Previously, I talked about the Death card. This card has a lot of baggage attached to it and can be clouded in misunderstanding. This season, I wanted to look at the cast of supporting characters around the Death card, to maybe help understand why this card needs to be so spooky! In this piece, we will take a closer look at Judgement and it’s relationship to the Death card.
The posse of the Death card is The Tower, Judgement, and The Fool. In Part I, I explain why I have chosen these three cards to complement and expand on The Death Card. For that preamble, GO HERE.
Not many people seem excited to see this card. Even the word judgement can cause a lump in your throat, a sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach, or a dull chill to run over your skin. Many folks interpret this card like a sentence being passed by the Universe, a judgement on our deeds or actions, one that will result in some type of punishment, retribution, or rebuke. Karma, perhaps. Or that you’ve been “asleep” to the truth, and it’s time to wake up to reality, honey!
Most Judgement cards depict a similar scene: an “angelic” being with wings, hovering in the sky. Maybe there are clouds around them. The being is usually blowing a trumpet that often has a flag attached to it. Below, we see at least three people, all standing up and gesturing towards this angel-like being. These people are often solid gray, standing in boxes, that seem to be floating on water. Way off in the distance are snow-white mountain peaks.
Let’s start with the people. We have met them before. This is the Divine Couple, which represents the duality paradigm, opposing forces, and the duality in all beings. These are the same people we see in The Lovers card, as they came together to create a life. We saw them again in The Devil Card seemingly led off their Holy Path, and then in The Tower, falling to an unknown fate. Now, we see them appearing to rise from the dead(?), but for the first time, with a child.
Whatever the nature of the crisis they faced in The Tower, in the Judgement card, they have found some type of life after it, and have a child, or a physical relic of the process.
The masculine person was looking at the feminine person in The Lovers card. Now, all three people look at the entity in the sky. They no longer look to their subjective, individual lifetimes for knowledge, like they did in The Tower. They now are in union with this source of eternal information, knowledge, or enlightenment.
Looking at the shapes of their arms, in some interpretations of this card, we can see the letters LVX. This is the word lux, Latin for light. These three are opening their arms and letting in the enlightenment that the angelic being is blasting down on them with their horn. Their bodies are gray, like clay. That gray tells us there’s something not real, or otherworldly about these people. They do not exist here, in the 3rd dimension, with us. It also represents the union of opposing forces that humans struggle with much of their life in this current 3rd dimension with all its strife and gravity and aging meat suits.
The idea of duality is expressed often throughout the imagery in the Tarot. And yet, we know other paradigms are not based on only man/woman, black/white, up/down, Goddess/God, good/evil. In all cards that we see the Holy Couple, they express this duality, all the forces these two sides can “hold”, and the dance between these forces that are constantly striving towards equilibrium. This couple expresses that duality in us, where it exists. Their now gray bodies tell us that equilibrium has been achieved, or can be. The child represents the fruits of that union – the relic – in the grandest sense, a new sense of Self.
The baby is gray because they are the New Self, born on the shoulders of the collection of experiences that came before, including previous versions or incarnations of the individual Self and the eternal Self. And this baby represents a literal new paradigm, that one that looks so strange to us from here that it appears to be Nightside, upside down, gray with no discernible color. This baby can see into the next dimension, the magical realms, the 4th dimension, the union of space/time, all that cool stuff. In the most practical terms, it represents the settling in of a new you that comes from maturing through a major process. But there are a few different Tarot cards that speak to the process of “becoming a new you.”