The Death card is one of the most concerning cards in the tarot deck for a lot of people, especially folks unfamiliar with its many non-mortal interpretations. Because of this there has been a trend of late that involves softening the Death card’s meaning and some new decks have altered the art and the title to make it less threatening. While I understand the importance of not scaring one’s self or one’s client, or causing unnecessary fear or paranoia, I feel like this watering down of the Death card is doing a disservice to readers and clients alike. Yes, rebirth follows death. Yes, it is important to remember that new beginnings follow endings, but it’s equally important not to bypass that ending by only focusing on the positive.
When the Death card shows up, it’s saying that things aren’t going to be the same afterwards. It’s saying that something is over or irrevocably altered, and that it is likely going to be difficult, even painful to accept and move forward. I believe that it’s important to spend time to process the challenging emotions that come up in these types of circumstances. You have to go through the experience of the Death card before you can get to the rebirth and the new beginning. The jump to find a “positive spin” on the Death card means that we aren’t spending time acknowledging and processing the challenges and the hurt of what is occurring; we aren’t making our way through “Death” to get to the rebirth, we’re trying to skip the hard part, we’re trying to bypass the work. I believe that we need to make space to honor our feelings and the feelings of our clients when the Death card appears, or else those feelings can go unacknowledged and unresolved. We all need to get more comfortable with discomfort and difficult emotions so that we can become more emotionally intelligent, emotionally healthy people.