Tarot Class with Anastasia Haysler: The Death Card


Anastasia & Rose Red at Anastasia's Tarot Class in San Francisco

Just look at all that fun stuff on the table: cards and art supplies, handouts, tea and treats…. If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area, I highly recommend attending Anastasia’s tarot class on the second Saturday of each month.

Yesterday’s class was on the Death card. Anastasia started by sharing quotations about death. She sent us home with three and a half pages of quotations to ponder. Here are a couple that I really liked:

We say that the hour of death cannot be forecast, but when we say this we imagine that hour as placed in an obscure and distant future. It never occurs to us that it has any connection with the day already begun or that death could arrive this same afternoon, this afternoon which is so certain and which has every hour filled in advance. –Marcel Proust

Don’t be afraid of death so much as an inadequate life. –Bertolt Brecht

Anastasia also talked about death customs as well as attitudes towards death throughout history and in various parts of the world. She is a an engaging story teller with a great sense of humor.

Before our break, she played us the song, “So Spricht Das Leben” by the Mediaeval Baebes.

Next we compared Death cards from many different decks. Anastasia pointed out an interesting detail in the Rider-Waite Death card that I had never noticed. Look at the spur on the foot of the skeleton. It’s an arrow, and it seems to be pointing to a cave behind the ship and to the left of the trees. Any ideas out there about what it might mean?



After looking at Death card images, Anastasia invited us to share stories of the Death card turning up in readings we have done. She pointed out that while the Death card is typically thought to symbolize transformation, sometimes it does reflect issues of mortality, such as in the case of a querant who has been diagnosed with a terminal illness, or someone who has just lost a loved one.

Our final activity was for each of us to draw our own interpretation of the Death card. What an interesting assignment! Anastasia had markers and crayons and pastels for us to use, and then we shared our cards and ideas.

The class ended with a drawing for two generous prizes: a deck and a beautiful deck pouch. Even those who didn’t win these prizes went home with a Forget-Me-Not key ring from the Tarot Media Company shop.

What a great afternoon!

I should mention that in addition to teaching tarot classes in the Bay Area, Anastasia is a luminary in the tarot community at large . Check out these projects which she has founded and directs:

Tarot Pathways blog and podcast

Tarot Media Company



4 Responses to “Tarot Class with Anastasia Haysler: The Death Card”

  1. Anastasia Haysler Says:

    Dear Susan – It was a pleasure to see you yesterday, and I’m so glad you enjoyed the class! It was great fun for me as well, and I appreciate how everyone was so engaged and willing to share their knowledge and experience.

    I look forward to your next Friday Tarot class!


  2. Susa Black Says:

    I thought I’d share another idea with you about that spur-arrow-cave image on the Death card. Perhaps it is indicating the cave in Christian mythology – where Jesus brought Lazerus forth, and also the empty cave when Jesus rose from the dead. This fits in with the death and transformation motif.

    • Susan Gold Says:


      This is fantastic—thank you! You also mentioned a cave in the Elysian Fields…or was it in the water on the way to the Elysian Fields? (I can’t read my notes.)

      I loved your poem on the Death card and hope to see you publish a book. Let me know when you do, so I can help promote it. 🙂

  3. submerina Says:

    Oooh, I’m jealous! 🙂 I’ve never even _noticed_ the river and landscape in this card O_O Like the ideas about the cave and its possible meanings. I think it could also be the cave the Hermit retreats to, seeing as the Majors tend to reference each other.

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