The Death Tarot Card Meaning

What does the Death Tarot card mean?

Death can mean both an end and a change in your life.

At the same time, a new beginning is connected with this message.

Don’t be afraid. Death can reveal helpful things about you.

The Death Tarot Card Meaning

The Death Keywords

Upright: End, Transition, Change, Acceptance
Reversed: Fear, Loss, Rigidity, Erasure

The Death Tarot Card Description

The Death Tarot card shows a skeleton riding on a horse. A symbolism that is very much based on the image of the apocalyptic riders and expresses the inevitability of death. The skeleton represents the transition from life to death.

The rider wears very solid armor, which makes Death unassailable and expresses his strength and determination, which he needs to transfer the souls of the dead from this world to the afterlife.

The horse he rides on is completely white and makes a very vital and strong impression, although it carries the weight of Death on its back. Death holds a black flag with a white rose on it in his left hand.

The five-petaled rose symbolizes the ever-recurring cycle of becoming and passing away as well as the constant change in our world of which life and death are inseparable and need each other.

The rider is thus a symbol of change in life and points out that death or extinction is at the same time the beginning of something new.

We further see that a person of high birth is lying dead on the ground, waiting for the rider to take care of his soul. Before the rider kneel a woman, a child and a clergyman. They pray for their own life or the life of the fallen.

However, death is not receptive to such requests but carries out its mission. No matter what position we have in life, gender, or age, death is inevitable for all of us and can not be avoided.

In the background, there is a body of water with a boat on it. It is the river Styx where the souls of the dead reach the underworld. For this, they need a boat, which carries them over the floods of the Styx.

On the right edge of the picture are two towers, between which the sun rises. That is also a symbol of the cycle of becoming and passing, which is constantly reflected in different ways in our lives.

Upright Death Tarot Card Meaning

The Death Tarot card is one of the most famous and, at the same time, most feared cards in the Rider/Waite Tarot deck. The fear is often based on the very explicit depiction of the death theme and impermanence.

The card does not predict our own deaths or the deaths of people who love us but, on a more abstract level, gives us clues on how to deal with the theme of impermanence.

The Death is very multifaceted in its meaning and, depending on the current situation in life, can initiate the transition into a new liberating phase of life. Death signals an end to our suffering or martyrdom, as is the case with the card of The Hanged Man.

Thus, you are urged to cast off the past and engage in your new phase of life. Letting go of old habits or relationships that you have acquired for years is a difficult process, but The Death encourages you to finally give them up to enter a new phase in your lives.

Death is also a sign of unforeseen misfortunes in life. Everyone, regardless of gender, age or wealth, experiences situations in his life that are unpredictable and very painful.

These are as much a part of our existence as pleasant and positive experiences. What is decisive is not the kind of life events but how you deal with or what you learn from them.

Especially in the case of serious life crises, it is important to realize that from now on, they belong to your biography and are therefore a part of yourself, just like all the beautiful life moments that you have experienced so far. As soon as we learn to accept and respect all the parts that make us up, we can swim along in the river of life without fear of sinking.

Change to something new is also a meaning of The Death Tarot card. That can mean external circumstances as well as internal changes.

External circumstances that suddenly change, for example, job loss or relationship breakups, force us to take action and adapt. We try to fill the void left behind with something new.

We then realize how urgent the change in our lives was and feel deep gratitude towards our new life change. Leaving inner attitudes behind is often a long process that requires a lot of strength and reflection.

But in a constantly changing world, we are required to question our inner attitudes and, if necessary, adapt to the new circumstances. Through a flexible mind, we can react to all challenges in life with composure.

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Upright Death Tarot Love Meaning


As a single, the Death card reveals that a new phase in your love life is beginning. Leave behind your sadness about a past relationship and open your heart to someone new.

Look forward and let go of the past to renew your inner self. Such renewal will help you to find a partner who will give you new perspectives and experiences in love. The Death means that an end is coming or has come in your love life.

That refers to feelings you felt for someone or a person for you. Such a break in feelings is completely natural in love and saves you from entering into a cool relationship that is only a partnership of convenience.


In a partnership, The Death Tarot card indicates that an important phase in your relationship is coming to an end. In a larger sense, it can mean that your feelings for each other have gone out and thus the relationship is about to end.

