The Raw and Scary Meaning of Death in the Tarot

the real meaning of death prisma visions tarot
Prisma Visions Tarot

It’s Scorpio season, a time of letting go, endings and transformation.

Scorpio is linked to Death in the Tarot, so it’s the perfect time to talk about the raw and scary aspects of this card nobody wants to raise when it pops up in a reading.

There is no beating around the bush: Death isn’t the happiest card in the Tarot.

It ain’t pretty (unless you are a tree in autumn shedding your leaves), it ain’t fun.

Even the cheerful motto Out with the old, in with the new often covers up melancholy moments of letting something go that holds bittersweet memories.

Scorpio’s sting hurts, even if it’s just a tiny bit.

And while Death may well symbolise the transformation of the caterpillar into a beautiful butterfly, for us humans the process is more complex, at best uncomfortable and at worst very painful and crushing.

There is no point in denying the true meaning of Death, which in essence is about irreversible endings. It’s the finality of Death that can be so painful and hard to accept.

There is no point in denying the ugly side of Death, full stop. Popular tarot blogs and new age happy clappers want to make us believe that Death is a wonderful thing.

That it’s about fabulous change and new beginnings, which sounds great but somehow sanitises its actual meaning. It’s time to acknowledge this card for what it really stands for:

An ending you – or your client – don’t want and didn’t ask for. And yes, it can sometimes even mean physical death. It was my father’s year card in his final year of life.

That doesn’t mean you should tell your client that they or one of their loved ones is about to die. No.

Instead, when this card comes up in a reading, ask yourself (or your client) what this card means to you (them) at this moment in time.

Death is a taboo subject in our society and is often brushed under the carpet. Anything to do with it including fear of death, grieving, and preparing for it when seriously ill.

Because we are living longer, we tend to take the time we have for granted. Death in a reading can remind us that we don’t have all the time in the world.



Death reminds us not to delay turning our dreams into reality, because one day it will be too late.

Death in a reading can act as a reminder of our mortality. Together with Justice, it may be a good idea to make a will and get your affairs in order (including life insurance) to prepare for the inevitable.

To many, this sounds macabre, but what you would really be doing is taking care of your loved ones in case something happens to you.

It can suggest any of the five stages of grieving – denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance – you or your client may be experiencing. It is time to tackle those emotions.

Death says: “What are you wasting your time on? Life is too short.”

Death is a process, and sometimes we don’t realise we’ve been through it until we look back and realise that the last couple of years or so have been tough and transformed us into the person we are today.

And we are still alive – that’s the good news! Let’s make the most of it.

Warmest wishes,

Christiane

PS: Learn more about how to use the cards for self-exploration and healing in my Discovery Tarot Course.

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