XIII. Death



A partially-shadowed white figure with long, flowing hair leans forward. One eye, covered by the shadow, is red and the other eye is blue. A red vine appears to be forcing its way into the person’s back, and four yellow and blue flowers emerge from a large hole in their chest. The background is black and gray.

Key words

Upright: ending, transition, rebirth, transformation

Reversed: fear, resisting change, purging

Reflection questions

  • How can I embrace the uncertainty and potential of change, even when it feels uncomfortable or scary?
  • Which areas of my life could benefit from transformation or change?
  • What is an area of my life that is coming to a close? What can I learn during this process?

Death Upright

Contrary to what many who are new to tarot fear, the Death card does not indicate a literal death. It is about transformation, usually with a positive outcome. Change can be uncomfortable, but we must let go of things that do not serve us so we can make room for new life. Take time to reflect on what you really want in life, and what stands in the way of you getting there. You may need to let go of a relationship, job, physical possessions, or something else that is weighing you down. Rather than framing this as a potential loss, ask yourself what you are making room for.

Death Reversed

The Death card is about change, and it can show up in reverse when you’re feeling stuck. You might be unable to let go of a person, attachment, or material object because you fear change, and it’s holding you back. Alternatively, Death in reverse can mean you’re going through a personal change but are not ready to share the details yet. You don’t have to tell your story before you’re ready. You’ve done the real work, and you can share it with others at your own pace.