Astrological correspondence: Scorpio.
Keywords: Rebirth, permanent change, transformation.
Death beyond tarot: Grim Reaper, butterflies, resurrection of Jesus.
A genderless skeletal figure in a black armor walks forward on a white horse, holding a large black flag with a white flower on it. There’s a male figure lying (reminiscent of the Emperor) lying on the ground underneath the horse. A Pope-like man seems to be begging the figure on the horse for something. A small figure in blue kneels at the horse’s feet, while a woman in white robes with a crown on her head (possibly the Empress?) is fainting. In the distance, the Sun rises… Or is it going down?
In other decks, this card shows a cloaked skeletal figure holding a scythe, surrounded with a swarm of white butterflies.
The thirteenth card of the Major Arcana doesn’t come without heavy connotation. It follows the Hanged Man (12), with his “I’m taking a step back” attitude. But the good news is, the card that comes afterwards, Temperance (14), holds the promise of a new normal after tumultuous evolutions.
Before you freak out when you see this card appear in a spread (or let it deter you from practicing tarot at all), remember that it does NOT mean a literal death will necessarily happen to you or someone you love. True, death is a natural part of life that cannot always be prevented. But remember, tarot cards aren’t here to tell you what will happen to you; they have symbolic meanings that you apply in your life to make decisions that will improve it. Here, the main theme is inevitable change that for some (like the figure lying underneath the horse) is easy to accept, and for others, difficult, but they’ll have to accept it nonetheless. The skeletal figure is moving forward, and no one can stop it.
Transformation is coming, because it is natural. It is happening naturally, regardless of whether you want it or not. Like a worm turning into a butterfly, you cannot stop your transformation. It is your chance to shed the old you and being reborn strong, powerful and beautiful. This change is happening in your favor. So welcome the new you with excitement, and celebrate yourself for who you are: a beautiful being in constant transformation, getting better and better each time.