What does the death tarot card mean?

Main image for Death

The death is part of the Major Arcana deck of tarot cards.


The Messenger of Death rides his horse in this card, dressed in dark armour to represent the colour of mourning. His horse is usually white, the colour of purity. He usually carries a flag which bears a white rose with five petals, a sign of immortality. These symbols together tell us that death is not just an ending, but a new beginning too.


People often panic when they draw Death in a reading, which is understandable. However, this card is extremely misconstrued, and in fact this card is one of the most positive cards in the deck. This card is all about endings and transformations. If you draw this card, it is a message that a major phase of your life is ending, and a new one is beginning. Though change can be hard sometimes and it is sad to let go of the past, the future is full of potential and what is coming is even better than what was before. This change may be sudden and unexpected, just as death is sometimes, and it may take some getting used to. But you will recover and you will move on and you will be happier than ever.

Reverse Meaning

Upright, Death is a card of change and transformation. In reverse, this card suggests that you are resisting that change and are unwilling to let go of the past and move on. You may be scared of letting go because you don’t know what to expect, but holding on will only do you harm in the long run. Death is a message to trust the universe and let go, embrace the change and see what happens. You will be pleasantly surprised by what happens to you and your life when you allow yourself to move on.

Other Major Arcana Cards