The Death Tarot Card Meaning Upright and Reversed

Death Tarot Card Meaning – Major Arcana XIII

The Death Tarot Card Keywords:

Upright: Deep changes, Loss, Failure, End of a situation or friendship, Loss of income or financial security, Illness.

Reverse: Stagnation, Immobility, Slow changes, Partial change, serious accident to avoid, Inertia.

The Death Tarot Card has great significance in the Major Arcana Trumps set. When appearing in its upright position, it indicates imminent changes in your future. These can occur in almost any aspect of your life, but surely they will be permanent, significant and absolute. Death suggests a complete separation between the past and the future and will most likely be sudden and therefore painful.

Despite the sense of loss that may accompany it, Death fulfills a natural and essential role in life that eventually leads to acceptance. It’s necessary to keep moving forward, understanding that changes are more manageable if you accept them instead of fighting against them. When death pays a visit, some of the possible interpretations that this card introduces in a spread are expected to be the end of a close friendship, a job, a marriage, or even a life in the literal or symbolic sense.

On the other hand, when The Death Tarot card appears inverted, it loses all the positive aspects that it shows when it appears Upright. However, its central message lies in the complications of fighting change. The circumstances will change, as Heraclitus said: “No man steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man” and Death knows it because each of its visits symbolizes significant events that will set a landmark.

Read on to discover the Death Tarot card meanings in the upright and reversed positions in terms of love, health, work and money.

Description of the Death Tarot Card

The Death Tarot card is one of the most controversial because we’ve charged it with many negative connotations. However, by studying its symbolism and meaning, we’ll understand that not everything death brings is negative and that in fact, it’s necessary for life.

In the Rider-Waite deck, the Death Tarot card is one of the densest regarding symbolic content. The letter shows a skeleton dressed in armor. This implacable knight rides on a white steed, the color of purity, wearing a black banner, which indicates the absence of light, on which a Mystic Rose stands out as a symbol of resurrection, beauty, purification, and immortality.

At the horses’ feet, a king corpse appears on the floor, defeated, dead. On the one hand, it indicates the inevitability of death, on the other we are all equal against it. It doesn’t matter your status, money, age or the race. The figure of the king also demonstrates the absurd struggle of the ego against the inevitable. In the end, the king dies, no matter how much has he fought against it.

A gray and clear sky, announces the uncertainty before future events. Death will visit us all, sooner or later. In the background, you can glimpse the Forbidden City, wrapped in the light of a shining sun full of hope because it is a sign of immortality. The sun seems to “die” every night, but it is reborn every morning.

That city is the final destination of the road marked in the Major Arcana that began in the Fool, Trump number 0. This city is depicted closely in the arcane XVIII The moon; some point out that this could be the world of the dead, others point out that it’s Jerusalem.

Returning to the main scene, the Bishop prays, but there is no case, he, the damsel and the child, no matter how innocent, pure and pious they may be, we all at some point suffer the same fate as the King. That’s why the bishop represents faith in the divine plan and facing death with the security of someone who knows that it is a preliminary step to spiritual realization.

The maid is somewhat evasive to understand reality. He turns his innocent face as if wanting to ignore that change is imminent. She is slightly afraid of facing death, but she won’t fight against it, as the monarch did. On the other hand, the child, with sheer ingenuity, surrenders to death, he even greets it with flowers, for his curiosity is bigger than his fears.

The river is also of great importance because, as we mentioned before, they represent the constant change and fluidity of things. Is this the Acheron River that leads to Hades and of which Dante Alighieri wrote in The Divine Comedy? Will that ship be Caron? The only possible thing is to be prepared to accept the changes that will come because once you’ve stepped into that door, there’s no turning back…

The Death Tarot Card and its astrological compatibility:

Each zodiac sign is governed by a Tarot card of the Major Arcana. In the case of the Death Tarot Card, it rules Scorpio through the power of transformation.

Scorpio is the sign of the zodiac of all those born between October 23 to November 22. As we all know, this water sign is represented by a Scorpion. Passionate and often associated with death, not as we usually assume it but a representation of death as a regenerative power and positive transformation.

This astral sign ruled by Pluto, the underworld master, make Scorpios natives intuitive and emotionally intense. But, just like an arachnid arthropod, with a poisonous sting in its tail, it’s better not having them as enemies, because a wounded Scorpio never forget, never.

In the same way, with just a look at Death Tarot card, we seem to have stumbled upon evil personified. A skeleton on the back of a horse, and a dead man on the ground, there’s not much else to say, right?

However, it isn’t as bad as it seems. What the Death Tarot card refers to is about transformation, reminding us we must be willing to let go of the past to embrace new opportunities. Likewise, those born under the sign of Scorpio symbolize liberation and rebirth.

