The thought of the death card in a tarot reading conjures up images of old fortune tellers with a distressed look on their face, promising death to a loved one, or yourself, in the near future. A negative connotation has been linked to this card, after all, it’s the harrowing “death” card that leaves one with the touch of death on their soul, right?
The first thing needed to understand the death card is a basic understanding of the tarot itself. The classic tarot deck was originally used as a card game in parts of Europe, like Italy and France, in the 15th century. This was later adopted by occultist and mystics, transforming into the tarot we know today. A classic tarot deck consists of 78 cards, 22 of which are considered the “major arcana” and the other 56 comprising the “minor arcana”. The major arcana are the more important cards, like “The Moon”, “Death”, “Judgment” and “Temperance”. The 56 minor arcana cards are divided into four suites, much like a classic card deck. The four suites, “Pentacles”, “Cups”, “Wands” and “Swords, are each numbered one through ten (the number 1 being the “ace” card), and contain four court cards; “King”, “Queen”, “Knight” and “Page/Jack”. Each card suit holds its own meaning, further coupled with the meaning of each card. The major arcana cards represent major themes and changes in life, and are usually more significant in a reading than the plentiful minor arcana cards.
The Faerie’s Oracle by Brian Froud
Like any form of divination, the tarot isn’t telling you something that is set in stone. The tarot is a map of sorts that reads the energies present in you. It simply draws the lines on a map that has been there all along; you have complete control over the roads you choose to take, the tarot simply lets you know what roads were there to begin with.
So what does the Death card represent? Complete and utter transformation. I chose this card because not only is it a personal favorite, it’s probably the most misunderstood and most frightening card in the deck. This card doesn’t mean someone close to you is going to die, It means one door is closing and another is opening, in the most important sense of the word. Get ready for some major changes and opportunities when you see this card because it has an uncanny ability to appear when new ventures are around the corner. Change is GOOD, and sometimes we have to lose something to gain something even better. Think of it as reincarnation; one thing ends and another begins.
Black is the lack of color, just like death is lack of life. The color black itself repels negativity; it is a strong and powerful color and for me, it encompasses the idea of the Death card. I chose this black dress, picked by the amazing Ivory from Hip Wa Zee, this hat from H&M and these shoes from Urban Outfitters to create a look that matched my perception of this card. Like the tarot itself, everyone’s interpretation is going to be different. This is my personification of death
Embrace the unknown with open arms and bask in the glory of its potential.