The truth of the Death card is in taking the step beyond what was and into what we have chosen.
Therefore, on a deeper level, the Death card may indicate fears and a need to overcome them in order to continue forward. With fears and secrets like "skeletons in the closet", we risk self-sabotage and destruction of our dreams, potentials, and opportunities.
Deeper still, we begin to see through the darkness and examine our consciousness - much like an owl, bat, or other nocturnal creatures able to see in the dark or use other more sensitive senses in order to defer danger and find sustenance. Apart from examining the thoughts which give fullness to our fears, we begin to "see" with all our sense more clearly those entanglements which hold us back, the limiting beliefs we use to sabotage ourselves, the falsehoods we use to destroy our dreams or avoid opportunities. We begin to see our thoughts and behaviors which prevent growth and stagnate our creative potentials... which is a kind of Death in itself.
Further, as in the transitioning of physical Death as our life-force energy changes from our bodily form and our consciousness leaves this earth-walk (however you believe the process to unfold), the Death card of the Major Arcana signifies a very influential change - mostly internal (mental, emotional, spiritual) but very often noticeable in life and circumstance. No change is possible externally without first a shift internally to create it.
So, whether a marriage, a birth, a death, a complete change of career or livelihood, when this card comes up be sure that there is indeed a transition from one state to another, and that the ending of what was and what is being left behind contains the seeds of the new beginning.
Key XIII of the Major Arcana comes after we have paused, considered, and decided what to leave behind and what to carry on as we continue our journey. The truth of the Death card is in taking the step beyond what was and into what we have chosen. A new way of thinking and its subsequent new approach, all in one strong & courageous step through a door of opportunity. What a great example of free will. What a refreshing way to approach overcoming obstacles and fears - not by abolishing them but, by mustering the courage to choose and to act despite them. What a great refreshing start to the new year.
Written by Cynthia Botsko