Judgement: Spiritual Awakening

Tarot Stories
3 min readNov 16, 2020

As a Catholic, the imagery on the card I picked today was all too familiar: Judgement Day, when the angels would blow the trumpet to indicate the second coming of Christ and the end of times, and the whole world would be judged as good or evil. And the consequence would be Heaven or Hell.

These days, the end of times feels a lot nearer: a pandemic, on the brink of civil war, natural disasters, corruption… I know I’m being dramatic, but that’s what it feels like — scary, disheartening and very unfair. The comfort in today’s card is the idea that in the end we will judged and order will be restored. Justice will come and we will answer for how we lived.

20. JUDGEMENT

Judgement from the Rider-Waite Tarot Deck

What you see: Naked men, women and children rise from coffins floating in water with their arms outstretched above them. An angel looks down upon them and blows a trumpet with a white banner attached. The banner has a red cross on it. In the distance are snow-covered mountains.

What it means: The dead rise in response to Angel Gabriel’s call; he is the messenger of God and they are ready to receive judgement. The cross on Gabriel’s banner represents the forces of life in balance, masculine and feminine, as seen previously on the High Priestess card. The stream of consciousness that started on that card, ends up in the Judgement card as the pool of water that the coffins are in. The mountains in the background signify the challenges the people face and that judgement is unavoidable.

The story: As a character, Judgement represents self-evaluation and reflection. As an event, it signifies an awakening, a realization or a reckoning. As a relationship, it symbolizes an ultimatum or a renewal. As a sign, it is a call to reflect and be introspective; to accept the unavoidable consequences of your action or a decision.

As part of the Fool’s Journey: Judgement is the true moment of death; an enlightened death filled with acceptance and trust in the universe.

Reversed meanings: Reversed, the card indicates a failure to self-evaluate, a lack of self-awareness or not heading the call.

In mythology: Judgement is an event found in many religions beginning with the Sumerian religions. In Christianity, there are two judgements — when a person dies and then when the end of the world arrives on Judgement Day (what this card seems to depict). The depiction of Angel Gabriel with the horn to indicate the second coming of Jesus, is a familiar one.

Potential insights: Actions have consequences and inevitably we have to face up to these. It is also good practice to keep reflecting on our selves and taking the time to process the consequences and learn from them.

The message I take away from this card is to not wait for the final judgement, but to constantly look inwards and consider the impact I have on the world and others. I‘m not advocating to harshly judge myself and get a complex, but to spend time reflecting so that I can steer myself back onto the path that I want to be going along.

My research sources:
A Complete Guide to the Tarot, Eden Gray, 1970
Tarot Card Meanings, Biddy Tarot
Card Meanings, Labyrinthos

Deck: The Rider-Waite Tarot Deck®

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Tarot Stories

A Canadian marketing strategist learning storytelling through the Tarot, and maybe finding the meaning of life along the way.