Friday, July 12, 2024

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. Death card does not represent people but situations. Change is inevitable, and the grim specter is its herald. Jobs may end, relationships may move on, friendships end, and life is full of changes, some positive, and some 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. Please do your best to embrace the change and its opening of a new chapter in your life.

Future Events:

Your current situation may seem difficult, perhaps even overbearing, but the sweeping change of death is coming. The situation will 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

Change is 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 afterward. 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 foreboding calls. The future smells of smoke and desolation, and there is little hope that the coming changes will happen smoothly.

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 survival.

Associated Colors:

Green for Growth and Change

Meditation For Death – Upright

This tarot meditation on the Death card upright will focus on the benefits of change and transformation. It talks about the positive things that happen when life turns a page and lets go of the past. As you settle in for the meditation, let yourself become open to change, alteration,n, and transformation.

You will wake up on a hillside in the shade of a great oak on a hot summer’s day. Around you, the crops are high, soon to be ready to be harvested. Standing next to you is a shepherd, watching over the flock that also stands below.

He smiles quietly at you and offers you his hand. Standing, you take his hand, and he begins to lead you down the hill. As you walk, the day starts passing at a rapid rate, day, tonight, today, like the flicking of a light switch.

Tarot Meditation Techniques For Death Upright Card

You watch as the crops ripen and the days slow down. It is now fallen, and the shepherd is older. His crook has become a cane. He watches as people move through the fields down below and reap the crops that are finally ripe.

The day is cold, and the bite of winter is in the air, and he leads you into an orchard. As you walk through, you can see apples left on the orchard floor, bruised and worm-eaten.

The days start to flicker again, rapidly moving forward, frost coats the ground and then thaws as morning comes, and frosts over, and thaws again. Each time it thaws less and less quickly, lasting longer into the morning, until it just stays, a permanent frost.

The Apples burst with rot and decay into puddles on the orchard floor. Not long after, the snow starts to fall. The day slows, and you find yourself back at the edge of the orchard.

The snow has fallen and is now thick about your legs. You can feel its cold-biting nature and the heavy sleep that tries to set in as the cold goes deep. In the field ahead of you, a weak ram stumbles in the snow, his bleats quiet and strained, and finally, he can’t go on and collapses.

The man next to you is no longer a man but the specter of death in his black robes and osseous countenance. His cane has become a scythe. He walks forward, releases the spirit of the ram from its body, and collects it in a satchel at his waist.

March of Change

He looks at you, and you can feel the inevitable march of change, but then the days are spinning again, and the man disappears the winter passes, and the snow melts away. When the cycling stops, you find yourself again in the orchard. It is a cool but pleasant spring day.

There is the sound of bleating lambs from the field and on the ground before you can see the sprout of a new apple tree. Looking up, you wonder where the older adult is.

The cry of a newborn draws your eye, and a bough is hanging from a tree. The ruddy-skinned, golden hair of a newborn swaddled in wraps of green greets your eye. It all begins again. The ever-changing wheel of time has turned.

Come out of the tarot meditation of the death card, and take your time contemplating the meaning of positive change, the ever-turning wheel of the seasons, and how the old clears the way for the new.

Perhaps there is a message here for you. Write it in your journal to review later. Remember, if nothing changes, nothing changes, and the future cannot exist in stasis.

Associated Colors:

Red for destruction

Meditation For Death – Reversed

This tarot meditation of the Death card reversed will focus on the concept of violent change. It talks about the blade of death’s scythe touching on your life and taking you along with it.

Painful change is the purview of this, unwelcome and devastating. As you focus on this, feel the fear of change, the rumble of hurricanes, and the torrents of fires out of control.

You will find yourself upon a cliff face overlooking the ocean. The waves are crashing heavily upon the rocks below, and the skies are a steely angry grey. In the distance, you see the oncoming funnel of a hurricane. It’s whipping and howling its way across the briny deep towards the shore.

Turning your head to the shore, you can see a small town overlooking the ocean. The wind has already done its damage there, tearing the roofs off the houses and causing fires.

The people of the town are running, holding their loved ones close to them as they evade the storm, seeking storm shelters and other places to hide. You see a man crushed inside a barn as it collapses while he tries to save his livestock.

On the opposite horizon, you see the line of a force of marching men, and you know that they come to finish what the storm will leave.

The storm rages, and the army marches and all is laid in desolation. The fields of the town lay in burning ruins. What hasn’t been stolen has been destroyed.

Tarot Meditation Techniques For Death-Reversed Card

The harbor by the town is full of ships now caved in and sunken, little more than tombstones to the once-mighty fleet that fished these shores.

Once all passes, you see the survivors who start to crawl their way out of the ocean below. There is much weeping for that which was lost, much anger for the things that were taken.

But after it, the people gather closer together to repair, bury the dead, and mourn together. It is full of sorrow, but the community comes together to bear it and move forward into the future.

As you watch them recover, please think of the time in your life when all was stripped away, when all was made bare, and nothing but sorrow followed in its wake.

That time passed, and if it has happened recently, it will pass. If there is a lesson in this card for you, record it in your journal and think about it in this death card meditation. Take comfort in it. The future is always brighter, and it’s always darkest before the dawn.

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