The Death card, also known as the XIII Tarot card, is the 13th of the Major Arcana cards. It is one of the few cards that, in some circles, is known by an entirely different name. The XIII Tarot is sometimes known as Rebirth or Death-Rebirth, as much of the meaning of the card is often superceded by cognitive bias against the perceived negativity of the word death.
About the XIII Tarot
The Death card generally depicts an image of the Grim Reaper, an entity most often associated with death, or a skeleton in some of the oldest known decks. In some decks, the Grim Reaper is seen riding a pale horse – one of the horsemen of the apocalypse.
He wields his preferred weapon, a scythe, and he may be surrounded by dying individuals. These individuals may be from classes of any type ranging from the peasantry to the nobility. This signifies that death will wait for nobody.
In some decks, Death is holding a black flag with a white rose on it. This indicates the beauty of life and nature as well as purification and rebirth.
Meanings of the XIII Tarot Card
As the Death card is often misunderstood, perhaps even feared, it’s important to develop a broad understanding of its meanings.
As with other cards in the deck, the XIII Tarot has a different meaning depending on whether it’s pulled upright or reversed.
Death Tarot Upright Meaning
The core foundation of the death card is not just death but rebirth. After all, when anything dies – be it a flower, a bad habit, or a part of your personality – something new begins.
In most cases, the XIII Tarot is going to be making reference to something in your life. In other words, it’s only in the minority of Tarot spreads that Death actually relates to somebody dying.
Now, you are being called to move forward. It is time to release unwanted habits, beliefs, or behaviors. You may need to get rid of a job, relationship, or living situation that is no longer serving.
Doing this is challenging but will inevitably create space for something more positive.
Death Tarot Reversed Meaning
Death Tarot in reverse is a symbol that you are resisting change. This is an all-too-common situation: people become attached and dependent on ideas, situations, people, and beliefs, even if they are unhealthy for them.
The reversed XIII Tarot suggests that you need to reconsider the true value that you are getting out of things in your life and make change. You may intuitively realize what it is that you need to change but be unsure of how to go about doing it. It’s important to find avenues of transformation so stagnancy doesn’t affect you.
While frequently misunderstood, the XIII Tarot is one of the most powerful and positive in the deck. It allows people to move forward and discard things that no longer serve them.
Paired along with another Major Arcana card like Judgment can lead to some very interesting readings. Remember that the meanings of these basic Tarot cards is largely the same even if you’re using a more colorful deck like the Marigold Tarot.