Tarot Tutorial: Death Card Meaning
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Tarot Tutorial: Death Card Meaning

April 30, 2023 by PathForward
Fear not death! Learn the not-so-spooky meaning behind the Death Tarot Card.
Fear not death! Learn the not-so-spooky meaning behind the Death Tarot Card.

Dun, dun, DUN!!! It’s hard to think of a tarot card with a more ominous rep than this one. Whenever you see the Death card in a movie or TV show, it’s usually a sign -ish is about to get real. But does this card deserve its reputation? That depends on your feelings about change.

The Death card is less End of the World as We Know It by REM and more Changes by David Bowie. When the Death card appears in a reading, it’s time to turn and face whatever strange thing is going on right now. Like Death, the change in front of you is pretty much unavoidable. But your reaction to the changes in your life is entirely in your control.

Meaning of the Death Card in a Love Reading 

First, do not panic. At its most basic interpretation, the Death card in a love reading means a change in your relationship. Note we didn’t say bad change—or good change either. This is definitely a “check out the supporting cards in the rest of the reading” deal. Death paired with something like 4 of Wands might mean your boo is going ring shopping. Death and the 8 of Cups… yeah, they aren’t planning to stick around. Also, the Death card can indicate any sort of change in between these two extremes, like deciding to become exclusive (or deciding to open the relationship), a change in your schedules giving you more time together (or less), you get the gist.

If the Death card came up representing you in a love reading, you’ve had a change on your mind for a while. This is the Universe’s way of telling you to go ahead and do the thing. The change you’ve been contemplating is part of the growth the Universe intends for you. You probably have a fair bit of fear associated with the change (whether it’s an “OMG breakup” or “OMG marriage” change) but putting it off will not serve you. It’s much better to go forward.

If the Death card came up reversed, then you are definitely letting your fear of change override everything else. While thorough thinking about any big change is smart, letting fear take the driver’s seat in decision making isn’t. You’re def going to want to do a little self-reflection to understand why you are scared. Because if you make the change without addressing things fully, there’s a good chance of you subconsciously self-sabotaging your decision, even if you do go through with the change on the surface. This is Major Arcana territory, bestie. So a simple surface acknowledgement of your fear just won’t do here. Do the work, and see the growth happen both for yourself and your love life.

Meaning of The Death Card in a Future Reading

An unavoidable change is coming when you see the Death Card show up in a future reading. Maybe it’s a change you already knew about, like a graduation, starting a new job, or moving to a new city. Change can be exciting, but let’s be real… it can also be a little scary. Plus going towards the new shiny thing in your life typically means leaving something behind. Saying good-bye to good things is hard, even when you are moving towards something better. Honor the role those good things in your past played. They helped make you who they are, and made a good future possible.

If the Death card comes up representing you, some of those changes might be more internal. Maybe you are shifting from a more material mindset to a spiritual one (like by looking into things like tarot *cough*). Maybe you’re on the verge of an epiphany that will have you questioning an old assumption about life. Internal changes like this can be super disorienting, leading you to question a lot of other things in your life. Be curious about the answers, even when the asking feels awkward af. You’ll come out with a much better understanding of yourself and life in the end.

If the Death card shows up reversed in a future reading, consider this a call out from your deck. You’ve been doing your best to dodge or deny something, and maybe even have fooled yourself into thinking you’ll avoid it completely. Death reversed is telling you that not only that your attempts will be unsuccessful, but that you are making it much harder for yourself. We get it. Change is hard. Letting go of what’s known to embrace the unknown is scary. But acting like it’s not happening will not serve you. Get some outside support while you are going through it to help you adjust.

Meaning of The Death Card in a Career Reading

The status won’t be staying quo for long when you see the Death card in a career reading. Your workplace may be going through some big shifts—maybe a change in corporate philosophy or priorities, a change in management, or even a change in location. The main takeaway here is don’t get too used to the way things are atm. The surrounding cards can give you a clue about the nature of the change, so it’s best to be prepared to roll with whatever’s coming next—or decide to make changes of your own.

Believe it or not, this is one of the cards you want to see when asking about your chances for a new job or a whole career change. If you were looking to make a change and the Death card comes up repping you in a career reading, now is the time to go for it! If you haven’t been planning a change, seeing this card might be a nudge to ask yourself why. Are your needs being met where you are? Have you been thinking too small? Take a look at the surrounding cards to see what changes you could be making to be happier with your career path.

The Death card reversed isn’t the greatest card to see in a career reading. If you’ve read the previous sections, you already know that denial of reality or necessary changes is a big theme for this card in the reversed position. And in business, refusing to see what is there or change as the situation demands is usually Very Bad. The surrounding cards might have more to say about exactly what it is that is being avoided and how bad the fall out might be, so take a close look at them and plan accordingly.


Get a Professional Tarot Reading

Still wondering what you need to leave behind to embrace the big changes of the Death card? We gotchu! Our tarot experts have got the skills to go deep when you need answers about love, career, or anything else that’s been weighing on your mind. See how their insight can have you moving in the right direction to manifest the life of your dreams.


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