So far this month I have drawn a card each day, 21 cards as of yet, and I am starting to see a pattern emerging. For the first two weeks or so I was pulling a lot of Pentacles. The King of Pentacles and Queen of Pentacles actually came up four days in a row, going King, Queen, Queen, King. I found this quite intriguing because I have been feeling a real lack of connection with my surroundings, maybe they were trying to tell me to get back in touch. The plethora of pentacles ended however and since I have been pulling Major after Major. Ten Majors in total with two repeats, The High Priestess and Judgement. Today in fact my card for the day was Judgement, which I feel to be quite apropos this being my first card post in a while.
Judgement is an interesting card, with themes that maybe seem on the surface to be in juxtaposition. The name itself has quite negative connotations, for when do we ever really feel that being judged is anything but negative. Whether this stems from the fear instilled in us at Sunday School that the ‘Day of Judgement’ will come and only the ‘saintly few’ will be brought up to heaven, or maybe as a result of bullying at school, a feeling of judging eyes always upon us, most of us link the word judgement to a negative feeling. But it doesn’t have to be that way, and in fact the card Judgement is quite a positive one.
Judgement is the second to last card in the Major Arcana, and if you split the cards into three lines of seven it is situated in the third line representative of the release of archetypal energies and development of spiritual awareness. First we break free from The Devil’s chains, from our attachment to the physical world and belief that nothing exists beyond personal desires. Next we come upon The Tower and experience a shattering of illusions, one which alters our perceptions of materialism and releases our repressed energies. Then we journey through the three forms of light and experience beginning with the inner revelation of The Star, through the mysterious unconscious energy of The Moon and finally into the conscious warmth of The Sun. Once we have had our experience with The Sun we realise that we are in fact part of the whole, come out reborn and find a sense of our inner and outer having merged with Judgement. Feeling reborn, finding absolution, making a judgement on our past life, and hearing and heeding a call. These are all represented by Judgement.
In the RWS depiction to the left we see an angel, usually said to be the archangel Gabriel, blowing a trumpet and awakening the dead below, ready to send those worthy up to heaven. Here we have, in my option, the most symbolically ‘Christian’ card in the whole deck, easily linked to the ‘Day of Judgement’. Now of course when we conciously link it to that, negative connotations are plentiful, but when you actually look at the card, no one looks fearful, in fact they look joyous, arms stretched open towards the angel in the sky! This to me links the trumpet blow not to an apocalyptic end of the world, but to a spiritual awakening, a change in conciousness. Which in fact is an important aspect of this card.
Above in the Shadowscapes interpretation I feel the spiritual ascension aspect of Judgement to be absolutely overwhelming. Here we have a beautiful angelic figure with golden flowing hair and a six pointed star tattoo, blowing her trumpet to awaken the souls of the departed. Her call asks them to lay their deeds out to be judged and in return be cleansed. This is representative of those times where we must evaluate and recognise the past phase of our life for what it truly was with honesty and an unbiased mind. Once this has been done it makes way for a metamorphosis, a rebirth, like the souls in the card who are transformed into butterflies. Judgement represents the end of an old way of life, a cycle that has concluded. This ending makes way for a new direction; the judgements we make of our past beliefs and actions allow us to then make adjustments to reflect our true selves.
The flowers represented are poppies, a symbol of sleep and death. Sometimes in our lives we can be so set in our ways that we never really look deeply into what we are doing and who we truly are. It’s like we sleep walk through life. Here however we see an awakening occur within the swaying field of Crimson Sleep. The ‘Blast of Truth’ from the Angel’s trumpet releases the souls out of their sleep, renewing, revitalising and providing absolution. This image to me represents how Judgement quite often symbolises regeneration after a period of confusion or confinement. A wake-up call from the universe prompting us to self-evaluate and through this, cleanse ourselves of our perceived ‘sins’, so that we may step into a new phase of our maturing process.
Another image I find intriguing is the use of a six-pointed star as a tattoo on her cheek. The six-pointed star is an ancient symbol, made up of an upwards pointing Fire triangle and a downwards pointing Water triangle. Fire and Water are naturally opposed, a flood has the power to destroy a fire, while a fire has the power to turn water into steam. But at the same time no life can exist without a blending of these two primal opposites. Hence the six-pointed star is a symbol of union and integration. To me in this card the six-pointed star represents the fact that if we heed the angel’s call, we may just find a way to integrate all aspects of our past and present to build a stronger future.
I have to admit, this card has never been an easy read for me! It always takes me a little more time to decipher the reason she has chosen to make her presence known. Maybe this is because I have yet to reach the level of awareness that Judgement provides, I’m not too sure to be honest. But one thing I do feel when I look at this card is that it symbolises the end of a cycle of constraint and a time to spread out your wings and fly, to be like those pretty blue butterflies. When you hear her call listen carefully, make a thorough assessment of your situation and you may just come out the other end transformed.
Until next time, live well xx