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Card Focus: Death

Death Tarot Card

Card Focus: Death

  |   Articles, Card Meanings, Reflections

More than the Devil or even the Tower, the Death card breeds fear in those who receive it in a reading. As a reader, it’s always my go-to reaction to tell my client, “Don’t worry, this doesn’t mean that you or anyone else you know is going to die!” Followed sometimes by, “Death just means change and rebirth,” wanting to sugarcoat the painful side of the experience this card brings to bear.


But the reality is that the Death card does not just mean change and rebirth. It also means death. Not the physical death of our bodies, but certainly all the other deaths, large and small, we will experience throughout our lives. And with that comes an uncomfortable, painful, and difficult experience. Because in death something has to die, and dying is no party.


Recently, the Death card began coming up repeatedly in my own personal readings. There was nothing in my external relationships that I was parting ways with, so I knew that what was happening was a death on a deeper, unconscious level. I was undergoing a personal transformation and had to kill off the old me before the new me could emerge.


I turned to my dreams to help me make the transition. I dreamt that two men were hiding in my hotel room and were about to kill me. I ran away, only to wake up in a complete panic, even getting up to check my apartment for intruders. A few nights later I dreamt that a man emerged from a coffin at a party and shot me. I woke up with the smell and taste of rot in my mouth. For several hours I could not get the taste of decay out of me, even after brushing my teeth. I could taste it in my morning tea, smell it in my car, on the streets, like there was garbage in my mouth.


As repulsive and unpleasant as it was, I didn’t fight it off. I knew I had to sit in my own death and allow the old me to decay away in order to fully embrace and accept the change I was going through. Because the gift of death is rebirth. If we allow ourselves to commit to the process, we will be graced on the other side by creation.


The next morning around dawn, I was stirred into partial wakefulness by a benevolent female voice in my head, telling me that I now contained three empty rooms, but filling them was up to me. And so in rebirth, it is our own responsibility to create ourselves anew. Death and its subsequent rebirth is an opportunity to grow. To grow we must nourish and feed on all that we wish to become.