Tarot reading › Major Arcana › Death
Tarot card meaning
change, opportunity, detachment, humility
The Death shows a skeleton with a scythe. Despite concerns this card is not a premonition of physical death, but it is primarily a symbol of life change. The old things leave to give way to something new. However, as many major life changes are accompanied by painful experiences, this frightening scene is justifiable here.
The skeleton (do not use the name Death on principle) walks across a black fertile field where the grains will soon begin to grow. This is the proof of how fruitful and positive period will follow. There are few limbs and male and female heads with a crown scattered on the field. These two heads point out that the first and most important change in life concerns our detachment from our parents.
During adulthood, almost everyone considers to stand on his own feet, or sometimes also whether to go study abroad. Such a step is usually the end of the current comfortable life and can be metaphorically expressed as the death of one life stage. The one which was ruled by mom and dad. From that moment on, there are no longer the king and the queen to dominate your life. But neither the strange skeleton is the ruler. He has no crown on his head and he only walks through the card.
There are many other examples, where this card can be applied. A significant opportunity for change could be a different job, where you can build up a new career. In partnership for example, there are different stages and turning points. Such a breakthrough moment is the wedding, that binds people together and provides a fertile ground for future harvest of love, help and understanding. At the same time it also closes the period of freedom and lower responsibility, which is sometimes as well associated with the direct influence of parents.
Unlike other cards, this one does not display any name and therefore the name "Death" is rather misleading. It is obvious, that much more accurately it could be called for example "Change". However, the skeleton is in our mind too closely linked to dying and suffering rather than to remind the change and birth of anything new.
However, the skeleton on this card is different. We cannot see a bare skeleton, but rather a bony figure partly covered by muscles. Thus, we see someone, who had to lose his appearance to gain a new form. It is possible, that in a few more steps he will have a real body and a new human face back in place.
Things in life are changing. Many are marginal but some essential. This card is a reminder of those very important ones, which can change you fundamentally (metaphorically "to the bone"). Do not get worried, when looking at the skeleton. You should accept this card with reason, not by heart. Your heart can work as an engine, but the direction of changes should rather given by your rational mind.
If the important balance in nature and life is to be maintained, something must always stop and leave, so that something new can come. At the end, all changes are to be accepted humbly.