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The Death

Tarot Card Meaning

  • Upright Keywords:

    Transformation, Endings, Transition, Change, Renewal, Release, Metamorphosis

  • Reversed Keywords:

    Resistance, Fear of Change, Stagnation, Clinging to the Past, Delayed Transition, Inevitability, Unfinished Business


Death represents a significant change, the end of a chapter, and the beginning of a new one. It encourages us to let go of the past and embrace new opportunities. When reversed, it symbolizes resistance to change and personal growth.

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What Does the Death Tarot Card Mean?

Contrary to the ominous meaning most people without much tarot experience ascribe to Death, there’s nothing inherently bad about this card. In fact, most tarot reading experts online agree that it can be a very positive sign of a new big opportunity coming your way.

When we look at Death, we can see a skeleton wearing body armor riding a beautiful white horse. The skeleton symbolizes survival; the armor shows that death is unbeatable, and the horse represents the purity of life. This card is often misunderstood, and that’s the reason people often fear it. However, in reality, it stands for the transformation of life.

The Death Upright Tarot Card Meaning

In an upright position, the Death card symbolizes major life changes, endings, and transformations. If you draw Death, it means that you are either in the middle of a big transition or are about to experience one.

If that’s the case, don’t be afraid to face the change; while it’s always intimidating, you have nothing to worry about. There will be new opportunities ahead once you let go of the past. Death reminds us that no matter how difficult it can be to embrace change, we have to do that to grow.

The Death Tarot Card Meaning: Love & Relationships

The upright Death card expresses the ongoing relationship complications. It indicates that things among the partners are not going well. If you want to continue or improve your relationship, you need to put some effort into changing and lifting things up. Sometimes, this card also indicates the end of the relationship. It’s the transition from one love story to another one.

Death Meaning: Money & Career

If you’re not satisfied with your career and things are not moving in the right direction, upright Death indicates a career change. That means you need to put an end to the frustration and should stop following your old career path. The current career might be offering you stability and safety, but it’s eating you from the inside, and you need to change it. Once you close this door, the next door will be opened for you, which will offer you more comfort and new opportunities.

Suppose you’re struggling with money or experiencing a financial loss of any kind. In that case, Death in an upright position is a sign of the transformation of your relationship with the money. This card indicates a lesson from this situation, which will help you tackle your money problems.

Upright Meaning: Past

If you draw Death when asking the tarot deck about your past, it points to a period of big transformation you had at some point in your life. The card is trying to remind you of a situation when you had the courage to let go of familiar things and embrace the unknown ahead. Chances are, you will soon need that courage again.

The Death Reversed Tarot Card Meaning

The reversed Death card meaning is also a transformation, but the difference is that it points to the changes you’ve been avoiding and showing resistance to. If you draw Death in a reversed position, you are probably guilty of resisting change and clinging to the past even when it no longer serves you. Sounds familiar? Then, know that the deck encourages you to explore what is holding you back and find a way to let go of it. Once you do, good things will start happening.

The Death Tarot Card Meaning: Love & Relationships

Suppose your relationship has come to a stop where you’re no longer getting from it what you need. In that case, the reversed Death card indicates that you can revive this relationship by putting in dynamic efforts. You or your partner (or both of you) are probably resisting the necessary change, which is the reason for your relationship problems. Talk things through and find a way to change what needs to be changed. Otherwise, your relationship is pretty much doomed.

Death Meaning: Money & Career

You’re not doing well in a job or business but still hold onto that job. This resistance isn’t serving you, and you need to accept the change for a better career. Unless you admit that you are in a period of stagnation and find a way to move forward, things will keep getting progressively worse. The Death card is trying to warn you that you need to let go of your fear of change ASAP.

Reversed Meaning: Past

Go back in time and think of a situation in your past when you were resisting change out of fear of the unknown. Was this ever the case? If the answer is yes, you need to reflect on that situation and analyze your feelings at the time. Reversed Death is trying to prevent such stagnation from happening to you again, and your job is to cooperate.

Is Death a Yes or No Card?

Upright Death Meaning: Yes or No

If you draw Death in an upright position when asking a yes or no question, the answer is a gentle no. The deck is trying to communicate that it might be time for you to let go of the situation you are asking about and find the courage to move in a new direction. If you keep clinging to what you are used to, new opportunities won’t have a chance to present themselves.

Reversed Death Meaning: Yes or No

Reversed Death as a response to a yes or no question is also a no, albeit with a different nuance. It implies that what you are hoping for can happen, but it won’t until you change something you need to change. Basically, it’s a no that can turn into a yes once you put in the necessary work. Think of the steps you need to take and, most importantly, don’t be afraid to actually take them.

Reading Death in a Spread

Now, let’s explore common tarot combinations with Death and what they mean:

The Tower. If you draw Death and The Tower together, get ready for a major upheaval. As you already know, Death represents the end of a big stage in your life. In turn, The Tower is a sign of a sudden disruptive change. Buckle up!

The Lovers. As you can probably guess, the combination of Death and The Lovers predicts a big change in your love life. Either your current relationship will take a completely new turn (or end altogether), or, if you are single, you won’t be for long. In any case, you will soon have to make a choice related to your love life, and it will have long-term consequences.

The Empress. If you draw Death and The Empress, it’s a good sign. As the symbol of renewal and creation, The Empress shows that once you end what needs to be ended, a fresh start will be right around the corner, and it will be a very promising one.

The Sun. The combination of Death and The Sun is also a very positive one. Whatever it is you have to put an end to, it will eventually lead to joy and happiness.

The Moon. The Moon is the card that represents the unconscious, including your dreams. So, the change that Death stands for will require some serious self-exploration on your part. Don’t shy away from your most emotional and vulnerable parts.

The Death Tarot Guide

The Death Tarot Card Meaning