The Judgment tarot card heralds the final outcome of a specific situation or thought. When it appears in a reading, it offers a sense of ending and finality that can be either good or bad depending on the nature of that outcome. If positive, it should be a source of celebration. If negative, it might be a wake-up call and a warning that it might be your last change to try and alter a particularly bad ending.
Traditional meanings associated with the Judgement card
The penultimate card among the major arcana embodies the concept found in its name. It is a time for Judgment, a time to distillate all the elements of a problem or situation and get ready for its final outcome. This can range from a positive feeling of achievement to a serious situation that would better be avoided if possible. In that case, all the clues and elements that might help can usually be found in the other cards in the reading.
Upright: Judgment, rebirth, absolution, final outcome, and the end of a cycle.
Reversed: Failure, weakness, helplessness, and death of a loved one.
Upright judgment tarot card meaning
Most depictions of the judgment tarot card borrow symbols and imagery from the concept of the last judgment that can be found in the Christian bible and other faiths, where the dead rise up from the ground to be judged before a final reckoning, a last stand between good and evil, or a final moment before the final journey leading to paradise or enlightenment.
While other silhouettes can be seen in the background, the foreground characters seem to be a traditional family (a woman, a man, and a child) rising from their grave to the wake-up call of a celestial angel blowing a trumpet from the clouds. In the more detailed tarot decks, the expression that can be read on the faces of the newly risen is usually one of bliss, wonder, and adoration.
The meaning of the judgment tarot card is the final outcome of a situation. Of course, it should be important to keep in mind the same kind of lesson that was learned for the Death major arcana, namely that every ending is also a new beginning and that everything is a cycle.
Nevertheless, where Death focused on that transition and the importance of transition and evolution, here the finality and focus should definitely remain on the end of the current cycle. If reaching a positive outcome, it can mean an extremely intense feeling of satisfaction and achievement.
This card should also be seen as one last, final chance to change something to the current situation if it seems bound to fail or crash. The rest of reading can provide essential clues and messages helping the Querent sort out the situation before it is too late.
Reversed Judgement card meaning
The appearance of the reversed judgment tarot card should never be taken lightly in a reading. It holds the same meaning of finality and outcome as above, but any sort of control seems to slip through the fingers of the Querent, helpless under the whims of fate.
The judgment major arcana can be the bearer of bad news when reversed, a sign of weakness that will be nearly impossible to overcome. If combined with other negative cards, it can lend them a sense of finality and inevitability that is never a good sign. Combined with the death major arcana, these two cards usually provide a rather grim warning about a serious accident, illness, or even death in the near future for someone related to the topic of the reading.
The Fool’s Journey
The Fool has finally been reborn, leaving the remaining shreds of his past self and existence behind as they become truly enlightened. This is also when the Fool becomes strong enough to pass judgment on their own life, without lying to themselves.
This is where the Fool can make any final alterations on themselves before the ultimate lesson, as their own inner, higher self manifests, unveiling their place in the world and their higher calling. If the Fool can prove that they have learned all the lessons taught so far in their journey, they will show themselves ready for enlightenment and exaltation.
The Judgment love tarot and meditation
The Judgment is not an easy card to analyze when it appears in a reading focusing on love or relationships. Usually, it means that the relationship is about to move from one stage of existence to another, which can be good (renewed commitment, marriage proposal, planning for a family) or bad (serious argument, breaking up, divorce) depending on context. This could also simply be a sign that a long-lasting conflict or argument is about to get solved once and for all.
Using Judgment in a meditation session is meant to provide someone with enough distance and critical thinking to be able to objectively analyze their own shortcomings and limitations, in order to know what they should work on to get better as a human being.
This can also be a time to look back on your personal achievements and recognize all the progress you have made in life. Good or bad, and probably a mix of both, what truly matters here is to be completely honest and truthful with yourself. It is not as easy as it sounds, but the Judgment tarot card is here to help.