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13 Death

In most depictions, Death truly does ride a white horse. We see him as the skull-headed, traditional figure, sometimes in robes, sometimes in armor, as a Knight in the field of battle. In some cases he is surrounded by the dead and dying, on the ground at the feet of his steed, and in some there is even a Priest (Hierophant?) ministering to the stricken. On some cards, he holds a sword or scythe, in others, a white flag with a black rose. Quite often, the rising sun is behind him, sometimes rising over the landscape of suffering.

The Death card has received a great deal of media hype, such that when it comes up in readings, the initial response is almost always fear or concern. And Death does mean and end of something, though not usually a human life. Death is less often about something or someone dying, and far more frequently about how one handles the ending of things. Ruled by Scorpio, the Death card is about transformation, more even than about loss or endings. When something ends, there is now room for something else to begin. We may be happy about the ending (of a bad relationship, an uncomfortable situation or an unpleasant task) or we may be sad, but we will eventually come to grips with the ending, and will be ready for the new beginning. Movement from the physical to the spiritual in terms of how one deals with things can be indicated, and the progression from lower to higher on the path to enlightenment.

12. The Hanged Man Back to Card Descriptions 14. Temperance