Today we're kicking off our Hard Cards Series, where we're going to explore some of the most challenging cards in tarot. If you've ever found yourself mid-tarot spread staring at a card like 😳 then this is a series you'll want to follow. We'll be checking out both major & minor cards and hopefully we'll guide you in making some quality connections with their meanings. And today we're going in feet first, no looking back, full throttle cuz why not?! on: Death.
Death, as depicted by a phoenix in the Shadowscapes Tarot deck.
Associated with: Scorpio, Pluto, Amber, Bramble & Blackberry
Referred to as The Unnamed Card in the Tarot of Marseille - no space is given on the card for its name
Common Attributes: Change, rebirth, endings, new beginnings, cycles of life & death, destiny
As readers, we sometimes see a certain look on a client's face when they pull this card. A look that says "oh great, just what I need, death!" Visually, it's just about the most arresting of any deck. Skeleton, pale horse, bodies strewn about. We've probably all had a reading or two where we've tried to lessen the visual and explain this energy with kindness. No matter how the Rider arrives, upright or reversed, The Death Card energy is intense and transformative. No one is asked or required to remain the same after a major life changing event. To the contrary, this card is a push onward - to accept change and be changed, to allow yourself to grow and expand as a person no matter what comes your way.
Today, we're encouraging new and seasoned readers alike to spend a little time meditating on this card and its energy. When you see it in a spread, where does your mind first go? Do you go literal? Are you running through standard definitions and attributes? Or are you really connecting with the energy, what it means to you and what it might mean for your client?
The Death card is inevitable and unavoidable energy. Endings, beginnings. Cycles of life. Depending on the deck, there's a visual sense in this card that Death comes for kings and peasants alike. There will be no avoidance of this rider. And yes we can go on with all of the textbook definitions. But how do we put those broad terms into a practical reading? How can we, as readers and lovers of tarot, interpret this card? By making meaningful connections with the energy in this card and allowing it to speak to us.
Get out your tarot notebook and let's get to work!
Let's start with a few meditative questions:
What does the Death card mean to you without anyone telling you?
When has this card popped up in your own readings? How did it speak to what you are/were going through?
What songs do you associate with times of beginnings? Times of loss and endings?
Let's think about acceptance and denial for a bit. What are positive ways to approach the inevitable upheavals we face in life? Whether you are starting a new job or leaving an old career behind, beginning or ending a relationship, what can we learn from the Death card?
And finally, we'd love for you to check out our guided meditation! Over this series, we'll be uploading a meditation for each card we discuss. Our intention is to help you make meaningful connections with these energies, to grow as both a tarot reader and human being. So sit down on your own or with a few fellow tarot enthusiasts, your favorite crystals, a good cup of tea and allow the cards to speak to you.
In today's guided meditation, we're considering how other energies handle Death.
Take a deck of your choosing and allow kings, queens, pages and knights to approach Death. Consider how they would respond to certain gains and losses, what strengths and weaknesses would they have at their disposal, and what advice they would offer those in their kingdom.
See our example meditation below with Death and the King & Queen of Wands.
Image is set to 8x10 and is free for you to print.