewed purpose, and positive transformation. However, it is important to remember that at this point in the cycle, it still feels more like the death of something.
- Release and Surrender: It reminds you to surrender control and trust the natural cycle of life. By releasing attachments, you can experience liberation and invite positive change into your life.
- Spiritual Growth: The card signifies spiritual awakening and heightened awareness. It encourages you to reflect on the deeper meaning of life, explore your spirituality, and embrace a greater understanding of yourself and the world.
Feeling Into the Energy of the Tarot Death Card
XIII Death may not seem like a card of healing but in actual fact, this card can provide some of the deepest and most transformational healing experiences. And very often they occur as a form of initiation into a different paradigm because what comes after a Death experience is so very different to what was.
Besides being a card of death and rebirth, the Death card also signifies sexual energy through its correspondence with the Scorpio Zodiac sign. Eros and Thanatos have a strong link in psychology. Anything usually associated with the 8th House of the Zodiac chart falls under the domain of this card. So things like dealing with the possessions of others (especially inheritances) could be indicated when this card shows up.
Another area where the energy of this card comes in handy is when it comes to revealing secrets that have the potential to transform a situation. Psychic giftedness falls under the domain of the Death card just as much as under the domain of The High Priestess. This is because the process of transformation involves diving deep within the psyche and you are likely to re-emerge from the depths with some kind of spiritual gift.
Angelic correspondence: Archangel Azrael
Zodiac sign: Scorpio
Chakra: Second chakra
Colour: Brown, black, dark red, grey, purple
Crystal: Tiger’s eye, Garnet, Diamond, Opal, Lodestone, Jet, Ruby
Metals: Iron, tungsten
Body: Sex drive, elimination of toxins, defecation, reproduction, haemoglobin levels
Exercise: Sat Kriya Yoga for raising sexual energy
Stance: Hero’s pose
Magickal Tool/Ingredient: Any tools/ingredients associated with psychic ability or assisting deep transformation/crossing over
Associated Minor Arcana Cards:
5 of Cups (Mars in Scorpio). Healing by having the courage to explore grief and pain to the outer/inner limits and to truly feel what the heart wants to feel. The 5 of Cups sometimes indicates the ‘5 stages of grief,’ especially together with Death. And it can be an indication that a client has unprocessed grief blocking the flow of chi/prana.
6 of Cups (Sun in Scorpio). Healing comes from connecting the dots from the past and also from letting go of the past and living in the now.
7 of Cups (Venus in Scorpio). Healing is found through sobriety and keeping a clear mind by taking a lot of fresh air as this card indicates a state of confusion and/or intoxication.
Knight of Cups – The Scorpio Knight (Air of Water) is the master of the sublimation of sexual energy into artistic expression. Not a single serenade has been written without the assistance of the energy of this archetype. Allow your pain and heartache to inspire you to unashamedly open your heart in lyrical expression. Yes, you may cringe when you read it a year or even a month later… but that’s not the point. The point is to allow what is to open you up completely from the inside, for an open heart is always beautiful.
Remedies to increase the energy of Death in your life
- You can make a tarot essence to harness and increase the energy of the Death card, using a card from the deck of your choice, along with any of the crystals above that you feel drawn to work with
- Meditate on your moment of death and transition into the Light
- Write about 2-3 times in your life when your life changed so drastically that you became a new version of yourself. Write from a feeling perspective, without judging or analysing. You may be surprised by the depth of understanding you gain!
- Release the past
- Release your personality self
- Dive deep into the occult sciences
- Think about what really turns you on, and examine it in your mind without judging or acting on it. Just allow thoughts and images to take you where they want to take you. If your breathing speeds up (a sign of excitement), simply slow it down and allow the excitement to subside
- Learn Tantra
- Come up with a power name for yourself, an alias you can invoke when you feel under pressure in the face of change
- Plant a yew tree
- Practice holding someone’s gaze until they yield
- Keep certain facts to yourself in order to have the upper hand
Balancing, grounding and banishing the influence of the Death card
- Watch a comedy
- Solve a mathematical problem
- Come clean about something you’ve kept secret out of shame
- Learn to laugh at yourself
- Practice abstinence
- Practice sobriety
- Give away some items that you hold onto out of sentimental value
- Cease all relationship power plays and game-playing
Affirmation: “All change is good.”
Angelic Invocation to Archangel Azrael
Blessed Archangel Azrael, thank you for carrying me safely through all of life’s transitions. Help me remember my mortality without fear so that I can live fully. Amen and so it is!
Love and Relationships
It has to be said that seeing the grim reaper appear in a love and relationship reading rarely leads to outbursts of joy by the Seeker. However, not all Death card imagery focuses on the actual physical death/ending aspect.
Some decks display more of the process of transformation, such as the butterfly leaving its chrysalis. It could be a sign that the relationship is about to go to the next level. But prepare for some birthing pains before that can happen.
However, it is important to remember that Arcanum XIII can mean the actual physical death of someone. If this is not something you wish to see in a relationship reading, please make sure to inform your Spirit Team.
Astrologically, the Death card corresponds to Scorpio and the Element of Fixed Water. Physically, Scorpio relates to the genitals (as well as any process of elimination) so there is no denying the sexual nature of this card.
In psychological terms, Death/Scorpio is where Eros (the sex drive) and Thanatos (the death drive) meet. Nature is clever that way. She makes sure we reproduce before we pop our clogs.
Scorpio has a long memory and neither forgives nor lets go easily. However, it is exactly letting go that is the big lesson when this card shows up. The time for change has come and resistance is futile.
Endings and new beginnings
It often means the end of a relationship but sometimes it means that you have both undergone a massive transformation, whereupon you will be ready to take the relationship to the next level. In the latter case, it will often happen through some cataclysmic/cathartic event.
Perhaps it is a loss that transforms each of you and makes a total relationship makeover possible. Or it could be an illness or losing your job. This means transformation through adaptation. Both of you have to adapt to your new circumstances, helping or accepting assistance from your beloved. Surrounding cards will give more information on this.
However, if the Death card is the final card in a reading it almost always means that the relationship is over. This is also true if it shows up together with the 3 or 10 of Swords inside the reading. Another indication for Death together with the 3 of Swords is jealousy, especially with the Knight of Cups in the mix. Almost nothing kills love quicker than jealousy!
Single and looking
To a single person, the Death card can be an indication that the past needs to be buried before it is time to move on and start dating. It is a definite ‘No’ if the original question was ‘Is now a good time to start dating?’ Emotional healing is still needed. The good news is that the next time you start dating, you won’t be repeating the same old mistakes!
On the other hand, if Death is accompanied by Judgement and the Ace/2 of Cups, we could be looking at a soul mate love that has survived death. You are about to meet someone who will change your life permanently.
Death and sex
As you can probably imagine, the Scorpio energy of the Death card lends itself to exploring the power dynamics of dominance and submission. These types of explorations can be healing if you both do it in the light of conscious awareness rather than simply satisfy animal appetites. The Scorpio energies are extremely passionate, magnetic and seductive. Be aware that you could be playing with fire.
It also almost goes without saying that the Death card is connected with the kind of surrender to the moment necessary to achieve La Petite Mort (the little death) or orgasm.