Skip to Content

Death Tarot Card Meaning & Symbolism (Major Arcana)

The Death tarot card (XIII) is the 14th Major Arcana card in the standard Rider-Waite Tarot deck. Though the Death card is frequently one of the scariest cards in the deck, rest assured that it does not mean literal death. Instead, it represents transformation, change, new beginnings, and moving forward to what’s next. Read on to dive deep into the meaning and symbolism of the Death tarot card. 


Make Your Tarot Readings Pop With Clarity

Deck of Tarot cards ; DEATH .

This post contains affiliate links, which means if you click a link and make a purchase, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. See the full details here.

If you’re new to tarot or simply want clearer and more precise readings, there’s one question you should ask yourself…

How do you tell if the information you’re getting is accurate?

Many people begin working with the tarot in the hopes of gaining insight and clarity into their lives, only to be misled.


Because they’re out of alignment!

Lucky for you, there’s a quick, easy way to avoid this…

Get your free numerology reading.

The information in your numerology reading will be completely unique to you, as it’s based on the numerology of your birth date and name.

It highlights any specific gifts or obstacles you may have regarding your spiritual journey or purpose, as well as any energetic blockages that may stand in the way of accurate tarot readings.

But that’s not even the best part…

People who take the time to acquire their free numerology readings tell me that it makes them feel more “in tune” with the tarot.

They claim to have formed a bond with their decks (something they couldn’t previously) and have begun to receive communication in a more clear and fulfilling manner.

It will all begin to make sense to you once you receive your numerology reading.

When you start working with the divine energy of the universe rather than against it, you’ll be surprised at how simple the tarot can be and how good you can get!

It’s time you took your tarot practice seriously and embraced the gifts you’ve been given, is it not?

Get your free reading now to make sure you’re maximizing your potential.


Death Tarot Card Keywords

The Death Tarot Card Meaning & Symbolism (Major Arcana Learn To Read Tarot)

Upright: transformation, change, letting go, moving forward, spiritual transformation, upheaval

Reversed: fear, dependency, repeating bad habits, not learning lessons, stuck, inability to move forward, lack of progress


The Death Card as Feelings

Upright, the Death card can indicate feelings of profound transformation and a powerful sense of liberation. You may have gone through difficult transitions but now you can see the big picture of what has happened and understand why it was necessary.

Reversed, this card indicates deep fear and insecurity around change, as well as a tendency to cling to past habits or outdated beliefs even when it’s not beneficial. You may feel stuck in your current situation, unable to move forward or make progress.


The Death Card as Advice

Upright, Death is telling you to embrace change and let go of what no longer serves you. It advises that you take a step back and reassess your life, and make decisions about what you want to keep and what you need to let go.

Reversed, the card is telling you to face your fears and insecurities around change. It advises that you take a risk and be open to new possibilities, as they could lead to growth and renewal. Take time to reflect on any limiting beliefs or outdated habits that are holding you back from achieving your goals. By letting go of the past, you can open up to an entirely new future. 


The Death Card as How Someone Sees You

Upright, this card indicates that others may see you as someone who embraces change and new opportunities. You have a sense of adventure, curiosity and confidence that encourages those around you to take risks and make progress.

Reversed, the card is warning that people may think you are too afraid or stubborn to accept changes in life. It’s important to be open-minded and willing to embrace new challenges, as this can lead to a more rewarding life. 


The Death Card as What Someone Wants From You

Upright, this card can mean that someone values your ability to stay calm and collected amidst difficult changes. You may be seen as a source of strength and support, someone who has the courage to face challenging transitions with grace. Reversed, the card suggests that you need to think about whether you’re ready for change. It’s important to recognize when it’s time to take a risk, and to be prepared for the possible setbacks that come along with it.


Upright Death Tarot Card Meanings

The Death card does not symbolize actual death, so have no fear if this card shows in a tarot reading.

The Death card signifies transformation, change, and moving forward into the unknown.

It represents letting go of old habits, behaviors, and thought patterns that no longer serve you.

If something in your life feels stagnant or doesn’t feel right anymore, this is a sign from the universe that it’s time to move on.

Furthermore, it’s a sign that a new beginning is close on the horizon.

