Decisions, Decisions: Judgement
It's a good thing that Judgement comes towards the end of the Major Arcana because if I had to write about this one first, I don't think I would have lasted through this whole series. Judgement is one of my big shadow cards and I owe this mainly to the way it's depicted in the RWS—giant angel in the sky, naked people with their arms raised up. Not my favorite image!
But as with anything that has to do with our shadows, life beckons us to take a step forward and try at the very least to figure things out. I'm thankful for modern decks that provide different angles and symbols that take me down the same, albeit prettier path towards Judgement's essence.
The Divina Tarot's representation of Judgement comes with a hand reaching up to the skies and the heavens, where a pair of all-seeing eyes reside. As the penultimate card of the Major Arcana, I feel like Judgement gives us that final push that tells us we're about to wrap up a chapter of our lives. We're not quite at the end yet, but we've reached a certain knowing—a wisdom that comes after experience. You've been through the wringer, so the choices you make, the judgement you exercise is so much more informed than it was when you were at card 0, The Fool.
The other aspect of Judgement—and this, I think, is why it is my shadow card—is how we can be overly judgmental. Passing judgement not just on ourselves but others is different from having constructive criticism or a simple opinion. It's harsher, unnecessarily critical, and says more about ourselves than it does about the person we're judging. This is absolutely something I know I need to work on all the time!
I also relate the Judgement card to a kind of purging of the soul. You've gone through a ton of stuff, now are you going to forgive yourself for all the mistakes you made?
Pretty Standard Stuff about Judgement: (as seen in the Pagan Otherworlds Tarot and the Dreaming Way Tarot)
- The naked folks on the boat are there to symbolize their willingness to be judged—their upraised arms look like an appeal to the heavens.
- The angel (or angels) with the trumpet is there to make his "decision" on the people below. There's a sort of assessment on what happens to them next. Are they forgiven or not?
But what about cards that go off the beaten path? (as seen in the Nicoletta Ceccoli Tarot and Metro Tarot cards)
- I like how the girl in the Nicoletta Ceccoli card towers over the rabbit, but she's stuck in the maze and only he has the key to let her out. Sometimes we put so much weight on others' judgement of ours, we lose our agency.
- The floaty, ethereal quality of the woman in Metro Tarot Cards' Judgement depiction reminds me of the rising up that comes after a proper "judgement" of the self. Once we've studied what we've been through, internalized what needed to be learned and let go of what we needed to detach ourselves from, everything becomes lighter and judgement suddenly becomes the way we think rather than a heavy criticism of ourselves and others.
Oh wow, I can't believe we've already run through 20 cards and only have one left. See you in a week, folks, as we tackle the final card of the Major Arcana, The World.