Card 13: Death


In Numerology: 13
Star Sign or Planet: Scorpio
Yes or No answer: This card says No
Key dates: October 23 – November 21

Death in an Upright Position

The Death card in its upright position should never be feared. Death brings transformation, and with transformation comes the promise of better circumstances. Death is inevitable just like all change. This is really what the Death card is really all about: change, and endings in particular. The querent may be experiencing a separation from their partner, a loved on may be experiencing terminal illness, or the querent is going through the conclusion of what has been a long or difficult journey. This could also mean the death of old habits when it falls in an upright position. The tone of the card is amplified or diminished by the cards around it, so negative or conflict-filled cards show leaving a situation or person on bad terms while promising cards with positive meanings will show that the endings are necessary for growth and good fortune in the future.

There is a theme of rebirth that comes along with the Death card. A plant must have its damaged and dead limbs cut away, or the plant risks itself in order to heal the damaged and dying leaves, but the dead and damaged leaves are not going to benefit from the energy that is being directed there. It is best to cut them off in order for the plant to survive and become healthy again. This is true with all situations where an ending is occurring. Do not hold onto things that are inevitably coming to a close. It is best to gracefully accept change as it comes along. This will prevent unnecessary suffering and help the querent to regenerate and bounce back well. There is a chance for new opportunity beyond the sadness and mourning, and there are indications that the changes that are here or coming are a part of the journey towards attainment.

Death in a Reversed Position

When Death is in reversal, we see the Grim Reaper trapped under the horse or turned on his head. The horse is on his back and unable to travel, and because of this, there is stagnation, no change, no ending or beginning. The body and its soul are simply existing without closure or transformation. The querent must be experiencing some type of standstill that prevents progress of any kind from developing. There are some who would fear the lack of action more than death, citing the inactivity as the true death of the soul. There are some who believe that boredom is one of the greatest evils there is. The Death card can symbolize boredom, apathy, or an apathetic attitude that brings things to an immediate halt. Travel plans, business deals, or relationships may be put on pause, and there is a lack of ideas, creativity, and drive in the air. Life may seem dull and the querent may find themselves in the grips of misery due to an inactive mind, body, and even soul.

The querent is called upon by the Death card to do something to change the circumstances themselves when it is flipped to its reverse position. There is nothing that anyone else can do, and its ultimately up to the querent to pull himself up and affect change of his own into life before he becomes anxious and irritable about life. This reversal also shows that relationships may be getting stale and that there is a need for one to take the next step, or move on so one who will can. There may be glitches with finances and the querent may find business deals are slow-going or non-existent. Either way, there is an urgent message involving the lack of endings and rebirth, and the only way that the querent can change this or prevent it is through jumping into action. There may be a need to cut away old friendships and other relationships that are not serving any purpose in order to gain new friends, and one might consider changing their career if there is no opportunity to advance in their current position. The querent can also read this card for someone else in their life that is having issues with change or dealing with it. This person may have suffered a loss of some sort in the past and is unable to let go, or they may have a grudge they are clinging to that needs to be put to an end.

Symbolism and History of Death

The Death card can be quite unnerving when it appears in a spread, but this card is very open to interpretation and should be treated as an indication of endings of all kinds. The Death card shows the Grim Reaper, riding a horse or walking the land. He is the usher of the underworld, and he may be shown as Hades, the God of the Underworld, collecting souls for the journey home. He may be seated upon a white horse, confidently travelling along in search of those who are ready for a large transition: the transition from life to death. There is a sombre air to this card due to its implications of endings, but notice the sun on the horizon, which brings promise of better days to come and signifies a brighter future.

This card is numbered Card 13, which some people find to be quite ominous due to its negative connotations in combination with the illustration of the Grim Reaper or Hades, collecting his souls before crossing the river Styx on his steed. There is a theory that the number 13 is only considered bad luck because it happens to match the number of apostles that were in the company of Jesus during the last supper. This is a number like any other, but the superstition helps to boost the meaning of the card. Change, death, and endings are frightening to people and this helps to create very accurate imagery in relation to its interpretations. Bodies are shown laying in wait of their pick up, and a priest may be nearby giving the person their last rites or praying for them.

Key Terms

Endings, Beginnings, Change, Transformations, Divorce, Broken Deals, Stagnation.

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