Upright: Detox, endings, new chapter
Reversed: Avoidance, feeling stuck, uncertain
Zodiac Sign: Scorpio
Next card: Temperance
Death is a pillar in our existence—not necessarily to purge or to end, but to evolve.
Death is represented by the number "13", which breaks down to "4". While most people consider Death to be a card of massive change and even destruction, the funny thing is that 4 is actually a number of structure, foundation, and stability. So, why is Death—the card that honors movement, detox, and purging—associated with a number that represents the stationary?
In fact, this gives Death an entirely new perspective for us. Perhaps Death isn't about the "endings", as we are so accustomed to understanding. Perhaps the reason Death is associated with 4 is because Death is actually crucial to living. It's a pillar in our existence—not necessarily to purge or to end, but to evolve. We, as humans, are constantly evolving. Without markers that determine where we start, where end, where our feats are and our successes lie, we wouldn't have any way to measure maturity, growth, and self-evolvement. Just think about the school system: The way we identify maturity is through grade markers.
We might consider this to be why Death is associated with fixed water sign, Scorpio. Scorpio enjoys every part of evolution—from birth to growth to "end" (or death). This is the kind of sign that understands that "endings" actually offer new beginnings.
Seeing Death in an upright position means that we are aware of and accepting change into our life. I often say that while Death means closing a chapter, it also means that a new chapter opens up. So, in this case, it can actually be a positive experience.
While endings are sad, Death only appears because we know we are better off by letting go of that thing in our life (think: a toxic ex, the end of a hard year, graduating high school). Without Death we wouldn't be able to bring the new and amazing chapters into our life. In that case, Death is truly about maturity—particularly in its upright fashion.
If you have yet to experience the change, this card in this position warns you that change (for the better) is on its way. But never fret! If it's upright, it's a sign that you're well prepared for this change and you should take it in stride.
In a reversed position, Death can suggest that we are not accepting the change as well as we should be. Consider this similar to those intuitive nudges you get to quit your job. Perhaps you feel that it should happen, that you're not happy, that you know something isn't working... and yet, you continue to push it off because you don't like feeling unstable. This is a Death reversed moment.
Ultimately, Death in this position talks about avoidance. We fear we aren't ready for the change, that we won't make it through, or that we don't need to change. But, of course, whenever you see this card, none of those things are true.
If you're getting this card in a reading, it's time to be truthful with yourself about what isn't working in your life and take action. Because if you continue to procrastinate or avoid, the Universe will take matters into its own hands and cause the change for you. (That's when we see a "Tower" moment.)