Key 13 - Death

Key 13 – Death

Complete rebirth, change or renewal.


  • renewal 
  • rebirth 
  • critical change 
  • transformation 
  • new ideas 
  • new possibilities 

There is about to be a drastic change in your life. This transformation is a renewal or rebirth for you. With these changes will come new ideas and new possibilities.

In-depth Description

How you choose to interpret the tarot is a very personal thing. In developing the tarot reference on the web site I had to make choices about what to include or omit. Each person is encouraged to make their own decision about what any particular card means. For me, Death is not about an actual physical death as depicted in so many movies that sensationalize the tarot. These insights presented here are derived from my own beliefs.

Death is shown as a skeleton clad in black armor riding on a white horse. He is trampling over a fallen king as he approaches a woman and child. What appears to be a bishop awaits his arrival with hands clasped in prayer.

For me this card is about drastic change, rebirth or renewal along with all the associated emotions that arise during these times. Notice the child's pure innocence and apparent disregard to the important changes that are coming. The woman's fear shows that she at the very least understands the importance of the event to come, while the bishop is eager and welcoming the rebirth as a spiritual awakening.

The amount of symbology in this card could fill an entire book by itself. Here are a few that catch my eye.

The horseman carries no visible weapon as he approaches, yet kings fall before him. It represents the ever changing, unstoppable life forces, and lessons that we all must face. Women and children await his arrival with mixed emotions, while spiritual leaders welcome him into their homeland with exuberant prayer. His black banner shows a five petaled rose which signifies life and is supposedly a symbol of Mars. A constant circulation of life is being shown here. The sun rises in the east, the river flows to the sea. These elements bring life force to the land and into manifestation. This is a never ending, unstoppable cycle.

While this card may symbolize death to you I would like to leave you with one last thought. Notice how Death is depicted from a position of strength. In the pictures most literal sense, it can be seen that he continues onward, sitting up erect, and from a protected armor clad position of strength even after death. 

He has no need for weapons. His alley is the same life force we all cherish so much. 

Change, rebirth and renewal.


  • stagnation 
  • fears 
  • resentment 
  • revolution 
  • disaster 
  • anarchy 

A period of stagnation in your life can lead to resentment, revolution and disaster. Don't allow your fears to bring about anarchy. Although this may be a dark time for you, be on the lookout for good. We all have the potential to rise from the ashes. This may be your defining moment

Illustrations from the Rider-Waite Tarot Deck®, known also as the Rider Tarot and the Waite Tarot, reproduced by permission of U.S. Games Systems, Inc. Stamford, CT 06902 USA. Copyright© 1971 by U.S. Games, Inc. Further reproduction prohibited. The Rider-Waite Tarot Deck® is a registered trademark of U.S. Games Inc.