Inverted Death


Inverted DeathThis card represents some sort of death within life, something that steals joy or energy from you. It can also indicate a temporary death, ended by being revived after a heart attack or drowning.

If you get this card, you might be overcome with angst. You might fear an impending change, putting off the decision or activity that will make that change a reality. Change is an inevitable part of life. Trying to avoid change ultimately denies life. There might be part of you that believes you don’t have what it takes to weather this change. Every creature in our world must adapt to changes in environment, and does so on a daily basis.

If this impending change scares you, it’s time to look within. Use meditation, journaling, yoga (whatever works for you), to evaluate three things. First, identify your current situation. What are you trying to protect in the present that you are afraid you will lose through this change? Second, identify the parts of your past you feel are related to this upcoming change. What does this feel like? How is this familiar? Third, look at the impending change itself. Ask it what it has to offer you. Trust that you can direct its energy where it needs to go. Sometimes, simply making a choice gives you enough power to move forward.


In a spread, Death can interact with many of the Major Arcana. It cancels some cards and signifies the end of something with others.

Major Arcana

Magician: In the Celtic Cross spread, if the the Magician (Cobbler in other decks) and Death are opposite each other in the fifth and tenth positions, an event will be canceled. In any spread, when the two cards are next to each other, they cancel each other out.
Empress: When the Empress is inverted in combination with Death, the two cards cancel each other out.
Lovers: If Death comes after the Lovers, a marriage or romance will end.
Strength: If Death comes before Strength, there will be an abrupt ending. If Death comes after Strength, it indicates a serious, but not fatal illness. When both cards are inverted, it indicates a narrow escape.
Hanged Man: When Death is combined with the Hanged Man, it suggests a major sacrifice or regret following the end of something.
Tower: If Death comes with the Tower, it indicates a crisis. If the Tower is inverted this crisis will be narrowly avoided.
Moon: If Death comes after the Moon, it suggests slander will cause some sort of loss. If both cards are inverted, the truth will be discovered.
Sun: If Death comes after the Sun, there will be a triumph through something ending.
World: If Death is in the same spread as the World, in any position, it suggests the fall of a national leader or a world epidemic.

The Major Arcana

The twenty-two cards of the Major Arcana tend to hold the big lessons. These cards carry powerful messages. If you are reading a spread of cards, watch for the Major Arcana. If your spread contains more than 30% Major Arcana, you are in the midst of something big, or beyond your control. If most of the cards in the spread are from the Major Arcana, you might be trying to exert too much control. You might have trouble expressing your feelings, or you might be near your breaking point. A spread without any Major Arcana cards could indicate you are hiding from the truth of the issue, or are in some deep distress. If this is the case, it is important to find someone you can trust to guide you through this period of time. In a spread, focus most of your attention on the Major Arcana. The other cards will be useful for clarifying the situation.

Number — 13 which resolves to 4

Four is a number of order, foundation, and stability.

The Inversion

There is nothing to fear with an inversion. Mary K. Greer explains in her book, The Complete Book of Tarot Reversals, that an inverted card may be interpreted in one or more of these twelve ways:

  1. Blocked or Resisted
  2. Projected
  3. Delayed, Difficult, Unavailable
  4. Inner, Unconscious, Private
  5. New or Dark Moon (if you are reading cards from a round deck)
  6. Breaking Through, Overturning, Refusing, Changing Direction
  7. The Opposite of the Upright Meaning, or Lacking
  8. Excessively
  9. Misused or Misdirected
  10. The Upright Meaning Backward
  11. A Rectification or Cure
  12. Magical, Unconventional, or Humorous

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