13 - Death Tarot Card

Death is one of the most feared cards in the tarot deck.

The Death card is tarot card number 13, although it is the 14th card of the Major Arcana because the 1st of the 22 Major Arcana cards is number 0 (The Fool).

Most of the fear associated with the Death tarot card is based on mis-information or mis-understanding, perhaps due to the name of the card. It rarely refers to physical death. Instead, it is concerned with transformation, and hence new beginnings. The 'death' is therefore the death of the past, which accompanies the birth of the new next phase.

Some older tarot decks include gruesome or distressing images on the Death Card. This is less common in more modern packs such as the Rider Waite and Robin Wood tarot decks, both of which include detailed symbolic images but nothing likely to cause nightmares. Some other modern decks such as in the Golden Dawn Tarot Deck do include images of a skeleton, albeit depicted in the form of artistic symbolism rather than a realistic 'horror' image.

Some words and phrases associated with the Death tarot card include:

  • Transformation
  • New beginnings
  • New opportunities
  • Detachment
  • Release

In general, the Death tarot card can be described as representing the end of one phase (of a project, a development stage, or of life) and hence movement onto the next phase.

More about the Major Arcana

Click here for more Major Arcana cards

Tarot Articles:

Tarot Card Games - for, against and examples

Learning to Read Tarot Cards

20 Steps to reading Tarot Cards

Why use Free Printable Tarot Cards?

List of Tarot Card Meanings

Origins of the Tarot Nouveau - or 'French Tarot'

Learning Tarot

Uses of Tarot Cards

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