The Death card shows Death himself riding on a white horse, holding a black and white flag. Death is portrayed as a skeleton as the skeletal bones are the part of the body that survives death. The armour he is wearing indicates that he is invincible and unconquerable. Indeed, no-one has yet triumphed over death. The horse that Death rides is white, the colour of purity. Death is therefore the ultimate purifier. All things are reborn fresh, new and pure.
The banner that Death carries has a black background, indicating an absence of light. The white rose, on the other hand, indicates beauty, purification and immortality. In the background of the card, there is a rising sun, a sign of immortality. The sun appears to ‘die’ each night but is reborn fresh and new every morning. The two pillars are guarding the gateway to the sun, symbolizing the knowledge needed to gain immortality. The boat on the water in the background is the ferry that transports the souls across the River Styx. The background is a neutral grey, again showing Death’s impartiality.
Death is ruled by Scorpio (the sign of ‘sex, death and taxes’) and the number is 13, sacred to the Goddess as there are thirteen moons in a year.