Death Card Magic

By Melanie Harris

Adapted excerpt from Tarot Magic News, October 2008.  To subscribe for free, send a note to

The wheel of the year turning this October, we submerge ourselves in the energetic undercurrent, the season of darkness, mystery, harvest, and death. The Death card is an excellent addition to Halloween rituals meant to connect with the energy of the season. This card represents a reaping, a turning over, a revolution, a shift of tides. It can signify a great rolling over, promising destruction or transformation of all that lies beneath the wheel. It's a useful card for calling up and contacting spirits of the dead, and it can be helpful in rituals intended to support a profound spiritual rebirth. This card must be employed in magic with great care, however. Its symbolism is powerful, and many people cannot help but perceive this card with some inherent negative connotations. If you feel uneasy about using this card in magic but you decide to try it anyway, your intent might get a bit muddled by fear, a state that can cause a spell to backfire or be otherwise mislaid or misdirected. If you're clear about the card's purpose and meaning in a particular spell, and you feel comfortable, there's nothing to fear. 

 Here's a Halloween Tarot spell that uses the Death card to connect with and calm ghosts. Begin by placing a strong protective charm around yourself, your cards, and the general area. Do not skip this step! Sit in near darkness with just a candle and your Tarot deck. Lay out the Death card, focus on it, and open your senses. Invite any kind spirits of the dead who might be near to join you. If you sense any ghostly presences, acknowledge them. Conjure a feeling of peace and compassion, and send this into the Death card. Place the Temperance card or the Ace of Cups, or a card that better reflects your goal, on top of the Death card. Find your own way to express your intention. Perhaps you wish the spirits will find contentment and peace, that they will find what they seek. Perhaps you intend to release a spirit from earthly bonds (In that case, the Eight of Swords reversed works well.). You can write your intention in a letter, say it out loud, create a sigil for it, think it, feel it, or draw it. Do what feels best. To finish, release the spirits and tell them to be on their way in peace and in love.

To use the Death card for a profound spiritual rebirth, select a Tarot card that signifies that which you want to do away. Place the Death card over this, and express your wish for that chapter or aspect of your life to be finished, forever. Choose a card that reflects the future you desire. Visualize yourself walking through the distant pillars on the Rider-Waite Death card, entering the sunlight, starting your life anew. Place the card showing the future you want over the Death card, and express your belief that a new era of success is coming, that the negative patterns and powers will be overrun and overcome.

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Tarot Reflections is published by the American Tarot Association - Copyright (C) 2008
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