Monday 17 September 2012

Musings On The Death Card In Tarot

A Repulsive Topic

Death – a frightening notion. It’s a morbid topic that is not particularly pleasant for most.  It’s repulsive even for some superstitious people who would wave away the word in disgust when uttered in an irreverent manner.  I know the older folks of my Chinese family would be doing just that if I had shown them the Hello Kitty Tarot card for Death.


A couple of months ago, the mother of a childhood friend discovered that I was a professional tarot reader and had bugged my friend to accompany her to my home for a Tarot reading.  The minute she stepped through my front door, I knew the topic of discussion that evening was going to be about Death.

The 70-odd year old lady was spunky and sprightly in her gait, fiery in her conversations and full of enthusiasm for life.  She clearly was not afraid of death.  She was ready for it as she had lived a full and happy life with her family. 

However, as much as I thought she was going to pick the death card at some point, it didn’t show up.  Each of the cards she picked that evening was indicative of her fear of the process just before her impending death.  She feared being ill, bed-ridden and  being a burden to the family she loved.  She was afraid of the pain she may suffer in the course of death, and she was even more afraid of the pain her family will suffer, seeing her in that state.  If death was to come to her, she wanted it swift and painless.  If only the universe worked like what they did in Star Trek, beaming people up to the heavens at the right time.

However, the cards advised her to not be afraid.  It’s a general progression within the cycle of life.  She has led a life of abundance, full of love from the family, complete with a fulfilling career as a teacher which gave her the opportunity to teach her students about life.  She has nothing to be afraid of, because the universe will hold her hands to walk that journey when the time comes.  She will never be alone.

 The Death Card

The Death card is possibly the most misunderstood card in a Tarot deck.  However, it’s one of my favorite and most meaningful cards because it symbolizes the necessity to let go of the past, and to leave that major phase of your life behind as you move on to embrace a new beginning full of opportunities and potential to lift you to greater heights. I have decided to attach the Death card images from 2 Tarot decks, the Hello Kitty Tarot deck and the Morgan Greer Tarot deck which looked less frightening and more colorful than usual.

Often, this card is picked when my querant has undergone major changes like a divorce, a job change, bereavement, or a break-up in his or her relationship.  They often come to see me in a state of confusion, depression and anxiety.  However, when I see this card, I would hold their hand as I tell them that the universe has just opened a new door for them, if only they would pick up the courage to let it go and walk through that door.

I picked the card for myself when I was undergoing a lot of changes within my work environment earlier in the year. Sure, I was gripped with fear and anxiety, and I wasn’t sure what to make of the changes and their impact to my role.  However, I had decided to work with the changes, adapt to them and instead of attempting to “change the changes”, I had decided to change the way I thought about the changes, and embraced them as another learning curve.

The Death Card Reminds Me Of Autumn

Yes, indeed the Death card does remind me of the season of Autumn.  We don't experience Autumn in Singapore.  However,  in other parts of the world, my friends are about to celebrate the start of Autumn.   It’s a time of changes, when the colors of the leaves turn from lush green to rust gold and red. It’s a time when the balmy heat of summer gives way to a slight chill in the air.  It’s a time when one commemorates life when the vegetables and fruits from their gardens are harvested and put on the dinner tables for their families. It’s also a time one commemorates death as the crops die in the fields to generate new ones.

So it is very apt that the topic for the upcoming Tarot Blog Hop, which I will be participating in, is about the pagan festival of Mabon.  Mabon is a festival commemorating change and transformation, life and death.  Do watch out for my next blog post about it on 22nd Septmebr, at

About the writer:

The writer of this blog post is a marketeer by trade, and a tarot card reader by accident. She was awarded a Certified Professional Tarot Reader qualification from the Tarot Certification Board of America (TCBA) and was recently certified as a numerologist in Singapore. A member of the American Tarot Association (ATA) and the Tarot Association of the British Isles (TABI), she is also a reader for the Free Tarot Network and is a mentor for the ATA.

She can be contacted at or

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