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The Judgement (XX) card can often strike fear into your heart if you are carrying a heavy conscience. But there’s more to this card than trials and consequences. The 20th card in the tarot’s Major Arcana can also signify rebirth and carry an encouraging message. If you’re on the precipice of a major life decision or transition, the Judgement card is here to guide you. Let’s dive into the Judgement tarot meaning and intriguing importance this card has for you.
Judgement Tarot Card Numbering
Being the 20th card of the Major Arcana, this card often precedes major life choices and changes.
Judgement (VIII) Card Meaning
When you receive an upright Judgement card, the message it carries is clear. The present moment, and everything you are experiencing in life right now, is significant. Receiving this card is a clear indication that you are on the right track for a big move in life, whether that’s opening up to life-changing decisions, or simply discovering a new depth to your spiritual awakening.
We’ll get stuck into the imagery and symbolism in the next section. But, we have to refer to it here as well. That’s because the Judgement’s imagery is so significant for its Tarot meaning. It’s sometimes challenging to remain impartial to this card, given that so many of us carry secrets in our subconscious that we are afraid to be judged on.
When we look at Judgement’s card symbolism, it can tell us quite a bit about this card’s essence. There is a clear reference to souls passing on towards judgement. Caskets on a body of water, as they approach the Archangel Gabriel, are ready to face the consequences of their choices, both wrong and right.
There is no escaping this, as the statement mountains filling the landscape tell you that this judgement will happen- whether you like it or not. Rise to it, or remain in a purposeless state, unable to make any progress.
But, not everything in life is so dramatic as the renaissance artists would paint it, is it? Similarly, we can lighten the load and apply this Judgement card to situations in our lives. Sometimes the judgement could very well be as dramatic as the picture this card paints. But more often than not, the scenarios are significant but not so dramatic.
We can separate the card’s meaning into three distinct scenarios.
- Are you faced with a significant period in your life? It could herald a time of intense spiritual advancement as you discover your own personal legend and what your path is in this life journey. You may be experiencing a shift within yourself. Or perhaps you are on the edge of a breakthrough, sudden clearing of mental fog about a situation, or a major change in your work and lifestyle.
- Secondly, you might be called to review, reconcile, and learn from your past. This card is a significant indicator for karma that’s come knocking. It’s important to review your past mistakes with honesty and integrity, but with gentleness too. Instead of a wrap on the knuckles, the Judgement card is calling out for our need to forgive ourselves for past misdeeds we have not yet made peace with. Guilt is stagnation. It festers and clouds our thoughts and judgement. It’s time to acknowledge the past and make your peace. It’s time to heal.
- The third scenario could be that you are faced with a major life decision.
In this article, you will learn what the Judgement card means for you- whether you are on the precipice of an inner transformation or a significant decision.
Judgment Card Imagery Description
This imagery description is based on The Original Rider Waite Tarot Deck design.
There are a couple of things that might jump straight off the card when you first set your sight on the Judgement tarot card. So, we will start from the top. There is an angel that fills up at least half the card, and the clouds billowing out from the angel’s arms are suggestive that this angel is emanating from heaven.
The bright red wings certainly steal the spotlight, but there is another thing about this angel that catches my eye and knocks on the door of my subconscious, and that is what the angel is doing. The angel is blowing a trumpet, and lines are indicating the severity of the sound. As if sounding the very horn of judgement day, this angel also has a serious look of concentration and impartialness. There is not much emotion here, just focus. Of course, remember that this is my interpretation.
Below the angel, there are 6 naked humans, young and old, male and female, standing with their eyes cast upward and their arms open. This indicates their surrender to judgement, and their willingness to receive what judgement comes their way.
The landscape in the background is green and lush, with trees dotting the horizon. And from the horizon rises an almost harsh landscape of tall and rugged snow-capped mountains.
These mountains symbolize that judgement is inevitable, there is no escape from it.
And when you look a bit closer, you see that the nude people are rising up from what appear to be their graves or open caskets. This rising from the grave indicates the possibility of even immortality saving you from the call of judgement day.
The imagery on this card is more of a serious mood, that can often inspire a tinge of fear. I suspect this is because all of us have a little drawer within our subconscious and in that drawer house all the thoughts, memories, and hidden actions that we keep to ourselves.
But should we really be afraid of judgement? Let’s take a look at the different interpretations for the Judgement card. And maybe, just maybe, we can deal with the shadows we keep hidden in our secret drawer.
Upright Judgement Card Meaning
Okay, so you’ve received the Judgement card. Now what?
There are some cards in the tarot deck that give you a sense of support, others a sense of foreboding- the Judgement card is often the latter. But there’s no need to fear this card. Let’s see what messages the Judgement card is bringing us.
Firstly, we will kick it off with the obvious. The Judgement card is here to remind you not to stray from your path. You are most probably going through a time of intense spiritual learning, awakening, or simply just realizing that there’s more to life than base instincts. The Judgement card is reminding you to rise up to your destiny. Tune out of distractions and tune in to your higher self.
More often than not, the Judgement card arrives when we are on the precipice of a life-changing decision. But should you make these decisions with pure logic only? Certainly not. Tap into your innate intuition and merge it with your intellect.
