The Basic Meaning of the Card (Rider-Waite)
Death is the thirteenth card in the Major Arcana of the tarot and symbolizes change, transformation, and the end of a cycle. Despite its name, the Death card rarely represents physical death. The card’s image shows a skeleton-rider on a white horse, which represents that change is inevitable and that we must accept and adapt to it.
When Death appears upright in a tarot reading, it means that it is time to let go of something, to end a cycle, and to move forward. The card symbolizes a time of transformation and change that can be painful or frightening but which also offers opportunity for personal growth and development. Accepting change and forgiving the past are important in order to move forward.
If Death is reversed in a reading, it may indicate that you are unwilling to accept change or that you are clinging to the past. It may also suggest that you are having difficulty letting go of old patterns and that you need to confront and overcome fear or insecurity which is holding you back from moving forward. The card encourages you to confront and overcome what is holding you back in order to make room for new growth and transformation.
If Death appears in a reading alongside the Eight of Cups and the Three of Pentacles, it could be interpreted as an necessary change and transformation (Death) leading you to let go of something that no longer serves you (Eight of Cups) which will result in new collaborations, devotion, and success on the material plane (Three of Pentacles). It is important to embrace change and move forward towards new possibilities.