Death, numbered 13 in most decks, is usually depicted by a skeleton or reaper riding a white horse or on foot, sometimes with the sun or moon rising behind him.
Death is surrounded by dying people of all castes/classes, from commoners to nobility; a woman looks on, distraught by the fall of the king. The reaper often carries scythe or a flag emblazoned with a rose signifying life, set against a gray background, which many think symbolizes uncertainty. A child can sometimes be seen in some versions of the card, which can mean curiosity or
Freeing himself from the tree where he was hung, clearing his head of visions, the Fool continues his journey on the road of life. He walks through a field in winter, the trees bare and the fields barren, he feels somehow empty. As the sun rises he comes upon Death, mounted on a white steed. Death stops as the Fool approaches him and the Fool inquires of him, “Am I dead?”, Death tell him that in a way, he is, he has lost his former self and life.
The Fool begins to cry, and excuses himself for this, Death tells him that it is natural to mourn his loss, and he must do so in order to be receptive to new things. The foliage must wilt and leave the trees branches bare before new growth can begin. Death continues on his way and the Fool, considering what he has been told, understands the truth, that he is like the skeleton, stripped down to bone so that a new transformation can take place.
Death doesn’t refer to the physical death but instead usually to a major life change, a rebirth spiritually. It can mean an end to something as well, a relationship or a conflict, clearing the path of old issues and making way for a new journey. Death does not discriminate, and there will be sorrow, but it will make way for joy. Querents often fear the Death card, but most of the time it is more a symbol of hope than something to be worried about.
When the death card shows up in a reading, the querent should step back and really think about all the things going on in their life, and tie up any loose ends, and clear away any unfinished business. It’s also a time for re-evaluating one’s routine and goals in life. Now is the time to come to terms with these changes and learn from them. It is a time to move on from any losses and look toward the future.
Rebirth, inescapable change, transition, sadness, loss, transformation, leaving behind old ways, regeneration, creation, end of a cycle, deep change, good-byes, conclusion, change, spiritual renewal, change or growth, sex, attaining a higher level.
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