Cosmic Tarot, XIII Death


This is a strange death card, it utilizes some iteresting symbolisim.

Lets start with teh main figure, a skeleton. His attire is pitch black and is also ragged and ripped so light can pass through. He holds his syche by teh blades tip with si right hand and keeps it steady this his left, his right foot stands on a dead twig, unbreaking. A bird, probably a raven or crow, rests on Deaths right hand, at the tip of the very sharp blade. surrounding this strangly serene figure are the last remains of civilization: Gravestones, two skulls (one with a helmet still on), a pillar to some great structure, and teh top of a pyramid barely identifiable. In front of death are even more unusual symbols: A clock buried in the ground, a broken sword and a shattered crown.

The skulls are the passing of corporeal life, wheather in service of antoher or independent. The gravestones are falling apart, even in death life continues upward, bringing everything else down. The clock has stopped, time keeps on ticking but not by our standards. The Sword is broken in the shadow of death, the crown is shattered as the darnkess of the syche falls upon it. The broken sword could represent the failing of the mind, and shattered crown can equal destroyed authrority.

Behind this barren scene that takes place on a stone tiled scene is the sun rising within a square, beyond the square are planets, stars, and the infinite entropity of space.

A very facinating card.


The sword and the crown symbolize the eternal nature of time, with the clock providing a clue to its significance. It wears down the greatest of kings and warriors. Kind of Tolkien-ish.

What I find interesting are the broken down headstones and the opened grave - is this a christian "rapture" kind of thing?


I'm sure that the "rapture" was definetly an inspiration for this and the judgment card, however it is the monochromatic tiled floor that seems to veer away from that idea. Where as the masons use checkered floors to symbolize "the greatest game ever played", the game of light and dark, christain symbolisim would not.

perhaps the graves were robbed, perhaps thats where the skeleton came from, not sure, its a strange card.


It seems that the entropity engulfing the Death card may take place after the actions in the Judgment card.

Also, that raven on the left is very noticable in certain readings.


paradoxx said:
The broken sword could represent the failing of the mind, and shattered crown can equal destroyed authrority.

I believe this also means that, when the Death pays you a visit, it doesn't matter who you are: a king, a peasant, a warrior...status doesn't matter. What you are outside doesn't matter. What matters is what's in your soul.

Just my 2 cents.



I was thinking of this card yesterday and then was given the opportunity to watch a film by Darren Aronofsky called Pi! Oh my gosh, it was incredible! It’s staged in most probably the late 60’s and filmed in black and white. But the impact it leaves on you is definitely earth shattering.

The death card could be symbolic of the meaning ‘to overwhelm’. The angel of death can be ruthless, overturning and destroying what does not meet up to its standards. This force can be quite self destructive if all physical blocks have not been removed.

The broken sword could be a sign of defeat, when our intellect‘s been bruised, humiliated…a battle lost…our belief in or about someone or something has been shattered.

Change always involves surrender and a passage through the darkness of the unknown. The bird looks too small to be a raven, so I’ll guess it to be a crow, which in the death card could signify grief and misfortune, the underworld and the afterlife.

I see the broken clock here as sealing our fate in the solidity of the stone! There’s no turning back, what once was, is gone, says the Angel of Death….’leave no stone unturned’. The gravestones may be saying it’s time to step out of the hole you’ve created and recreate yourself anew.

tink :love:


I always took the sword to mean that you can't fight your destiny when your time has come.


Maybe the rising Sun in the background means just as your past is being ripped away a new day is emerging at the same time. If you can let go of what is no longer good for or worn out you can embrace the new-ness. It's like a snake shedding its skin--it can't fight it, it's something that MUST happen whether he likes it or not!


Death stands front and center in this card, a skeleton with flaps of decayed flesh draped over his ribs and a crow on his hand for a friend. He also has a grin on his face and a hole where his third eye is (or was). It doesn't really fit the traditional meaning of the card but this emphasis on his third eye makes me think of psychic communication, and he seems to be hearing what the crow is saying.

On the ground in front of him are more symbols of death. There is a column, which was used in graveyard art to symbolize a man who died young and in his strength. This usually happened in war. There is also a skull with a military helmet to remind us of the connection between death and war. The broken sword is poignant and seems to say that whatever the war was about it wasn't worth it. Death will end all disagreements so you might as well make a fresh start.

Two empty graves show the hope that humans have always had in the face of death. The pyramid in the background also symbolizes human hope for immortality. The clock is there because death makes time so precious.

The most moving of all the symbols, at least for me, is the broken branch under Death's foot. It will never grow any more or bear flowers or leaves.

The rising sun seems to show a new day, a fresh start. It is interesting that the square section that has the rising sun is sort of being eaten away, decaying to show the cosmos and infinity behind it