The Judgement Tarot Card, A Complete Guide!


The Judgement Tarot Card, A Complete Guide!
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The Judgement card is the 20th card of the Major Arcana, depicting multiple men, women, and children with their hands outstretched toward the heavens. Interestingly, they stand in caskets drifting in the sea, and what they are focused on in the heavens is a trumpet, blown by Archangel Gabriel.

What looks like either mountain ranges or large glaciers line the background of the card.

Throughout this article, we will explore the many different interpretations and meanings of the Judgement card in different contexts.

What does the Judgement Tarot Card mean?

Upright, the Judgement card is one of clarity. The time now is extremely significant, whether you are on the brink of a life-changing decision or are completely discovering a new self. The card reassures you that whatever direction you’re moving in is a positive one. A spiritual awakening may also occur for you.

The Judgement card’s symbolism is quite suited for conveying its message and is definitely worth discussing. The caskets upon the water give the connotation that the people are deceased, or that they are souls heeding the call of Archangel Gabriel.

They await judgement by the heavens for both past wrongdoings and virtues. The stretch of mountains behind them emphasizes the significance of this judgement and the unlikelihood of avoiding it. The message is clear: rise to the calling or remain trapped in a purgatorial-like state, upon an expanse of open water, with no purpose nor future.

Perhaps your situation is not as dramatic nor as dire as above. However, there may be three scenarios that the Judgement card can refer to.

The first is that you are encountering a significant time period on your journey. This is a time for spiritual advancement, tuning into higher frequencies, and discovering your gifts and paths.

This can come in the form of an internal shift, such as mental clarity or a breakthrough, as well as an external one, such as a new opportunity or career change.

The second is that you are being asked to reconcile with your past. Past karma is making its way back to you. Absolutely hold yourself accountable and right any misdeeds, but the Judgement card is more about forgiving yourself and others and healing from past wounds.

This in turn creates a transformation of the self, almost like a rebirth, so that you can move forward without being stagnated by guilt.

The third may refer to a significant decision that is being made. It can be made by either the querent, such as one that will result in major life changes, or a third party, such as with the querent being chosen for an interview or award as examples.

The presence of the Judgement card usually reassures us that the outcome of the decision will be favorable.

The Judgement Tarot Card Keywords Upright

  • Clarity
  • Calling
  • Decision
  • Rebirth
  • Release
  • Revelation
  • Healing
  • Self-forgiveness

What does the Judgement Tarot card mean reversed?

Reversed, the Judgement card refers to more of an inner process, where all aspects of the upright are being blocked by self-doubt and fear. You know the path you need to take, yet you are refusing to confront it. You are so close to making that breakthrough or major transformation- only inner work needs to be done.

Even reversed, the Judgement card is not negative. It encourages the querent to focus on a shift in perspective, rather than waiting for the universe to shift the situation for you.

Or, many confirmations and signs have been received already, but it is easier to stay where it’s comfortable, and thus you lack the agency to embark on significant callings and new paths.

It may be hard for you to receive affirmations from the universe and the people around you, nor act upon them, because of the voice of your ego. This can be the overactive voice of criticism, fear, or anxiety that is preventing you from venturing out into the unknown.

The Judgement card in reverse talks of reflecting internally upon how you can learn from past situations.

It is time to forgive yourself and be kinder with your own words. Learn to cherish unpredictability and release having to know what a specific outcome will be.

The Judgement Card Keywords Reversed

  • Self-doubt
  • Uncertainty
  • Distrust
  • Indecision
  • Stagnation

The Judgement Tarot Card as How Someone (He/She) Perceives You

When representing how someone perceives you, the Judgement card can refer to qualities such as maturity and wisdom. There is an inner peace that makes it clear you have done inner work. They see you as someone who will influence and transform them. Something may have made them see you in a whole new light.

The basis of the Judgement card is some sort of change in direction or rebirth. The smallest things are capable of changing another’s perspective of you entirely; it may be that they had considered you as a friend, but now they are considering you in a romantic light.

This card usually does not refer to slight shifts in perspective, such as a revealing of a new talent or secret, but rather a complete shift, as if a whole new identity has been cast upon you.

If this person has not known you previously, or even if they have, the Judgement card shows that they perceive you as someone who they can grow with. You are very much self-aware, capable of reflecting upon your mistakes and doing inner work.

But this makes you capable of influencing others, in turn, to better themselves. This person can perceive you as someone who knows what to do in difficult situations and knows which decisions to make. It could also be that they admire a particular path or decision you’ve taken.

The Judgement Tarot Card Reversed as How Someone (He/She) Perceives You

Reversed, the Judgement card can refer to qualities such as being overly critical and doubtful. They see that you cannot get over past mistakes and haven’t learned from past lessons. They can perceive you as someone who suffers from indecision and cannot assert a strong opinion nor commit to a particular path.

