There’s a blaze of light in every word
It doesn’t matter which you heard
The holy or the broken Hallelujah.
A rare visitor arrives in this week. 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.
In fact, this is where the chains of judging, guilt, blame, and shame fall away once and for all.
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.
We say what is our heaven, and what is our hell. We are the judges; we decide our fate. It’s our choice.
Decisions Under the Influence
This week has both astrological challenges and changes ahead.
On Friday, Dec. 1, there is a potentially belligerent Mars-Uranus opposition. This can create disruption and lashing out, as Mars can be explosive, and Uranus is rebellious and often lacks tact under pressure.
What provocative situation is goading you? Is there some point of irritation or frustration that needs your attention?
Instead of ticking like a bomb about to explode, Judgement offers a broader view. It invites you to consider whether that thorn in your side is actually a spur, urging you to transcend your fears, leave your safe, doomed coffin, and leap towards your most noble purpose.
Also this week, we arrive at the end of Venus’ intense visit in Scorpio (during which, unsurprisingly, we have seen many dark sexual secrets exposed). The planet of love, beauty, and wealth slips into Sagittarius on Friday. Annie Heese at Café Astrology explains:
While Scorpio is most concerned with intimacy with a specific person, Sagittarius’ love is of a more universal kind. Romantic adventures, as well as a straightforward – even blunt – approach to love, are on the agenda.
Gone are the intricacy and complexity of Venus in Scorpio. Truth and higher meaning are things that take priority with Sagittarius.
Whew. Let’s hope so! And Judgement would certainly emphasize all things to do with truth and higher meaning.
Then, on Dec. 3, we arrive at both the Gemini Full Moon and Mercury Retrograde.
Lance Ferguson notes that as we enter December —
Jupiter trine Neptune has been on the hob for the last four weeks and will slowly dissolve as the weeks go by.
For some folks a dream will come true this month; for others the illusion of success will be challenged by the facts and lose the name of action.
Both outcomes are encouraged by the Neptune square to the Full Moon in Gemini.
What dream has called to you of late? Is it time to put it in motion? Is it a dream that has its roots in your heart of hearts? Or is it time to reconsider (a perfect Mercury retrograde activity).
The exquisite and essential book, Callings: Finding and Following an Authentic Life, by Gregg Levoy, declares, “To ignore dreams is to hide the sculptor’s tools, to tear out pages from our own stories, to drive with our tailpipes dragging on the ground. If we ignore dreams we cut ourselves off from the place from which calls emanate.”
Judgement insists you must listen to your soul’s dreams. Now, this very week, is your opportunity to heed the true callings of your soul.
If you would rather not end this strange and difficult year cowering in the cold, dark corners of your private stony grave, listen!
Can’t you hear it?
“Rise up, rise up!” sing your higher angels.
While this Mercury retrograde promises to be another doozy (already in the “shadow period” I have been undergoing enormous tech difficulties – BACK UP YOUR DATA, folks!!), its timing is perfect for reconsidering the goals of your life.
For such retrograde-ish reflections, Judgement is one of the most powerful allies in the Tarot. It can help you retrace your steps back to where you may have gotten diverted from the path of your highest purpose, and let go of that restrictive, unfulfilling past.
This second to last trump card of the Tarot is the great soul guide that exhumes us from wherever we have been hiding out.
This is a wake-up call to our very soul. It is time to embrace our full consciousness and awareness.
No more playing small. We stand at the very gates of realization and rebirth.
No labels of “broken” or “holy.” This is the recognition that the Holy of Holies is both within us, and throughout all that is.
The fiery 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.”
This is the discovery, one step from the end of the Fool’s Journey, that we really are eternal, spiritual beings having a temporary, physical experience.
From Buddha to Gurdjieff, from Chuang Tzu to Eckhart Tolle, the theme of cosmic awakening and our interconnectedness with All 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 emerging.
As we make our final descent into the darkest dark of the year, we set to the task of generating new life, new dreams, and a new vision to come.
Judgement is the shining revelation that, even in our imperfection, we are the blaze of light within the gift of the Word.
Fear no more, my loves. Wake up! Answer the heralding trumpet of your own divine insistence.