Oh no! Not the Death card!
What Usually Happens
When you walk into a psychic shop, order a reading online, or call a phone psychic, and the reading is going well..that is, until the reader pulls the inescapable and unwelcome "Death" Card (gasp!).
Why do so many people fear the Death card? Is it because of the photo? Is it because the word "Death" is on it? What about the number "13" that has been a world wide superstition number of all numbers? Or maybe it's the fear of death itself? Hmmm let's take a look!
In the Original Rider-Waite Deck, we see a horse with a skeleton-type Reaper dressed in armor holding a flag. A pope stands near him. A women lays beneath the horse which looks almost quiet "dead"...or "asleep"...or, well which is it? (Oh No!) Let's ease that mind, shall we?
The truth is, the Death card is not something to fear right away, or not really at all. "Death" isn't always an ending to a life. And life shouldn't be lived to fear death. The Death card is symbolic in tarot readings because it does not always automatically mean a death literally. It can also mean closure or a situation ending or even a rebirth (depending on the surrounding cards before and after in position). Many times the Death card also represents transition and new beginnings as well. Let's say for example, the 3 of Swords cards (and we all hate that one also, don't we?) shows up right next to and before, the Death card. Now the Three of Swords card often represents sadness, loss, separation, heartache, or delays. The Death card showing AFTER the Three of Swords is actually more positive then negative. Why? Because it shows "a suffering will END very soon." Oh really? Yes really. Now on the other hand, if the positions were to be reversed to where the Three of Swords came after the Death card, then it could be showing "sorrow followed by an ending." Get the picture? Sometimes the Death card has positive meanings in itself like getting ready for a big change to come. Looking for Mr. Right? Well the Death card can mean Mr. Right will come, but only after you have finally "ended" your last relationship with Mr. "Already Taken".
Now mind you the symbolic traits of the Death card has plenty of them. Some include the following; closing one door and opening another, completing a chapter in your life, putting the past behind you, changing occupations, ending a relationship, starting a new relationship, eliminating the excess, getting rid of the old and making way for the new. There's lots more too.
What about that number 13?
Well for many people the number 13 is of superstition. I happen to think it's more lucky. In Numerology, it equals the number 4 (1 + 3 = 4). The symbolic traits of the vibration number "4" happens to be about structure, security, and order (and of course much more but I'll get into that later on). According to history and Wikipedia, "Some believe this is unlucky because one of those thirteen, Judas Iscariot, was the betrayer of Jesus Christ. Knights Templar: On Friday 13 October 1307, King Phillip IV of France ordered the arrest of the Knights Templar, and most of the knights were tortured and killed." There's also much more history associated with the number 13.
According to www.history.com : Many scientists point to the number 12 being a "perfect number". Ancient Sumerians "developed numeral system based on the use of 12 that is still used for measuring time today; most calenders have 12 months; a single day is compromised of two 12-hour days, etc."
But hey, whatever or whoever factually started all this fear mongering associated with the number 13 could really use a cup of "cheering up" tea along with a fluffy black cat to calm them down! Speaking of "black cats", I happen to personally think that blaming a poor innocent animal just by the color of its fur is certainly prejudice and cruel. I happen to know many black cats who are nothing but lovable and beautiful.
But can the Death card still mean a "Real" Death?
Sometimes yes. But it truly depends on the surrounding cards (especially the fact that more cards are usually required in a spread to predict an actual physical death), the question asked, and the present energy. But...it doesn't always mean it will be you. It could be someone else close to you or even an acquaintance or co worker. The actual death could certainly affect you, but won't necessarily mean it will be your funeral.
Overall it is best to look at the Death card as symbolic rather than literally a physical death. This card can be extremely helpful with many interpretations. After all, "Death" only ends the physical body. Not the soul.