Don't Fear the Reaper: 'Good' and 'Bad' Cards in the Tarot

Yeah, he's pretty intimidating - but his message isn't.

Yeah, he's pretty intimidating - but his message isn't.

There are common misconceptions about Tarot, and I've heard it all.

"Oh, I would never consult Tarot cards. I don't want to find out when I die"

"I'm afraid of what the cards would say"

"What if The Devil comes up? Does it mean I'm cursed?"

If you've only experienced Tarot through Hollywood films or mass-marketed Halloween ephemera, then it's not uncommon to be fearful of the "bad" cards in the deck. The good news is that all cards, even the scary ones, have positive connotations and messages. The even better news is that there's no such thing as a "bad" card; in fact, I get excited when "Death" appears in a spread. (Yes, you read that right. We'll get to that.)

The key takeaway is this; Tarot, when used correctly, is simply a tool to guide us on our life path. ALL life paths will contain joyful and care-free days, and troublesome or difficult days. This is why you will experience imagery that resonates positively in your intuition, and others that may spark feelings of "um, no thanks".

But the 'no thanks' cards each have their own message; a concept or idea to ponder that will lead you toward bigger and better things. Stay with me here, and consider the "Death" card.

Death in the Tarot is  figurative . It represents change, transformation and new beginnings.

Death in the Tarot is figurative. It represents change, transformation and new beginnings.

When the 'Death' card comes up in a reading, it represents a great change in the seeker's life. Old ways of thinking, old methods of doing or behaving, will be stripped away or left behind in order for new beginnings or transformation to occur. In short; the bullshit you don't need will fall away in order for great new things to come into your life.

The Death card RARELY represents actual death. (In fact, if you ever encounter a reader who predicts your death or the death of another with this card, I want you to (calmly and firmly) thank them for their time, walk away and disregard anything they may have said. The Tarot is about providing guidance that is practical and useful; not to scare, cajole or make anyone feel a lack of control.)


Let's address a few more of the touchy cards. The Devil is about being aware of bad habits or negative behaviour we may lean on as a crutch to avoid dealing with our emotions. The Tower is about a sharp, sudden change that will eventually be for our best and highest good (despite all of that fire and people falling out of buildings). The Emperor can be a callous, overbearing dictator that rules with an iron first - wouldn't you want to know about this dude if he was going to be your boss? Me too.

The takeaway is this (are you listening?) -- What you do with the information received in the Tarot is your business. Period.

Or look at it this way - the Tarot tells a story of what is and what could be, based on your thoughts and actions as they are now. If and when you hear or see something that feels ominous or negative, use it as  that it's time to change your behaviour, your outlook, or the way you interact with situations or people in your life.

It is your life after all, and the Universe has granted you the freewill to do, be and act as you see fit. The Tarot is merely a tool of guidance which makes suggestions based on where you are, and who you are, today. 

Heed the messages of all cards - 'good' and 'bad' - to shape a future that you desire to manifest. The power is always in your hands, and in your mind.

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