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Death is the fourteenth card in the Major Arcana, and is given the number 13 for many reasons...both the Death card and the number 13 are widely misunderstood. Most people regard both of them with fear, when in fact they are not cursed or unlucky at all—it is all a matter of your perspective. (That goes for physical death as well, actually.) An armored, skeletal figure rides a pure white horse, symbolic of spirituality and purity of body and soul. Death passes people from all walks of life, and each is effected in different ways that correspond to their viewpoint. The King, who believed that his existence hinged primarily on his status, title, and wealth, is laid low. The Priest, full of faith in a pleasant, rewarding afterlife, faces Death straight on. The young woman turns away out of fear and sadness, but kneels compliantly, albeit regretfully. The child, completely innocent and blissfully ignorant, offers Death the beauty of freshly picked flowers. The flowers, though beautiful, are now also dead. Interestingly enough, a flower appears on the flag Death carries. We should view Death, which essentially symbolizes change, the way the child does. In this way, Death becomes less traumatic, and more the transformation that it truly is meant to be. It is a positive passage, as the sun shining in the distance indicates.

Death signifies intense change, and most people do not welcome change. In its most positive guise, Death heralds a chance to start over, a second chance in relationships, or a time of major growth. If viewed with a negative outlook, Death can indicate the unexpected, and deep rooted fears of the unknown. When you accept change as it comes and grow from it, you can release that which has gone before and get on with what is yet to come. Discoveries, opportunities, and new cycles await you. Rather than resisting out of habit, embrace them, and your worries will fade away.

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Illustrations and images from the Rider Tarot Deck reproduced by permission of U.S. Games Systems, Inc., Stamford, CT 06902 USA. Copyright © 1971, 1982 by U.S. Games Systems, Inc. The Rider Tarot Deck ® is a registered trademark of U.S. Games Systems, Inc. The world's largest source of tarot and cartomancy is U.S. Games Systems, Inc. A catalog may be obtained by contacting the company at 179 Ludlow Street, Stamford, CT 06902, Fax: 203-353-8431 or call 1-800-544-2637.


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