Traditionally Judgment represents a time of returning to the light after experiencing the darkness. It is a card of rebirth, renewal and rejuvenation; of healing and transformation. It can also be seen as a wake-up call telling us that our perspective on life is about to change and wake us up to new ways of looking at things. It may represent experiencing natural growth and maturation; an old phase of your life ending because you are ready and mature enough to move forward. Things are maturing at their natural pace and now you are transitioning into a new phase of your life so it’s time to celebrate.
“Negative: The things that are naturally growing and maturing are not to your advantage. You may feel like you want to slow things down or speed them up – the natural or normal progression of things is just not right for you. If you let things develop at their own pace and in their own style, you probably won’t be pleased with the results.
Reversed: Your personal biological or psychological timing mechanisms are signalling a new phase in your life. You may be reaching puberty or getting gray hairs. You could be growing up on an emotional level. You’re recognizing that you’re experiencing a personal rite of passage.” – Gail Fairfield
Dante LWB: “Archangels. Renewal. Awakening. Recovered energy. Healing. Birth.”
How fascinating that I drew this card today of all days – the supposed end of the world. I have to assume that whatever else this card is trying to tell me, at least one of its messages is that today is not Judgment Day. Maybe what is really being judged is our own sense of entitlement regarding who will and won’t be “saved” as well as our hidden guilt and shame. No matter how often we claim that we have nothing to fear, those little demons inside our heads will haunt us and prey on our feelings of self-worth. They torture and judge us much more effectively than any celestial judge or coven of devils.
Looking at both images it is apparent that they share certain similarities – the celestial figure (the Archangel Gabriel?) blowing his/her horn and the bodies or spirits rising up from the ground in response. It certainly expresses a theme of redemption and salvation prevalent through Judeo-Christian-Muslim theology. However on the Dante card there are three celestial figures – the archangel blowing the horn, one holding a scroll with the words “Anima Dvertes” inscribed on it and a third crowned figure holding an orb and an upright sword. It appears that one wakes the souls, one judges the souls and one carries out the sentence. The souls below seem to be pleading and begging with these celestial figures, as though they fear they will be judged guilty of something and denied salvation and paradise. Despite the flowing, dream-like quality of this image it give a sense of harshness lacking in the Fenestra card.
I have to admit that due to all the hoopla surrounding today and the “end of the world” theories, I’m viewing this card as a bit more global in nature than would usually be my wont. Both cards suggest that there is a new phase that needs to happen but it isn’t ready to manifest itself just yet. Our judgment (or the judgment of ourselves) is postponed for a while. However this can still serve as an opportunity to review our actions and decisions and see where we can make things better. Instead of waiting until things are too far gone or it is too late, we can take this opportunity to move forward in a more positive and beneficial manner.
In order for healing and renewal to occur, we need to be open to those energies. We can’t open ourselves to healing if we deny there is anything wrong. How many times have you been diagnosed with an illness that is not immediately life-threatening (such as Type II diabetes, or some type of food allergy) and instead of making changes in your life, you chose to ignore it. As a result your health continued to deteriorate and you were prescribed more and more medications. Eventually you might have developed additional health issues – a heart condition or deteriorating eyesight; things which could have been avoided had you taken the proper steps from the outset. We are creatures of habit and changing those habits, even when we know it’s in our best interests, is hard. Things are also complicated by the fact that we don’t know who to believe or what information to trust. Too often in the past we’ve supported someone’s agenda only to learn they were deliberately skewing the facts. All of this increases our cynicism and makes us less open to changes and the potential for healing and renewing our lives.
The bottom line is that we are the only ones who can take responsibility for our choices and our lives. The government can try to legislate such matters as much as they want (such as the idea to tax sugary drinks that is gaining popularity in New York) but the reality is that it won’t change people’s minds or behaviors. Trying to force people to change tends to make them become more intractable and married to their beliefs. Maybe the only thing we can really change is our own behaviors. By choosing to live in a sensible, healthy and positive way perhaps we can serve as examples for others and lead them into making better choices too. I have to admit that I am one of those people who resists and resents being told what to do even when my brain realizes it’s a good idea. Trying to force me to make those changes just makes me dig in my heels and resist with all my might. However when I’ve been around people who quietly and simply live their lives in a positive way, I tend to get inspired. I’m not talking about folks who love to brag about driving a Prius while they play with their iPhone, laptop and other electronic gizmos and can’t wait to get the latest upgrade (you know the one’s who contribute to what South Park terms “Smug”). Anyway, enough of the soapbox.
So I think what Judgment reversed is trying to remind us all is that we have to be able to withstand the judgment of our own conscience; that voice of our inner critic. For the most part, humans are very well aware of when we are behaving in a negative and unhealthy manner – whether it’s for ourselves or for the world. We just allow ourselves to rationalize the guilt away. For today, perhaps we need to be a little less rational and trust our instincts more. We need to sit with that inner guilt and come up with a way to move forward and live our lives in a manner that won’t generate more guilt. That’s probably the best way to quiet those inner critics and reduce our fear of being judged before some celestial court.