In a narrower sense, it means that the first phase of infatuation has ended and it shows to what extent the partnership has endured in everyday life. Another aspect of The Death is the transition to a new phase of the relationship.

Especially if something changes fundamentally in your everyday life, for example, after marriage, the birth of a child or moving in together, your relationship life is completely turned upside down from one day to the next.

Your initial carefree love now gives way to a phase of common responsibility. Together you master the challenges lying ahead of you together.

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Upright Death Health Meaning

Although The Death Tarot card may seem scary at first, its meaning is more complex and encouraging. Regarding your health, it symbolizes a transition from a long period of illness to a period of slow regeneration.

Don’t lose heart if the recovery progress is barely noticeable at first because changes in health take some time. In addition, The Death can indicate that your health is severely affected by a sudden event.

IT is hard to avoid such strokes of fate, but you can significantly lessen their negative influence on your health by taking care of your body and mind in good times.

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Upright Death Career Meaning

In a career context, The Death represents an end to your previous job. Such an ending can be a resignation or a transfer to another field of work. But every ending is also a new beginning, so you should take the chance to grow with the new challenges ahead of you.

In addition, The Death indicates that you should completely reorient yourself since you see no further perspective in your current job. Now is the right time to think about taking the step into self-employment or which further education could help you on your new path.

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Upright Death Finances/Money Meaning

In a finance Tarot reading, The Death card means that you should finally say goodbye to a long-lasting investment. Instead of pumping in more and more money senselessly, you should reconsider your plans and rather accept a manageable loss.

At the same time, The Death indicates the beginning of a new phase in which you can reorganize and rebuild your finances from scratch. Especially if you start from scratch due to a stroke of fate, this is a wonderful opportunity to review your finances and set concrete goals for the future.

Think about which contracts you really need and how much money you can regularly put aside for bad days so that nothing can throw you off track.

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Upright Death Destiny Meaning

As a destiny card, The Death shows you that your life is in constant change. To grow from these transformations it is necessary to leave your old ego behind, to develop yourself anew.

Each end of a phase of life offers you the opportunity to start again, to learn from your mistakes and make new experiences that enrich your life.

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Upright Death Personality

As a personality card, Death represents someone who can accept things as they are. Through such an inner acceptance he can avoid much suffering.

In addition, Death shows a very versatile character who can cope and adapt even in difficult life situations.

Upright Death Tarot Past/Future


You cannot change your past but should instead learn to accept it as part of your biography with all its facets.

You should finally make peace with a matter that happened far in the past. Better a horrifying ending than a horror without end.


You are about to enter a new phase of life. You will have to leave some things behind, but at the same time, new paths will open up for you.

A far-reaching change in your everyday life announces itself. Therefore, be well prepared for some changes soon.

Upright Death Tarot Card – Yes or No

The Death card symbolizes a yes answer. A new beginning is connected with yes decision. Finally, leave the past behind you and dedicate yourself to your future, which is open to you.

Your decision will not be without losses, but in the long run, a yes answer will give you more advantages than disadvantages.

Reversed Death Tarot Card Meaning

Reversed Death Tarot Card Meaning

The Death Reversed often signals a great fear that you are feeling at the moment. Such fear is often existential in nature and causes our thinking and judgment to be significantly impaired.

Realize that your fear is often only caused by catastrophizing thoughts and is rarely truly life-threatening. Mindfully consider your thoughts and try to reframe them positively, actively looking for positive sides to your fears.

Fear in itself can protect us from great dangers and risks. The important thing is to strike a good balance between real and unrealistic threats in our thoughts.

The Death Reversed also symbolizes stagnation or resistance in a changing life situation. Instead of surrendering to the change of life, you try to resist this natural flow with all your might and stop the inevitable change.

As a result, instead of swimming along, you run the risk of being swept away and find it difficult to stay on the surface. The consequences are deep feelings of depression and fear, which become stronger the more you hold on to the past.

Let yourself go with the flow of life and do not cling to faded dreams and hopes. Then you have the opportunity to engage in new experiences and paths.

Furthermore, The Death Reversed Tarot card represents a final loss. Accepting that everything that surrounds us does not last forever is one of the most difficult lessons in our lives.

Friendships or jobs that we thought were secure can disappear overnight, often leaving us with a deep feeling of emptiness. We take many things in our lives for granted and forget how easily our destiny can change.

