.. Esoteric TarotCourse

Lesson 14

Supplies you will need:

  • 78 Card Deck of your choice (required)
  •  Your Tarot Journal (required)
  •  “The Tarot Trumps and the Holy Grail,” by Margaret Starbird (buy if you can afford it)
  •  “Tarot Journeys,” by Yasmine Galenorn (buy if you can afford it)
  •  “Tarot in Ten Minutes” by RT Kaser (buy if you can afford it)

13 – Death

The next card you’ll be working with is Death. As usual, let’s begin by looking at what Margaret Starbird has to say about this card. Read the section entitled”Death” in her book before proceeding with the rest of the lesson.

Journal Writing

Go to your journal and start a new page with the word “Death” and the number13 at the top. Now take the Death card out of your deck and look at it. Again,you may want to step into the card to see if any of the figures have a messages for you. Be sure to write down everything in your journal. What do you feel,hear, or what things just pop into your head? By now you know that you are exercising your intuition here. What do you see on this card? Take note not only of the figures (both human and animal), but also of colors, shapes,the landscape, vegetation, heavenly bodies and symbols.

Now, in your journal, write down what this card is showing you. Record any key words that come to mind or any feelings the image evokes. Be sure to do this before continuing with the lesson.

What Do These Symbols Mean?


Death rides in on a white horse, a yellow skeleton wearing pitch-black armor and carrying a flag with a white rose emblazoned on it. He has already taken the life of a king or nobleman, and he faces down a bishop, a young maiden,and a little boy, signifying that he is no respecter of titles, age, or class.In the background, the sun is either setting or rising between two gray pylons.

The Symbols

Death is the 13th card of the deck, thirteen being a number loaded with occult significance. Contrary to popular thought, thirteen is NOT an “unlucky” number.In fact, it represents unity, love, mercy, glory and splendor. The number became associated with evil because, in orthodox Christian thought, there were “thirteen at dinner” the night of the Last Supper, when Yeshua was turned in to the Roman authorities to be crucified. If we look at his association another way, we can see that such a superstition is not only foolish, but completely wrong. Indeed, if anything, the Last Supper was a splendid occasion,the moment when Yeshua revealed his mission and the meaning of his incarnation through the sacraments of bread and wine.

If The Hanged Man makes people nervous, the Death card positively chills them, a fact which makes very little sense in the overall system of the Tarot.Indeed, if anything, this card represents positive transformation, the “death”of the old, outmoded life and the birth of the new. Once again, let’s turn to Karen Hamaker-Zondag for an analysis of this most meaningful card.

In Tarot as a Way of Life, she writes:

“Say goodbye to those things that have served their purpose, give up attitudes that are no longer helpful, and discard whatever is superfluous. That is the message of Death, the inner drive to have done with attitudes, behavior, things, and situations that will hinder us if they continue to be a part of our lives.

In a positive sense, this also means removing the masks behind which we like to hide. If we confront the insecurity that these masks allow to build up, we will observe that we need to adopt a more sober, unaffected, and unceremonious attitude, without airs and graces. Although, initially, this seems to be a big step in the dark, it will give greater confidence at a later stage. But the beginning of the process is difficult.

Whether we want to or not, we have to abandon tried and trusted behavior and quit a familiar situation, and we just do not know what will take its place. How are people going to react to us now? What response will we get? Will something new really come along? Such questions reflect the anxiety and insecurity that activate the tendency to creep back to old behavior, or to maintain some safe but no longer useful situation. ‘A bird in the hand is better than two in the bush,’ might seem to be applicable here, but it does not hold good for the card Death. Death indicates the end of one situation and the advent of some other situation that is still under wraps; we do not see the latter clearly yet–only its faint outline” (pp. 157-158).



Making way for the new

Unexpected change



Illness or death

Bad luck

Reversed Meanings



Slow changes

A narrow escape

Cheating death

Guided Meditation: If you have the book Tarot Journeys by Yasmine Galenorn, read the meditation for Death, beginning on page 157.This is an excellent book and is brimming over with insights. This meditation is especially appropriate when you feel a need for transformation or change.

Let’s Play a Game

Remove the Tarot Trumps we have looked at thus far (0-13). Pick whichever card most “strikes” you at that moment. Study its symbolism, look over the entry you wrote about it in your journal, and, if you need to, go back to the lesson that dealt with this card.

Now, take out a sheet of paper and pencil or pen. If you have colored pencils,crayons, pastels, or water colors, all the better. Your assignment is to create your own version of this card, to become your own “Tarot Artist.”Be as creative as you want, making sure to let the card’s meaning guide you.If looking at the card from your deck inhibits your artistic expression,just put it away. What we want is for you simply to let your unconscious,artistic mind take over. You can make your rendering as detailed or as simple as you like. This card is for you alone.

If you are totally un-artistic, you can simply write a couple of paragraphs detailing what your version of the card would look like if you could draw or paint it. What symbolism would you include? What colors? Just let yourself go with this one. There are no right or wrong answers.

Tarot in Ten Minutes

Take out your copy of Tarot in Ten Minutes. The following reading uses all of the cards of the deck. It is a great exercise for figuring out what changes you need to make and information you need to learn in order to live your life to its fullest potential.

Complete the following reading:

Reading #28, What Do I Need To Learn?

Pages 237-244

Do Extra Credit


1. After reading the section “Death” in The Tarot Trumps and the Holy Grail,please write a paragraph or so giving your “take” on the author’s ideas.

2. What were your key words? What do you feel/intuit that this card represents?Is there someone you know who might be represented by this card?

3. If you completed the guided meditation in Tarot Journeys, write a bit about your thoughts, feelings, ideas, etc. Why might this meditation be useful when you feel the need for transformation or change in your life?

4. In the section “Let’s Play a Game”, describe which card to chose to re-create.What does it look like? What symbols, colors and/or figures did you include?How do these images correspond, in your mind, to the meaning(s) of the card?

5. For the section “Tarot in Ten Minutes”, send in the reading and the extra credit.

Email your answers to the MysterySchool with “Tarot 14 Answers” in the subject line.

Here is a really interesting and fun new spread for you to try.

The “Decision” Spread

Use all of the cards from the deck and shuffle them thoroughly, concentrating on a specific decision you might have to make in the immediate or near future.Then, lay out the top five cards in the following order:

3 4


1 2

Here are what the cards mean:

Cards 1 and 2 Where you came from.

Cards 3 and 4 Where you are headed to, including the dangers/chances.

Cards 1 and 3 This speaks against it.

Cards 2 and 4 This speaks in favor of it.

Card 5 The decision.

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