TAROT
card meanings & reading

By Stefan Stenudd
Stefan Stenudd, Swedish author of fiction and non-fiction.
About me
I'm a Swedish author. In addition to fiction, I've written books about the Tarot, Taoism, astrology and other metaphysical traditions. I'm also an historian of ideas, researching ancient thought and mythology. My personal website: stenudd.com


Tarot Online Reading
Free Celtic Cross card reading.


Major Arcana
The 22 Tarot trump cards and their meanings.


Minor Arcana
The 56 suited Tarot cards and their meanings.


The Celtic Cross
The most famous and used Tarot card divination spread explained.


Tarot Card Decks
Some of the Tarot designs through the centuries.


The Rider-Waite Tarot
The most famous Tarot card deck.


Tarot vs. Playing Cards
The same ancestry but evolving for different purposes.


What to Make of It
Is Tarot divination accurate, and if so - how?


Tarot Archetypes
The symbolic ingredients in the cards.


Tarot Speaks to You
The cards mean what they mean to you.


Tarot Copyright
The Tarot in the public domain.


Tarot Unfolded
My book on the Tarot and its symbolic imagery.


Contact
How to get in touch with me.





Major Arcana
Click the image to get the card reading.

The Fool Tarot Card The Magician Tarot Card The High Priestess Tarot Card The Empress Tarot Card The Emperor Tarot Card The Hierophant Tarot Card The Lovers Tarot Card The Chariot Tarot Card Strength Tarot Card The Hermit Tarot Card Wheel of Fortune Tarot Card Justice Tarot Card The Hanged Man Tarot Card Death Tarot Card Temperance Tarot Card The Devil Tarot Card The Tower Tarot Card The Star Tarot Card The Moon Tarot Card The Sun Tarot Card Judgement Tarot Card The World Tarot Card


Complete Horoscope
How predictions are done by classical astrology and the full horoscope chart, with many examples.


I Ching Online
I Ching Online. Website by Stefan Stenudd.
The 64 hexagrams of the Chinese classic I Ching and what they mean in divination. Try it online for free.


Book by Stefan Stenudd:

Your Health in Your Horoscope. Book by Stefan Stenudd.

Your Health in Your Horoscope
What your horoscope says about your health, according to the old tradition of medical astrology. You learn what the planets, the Zodiac signs and the other ingredients of the horoscope reveal about many health issues. Click the image to see the book (and Kindle ebook) at Amazon.


Life Energy Encyclopedia. Book by Stefan Stenudd.
Life Energy Encyclopedia
Qi, prana, spirit, ruach, pneuma, and many other life forces around the world explained and compared. Click the image to see the book at Amazon.




Death

Death

The Meaning of the Death
Major Arcana Tarot Card in Readings


The Tarot Death card meaning in a nutshell:
A costly loss
- sometimes, but not always,
the death of someone.



     Death is, no doubt, the most terrifying of the Tarot cards to get at a reading. Therefore, guides to the Tarot usually point out that it's not necessarily about death, but some significant loss, change, or revelation. Well, it's about death, too. That's part of life.

     I've had Death appear just a few times in my Tarot readings, but in those cases it has proven to be about real death, or at least something almost as sinister. Not my own death - yet - but one happening in my surroundings or the surroundings of the person I did the reading for.

     We have to respect the simple fact that life has its horrors. Therefore, so do all methods of divination. If we want to peek into the the future, everything isn't going to be good news. We have to prepare for that, before trying any system of divination.

     Just looking at the Tarot Death card gives a hint of its grimness. Death on a white horse, black flag in hand, people mourning beside a corpse. The bishop, too, indicates that something definite and shocking has happened. It could be the scene after a battle, or an accident, or a plague ravaging the country.

     But the sun in the background of the Tarot Death card image reveals that life will go on, anyway. The child on the picture gives the same message.

     Death is part of life. We're born, so we will die one day. Although it's the very first rule of existence, it's the most difficult one to come to terms with. That's why we tend to be shocked when death appears - in our lives, or as a card in a Tarot reading. It's as if we pretend it can be escaped by being ignored. But the only way of learning to live with it is to accept it.

     That said, the Tarot Death card is not always about physical death, although that can be the case. It can also indicate a drastic change including a costly loss, a painful farewell, and things of that kind. It's sure to be difficult and the change is lasting. The situation after this event is quite different and will not be reversible. So, it's always a death of sorts.


Death catching a pedlar. Illustration from Dance of Death by Hans Holbein the Younger, 1526.
Death catching a pedlar. Illustration from Dance of Death by Hans Holbein the Younger, 1526. Portraying Death as a skeleton started in the 15th century and soon became the norm. Artist around that time made many such pictures, with the basic message that nobody escapes death.


A. E. Waite's Texts
About the Tarot Death Card

13. Death. The method of presentation is almost invariable, and embodies a bourgeois form of symbolism. The scene is the field of life, and amidst ordinary rank vegetation there are living arms and heads protruding from the ground. One of the heads is crowned, and a skeleton with a great scythe is in the act of mowing it. The transparent and unescapable meaning is death, but the alternatives allocated to the symbol are change and transformation. Other heads have been swept from their place previously, but it is, in its current and patent meaning, more especially a card of the death of Kings. In the exotic sense it has been said to signify the ascent of the spirit in the divine spheres, creation and destruction, perpetual movement, and so forth.


The Inner Symbolism of the Tarot Death Card

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.

There should be no need to point out that the suggestion of death which I have made in connection with the previous card is, of course, to be understood mystically, but this is not the case in the present instance. The natural transit of man to the next stage of his being either is or may be one form of his progress, but the exotic and almost unknown entrance, while still in this life, into the state of mystical death is a change in the form of consciousness and the passage into a state to which ordinary death is neither the path nor gate. The existing occult explanations of the 13th card are, on the whole, better than usual, rebirth, creation, destination, renewal, and the rest.


Divinatory Meaning of the Tarot Death Card

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



The Tarot Major Arcana

  1. The Magician

  2. The High Priestess

  3. The Empress

  4. The Emperor

  5. The Hierophant

  6. The Lovers

  7. The Chariot

  8. Strength

  9. The Hermit

  10. Wheel of Fortune

  11. Justice

  12. The Hanged Man

  13. Death

  14. Temperance

  15. The Devil

  16. The Tower

  17. The Star

  18. The Moon

  19. The Sun

  20. Judgement

  21. The World

  22. The Fool



The Book

Tarot Unfolded. Book by Stefan Stenudd.
Tarot Unfolded

This book by Stefan Stenudd presents an imaginative reading of the divination cards, i.e. focusing on what impressions the images and their symbols give. Several spreads are introduced, as well as the meanings of all the 78 cards and their pictures. Also, it gives many examples of symbolic and allegorical imagery within and beyond the Tarot. This book will help you find your own intuitive way of making inspired Tarot card readings. Click the image to see the book at Amazon.