This is the recipe for success if we want to make effective decisions that bring us closer to our highest good. There is another message this card brings, and that is to trust your judgement. Are the nudges in your gut trying to tell you something? The Judgement card is here to tell you the time to listen to your intuition is now. Use your past mistakes and failures to learn and grow from.
As I’ve already said, the Judgement card arrives when you are peering down the cliff about to make a significant life-changing decision. Perhaps you have spent time reviewing your past and this card has popped up to tell you to forgive yourself and learn from whatever transpired. Or perhaps you are evaluating your life, and things are starting to make sense. Whether the fog is clearing or you, or it’s time for forgiveness, the Judgement card is here to help us make sense of it all.
This could also come at a time in your life when you are looking for closure from the past. It’s time to evaluate and integrate your past experience so you can understand your life journey. This is so important for people wanting to heal deep wounds and let go of the past that weighs heavy in their hearts. The release is not easy, but the reward for letting go of pain and regret is immense. What’s more, it opens you up to new chapters within yourself and your life. Letting go shows us who we are, and what we are capable of.
There is another element to the Judgement card worth discussing, and that is the value we can find in opening up to others and sharing our burdens. You don’t have to work your way through your struggles alone.
Upright Judgement Card in a Love Reading
renewal, changes in an existing relationship
Love readings are among the most searched for types of questions. Everyone wants to know about love, and that’s not surprising considering how a relationship has the knack for cracking you wide open. So when you receive the Judgement card in a love reading, what do you need to know?
The Judgement card is asking you to examine your relationships. What needs attention, and where do you need changes? No matter the situation, the Judgement card almost always calls for introspection. Only through self-reflection will you understand what type of awakening is taking place.
Are there issues you’ve placed on the back burner? These need addressing now. Remember to keep communication gentle and open. Relationships work both ways, so it’s essential you both communicate your needs. And no, this doesn’t always mean major changes, sometimes even seemingly insignificant changes can make a large difference.
The Judgement card in a love reading is also a reminder that any past grievances or mistakes are now knocking on your door. You need to make peace with these before you can grow or move on.
Upright Judgement Card Career Meaning
purpose, accountability, responsibility
If there’s one thing for sure it’s that the Judgement card heralds a time of awakening. And with career reading, it’s the same. Are you feeling yourself being pulled into a different career path? That could be your purpose calling you. Or, perhaps changes are calling for your attention less dramatically. Sure, this can be stressful at times but the situation will be worse if you do not make the necessary adjustments.
Has your workplace been a place of tension recently? Then the arrival of the Judgement card is asking you to pay close attention to how your actions are impacting those around you. Evaluate how you have been acting, and take an unbiased review of how your behavior could be impacting others. Then, notice where you could improve. This card is less about casting harsh judgement meant and more about becoming cognizant of our actions and taking responsibility for them.
Upright Judgement Card Financial Meaning
Review financial habits, review financial values
How is your relationship with money?
This is the question that comes to mind when we get the Judgement card in a financial reading. Our financial habits either hinder us or help us. What are you doing?
If they have been impacting you negatively then now is the time to review your financial habits and see where changes can be beneficial.
It’s time to adjust your relationship with money, especially if you tend to overspend or are stuck in a lack mindset.
Reversed Judgement Card Meaning
The Judgement card reversed and upright carry similar messages. When you receive a reversed Judgement card, the call for self-evaluation and reflection is strong. It’s time for a time out and whether that looks like meditation or self-contemplation, you need to evaluate yourself, and your choices.
More often than not, this will lead you to a deeper understanding of your life’s path. It may not be easy, but it is worth it. By understanding ourselves we have the opportunity to integrate life lessons and become a better version of ourselves. In a practical sense, this means we can break cycles of self-destruction and avoid recurring situations that cause pain.
The reversed Judgement card is also bringing things up to the surface- things that we have probably buried within our subconscious, or even things that we want to hide from others. What secrets are weighing on your soul?
We often keep things hidden for fear of reprisal and judgement. But our fiercest judges are ourselves. To face what you need to face, and cast it aside with gentleness and forgiveness. This reversed Judgement card is asking you to face the shame you hold within yourself so that you can walk forward with grace, forgiveness, and freedom. Accept yourself as you are- that includes all the mistakes you’ve made in the past.
If the Universe is trying to get your attention so that you can open yourself up to something bigger, then you will probably see the Judgement card coming up in your tarot readings. Often, a big opportunity asks for some sort of sacrifice. So, what are you unwilling to let go of?
Consider that these things you know you need to let go of, yet hold onto even tighter, could be preventing you from welcoming in something new. Playing it safe doesn’t usually yield big opportunities, remember that we often have to step outside our comfort zone to do this. If you’re feeling the pull, or the call, to let go and flow- remember that this call never really goes away. Trust yourself to do the right thing, and trust that life has your back- because it does.
If the Judgement card is reversed, it often means that you are in the throngs of self-criticism and self-judgement. This can be more detrimental than it’s worth, especially if you are finding a sense of security in being so harsh on yourself. From a personal perspective, I know that when I feel threatened I judge myself harshly.