But by acknowledging that loss and extinction are a part of our existence, you can appreciate more how valuable your surrounding relationships and your life are.

Reversed Death Tarot Love Meaning


The Death Reversed Tarot card reveals, as a single, that you are afraid of a new relationship. Because of this fear, you do not dare to get closer to other people and allow feelings.

As a result, your love life will freeze and feelings of loneliness and self-doubt will increase. Do not let your fear become the master of your life. Instead, face it and try to find out where your fear of closeness comes from.

Perhaps your trust was severely violated by an ex-partner. But to heal such wounds, it is important to finally leave these emotional injuries behind and regain confidence in love by trusting another partner again.


In a relationship, The Death Reversed reveals to us great fear. Fear can refer to many facets of a partnership. All these details can harm your relationship.

Especially in a new phase of life, you might be afraid of not coping with the demands or doubt that your relationship is sustainable. Talk together about your fears and try to give each other support to cope well with the challenges ahead.

Furthermore, The Death Reversed card reveals a loss in your relationship. That refers mainly to the loss of feelings for each other or shared values.

Restoring feelings of love is often very difficult and usually takes a long time. The sooner you realize that your feelings for each other are diminishing, the sooner you should do something about it.

However, if one of you has lost his feelings completely, it is in both your interests to accept this and find new ways of loving each other.

Reversed Death Health Meaning

The Death Reversed represents a great fear of any form of illness. Such fear not only paralyzes you in your daily life but also causes you to withdraw more and more from the world.

Diseases are a part of your existence and can be important teachers about what is really important in your life. In addition, The Death Reversed Tarot card means that you tend to fall into a kind of helplessness when symptoms of an illness appear.

However, it is extremely important for your healing process that you continue to actively work on maintaining and improving your health, which is why you should wake up from your rigidity.

Reversed Death Career Meaning

The Death Reversed indicates an unexpected loss of your job or duties associated with it. A layoff or demotion can be very upsetting. In any case, you should reflect on the causes of such a loss so that you are better prepared for them in coming situations.

The Death Reversed reveals the fear of making mistakes in the job. Such a fear often results from unfavorable handling of faults in the company. Therefore, there is little change and creativity at work.

Nevertheless, be brave and do not be afraid to do something wrong, because only in this way you can learn and bring yourself and your company further.

Reversed Death Finances/Money Meaning

The Death Reversed symbolizes that you have to overcome a heavy financial loss. Do not lose your nerve and mourn the loss forever. Instead, you should be aware of how transient material possessions are.

The most valuable things are the ones that we can not buy with money, such as love, family and friendship. Furthermore, The Death Reversed shows that you are in danger of falling into a debt trap because you do not reflect enough on your consumption behavior.

Maybe you have urgent debts and, at the same time, live beyond your means. First of all, try to clear your financial liabilities quickly and cut back your lifestyle. Then you can continue to live financially independently.

Reversed Death Destiny Meaning

The Death Reversed Tarot card shows that many losses are part of your destiny. You long for the good times never to be lost and the bad ones to pass quickly.

But these expectations cause suffering in you because the world does not work that way. No matter whether good or bad times, every phase has an end and, at the same time, holds a new beginning, which you can use for yourself.

Reversed Death Personality

The Death reversed symbolizes a very fearful trait. The fear of loss of any kind is omnipresent and obscures the focus on the things that can be gained.

Likewise, such a personality is very rigid in its thinking and actions. Old patterns are retained even though they obviously do more harm than good.

Reversed Death Tarot Past/Future


Certain moments of your past cause you to be in a kind of rigidity. Free yourself from such old burdens and become active again.

It is not worthwhile to keep digging into old stories that weigh heavily on you. Sometimes it makes more sense to delete certain chapters in your life.


A heavy loss in your future will hit you hard. Therefore, be grateful for the people and things you have in life and cherish them in every moment.

Uncertainty about the coming months is causing you great anxiety. However, do not let your fear take control of your life.

Reversed Death Tarot Card – Yes or No

You are very afraid of the decision and fear falling back into old and destructive patterns. With such a high level of doubts and worries, you should decide for no.

At least then you are free of the pressure to make a choice and can concentrate on other things in your life. At least you will be free of the pressure of having to make a choice and can focus on other areas in your life.

The Major Arcana Tarot Card Meanings