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Death Reversed

Ah, the Death Card. Signifies an end to something, a time of grieving with the hint that there will be something new to take the place of this lost thing in the future. Rebirth is at the other end of this tunnel, but a dark tunnel must be traversed. Reversed?

1) Opposite: The easiest reversal here is to say that something does not come to an end, or it does not die. But this may not be as good a thing as it sounds. Ever have a favorite TV show? You watch it over three seasons, it hits a pinnacle of being brilliant and wonderful...and then it starts to go down. And as it sinks and gets worse, and as it stretches out you begin to wish it had ended after that pinnacle.

Sometimes, things need to come to a blessed end. Anyone who's had someone in the hospital, alive but not alive, holding to life but not living, knows that "not death" isn't a desired thing. Not death keeps people from grieving, and from starting over again when done. It just stretches out a "not-life."

2) Blocked: Unlike the Opposite, I would say that the Blocked interpretation does allow for the death or ending of something. The real energy of the card here is about that time of grief and nadir that leads to re-birth. If this is blocked, then the querent can't grieve. They can't face or relieve the pain of loss. They remain at one end of the tunnel, refusing or unable to transverse it.

Re-birth is held at bay as well.

3) Upside-down: Turn the Rider card upside-down and the flag falls from Death's hand. Death falls off the horse. The horse is on its back and the corpses are out of their graves.

It's a grim absurdity. We might say that reversed, this card becomes a mockery of death. This upside-down card hints at some very grisly things--desecration of graves, mocking someone's death. Someone dies and their end is celebrated or laughed about rather than mourned. Or, worse, someone dies and no one offers compassion or sympathy to the widow and children.

This situation, similar to the "Blocked" interpretation, makes it impossible to move on. Grief cannot be dealt with or overcome. I imagine I'd get this card for people who were Holocaust victims or who lost so many friends and lovers during the AIDS crisis of the 1980s. It isn't just the multitudes of deaths they witnessed, but that no one cared, or helped or offered sympathy. They are left in eternal grief over the way death was disrespected.

Get this reversed card meaning, plus all the upright meanings, symbols and stories in The Tarot Reading Companion eBook - download it now.

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