Death – Meanings & Interpretation – Major Arcana

Death Meaning In A Tarot Reading

The grim skeletal figure on a pale horse, looking over the field where many lie dead and dying. They do not all represent people, but situations. Change is inevitable, and the grim specter is its herald.

Jobs may end, relationships may move on, friendships end, life is full of changes, some of them positive, some of them not so much.

All of them are the purview of the death tarot card in the Major Arcana of the Rider Waite deck.

Death Tarot Card Meanings – Upright


There is a cessation in your future, but it will be a welcome one. The reaper comes to begin the transformation of a negative situation to a positive one, it is clearing the land, perhaps rendering it fallow so that a new beginning can sprout from it.

Past Events:

You have recently passed through a time of endings, but that time is over. It has been a time of transformation and metamorphosis, and it’s time to come out of your chrysalis and transform.

It has been a painful, confusing, and trying time, but it’s time to burst into the future!

Present Events:

These times may be trying, as the force of change moves through your life, but know that this is temporary and needed. Do your best to embrace the change, and it’s opening of a new chapter in your life.

Future Events:

Your current situation may seem difficult, perhaps even over-bearing, but the sweeping change of death is coming. The situation is going to come to an end, and when it does it will bring relief, the refreshing fall of spring rain to wash away the past.

Death Tarot Card Meanings – Reversed


death reversed

There is change coming, like a storm at sea, like a hurricane, and its herald is devastating. The pale horse is coming and will leave a burning path in his wake, and all one can do is build on the ashes of the past.

Past Events:

You have just come through a trying time, and your life seems like it’s in ruins, but take heart, those times are over and the time of rebuilding can begin. It has been hard to deal with, and you may have been stretched to the point of exhaustion, but you can start moving forward now.

Present Events:

All is in flux, everything is changing and it is hard. You may feel like you can’t get a handle on everything, like all the changes are happening at once. They are, and when all is said and done nothing will be the same afterwards. Put your head down and push through the hurricane force winds, this period cannot last forever.

Future Events:

Dark clouds are on the horizon, and the crows sit in their trees with their forboding calls. The future smells of smoke and desolation, and there is little hope that the coming changes will happen smoothly.

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Prepare your shelter, get your ducks in a row, and prepare to ride out the oncoming storm.  There is no stopping what’s coming, there is only surviving it.

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