The Death card may be encouraging you to get rid of unhealthy habits, such as smoking or drinking too much alcohol. 

Perhaps it’s time to move forward and live your life with more purpose and passion – whatever that means for you.  

In the most basic sense, it’s a sign that change is around the corner.

This card often appears when there is a need to let go of old issues, behaviors, or ways of thinking and embrace something new in its place.  

Keep in mind that this change will not always feel pleasant.

In fact, it could be downright traumatic and hurtful at first.

However, the lesson here is to avoid resisting change because it’s inevitable.

Instead, flow with it and look to the future because these changes are necessary to move forward into the next phase of your life.


Upright Death Meaning For Love


Upright Death Card Meanings For Relationships

If you’re in a relationship and the Death card shows up, it could be a sign that either you or your partner feel that the relationship is no longer serving you.

It might be time to let it go.

If you feel like you’ve outgrown the relationship or that it’s no longer making your life better, then it’s time to move on.

The Death card warns against holding onto a failing relationship for too long because continuing in this way will only make things worse.

However, if the relationship is working and going well, but there are issues that need to be addressed, communication is key.

Once you’ve communicated your feelings and related how the relationship needs to change for you, then it’s time to let go of old patterns and embrace new behaviors in order to move forward successfully.

The Death card frequently shows up when you are clinging to old patterns or habits within the relationship that will prevent it from flourishing as well.

If your relationship is not past the point of return and you wish to save it, you must lay these harmful patterns to rest and find new ways of dealing with your problems.

On a lighter note, sometimes the change the Death card brings is on a more positive side.

But you must look at the other cards in the spread.

For example, if you and your partner are considering a life-altering change together such as moving across the country together, getting married, or even starting a family, it could signal the transformation or “death” of your former life.

Either way, the Death card symbolizes a major transformation or change that will alter the course of your relationship forever.

Whether this is good or bad is up to you and your partner and how you weather these changes.



Upright Death Card Meanings For Singles

If you are single and manifesting a new love into your life, the Death card is usually a positive sign.

The Death card can symbolize your getting rid of old habits, behaviors, or ways of thinking that are no longer serving you.

If you are ready to make some positive changes in your life, this is a sign from the universe that it’s time to move on and create new opportunities.

Also keep in mind that if there have been issues between you and another person in the past, the Death card can indicate that those issues are now resolved.

The positive side of letting go is to know that when you do let go, new love will sweep into your life in its place – just like magic!

If you have old hurts or bad memories from previous relationships, letting go of these feelings will give way to a new love that you have not yet experienced.

This frees up your heart and allows room for someone else to come into your life – perhaps unexpectedly.

No matter how things get resolved, this is definitely a good omen for the future if you are single.


Upright Death Meaning For Money & Career

When the Death card shows in an upright position for money and finances, it is a sign that you should not get too attached to one income source.

Particularly if it doesn’t make you feel safe and secure.

Keep in mind that the Death card can often show up when you are feeling stressed and attached to certain financial situations.

Much of the time, the Death card is an omen that something will change.

If you’ve had a nagging feeling at the back of your mind that it might be time to start looking for a new job, a new income stream, or even finding a side hustle, now is the time to take action on that nudge.

Your intuition will not steer your wrong.

If you’ve been considering going into business for yourself, this is a sign that now is the time to pursue your entrepreneurial dreams.

The Death Card in a negative financial or career position can mean that you must let go of something to allow the new opportunity in, or if you have been neglecting your finances or business and it is not causing harm, this card may signal a very gentle nudge to get you going again.

Finally, the Death card may signal a loss of income or drop in your money, but do not panic.

This is temporary and will lead somewhere positive if you don’t lose your head.


Reversed Death Tarot Card Meanings

The reversed Death card means that you are resisting a necessary change that you must go through to move to the next level in your life.

You are holding on to something or someone and not allowing it to go, and it is causing you stress.

The universe is telling you to let go of this baggage so that new energy can come into your life.

The thing about the Death card is that much of the time the change you fear will turn out to be much easier than staying in your current situation.

It’s a case of you standing in your own way and being your biggest threat to your own happiness.

