Mary El Tarot - Death

Bat Chicken

Again, the non-traditional way of telling the traditional story… This Death is quiet and meditative, but the exact opposite to the Hanged Man. The HM is expectant stillness, this is more of a fading away. It seems to embody the wisdom of life collected and ending, the ephemeral nature of the physical body, of Life. The fresh beauty of the orchid contrasts with the withered age of the being.

Traditional Death cards reflect the Tarot’s early days where Death clears the field of all - King and Beggar – equally (The Black Death specifically). The cycle of Life reaches its apex where the Baby becomes King and becomes the fodder for new Life.

The Praying Mantis is interesting. I did a quick search on symbolism and “Mantis” is Greek for ‘prophet’. It would seem that stillness is still the theme as we continue along this part of the deck.



They're predators, the praying mantis--eat anything they can hold down, I've seen them do it. Beautiful insects. The praying mantis is the grim reaper in this card.

The woman's face is strange. It's expressive, yet her eyes are empty; a mask.

Bat Chicken

They're predators, the praying mantis--eat anything they can hold down, I've seen them do it. Beautiful insects. The praying mantis is the grim reaper in this card.

The woman's face is strange. It's expressive, yet her eyes are empty; a mask.

They certainly are in the garden - no doubt! :) Yes the grim reaper indeed. Their front 'arms' are like scythes....


Yes! Lil' scythes. And the blood-red leaf.

The artist has an excellent sense of composition and color along with everything else excellent.


This Death has such a lovely feel to it...of one of your ancestors coming to guide the way and take you there. To welcome you over and hold your hand...such a peaceful way to go.

Also the woman's face looks like it is mummified....


The woman's face has sort of a Native American look, which is so fitting to the feeling of peace and calm evoked by the image. Although generalizations about Native American peoples as a whole are largely inappropriate, given the wide ranging variety of beliefs among different tribes, a few things might be said. For one, Native Americans generally have a cyclical, rather than linear, concept of time, within which death is viewed not as a dark and threatening finality, as it is to Euro-Westerners, but simply as part of the natural cycle of life. A peaceful-looking Death figure makes more sense, viewed in this context.

Some Native American tribes composed death songs,--sometimes these songs were even composed by a person on his or her deathbed--which generally communicated "a resolve to meet death fully, to accept it with one's whole being, not in defeat and desperation, but with equanimity and composure" (DeSpelder & Strickland, 2011, p. 105). In Euro-Western culture, death is so often met in defeat and desperation--think, people's vain attempts to stave off death with technology (e.g., round after round of chemotherapy, which more often robs quality of life than brings the elusive, hoped-for cure), the view of death as a failure by the medical profession, and the taboo that surrounds the topic of death more generally (e.g., not exactly polite dinner conversation). Many Native American tribes seem/seemed to adopt a much healthier approach to death.

Not to be too morbid, but just a thought: If/when I'm terminally ill, this would be a card I'd like to meditate on a lot...or maybe just stare at mindlessly for a while. It's so peaceful... This is most definitely my favorite death card!

DeSpelder, L. A., & Strickland, A. L. (2011). The last dance: Encountering death and dying (9th ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill.


There is no option about this card, no duality to it in a sense. All that has been up to this point is passing, there is nothing you can do to prevent or change it. What is corruptible (the body turning the death colours) is diminishing and the flowers seem to echo this transient nature of life, living only for a few days before dying back.

There is no landscape here, no vision of the promised land, a night sky, no stars to guide the way, only the strands of her hair stretching out in every direction. Are these all the connections made in life now no longer a concern. The memories which form a cushion on which we lay our head and measure our existence? Even they will be gone soon.

I love the mantis as death. If you watch them they are incredible hunters, so still and seemingly innocuous that they are ignored by all around until 'SNAP'. Which is possibly how we all see death; as something that happens to others but not me, not yet anyway . . .

Even the scariest times, the darkest hours and the happiest periods will come to an end. There's the certainty in this card, to face it is to see the truth and be liberated.


The woman's face is strange. It's expressive, yet her eyes are empty; a mask.

When people (and animals) die, their pupils become fixed and very dilated as a sign that there is no further brain activity. This card seems to me to depict that moment of transition, when there is only the body left with you, and you know that they've gone on and that they know now what's on the other side of the veil.


To me this card does not show the usual Death and transformation we see in other decks.

This one: Death of the ego, bringing a serene androgynous balance between passions and knowledge on the one side and the feelings of love, attachment and personal preferences on the other.
What then grows is the true wisdom of non attachment symbolized in the flowing white hair that extends beyond the card into infinity.
The eyes are not dead. They are black pools that have seen it all.


You look to those black eyes and what you see is nothing. Black holes, an empty body. You can not see because you are not able to see behind the black veil, but maybe behind this veil, he or she can see you.
Very nice card.