Death Tarot Card Meanings

Death tarot card image
Death (Reversed)

Ideas: Bad habits, old things, unpleasant experiences

Traits: Appreciative, hesitant, indecisive, indulgent, patient, slow

Emotions: Contentment, enjoyment, frustration, pleasure, satisfaction

  • Actions:
    • Appreciating the old things while you can
    • Enjoying what you have currently
    • Holding off temporarily
    • Learning from unpleasant experiences
    • Moving on with your life
    • Sticking with what you have started
Death (Upright, Balanced)

Ideas: Conclusion, departure, ending, passage, transition

Traits: Decisive, firm, punctual, rational, realistic, serious

Emotions: Gladness, nervousness, relief, sadness, uneasiness

  • Actions:
    • Becoming a new person
    • Bringing an unpleasant phase of life to an end
    • Leaving one person, place, or thing for another
    • Letting go
    • Putting bad habits to rest
    • Recognizing and celebrating the conclusion of something
Death (Upright, Excessive)

Ideas: Half-baked effort, premature conclusion, random departure

Traits: Abrupt, fickle, hurried, impatient, irrational, superstitious

Emotions: Disappointment, fear, grief, neglect, regret

  • Actions:
    • Being affected greatly by the loss
    • Concluding things ahead of time
    • Failing to take good care of yourself
    • Giving up halfway
    • Leaving a situation randomly
    • Obsessing on death and dying

Death’s Advice

Personal Growth

Grasping the short, fleeting nature of life is one of life’s hardest and most sobering lessons. Acknowledging your own impermanence can help you live your life more fully.


Identify what’s not working and put it behind you. Take stock, too, of the relationship itself. Dying flames can be rekindled with mutual effort, but embrace an ending if, in fact, an ending is what’s best for you. Poets used to call orgasm the “little death,” so, at times, this card can also point to a consummated relationship!


Close out lingering projects and tie up loose ends. Now is a good time to consider all your options, including the possibility of moving on. Alternatively, you could put an end to feelings of unrest by deciding, once and for all, to stay put. Do what’s best for you.


Spiritual scribes write of “dying to the world”—realizing that the physical world and its concerns are illusory at best. For you, the Death card is a reminder to focus on what really matters. Alternatively, the card can suggest a need to contact or honor your ancestors.

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