The opportunity that the Divine One sends does not wake up those who are asleep.
~ Senegalese Proverb
In this week that begins with the Full Moon in Virgo (Sun in Aquarius), for only its third time ever, the Judgement card comes to visit.
I love this card, thanks in part to having been forced to work with it (exclusively!) for some six hours in one of Mary K. Greer’s workshops that led to her outstanding book, 21 Ways to Read a Tarot Card.
However, lacking the indulgence of a whole day’s undivided focus, it can be understandably enigmatic for many. For instance, just this past weekend in my Tarot Boutique class, Judgement came up in a group reading, and I discovered that most folks saw it in a rather negative, “judgmental” aspect.
Indeed, the Judgement card (I am using the British spelling, in keeping with 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. 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 being who holds our fate in the balance, the message here is the triumph of our awareness, free will, and liberation.
We say what is our heaven and what is our hell. We are the judges; we choose 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 condemnation, Judgement is often named Rebirth, Beyond Illusion, Transcendence, and Awakening. It is the discovery, one step from the end of the Fool’s Journey, that we are truly eternal, spiritual beings having a temporary, physical experience.
And so, during this week of the Hunger Moon, as the final month of Wintertime melts away, wherever and whoever you are, arise! Do not sleep through the blessing of your birthright. Heed the call in the ways that only you can.
From Buddha to Gurdjieff, 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.
This card’s timing is momentous. With so much at stake in the geopolitical and economic arenas, we are exhorted to wake up, before it is too late.
We are all, collectively and individually, invited to embrace profound realizations and even 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 swelling on the cherry trees? Are we in truth so disconnected from the dances of elk, cardinals, or fox in their times of estrus (a term that comes from name of the Dawn Goddess of Spring, Eostar)?
Rejoice! Barren Winter gives way to the green shoots of rebirth, and we are called to rise from our graves of despair, alienation, and apathy.
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/remembering this, how is your radiant life transformed?