And awakened dreaming
To souls is revealing
The enchanted weaving
Of this, their inmost being.
Rudolf Steiner, from The Soul’s Awakening
A rare visitor arrives in this week of the Aries New Moon. Let us welcome one of the most pivotal cards of the Tarot, Judgement.
I love this card, but I didn’t always, and I know it can be puzzling for many.
For instance, in my Tarot Without Tears classes, my students sometimes choose it as one of their least favorite cards. They feel that Judgement is a rather negative, “judgmental” card.
And whoa! There are all those dead people coming out of their graves! Zombie apocalypse?
Indeed, the Judgement card (I am using the British spelling, in keeping with the origins of the Waite-Smith deck) can be off-putting to those who don’t look beyond the word itself, or who don’t resonate with the Christian worldview.
Most older decks, including the R-W-S deck, as well as the early Swiss, Italian and French decks, depict it with the classical judgment day motif of Christian art and theology.
Traditionally in those themes, the angel of the Lord calls the living and the dead to God’s final judgment, sending the few souls of the righteous to eternity in heaven, while throngs of the damned head for the fiery pits of hell.
Certainly, here we see the angel (most scholars identify him as Gabriel) calling the dead from their graves.
But in the Tarot, even in the oldest decks, the theme of punishment and damnation is pointedly absent.
No one is being judged here.
Instead, the figures are rising up in adoration and celebration. Arthur Waite writes, “It is the card which registers the accomplishment of the great work of transformation in answer to the summons of the Supernal.. heard and answered from within.”
So instead of being at the mercy of some great, grim disciplinarian who threatens to permanently cast us out, the message here is the triumph of our awareness, free will, and liberation.
It’s our choice. We say what is our heaven, and what is our hell. We are the judges; we decide our fate.
This is a wake-up call to our very soul. The angel blows the trumpet of victory over death, calling humanity to resurrection, renewal, and to embrace our highest self, or as Waite named Him/Her/Them, the “Good Genius.”
So most Tarot scholars agree that this card has much less to do with any kind of judgmental situation, and is more about the realization of a huge shift in consciousness. This is the recognition of the Divine within us, and throughout all that is.
Thus, in many later decks, especially those turning away from the harsher themes of divine condemnation, Judgement is often named Rebirth, Beyond Illusion, Transcendence, and Awakening.
This is the discovery, one step from the end of the Fool’s Journey, that we are eternal, spiritual beings having a temporary, physical experience.
From Buddha to Steiner, from Chuang Tzu to Eckhart Tolle, the theme of cosmic awakening resonates through history.
This card is nothing less than the realization of that which so many have tried to name: divine consciousness, resurrection, redemption, the next step of human evolution, nirvana, the eternal Presence. We are the Imaginal Cells awakening.
And so, during this week of the hyper-energetic Aries Sun/Aries New Moon, it is time to rise up! Do not sleep through the blessing of your birthright. Heed the call in the ways that only you can.
Preparing for the Shift
The last time we saw this card, we were in the final direct squares between Uranus in Aries and Pluto in Capricorn. It was the curtain call for more than five years of what many astrologers, including my friend Lynn Hayes called “the biggest planetary factor influencing our world today.”
Although they are no longer making exact squares, their clashing energy of chaos and breakdown is still being triggered when the Moon and other planets drift into their influence.
As it happens, this week’s Aries New Moon is one of those instances. And yet it also opens the door to a transition for a new chapter.
Astrologer Janet Amid writes:
Prepare to be energized by the New Moon in Aries. It’s all about motivation, new ideas and increased physical activity. Impatience can be an issue, so take a step back before taking on too much.
Generally the effects of a New Moon begin a week before, and can last up to a week after.
This is generally a great time to rid ourselves of bad habits, begin a fresh start, and re-invent yourself if need be.
How perfect that the Tarot supports this, as Judgement calls us to let go of our past, and open to new levels of consciousness and awareness.
Arise, My Love
This week, we are all, collectively and individually, invited to embrace profound realizations and possibly even undergo a transcendent awakening.
By doing so, our divisions, distortions, angers, and fears melt away, even to the point of seeing past that biggest of illusions, called death.
Are we so different from the sweet buds that are silently, but inexorably, opening on the trees? Are we in truth so disconnected from the dances of elk, cardinals, or foxes now celebrating their times of mating and birth?
Rise up and rejoice! In the seed planting time of this passionate Dark Moon, we generate new life, new dreams, and a new vision to come.
Judgement is the shining revelation that we are each the children, and the living manifestations of, The Beloved. Death’s grip cannot eliminate that which is eternal.
Now, knowing and remembering this, how shall your radiant life be transformed?