13 - Death Print E-mail
Interpretations - Major Arcana

Ο Θάνατος


This is a misunderstood card. Before starting my analysis, I feel I need to stress in the most explicit and definite way that the Death tarot card DOES NOT predict actual, physical death. All tarot cards are illustrated with archetypical symbols and shouldn't be interpreted literally. Therefore, the Death card, despite its ominous illustration of the skeleton on his horse dispersing death and terror, symbolizes the painful ending of a situation. Something in our life is "dying" in order to give way to something new. 

General Meaning
Death symbolizes all the painful but necessary changes that happen in life. It is the card of painful transformation. When you get this card in a spread, it's time to accept that it's over. No matter how painful it is, you have to accept that endings are necessary in life. Progress and improvement won't come if you cling on to what's already dead.

Nothing is easy when the Death card appears. There's pain, loss, pessimism and drastic and radical change in routine or environment. But in the background of the illustration, a bright sun rises. You need to accept the natural circle of life. The sooner you realize that this pain will soon transform itself into an opportunity, the sooner your recovery will start. On the contrary, you will suffer greater damage if you refuse to accept reality. Embrace the pain. It may be difficult but it's the only way. You will soon find relief in something new.

In negative position
The meaning is the same as above.

If the Death card appears reversed, it indicates that the suffering is prolonged. The symbolic Death never comes. Redemption is still far way. A dying or sick situation is allowed to live a little longer and so is the torture. This refusal may come from a very deep fear of change. This card shows that you are only sabotaging your progress by prolonging the pain, anguish, oppression, lack of satisfaction. It's a dead-end situation and you know it. It's time to let go. Greater resistance will only bring greater pain...


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