“The ability to observe without evaluating is the highest form of intelligence.” ― Jiddu Krishnamurti
We arrive again in the Major Arcana, and the penultimate card, actually, of the Major Arcana--Judgment. Here the dead stand in their tombs and caskets, accepting the horn of Archangel Gabriel as they call their souls home. It is a celebration of acceptance. Their caskets float on a sea and the sky is clear and bright. Most of us recognize this scene--it is Judgement day, and the dead are risen. But Tarot is decidedly non-punishing, and certainly does not foretell death or resurrection. So, what is going on here?
The resurrection here is the absence of judgement. All the Dead, not just a select few, are welcomed by the Archangel, the messenger of Good News. This is the absence of judgement, rather than the doling out of punishment and acceptance. I always felt this card was about Divine Love at its core, and the ways in which we project our own fears and anxieties onto our religions. The mystical Tarot releases all that, and asks you to as well. You have been through the Fool's Journey, walking the lessons of the Fool through the Major Arcana. You have met the Magician and the Priestess,Mother and Father, the Pope and the Lovers, and the Chariot, Strength and the Hermit. You have spun the Wheel of Fortune then met Justice, the Gallows and Death. Temperance balanced you, and the Devil swayed you to your base needs, and the Tower brought them down. The Moon, the Stars and the Sun introduced you to the shadow and light selves. And here you are, the card before last, meeting judgment. What have you learned?
This is the core message of the Judgement card. You are your own prison guard, your own torturer, your own judge and jury. Release judgement. Krishnamurti nailed it in his quote above (when doesn't he?) "The ability to observe without evaluating is the highest form of intelligence." He isn't talking about native smarts, he's talking about emotional intelligence. That space inside us that wants to label and judge all of us and all around us. When we release judgement, and get curious (do I harp on that too much?) we transform ourselves. This release isn't simply release of judgment, but fear, anxieties, anger, unforgiveness, arrogance--these are all forms of judgement. We recognize the limitless potential within us when we release this judgement of ourselves and others. What I mean by that is that our own oppression comes from this idea that we can't. We can't draw properly, or we can't take that class, or we can't quit our jobs. We can. This allows the whole you to emerge, and find this triumph within the spirit, mind and body.
My favorite Tarot writer, Marcia Marsino, talks about the ocean as the collective unconsious in the imagery of the Judgment card, and it reminded me of this Buddhist idea of moksha, or nirvana, or enlightenment. It is like we are each a drop of water, individual and understanding ourselves to be contained within the confines of this drop of water. We see its boundaries, right? But once it falls into the ocean with billions of other drops of water, we don't differentiate ourselves from the whole any longer. We are part of this vast, powerful ocean, and yet we are still a drop of water, but we cannot be extracted as such. Our essence, all we carry in that drop, is now part of the collective. This is what enlightenment is said to be, but Judgment asks you to look beyond the limits of your ego today and see yourself as only part of the whole. Can you see beyond the limits of your ego?
This idea is some heavy spiritual work, and not exactly the core message for everyone. Down deep, yes, Spirit asks you to see beyond, but on a day to day basis, when I pull this card in the reading, I generally ask the person to release judgment about themselves. This often comes for people going through divorce, or job issues, or wrestling with life choices. Release judgment. I must say it every reading. It is a common theme from Spirit to mankind. Spirit loves you unconditionally, can you love yourself this way?
Judgment may also ask you to use your moral center to make a decision. You may see some cards that indicate this interpretation around you, like a Knight of Swords, or Strength. It may mean standing against others, but you must speak for love, compassion and the universal whole, rather than the individual.
Reversed indicates a kind of refusal to release judgment, anger, unforgiveness, and the inability to release a person or situation. This can also indicate a fear of change. Remember that the core message of Judgment is release, so think of this as a refusal to release.
As always, I love writing these Tarot columns, certainly, I am coming to the end of the deck in a few months, and when I do, I may begin selecting randomly, or start a new deck. I'd love to plunge more into the Wild Unknown imagery. Let me know which you prefer, and if you didn't see, I'm celebrating my one year anniversary of Moon + Stone. Visit this post to enter the giveaway, and celebrate with me.
For those in the Harrisburg area, I have lined up some classes at Alta View for those interested, I am teaching an Introduction to Tarot workshop for four weeks starting Wednesday, September 17th at 7pm. They will run Wednesday nights from 7p-9pm. On the fifth week, we will open our doors for our student readers to work with the public. We invite our students to invite friends and family to practice on. All reading are on a love donation basis, and we will donate the money to a local charity decided by the class. Shoot me an email if you are interested at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call Alta View at 717-221-0133. Space is limited. The class costs $125 for the four weeks.