Death Tarot Card
The Death card is often frowned upon, just as the sign of Scorpio can be cast aside in Astrology as the “dark one” and the “one to destroy life”. Still, there is no life without death, no conception without Scorpio, and no new beginnings without endings of some kind. This card announces change, shows us where the energies became stagnant and need to be cut off, shake loose, so we can freely move on with our lives ready to let go of the past. The spasm of holding on to emotions that once were can create a toxic atmosphere in life that makes us emotionally, mentally and physically unhealthy. A card with such a clear intent shows us to let them die, to let things fade, get spent, be old, and embrace the natural order and cycle this life has, so we can open our gates for new and refreshing cycles, energies, relationships and paths from any area of life. There is no compromise where this card is set, in its upright or reversed position, for it always means that inevitable outcomes include release of what needs to be let go, with our blessing (upright) or against our will (reversed). It forces us to give up on everything superficial to focus on the core and the fundamental basis of any issue.
The card of Death is known to complete the card of Strength as its feminine counterpart, this one relying on stability of control and the deep sexual drive more than pleasure itself. With this in mind, its love stories are extremely intense, impossible to tame, and driven by magnetic attraction that cannot be avoided. Emotional lessons that come from such bonds are grand, deep, and key lessons we are to learn in this body and this lifetime. It may be difficult to keep the romance going with this symbol to complete the image, but with enough freedom, it announces deep personal change that comes through relationships of love, uncompromising, passion and devotion.
Career is the area of life that bears the nature of Death card easier than others, for it usually requires less emotional turns and changes. It shows that some parts of our professional world have become stale and toxic, even rotten, and brings change that is necessary for the Soul to grow. It may also remind us of existential fears and face us with financial issues that we wish to avoid, simply because it asks for purity of heart and intent and the love of the material world cleansed and free of prejudice. It won’t allow our image to remain tainted, and shows us the path right out of the darkness when we are ready to face it and deal with it fully responsible for our own progress.
The card of Death comes after the Hanged Man and after certain tools and knowledge about healing have already been gathered. It shows deeply rooted fears in us, things that are inevitable and carries the energy of healing that is unquestionable and reachable for each physical body on the planet. Speaking of the natural part of the cycle of life, it brings a strange sort of “negative balance”, pointing out blockages in our emotional world that led to serious health issues as we tossed aside our own inner child, thinking we are protecting our heart. This card leads us on the path of ultimate faith in the Universe's intent, and may announce an energetic healer or show the need for family constellations and working with the dead to get our ancestors in order and understand the core of our issues better.
When the Death card is reversed, it shows our lack of readiness to adapt and accept change, showing how weak we may become in front of our own shadows and the fears we have been nurturing our entire lives. It shows how things end due to wrong choices, passionate moves that have no healthy emotional foundation, and all those things governed by the river of ancestors rather than our authentic Self and our own heart. Upright or reversed, it speaks of inevitability of certain cycles, but when turned upside-down, it shows our resistance to the natural order of things and our inability to accept the deepest energetic twist that must happen as we let go of egocentric needs to replace them with healthy, authentic Self.
Death Time Line
Past - This card seems to be past-friendly and we all enjoy seeing it behind us, showing us how deep and important our processes were even though we didn’t give them as much value at the time. The flow of life seems to be in a new order, and Death speaks of endings that couldn’t have been avoided, things we are to forgive ourselves for, and the personal growth we managed to accomplish on our path by facing difficulties or things that are hard to accept for others. It is the point where we differ from everyone else, and the shadows we overcame by bravery, in solitude and a deep contact with Nature.
Present - When it appears in our reading for this moment in time, this card speaks of letting go, similar to the Hanged Man but with even less room to maneuver. Things in our lives are inevitable as they are already a part of our emotional world and ready to be grounded and manifested, just as they are. It may show a deep change coming to its end, and announces lighter and freer times ahead of the road, once we are done with the skin-shedding, time-consuming, self-recognition process that everything in our life has led to.
Future - The card of Death seems a bit frightening when set in our future, but when we think about it, it represents the most natural order of things a reading could show. With this in mind, such a role in a layout tells us something important that needs to be faced and shows us how our fear might shape our circumstances just as our bravery might. In a way it is a warning, but more of a reminder of our own relationship with life than the future risk of anything destructive that isn’t in fact a healthy process of letting go. Speaking of inevitable change, there is really not much philosophy to it, as it shows endings in our life. Still, its impact in a reading is of great importance, for it reminds the person about their purest set of priorities.
Skipping straight to the point where death itself is faced, some decks in the past have shown this card as “The Card with No Name” or “Rebirth” to reduce its effect of triggering fear and to demystify it while taking away its realistic role. However, it always depicted a reaper, dead people or skeletons, and however it might have been named, the symbolism always stood for one simple thing that is inevitable in everyone's life - change. In certain versions, this card has been depicted by Hades, the god of the underworld, or a woman with wings bathing in fire, posing for rebirth and showing how our sensitive side accompanied by faith helps us rise from the ashes, like a phoenix.
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