Are your days of sitting on the fence done? Have you found a reason to keep living? Are you feeling refreshed and looking forward to moving on? Has a casual interest turned into a dominating philosophy of life that you are pursuing as your true calling? Are you able to brush aside the ambiguities and obfuscations of the past and clarify exactly what it is you have been through? When the Judgment card arrives in your Tarot reading, it is time to take a stand as the hardest choices become obvious after the simplest of appraisals.
The top half of this card is a depiction of an angel blowing his horn. In most Tarot decks, his large wings are astride wispy gray and white clouds out of which his arms extend to clasp a large golden horn, upon which he is pressing his lips. Attached to the musical instrument is a square white flag with a red cross. The illustrated lines emanating from out of the trumpet indicate that Gabriel is blowing his horn. Beneath him, the graves of the departed have all opened and the dead have begun to rise. The landscape is an almost monochrome blue-gray in contrast to the red wings, the fiery orange and yellow hair and the colorful horn and flag of the angel above.
This is the scene of the last judgment as described in many mythologies. In the end times, the archangel Gabriel will blow his trumpet and summon the dead to rise. They are about to meet their maker and discover whether or not they are to spend eternity in heaven or in hell. There is an absolute nature to the final judgment of legend that is imbued in the Judgment Tarot card. When this card appears in your Tarot reading, be assured that absolutes are about to take place.
Meaning in Past, Present and Future Positions
When you receive a Tarot reading, the cards are pulled from the deck and placed before you. The pattern of cards is divided into three areas of meaning: your past, your present and your future. Landing in one area can bring out select parts of a card’s true meaning and will be subtly different from an appearance in a different area.
When Judgment appears in the past position, you made a big decision to go along with one way of thinking. This might have been in your youth or it might have been a few weeks ago. This card does not guarantee that you made the right decision. Your current foundation rests on having taken a particular path and the results of this decision may be the reason you are seeking a Tarot reading. Regardless, you may be defining who you are by the decision you made in the past to follow a certain calling. Now you are taking stock of where you are in your life in relation to where you want to be because of that big move.
In the present position, Judgment is reflecting your internal conflict about making a big decision. The finality of this choice is quite apparent to you, even if it seems small to others and is perhaps even dismissed by those close to you. The presence of this card can give you little guidance over your choice. While many Tarot cards have a sense of inevitability about them, the Judgment card in the present position is powerful in that your free will is on the line here. All this card represents is that the decision you are about to make is, in fact, an epic one.
An especially powerful placement of this card is the future position. When Judgment is here, the murkiness, guilt, burdens and misery are about to go. A coming incident will allow you to finally see the possibilities. It will be like you have been a ghoulish zombie in a graveyard of your own creation and the sudden blowing of a trumpet will pull you out of your stupor and give you a second lease on life with a definite sense of purpose and an obvious direction.
When your Tarot cards are dealt, they do not stand alone. They speak as a group. The presence of various cards has an influence on what other cards in a reading will mean.
The Judgment card is numbered #20 in the Tarot’s Major Arcana. It is most closely related to the other two cards that end in zero: The Fool (card #0) and The Wheel of Fortune (card #10). The Fool looks at every decision as meaningless, The Wheel of Fortune divides up the times in our lives into ups and downs and Judgment completes the themes by calling us to a most critical juncture in order to move on. The cards ending in zero make the evolution from ambiguity (represented by The Fool) toward the universe having a random impact on our lives (The Wheel of Fortune) and finally to our personal decisions and the weight they have on our own destiny (the Judgment card). When either The Fool or The Wheel of Fortune is in a reading with Judgment, the road you choose will have a lifetime of positive reinforcement about it.
When Judgment pairs up with The Hermit card, a relationship that is in the final stages will result in a productive period of being single. The opposite is true if The Lovers card is present in a Tarot reading – combined with the Judgment card, a marriage or live-in commitment is in the works.
When the Temperance card is combined with this card, a decision to quit drinking or doing drugs is imminent. The step of sobriety is a giant leap epitomized by the Judgment card and made possible by the Temperance card. When the Five of Swords is in a reading with Judgment, a decision to go at it on your own has at its roots a desire to spite an old acquaintance or family member. Independence will not be as you imagine. When the Ace of Swords is in a reading with Judgment, expect to give an interview, legal testimony or lecture that has a profound impact on the lives of many people. While this could be a highlight in many peoples’ lives, a moment that carries such import is almost an ordinary occurrence in the routine of a schoolteacher.
Judgment’s impact does not portend that this is a unique occurrence that can happen only once in a lifetime – the presence of this card may mark one great turn of events in your life, but you are just as likely to have many others, as you are none at all. The card carries no weight as to how often a big change might occur, only that its impact is absolute and influential.