13 Death

The Death Tarot card Divinatory Meanings

Related to Scorpio and the 8th House, which is about other people’s money, secrets and sexuality. So, finding about into the sexual proclivities of someone is one interpretation. If you want to know what or where the secrets are, the cards around it will give you a clue. The money, values and sexuality of our partner is indicated. If this card is surrounded by Disks, this is a generally a good sign of improving finances.

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Image of 13 Death Major tarot card in the Rider-Waite deck
13 Death – Rider-Waite

The veil or mask of life is perpetuated in change, transformation and passage from lower to higher, and this is more fitly represented in the rectified Tarot by one of the apocalyptic visions than by the crude notion of the reaping skeleton. Behind it lies the whole world of ascent in the spirit. The mysterious horseman moves slowly, bearing a black banner emblazoned with the Mystic Rose, which signifies life. Between two pillars on the verge of the horizon there shines the sun of immortality. The horseman carries no visible weapon, but king and child and maiden fall before him, while a prelate with clasped hands awaits his end.

Divinatory meanings

End, mortality, destruction, corruption; also for a man, the loss of a benefactor; for a woman, many contrarieties; for a maid, failure of marriage projects.

Reversed meanings

Inertia, sleep, lethargy, petrifaction, somnambulism; hope destroyed.

Book of Thoth

Image of 13 Death Major tarot card in the Book of Thoth deck
13 Death – Book of Thoth

The Universe is Change; every Change is the effect of an Act of Love; all Acts of Love contain Pure Joy. Die daily.

Death is the apex of one curve of the snake Life: behold all Opposites as necessary complements, and rejoice.

Transformation, change, voluntary or involuntary, in either case logical development of existing conditions, yet perhaps sudden and unexpected. Apparent death or destruction, but such interpretation is illusion.

More information

Golden Dawn – The Child of the Great Transformers, Lord of the Gates of Death

Time. Ages. Transformation. Involuntary change. Sometimes death and destruction, but only if borne out by the cards with it.


Change, Transformation, Alteration for the Worse

Reversed meanings

Death just escaped, Partial change, Alteration for the better.


Mortality, Annihilation, Destruction. End, Deterioration, Rottenness, Corruption, Putrefaction.

Reversed meanings

Inertia, Sleep, Lethargy, Petrifaction. Annihilation, Somnambulism.

13. La Mort

Corresponds, through the letter Nun, to the zodiacal sign Scorpio. Thus it is more or less related to the matters which astrology connects with the eight house of a horoscope, such as death, legacies, the affairs of the dead, and so on. Sometimes it has definite relation to necromancy and spiritualism.


Time, age. Sudden change, wholly unexpected. (For good or ill, according to the dignity of the card in a layout). In material matters, as a rule, it is a symbol of death, either the death of persons, or the failure of a project.

Ouspensky: XIII

Another aspect of Life. Going away in order to come back at the same time. Completion of the circle.

Thierens XIII. Saturn.

The picture speaks for itself — as indeed most of them do — but still there is more in it than we might suppose at first sight. Beyond all doubt it is a sort of allegorical representation of Father Chronos, Time, who, while creating, consumes his own children, and was very often pictured as a warning of death or a remembrance of mortality. But on the other hand Time marks the beginning, and birth is not less under his government than death. The ancient edition of this card shows the figure harvesting heads and limbs of human bodies upon a field. This may be an expression of an old superstition, which said that those limbs with which man sinned would grow out of his grave. Probably a distorted teaching of the Law of Karma or cosmic reaction, which is also ruled by Saturn, at least in the execution. And in this function he is the old God of Israel, whose law was “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.”

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Death tarot meanings - transformation and sexuality
Death and transformation are the obvious interpretations. Death is related to Scorpio and the 8th House, other people's money, secrets and sexuality.

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