The dream that won’t go away is a call, as is the symptom that recurs, the section of the bookstore you always go to first, and the lesson you’ve endlessly had to learn, or are intent upon impressing on your children.
Gregg Levoy, Callings: Finding and Following an Authentic Life
Another very intense week is upon us – celebrating Lunar Imbolc, Lunar (“Chinese”) New Year, and a partial Solar eclipse on the Aquarius New Moon. So it should be no surprise that we are visited by a third Major Arcana card, and one that I consider the second most important card of the Tarot — the Judgement card.
I love this card, although it can be enigmatic for many. Indeed, the Judgement card (I am using the British spelling, in keeping with the Waite-Smith deck) can be off-putting at first to those who don’t subscribe to the beliefs of the Christian Bible.
That’s because most older decks, including the R-W-S deck, as well as the early Swiss, Italian and French decks, depict 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 being who holds our fate in the balance, the summation here is the triumph of our awareness, free will, and liberation.
We choose our heaven and our hell. We are the judges, we name our fate.
This most momentous card 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.”
Rebirth Has Arrived
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.
“Whatever else is going on around you,” writes Tarot legend Rachel Pollack, “there is a push, a call from within to make some important change.” In fact, she goes on to suggest that this change has probably already happened; we are being called upon to recognize and embrace it.
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, redemption, the next step of human evolution, nirvana, the eternal Presence. We are the Imaginal Cells awakening.
Thus, in many later decks, especially those turning away from the Judeo-Christian themes, 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 eternal, spiritual beings having a temporary, physical experience.
The Judgement card therefore has much to say about reaping what we have sown.
Seedlings of the Eclipse
This week, as I mentioned, there are big celestial events. This is the closing of the “eclipse window,” a threshold that opened during the Full Moon eclipse of Jan. 31’s Super Moon (on the eve of Brighid/Imbolc).
This Thursday, the Aquarius New Moon brings the spectacular Lunar New Year’s celebrations throughout Asia. It also features a partial Solar eclipse, and Lunar Imbolc. Imbolc is the celebration during the Wheel of the Year when we begin new studies, begin an initiatory process, or promise a year-long special devotion to particular skills, services, or Deity.
So whatever intentions and promises you have planned, whatever spiritual vows and commitments are pending – now is the time to bless and begin.
A man laying stones for a path
If vision and practical skills are brought into a place beyond either one, new worlds can come into being. Tenacity is the key. You have to see the pattern, inscribe the pattern, and let it set collectively. For when you are out ahead of everybody else, you must master the craft of timing.
Everything is perfect in the right time and place and awful when out of sync. Contained within yourself is the blueprint for the future; you need to season and temper the extraordinary forefront awareness with life-experience, and discover the patterns of the cultural landscape.
A mission pursued, a task taken on with a vengeance. A destiny that stands out and speaks volumes.”
The gift of seeing patterns, and responding in kind harmonizes well with the Judgement card, as is the revelation of destiny, by means of each task taken on, each step forward. We follow our bliss, not by figuring it out, but by moving ahead. We move ahead in answer to the call.
With this card’s appearance, I feel that we are receiving a divine provocation, before it is too late. Wherever and whoever we are, we are urged to rise from the graves of despair and apathy; to step away from a path that is leading to the undoing of civility, tolerance, and law.
This week, we are all, collectively and individually, invited to embrace profound realizations and even a transcendent renaissance of our purpose.
By doing so, illusions 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 will soon silently, but inexorably, swell on the trees? Are we, in truth, so disconnected from the dances of elk, horse, or fox who are nearing their times of estrus, a term that comes from name of the Dawn Goddess of Spring, Eostar?
For indeed, the Lady of Spring is stirring, with Equinox less than six weeks away, despite the freezing temperatures and icy spells that still bind us.
Imbolc brings the realization that barren Winter shall soon give way to the green shoots of rebirth, and in the dark of this dark Moon, we are called to be the seeds of hope, that shall 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.
Rise up and rejoice!
The dream that won’t die is calling your name. Answer. Answer with all your heart.