The skeleton represents what will remain after death. And his armor reminds us what is invincible and cannot be destroyed. Likewise, the scorpion has an exoskeleton that protects it from threats also making it look threatening. This symbolism challenges us to see beyond death as we know it and to focus on our ability to reinvent ourselves.

The beauty of destruction: Death, the only path to resurrection

“Death is the only certainty in life,” no phrase can summarize it better. But death does not necessarily have to be seen as a loss of body functions. Death is the only path to resurrection.

The promise of a spiritual world, full of joy and happiness that awaits us by overcoming our earthly bonds, often represented by our appetites, habits and finally by our physical bodies, is one of the main constants present in all religious creeds.

There are many ways to die, and growing up is one of them. The constant change towards maturity, which leads to death at the end of our days, also brings novelty to the construction of new versions of ourselves in each stage.

We must overcome the fear of death, and change by accepting them as part of life. In the Marseille, tarot, death is often presented even without a name or, unlike the other Trumps, with only a side small reference. We don’t even want to mention it. We even mark it with the symbol 13, traditionally of bad luck, but it’s inevitable whether you want it or not, we cannot, nor should we, escape.

How to interpret the symbolic world of the Death Trump

This arcane represents death, but not as a physical phenomenon, but as an inner transformation that will forcefully bring the dissolution of old relationships. You have to cut the cords and ties; you have to free the imprisoned from their bonds.

This process brings pain because the destruction and the loss of bonds generates a lot of sadness, melancholy, and depression. By breaking apart, you’ve won half the battle moving towards victory; the more significant the desire to cling to old relationships, the harder it’s to accept death.

Like the Phoenix takes flight once the fire has consumed it, reducing it to ashes, the energy from a breakup, a loss, or a separation will generate changes and transformations in your life.

This cards spiritual message comes with the necessary destruction to produce transformation, and teach us about the constant movement of creation. Expressed on the earthly and spiritual plane, the circle of life, and the idea of renovation death awaits to grow from each seed. On the intellectual plane, the ascension of the Spirit to the divine spheres. On the physical plane, natural death, that is, the transformation of human matter that reunites again with Mother Nature.

Upright Death Tarot Card Meaning:

Upright Death Tarot Card Meaning – Major Arcana XIII
Upright Death Tarot Card

The Death Tarot Card indicates us that the time has come to face a definitive break with the past, there is a new beginning ahead.

Yes this change can be traumatic if we fight it, as it happened to the king who has died in his attempt to resist this force of nature. It can also be, in some way, a desired or accepted transformation, as it happens to the bishop who awaits his turn.

There is a possibility that when this card appears on a spread it communicates the death of a person or a severe illness. It doesn’t necessarily have to be about the person consulting the cards, but it could be a close and dear person.

However, it is important to note that usually, the Death tarot card implies a hard to accept change in our situations and circumstances: moving, leaving a job and the start a different one, ending a toxic relationship, are typical situations indicated by the skeletal figure.

It is, in any case, the end of a cycle, the renewal that comes through the transformation of the matter, that transition towards a new state in any aspect, whether it’s physical, psychological or emotional.

The meaning of the Upright Death Trump when it comes to:


Positive changes in romantic relationships, marriage. For singles: a new love will appear, you will find or live the ideal lover. Changes in lifestyle, new beginnings.


Recovery from illness, vitality, positive health changes.


Positive changes in practice, developing new ideas or projects, power of conviction, increase in salary or job, excellent support from coworkers.


Good time, for investments, luck in the game, inheritances.

Reversed Death Tarot Card Meaning:

Reversed Death Tarot Card Meaning (Inverted) – Major Arcana XIII
Reversed Death Tarot Card

Inverted Death Card usually it’s not about “Life,” but about something that hinders that transformation or change death usually brings with its scythe. We may be postponing a situation we need to overcome. Or that this situation we believe imminent, and necessary, won’t happen just yet.

Death can also warn of a needed change that won’t occur. We will have to continue living with our ghosts and problems. There won’t be a new rebirth until we accept the change, and even then it will come preceded by pain. We must examine whether the cause of this situation is our passivity and pessimistic vision of the future.

Inverted Death, in short, may mean a painful situation of change that we do not want to face.

The meaning of the Inverted Death Trump when it comes to:


Sudden changes in the couple’s relationship, breaks. Deception, ruptures, changes in attitude towards marriage and living together.


Small crisis or health problems. Slow recovery from illnesses.


Need to change jobs, to innovate. Need to change your attitude, improve your skills or work harder to be considered for a promotion.


Significant losses of cash, bad investments, avoid lending money because it won’t return.

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The Death Tarot Card Meaning Upright and Reversed
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The Death Tarot Card Meaning Upright and Reversed
The Death Tarot Card has great significance in the Major Arcana Trumps set. Discover why not everything death brings is negative and that in fact, it’s necessary for life. Read on to discover the Death Tarot card meanings in the upright and reversed positions in terms of love, health, work and money.
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