Ultimately, it is for your highest good
The Symbolism Contained in the Image
The Death card depicts a skeleton dressed in an armor, reminiscent of a soldier who marches victoriously in a fallen city. The other figures represent the four approaches to transformation. The King rejected the change and now lies dead under the horse. He is covered by a blanket of water symbolising the fact that he had been swept aside by the current of life. The religious figure faces Death with his hands close together for a prayer. He is leaning on his spirituality for support during the process of transformation. The young woman in white tunic symbolises innocence. She hopes that by kneeling she will earn mercy and be spared from the ending. Only the young child, in its complete innocence, is offering flowers to the Death. It does so out of curiosity for what the future holds. In the distance, the sun is being reborn in a brand new day. This is a card for the death of a situation and the transformation that takes place after. It is as much about an ending as it is about a new beginning.
The card bears the number 13, a number which causes discomfort. In mythology, 12 is a sort of the perfect number. 13 destroys that wholesomeness and thus signifies destruction but also the presence of something beyond death - rebirth.
If the Hanged Man is about surrender to Life, the Death is about surrendering to change. Change is inevitable. In our lives we will experience many deaths and rebirths - people, jobs, projects, whole eras of our lives come and go. Very often, when we feel like life is trying to take something away from us, our instinctive reaction is to hold on with all our strength. This card tells us that we should let go. Death is inevtibale. Nothing lasts forever and that is how it should be. Life is an endless cycle of death and rebirth. We shouls allow transformation to happen, allow the old to die and make space for the new.
When this card comes up in a reading, the message is: it is time for a change. As the old is being cleared away, room is being made for new opportunities. We need to believe that hard as the process may be, ultimately this is for our highest good.
When reversed, the Death card represents crippling fear of change. It indicates that the person is holding on to things that no longer serve his or her growth. In fact, he or she is doing so to the point where this resistance is bringing them even more pain than if they just let the change occur. The rejection of the impending transformation is causing them more suffering. At the root of such behavior is the lack of belief that something better will come your way.
In a relationship reading, the Death card indicates that a cathartic transformation is about to take place. It could be the ending of the entire relationship but it could also be the ending of only a chapter of the story. At any rate, the change will be profound and leave a deep emotional, psychological and spiritual mark on the querent.
In reverse. the card indicates refusal to let go of old patterns in relationships. Very often the querent ends up with a new partner that very much resembles the previous one because they fail to recognise the underlying pattern of needs, wants and behaviors.
In a career reading, the Death card indicates a change in a career that will be slow and gradual but permanent and cardinal. You may be changing fields to moving into a different industry altogether. You may have worked a government job so far but now turn to the private sector or you may become self-employed.
In reverse, the card indicates a change that is more cosmetic than real. You realise that your current career path is not for you but you fail to make the complete break and find your true path. Instead you change only a few things on the surface.
In a financial reading, Death represents breaking up with existing ways of dealing with money. You may start to make your money in a completely different way or spend them differently (ex. if you have a child).
In reverse, the card indicates sticking to the old ways even though they clearly no longer work for you. You may be trying to solve financial problems in ways that have proved to be unsustainable. A radical new approach is needed.