Let’s explore more specific meanings of the Death card reversed.


Reversed Death Meaning For Love


Reversed Death Card Meanings For Relationships

If you are in a relationship and the Death card shows up in a reversed position, it is not a positive sign.

If you have been resisting change in your relationship, or not willing to let go of an old hurt, this card shows that the time has come for some sort of closure.

You may be holding onto something very dear with all your heart but no longer serves any purpose in your life.

If you feel dependent on your partner and are afraid to leave because you’re uncertain of how to strike it on your own, this is your sign that it’s time to figure things out.

Or, if you’re feeling guilted into staying in a relationship because you’re afraid of hurting the other person, likewise, it’s probably time to pull the plug.

You may find that you still love your partner, but that the relationship itself does not serve either of you and getting it over with is the best thing for all parties involved.

On another note, the Death card reversed can represent the influence of someone from the past coming back and stirring up trouble in your current relationship.

It could mean that an ex on either side is trying to come back into the picture and the door isn’t fully shut.

You will need to seek clarity if this is the situation.



Reversed Death Card Meanings For Singles

If you’re single, the Death card showing up in a reversed position means that you are still clinging to old patterns that are preventing you from finding love, joy, and happiness.

For example, if your last boyfriend cheated on you over and over again, you could subconsciously (or overtly) bring a distrusting energy with you.

That could prevent others from getting to know you.

You’ve got barriers and walls up that prevent you from softening, and that means you aren’t truly open to the love you seek.

If your past is holding on to you and keeping new love out of your life, it’s time to carefully examine everything and if you need to, seek help to move forward.

Letting go of the patterns that have held you back for so long is the Death card reversed, and it will only manifest negative outcomes if you don’t release them.


Reversed Death Meaning For Money & Career

The Death card reversed in a career reading has a similar meaning to the Death card upright.

If your heart is not in what you’re doing, it will manifest into a loss of energy and money.

This can be anything from poor sales in your business to simply being drained by the job itself.

In other words, if you’re sticking with a job or career path and clinging to it just because of financial security, the universe is pushing you to aim for more.

Don’t stick to an income source just for the paycheck if you can help it.

Stability doesn’t always equal fulfillment, and you deserve (and can have) both financial stability and a joyful life.

Also, if you’re in a job and find that the Death card is reversed, this could be a sign that someone from your past is about to enter into your life again.

This could be anything from an ex-colleague asking for your help or business to an old friend wanting to catch up on things.

From a strictly financial perspective, the Death card reversed usually does not bring good news.

It’s likely you will experience a loss, a debt comes due, or some other financial hardship that could cause you pain.

You will need to be strong and have a solid plan for how to get through it and rebuild from that loss.

But most importantly, if you can see it coming, prepare now so that it doesn’t hit as hard.


Death Card As Feelings For Someone

When it comes to representing feelings for someone, the Death card is as straightforward as tarot cards come. 

It means you know it’s time to end things, move on, and not look back. 

Your current situation is no longer working for you and even though there may still be some lingering fondness of how things were, you know you can’t continue on. 

It’s time to move on. 

The reversed Death card means that you are resisting moving forward with this transformation, though some part of you knows you need to do it. 

You might be willing to hold on just a bit longer, but doing so will likely hold you back in some significant way.

Yet, you’re just not ready to move on from these feelings and you’ve accepted that as truth… for now.


Final Thoughts On The Death Card
The Death Tarot Card Meaning & Symbolism (Major Arcana Learn To Read Tarot)

Congratulations on taking the first step in learning to read the tarot for yourself and those you care about!

You’re already on your way to spiritual satisfaction and enlightenment just by interacting with different cards and learning more about their significance.

The next logical step is to ensure that you obtain your free numerology reading.

Few things can help you improve your tarot readings as effectively as numerology.

But you don’t need me to tell you that the knowledge you’ll get will help you become a better tarot reader.

It is so much better for you try it out and see for yourself!

It’ll be a much more personal, special, and lovely experience this way.

Get yours now.


PREVIOUS: The Hanged Man Tarot Card Meaning & Symbolism

NEXT: Temperance Tarot Guide, Meanings & Symbolism (Major Arcana)