20. Judgement

Own it all, then let it go

Now, having passed through some serious heavy ups and downs, so many lessons, so much hard work, all those moments of carity, depth, courage and greatness …we reach the penultimate card in the Major Arcana. On the other side of it lies the World – the whole world – representing fulfilment, wholeness and homecoming.

But before we can achieve that lofty goal, however, we face one last challenge.

Judgement is a weighty card. Like Justice and the Wheel, it carries themes of accountability. Specifically, here, this is about being accountable to ourselves, in the most thorough and honest of ways.

Judgement is a call. An angel blowing a trumpet. A voice from the Universe. It is time. When you hear this call, you have a big choice to make.

It is a call to face yourself, completely. To hold up a mirror to your entire life, to see it all. To own it all. Your successes and your failures. The good times and the bad. Everything you’re proud of, and all that you wish you’d done differently. It’s yours – and you must own it all, you must accept it all.

The return on this difficult work is freedom. Called ‘Liberation’ in some tarot decks, Judgement only asks you to face all that you are so that you can transcend it. Self-acceptance sets us free, yet it can be so very, very hard to do, because it means facing our biggest fears: our whole, imperfect, scarred, messy, beautiful selves.

Honour all that you are. Acknowledge the present moment and all that you bring to it, all that you are carrying. We carry such a lot, in this life, some of our baggage is helpful, like love, and lessons. Some of it is harmful, like guilt, or anger. Judgement is an opportunity to wipe the slate clean – to own all that you carry, and then to lay it down, with respect, with grace, with love.

You are then free to move forwards into a new era of your life, lighter, unencumbered, self-aware yet free, fully accepting your present. There is an echo of Death here, with this saying goodbye and ending of a cycle. The difference is that Judgement asks you to be proactive about it – especially in terms of forgiveness. Free of guilt and anger, no longer weighed down by grudges and insecurity, you commit to living in the present, to your own growth and renewal.

Today is a new day. You move forwards from here.

Advice from Judgement

Judgement comes up for folks who stand at a crossroads (that’s the cross on the angel’s flag, shown in some decks). It says: you have a choice. Do you want to continue as you are, or heed this call? Will you remain still, or move towards liberation? Are you ready to face yourself? Are you ready to love yourself?

Only when we are completely honest with ourselves can we move forward.

Forgiveness. What this looks like in practice is forgiveness. Forgive yourself. Own your mistakes, and let them be just that: mistakes. Acknowledge the hurt or pain you may have caused in your life, acknowledge the ways you were less than perfect. Then forgive yourself. Let it go. It’s okay. You are not that person anymore, only a person who has learned and grown. Let that be.

Forgive others. If you are holding a grudge, know that it is harming you, and it is time to put that burden down. It is worth nothing to you now, it is an old energy, a dead weight.

Put real time into this forgiveness work. It’s not often easy, it’s more than simply saying ‘I forgive you’. It may take many days or weeks or months of work, of gradually unpicking and owning the complex fears and sadnesses that sit behind guilt and/or grudges. But, with the Judgement card on your side, you are working towards this.

Key words and concepts

  • Liberation, freedom, casting off shackles
  • Laying down of old baggage
  • Self-acceptance
  • Total accountability for self
  • Integrity, honesty
  • Forgiveness of self
  • Forgiveness of others
  • Self-love
  • Letting go
  • Allowing yourself to move forwards

Some common symbols

  • Horn (hearing a call)
  • Angel (transcendence, call coming from ‘above’)
  • People, birds or other things ‘rising up’ (the soul transcending, lightness)