Welcome the Message of Change
You’ve seen it on TV and in the movies. Someone gives a Tarot reading. The last card shows the horrifying image of a skeletal knight on a white horse. A king has already fallen. A child, a young woman, and a religious figure are about to meet their fates. In the movie or TV show a knife flashes or a gun sounds and a victim falls heavily to the floor. The Death card has claimed another victim.
There’s just one problem with this scene. That’s not what the card means at all!
Because so many shows have presented this for people to see, it’s become a theme in many people’s minds, so much so that when I give readings and the card comes up, I break the tension by saying the following…
“Oh good, I’m going to try and say this in one breath. (I take a loud, deep, inhalation.) Whenever the Death card comes up I always have to explain it because if you ever see it in a movie or on TV someone immediately gets shot or gets a knife in the back. That has nothing to do with the card. It actually means positive evolutionary change. It’s death only in the sense that a caterpillar has to ‘die’ so a butterfly can live.”
And that’s the truth. The Death card is a positive card. It indicates that things are changing, about to change, or need to change in a positive way. The two characters on the card with the most to lose, because they’re holding on desperately to the past, are the king and the religious figure. A young woman seems distraught at losing her past but is willing to face a new and better future. The young child, who quite literally has no past to lose, looks at the figure of death with awe and wonder, awaiting a new future and new adventures. Indeed, the large mystic white rose in the center of the banner carried by the death figure represents life and rebirth.
Most of us like to take the easy way through life. As the saying goes, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Newton’s first law of physics is that a body at rest tends to stay at rest. The curious thing is that this means if we’re resting on an uncomfortable bed of sharp razor blades we’ll stay there rather than leave! Something really has to move us to get us to change. That helping hand to get us off the razors can be death… or rather, the Death card.
When it comes up in a reading the Death card is a good sign. In fact, it’s a great sign, a sign that you are done with the things that have locked you into the negative beliefs and experiences of your past that have held you back. Now it’s time to easily and peacefully let go of that unneeded baggage and move on to a better, brighter, and more wonderful future.
Unfortunately, most of us actually like the weights in that baggage that holds us back. We clutch it to our breast as if it were a precious child, and no matter how badly it hurts or shreds us, we want to keep it. The Death card says, “It’s time to let that go. It’s time to move on.”
Now, I never said this was going to be easy! In fact, sometimes letting go of the things we are used to but that are no longer helping us feels like… well, it feels like we’re dying. It feels like it’s taking away our breath. We pant, we cry, we rage, all the time knowing that it’s something we need to do. We humans are funny that way.
The Death card reminds us that it’s time to change. When you get a Tarot reading and this card comes up, you should welcome it! The reading will tell you where you can begin to change before it becomes so difficult to do so it would be like having a rug pulled out from under you.
Oh, there’s a Tarot card that means that, too. It’s the Tower. But that’s for another time!
Donald Michael Kraig graduated from UCLA with a degree in philosophy, and has become a certified hypnotherapist and Master NLP practitioner. His book, Modern Magick, is the most popular step-by-step course in real magick ever published.