This puts me in control because then I can see my faults before others, and know what they are thinking. This is an archaic remnant of trauma that I now try to release from my mind when it happens. So, do you relate? Are you being a fair and benevolent judge for yourself? Or are you leaning on the false sense of control that your harsh inner critic gives you?
Reversed Judgement Card Love Meaning
blaming your partner, denial about love life
Okay, this can be a tough one. If you are anything like me, stress brings out the most fiery self-critic. And if I’m in a relationship? I’m sorry to say that I had a tendency to project that criticism onto my partner. This is what the Judgement card is all about; are we being fair in our criticism of our partner? Sure, there is something in your partnership you aren’t happy with, but is it fair to judge harshly? And aside from being fair, does it even help? The reversed Judgement card indicates that for a balanced and loving outcome you need to be mindful of moderation and compromise.
The reversed Judgement card could also be signaling that there is something you aren’t seeing clearly. Are you looking at a relationship or potential partnership through rose-tinted glasses? Perhaps it’s time to take a deliberately un-emotional view and analyze what attitudes towards love you are entertaining that could be detrimental.
All in all, this Judgement reversed card is calling for an honest view of all things considered when it comes to your romantic partnerships.
Reversed Judgement Card Career Meaning
self-doubt at work, failure to take responsibility for mistakes
Stop doubting yourself, it’s time to level up.
Have you been cracking the whip on yourself a bit too much lately? Self-flagellation takes its toll, and in a career context- it is often even more crippling. Everyone makes mistakes, don’t be so hard on yourself. Look at what you can learn from it. Sure, that sounds pretty cliche, but think about it- you can get a one-up over yourself and your mistakes by learning from them and using them as a tool for your growth.
You could also be faced with detrimental miscommunication (or lack of communication). There could also be some blame-shifting at hand from your side- where do you need to speak up? And where do you need to take responsibility? The reversed Judgement card is asking you to improve your communication and take responsibility.
Reversed Judgement Card Finances Meaning
failure to learn financial lessons, too self-denying
Perhaps you’re slowly recovering from a financial setback, if you are- the reversed Judgement card indicates you should cut yourself some slack. There’s no denying it, for most of us, adulting is pretty hard. We’ve all made mistakes and suffered setbacks.
The reversed Judgement card is here as a sign to ease up on yourself. Learn whatever lesson it is that is hidden in your recent misfortunes, then dust yourself off and carry on. Here’s a hot tip: be kind towards yourself, if it will help to egg you on through the troubled times.
The Judgement card reversed in a financial reading also adds more depth than just encouragement. It could be an indication you are falling into old patterns, which is why you feel financially stuck. Use clear judgement when making financial decisions.
Top Tarot Decks we recommend
- Rider-Waite deck
- Modern Witch Tarot Deck
- The Good Karma Tarot Deck
- Everyday Tarot Mini Tarot Deck
- The Robin Wood Deck
FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions
Question: What does a Judgement card mean for a person?
Answer: There are a few ways to interpret the Judgement card for a person:
• The first is the most obvious, a judgemental person in your life
• The scorned is someone who has recently been through a profound transformation and is at peace. This person might have some wisdom to offer you, and is often referred to as the “right person at just the right time”.
• The Judgement card can also signify someone who is involved in activism, law, or defense/protection services.
The Judgement Tarot Card Reversed as a Person
The reversed Judgement card generally indicates that the person has a shy and cautious nature. This can also indicate trust issues, self-sabotage, and fear. The reversed Judgement card also points to a person failing to fulfill their purpose because of the fear of failure.
Question: What does the Judgement Card for Past Mean?
Answer: Your current situation is a direct result of one pivotal decision made in the past.
Question: What does the Judgement Card for Present Mean?
Answer: There is an important deciduous weighing on your mind. This decision is an important one, that will alter the course of your future. There is not necessarily any “right” or “wrong”, simply cast your decision by choosing the path you want your life to take.
Question: Is a Judgement card a yes or no card?
Answer: The upright Judgement card is considered a neutral card, but it does have a slight tendency towards yes. The reversed Judgement card is a little more complex. It is asking you to trust what your intuition is telling you. That primal gut feeling knows what’s best.
There could be a fear of a negative answer, but the reversed Judgement card calls for you to transform a seemingly negative answer into a more positive, value-adding answer- one that often just takes a bit of perspective. The reversed Judgement card can also be a yes, but you first need to release those niggling fears holding you back.
The Judgement card’s meaning and interpretation are a little more complex than its obvious and blunt illustration. But, I find there is something beautiful in how the Judgement card works. At first, there’s initial cold steel that runs to the heart when you see the angel calling Judgement day. Then, there’s a gentle relaxation as the card’s meaning begins to reveal itself.
Trust your inner judgement, but don’t cripple yourself with criticism. Use your intuition coupled with a clear mind to make your decisions. Don’t let fear hold you back from some of the most exhilaratingly beautiful life-changing decisions. There’s a lot to this card, and if you’re anything like me, you’ll love it every time it shows up in your readings. It has a tough shell to crack but on the inside? Well, that’s the perfect combination of discipline and love.