Keywords for Judgement
At the top of this card, we see Archangel Gabriel as he bursts forth from a cloud, blowing the trumpet which announces the Last Judgement. From his trumpet hangs a banner, on which we see a red cross over a white background.
Notice that the arms of this cross are of equal length. This indicates that this symbol is not a reference to the cross of Jesus Christ, but rather, a more ancient symbol which signifies the meeting of the physical and the spiritual planes of existence.
This indicates the purpose of the trumpet’s blast: it is meant to call our attention to a significant moment of transformation and change. It announces that at last, the spiritual and the material, the inner and the outer, the individual self and the collective or universal consciousness will be unified.
Below Gabriel, we see the gray bodies of the dead as they rise up from their graves.
It is interesting to note that in this representation, Archangel Gabriel appears to be blowing his trumpet directly over the outstretched arms of the woman.
She lifts both arms up in grateful acceptance of the angel’s call. The male figure, in contrast, seems to stand back more passively, with arms held close to his body, and head gazing directly up stunned amazement.
The woman, as a symbol of subconsciousness, is likely more prominent here due to the fact that the process of awakening or enlightenment begins with a call first heard by the intuitive, feeling aspect of our personality. The first inner rumblings of awakening are heard deep within our hearts before they are made known to our conscious minds.
This speaks to the fact that any experience of transcendence or redemption cannot be reached through the logical, linear processes of the reasoning mind that we have come to so heavily rely on. It is an experience that benefits from preparation and intention, but refuses to be planned.
It is something we do not earn through our own efforts, but which in some way, we receive through grace.
Interpretation of Judgment in a Reading
When the Judgment card appears in a reading, it often indicates a turning point, one where we are called to make an important decision in our lives.
Judgment can refer to all of the situations in our lives where we are asked to reflect on what we know, and then use our discernment to choose the best path forward. When this card appears, we often must use our critical reasoning capacities to evaluate and assess the problem at hand and then make a decision.
This card may also mean that we have heard an inner call to pursue a spiritual journey. In relation to this, it can refer to an experience of awakening, one where we may hear an inner call to more carefully observe ourselves and our world. This card refers to the development of awareness and higher consciousness that could ultimately be the result of such an endeavor.
Consequently, this card also has associations with experiences of rebirth and renewal. We may feel transformed by the inner developments due to the challenges and opportunities for growth encountered along the way.
Having glimpsed the light of truth, we may now be called to act in a more enlightened manner, with our convictions having been strengthened and reinforced, especially when it comes to knowing what actions we must take to make a difference in the world.
For these reasons, the Judgment card can also be associated with the concept of forgiveness. In fact, in some decks this card even bears the name “the Last Judgement.” It can mean, not a final condemnation for all eternity, but instead a cessation of blame.
Having seen a greater vision of the truth underlying all manifestation, we may no longer feel the need to blame or condemn. We may find that we have issued our last judgement, leave blame in the past, and move forward with an attitude of compassion and care for others.