Judgement, Part III: The Major Arcana and The Hero’s Journey

Judgement

 

Continued from previous posts…

ShinThe letter Shin corresponds to the Judgement key.  It means tooth and the sharpness that tears apart the limitations of the physical world and our sense of separateness. It represents Divine power as it is the initial letter of two of the Names of God. Qabalists call Shin the “Holy Letter.”

Shin, along with Aleph (The Fool, air) and Mem (The Hanged Man, water) is one of the three mother letters of the Hebrew alphabet. Its element is fire, a perfect metaphor for the passion of spiritual awakening.

In my experience, Judgement seldom appears in readings, and when it does I sit up and reassess the querent. Its appearance means that he is, was, or will be at a significant crossroads in his life—note the cross on the banner. He has arrived at that point as a result of some great catastrophe, or because all his options have gone and he is faced with only these paths, or because of some huge revelation. Whatever it was caused or will cause a spiritual awakening of some sort. His life is probably in turmoil because his view of reality has totally changed. He knows the way he must go, it cries out to him like the blast of the angel’s trumpet.  But the way is so difficult, or so dangerous, or so impractical, or so totally bizarre and unbelievable that perhaps he is reluctant to follow it—especially if the card is reversed. If the card is upright, I always advise him to follow it. If the card is reversed there is a possibility that the calling is false, and I check out the other cards in the spread very carefully. If they are favorable I tell him to quit stalling and get on with it.

Image by ChibiTotoro222

Image by ChibiTotoro222

Unlike Justice, this card is not about personal karma, the things that happen because you’ve earned them; it’s about reassessing one’s life and purpose based on a transformative experience that blasts away all previous beliefs, and reveals a crystal clear truth. This is the card initiate, the resurrected one.

If Judgement appears with the High Priestess and/or The Moon the querent’s awakening is a deeply spiritual one and may involve the quick and possibly disturbing development of psychic powers. If it appears with The Emperor or The Chariot or Kings, it may indicate the awakening of the charisma that is so necessary in a leader.

As the Housewives’ Tarot points out, it may be about the revelation of more mundane, but still important truths–especially if there are no other major arcana in the reading.

The time has come to weigh the facts–and yourself! Judgement is about abandoning bad habits and accepting yourself for who you really are. Don’t be modest; take credit for all your good deeds and valuable traits. Shed the negative thoughts that weigh you down with their high-calorie burdens. True happiness is more about eliminating low self-esteem than losing those pesky five pounds. The Housewives Tarot

The time has come to weigh the facts–and yourself! Judgement is about abandoning bad habits and accepting yourself for who you really are. Don’t be modest; take credit for all your good deeds and valuable traits. Shed the negative thoughts that weigh you down with their high-calorie burdens. True happiness is more about eliminating low self-esteem than losing those pesky five pounds. The Housewives Tarot

Judgement is the penultimate card in the hero’s journey. It is the revelation of the whole point of the exercise, the hallelujah-come-to-Jesus time, the gottcha moment, the hero’s take home lesson. Often we are left to infer what this lesson is and how deeply it affected the hero.
Avatar_001
In the movie Avatar, the Judgement moment came when the planet Pandora mobilized itself to fight back. I have no doubt that this mind-blowing demonstration of the interconnectedness of life transformed Jake Sully’s view of reality, but we are left to judge whether or not he really got it  from his actions.

Other stories make sure you know the hero got the point.
The_Wizard_of_Oz_001
The movie The Wizard of Oz ends with Dorothy waking up at home and telling her family and friends that “If you can’t find it in your own back yard it’s not worth looking for.” This, simply stated, is the spiritual lesson every guru tries to teach—joy and contentment in the moment.
Star_Wars, Empire at War, developer Petroglyph, publisher LucasArts
At the end of Star Wars we are actually shown Luke Skywalker’s spiritual awakening as he heeds the words of his mentor, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and uses “The Force” to pilot his space craft into the depths of the Death Star and drop the bomb that will destroy it.

The Judgement moment in a story is the spiritual or philosophical reason for the hero’s journey. It’s what brings the sigh of satisfaction or gasp of wonder at the story’s conclusion. Without it, the journey is meaningless.

6 Comments

Filed under Major arcana, Tarot, The Hero's Journey

6 Responses to Judgement, Part III: The Major Arcana and The Hero’s Journey

  1. Ready or not, this is the payoff for the hero or heroine. As the poet Paul Williams said in his long-ago book “Das Energi,” “We are on the verge of the new age, a whole new world. Mankind’s consciousness, our mutual awareness is going to take a quantum leap. Everything will change. You will never be the same. All this will happen as soon as you’re ready.”

    By the time the querent, hero or heroine reaches this card on his/her trip through the trumps, s/he is supposedly ready. But maybe not. The world awaits. . .

    Malcolm

  2. C. LaVielle

    Yes!
    I adore “Das Energi” I think it’s time for me to read it again. This will be probably the 4th or 5th time, and every reading changes me.

  3. Rebecca Suzanne

    You had some great language in here, Chrissy, that really helped me connect with your message. I liked your definition of the Shin, “. . .sharpness that tears apart the physical world. . .”

    In my experience, the spiritual perspective has such a uniquely powerful and vivid expression. That power helps me perceive the mundane through spiritual senses. Your definition was right there in the appropriate, spiritual language wheel house!

    I also liked your summation about the judgement moment on the hero’s journey. It reminded me that errands that are major pains with twists and turns and other various concatenations are just that – major pains – not hero’s journeys. I had such an experience earlier today! (ha-ha)

    Thanks as always for sharing your knowledge and perspective!

    Namaste’

    • So glad you enjoyed the post!
      I always try to remember that the “errands that are major pains with twists and turns and other various concatenations” are still part of my hero’s journey, albeit minor parts. However, they can suddenly twist and turn into a judgement moment.

      Every moment of our lives has meaning.

      Sending you lots of hugs and safe journey wishes.

  4. Truth is the spiritual lesson of the card called Justice. The sword in this card is held upright, it is not wielded maliciously. The twin-edged blade is a symbol reminding you there are two sides to every argument. Hardly any situation can be seen as black or white, or completely right or wrong. The discerning mind will look at both aspects of a situation and will recognise the darkness and light of each side. The Higher Truth summoned through this card is to see the circumstances of any condition and know the needs, desires and fears binding it. Learning how to connect with the essence of your inner self can lead you to discover a well of truth you can draw from and express to the world.

    • C. LaVielle

      Yes, exactly.
      And this is the difference between Justice and Judgement.
      Justice is all about getting as close to the truth about ourselves, a situation, or someone else as possible. Judgement is about communion with the divine.

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