This card reversed suggests that this person perceives you to be overcome by self-doubt. Uncertainty, indecision, or even fear of judgment can be qualities that they see in you.

Being afraid of outside judgement can naturally stem from sensitivity or self-consciousness, which are not negative qualities, but rather ones that can be worked upon and understood.

On the other hand, they can see you as a person who can’t face up to their true self. There can be something that you are avoiding; a past situation, your responsibilities, your true passions, as examples.

In general, you seem to them to be stuck in a place of paralysis. This is wanting to speak your truth, but being caught in social judgement. It can be being sick of your current job, relationship, or living situation, but being afraid to make any changes.

You choose to criticize yourself instead of being authentic and moving in a direction that speaks to you.

The Judgement Tarot Card in a Love / Relationship Reading

In a current relationship, the Judgement card says that each person will be some time to work on themselves to better the connection. A past relationship can return, with the Judgement card signifying renewal. There is a significant focus on healing yourself and forgiving as you move onto new stages in relationships.

A common interpretation of the Judgement card in a relationship reading is where an old relationship is being renewed. There will be a rebirth of a relationship that you had maybe broken off from.

Because the Judgement card seeks to root out past mistakes, allowing you to learn from them and rebuilding you into someone who knows themselves better, this rebirthed relationship will not go down the same path it had before. Both parties have now understood what they had to work on individually.

Hopefully, you will see everything that has happened in the past and understand the reasons for why they happened. The Judgement card acts on a greater spiritual good.

If in a current relationship, consider if you have really healed from the past, and if the past is influencing your present. Now is the time for forgiveness.

Another interpretation is that the person you are about to meet feels like you’ve known them before—namely, a soulmate.

Whether or not you believe in soulmate connections, know that this card signifies a more positive future for your relationships overall.

The Judgement Tarot Card Reversed in a Love / Relationship Reading

But when reversed, your relationships may not be benefiting you.

In reverse, the Judgement card indicates the presence of an old relationship that is stagnating your present. Additionally, the familial, platonic, and romantic relationships around you may be holding you back from your authenticity, tying you down and holding you back from accessing your own true voice.

One aspect of the Judgement card reversed is not acting upon the messages from the universe, intentionally or unintentionally, due to self-doubt or other factors. In this context, interpret this as not being able to see the red flags in a relationship.

Perhaps multiple ‘hints’ or warning signs have continuously shown up, but you have chosen to ignore them, dismissing them as insignificant details or wanting to give second and third chances. The Judgement reversed is saying that this relationship is not the right one for you.

Whether a romantic, familial, or platonic relationship is manipulative, stifling, or even just no longer bringing you happiness, take steps to distance yourself emotionally.

Even in cases where physical distancing is not possible, such as when you may be financially dependent on another, do not hesitate to focus on your own emotional healing.  

Being in a relationship with another person means sharing in their energy and being influenced by each other in every interaction. Judgement reversed asks you whether you still know yourself well enough to be independent or authentic in your expression.

The Judgement Tarot Card in Career

As in the above section on Place, many career options can be sought in those fields or areas. For this reason, this section on career will focus more on general career direction and advice. 

When the Judgement card appears in career, you are about to make a significant leap forward. This can be catalyzed by an inner revelation. Your current career phase may be nearing completion, and you have made the decision to move onto something that resonates with your purpose and path.

Since the Judgement card is the second last card of the Major Arcana, you are nearing the completion of a phase in your career. You may have made a decision to change career paths completely, or are about to accept an offer that will start a new era of new possibilities.

Note that since this is not the final card of the Major Arcana, or the first, the change hasn’t come quite yet, but you are being urged to prepare and decide upon it.

In light of a job prospect or opportunity, the Judgement card is positive affirmation. It’s saying, “This was meant for you. Don’t doubt it.” If you were meant to do something, you will reach your final destination regardless of which path you take.

The Judgement Tarot Card Reversed in Career

Have you been wronged in the workplace? How about if you’ve made a decision, and can’t go back on it? The Judgement reversed tells us that regardless if you’ve been righted or wronged, a current or past situation wasn’t the right one for you.

Reversed in career, the Judgement card talks of an unfulfilling career. But there is an opportunity being offered to you—you only need to prioritize your truth and accept it. It may also refer to not being chosen for a job you desired, being wrongfully judged by others, or being self-critical in your work.   

This is the classic card that signifies a career that just does not fulfill your dreams or purpose. A true inner calling may become harder and harder to find once you age, repressed by societal or financial demands.

But the time when we truly know what resonates with us is when we’re children. This is when our purest desires are not veiled by thoughts of money, or what others tell us about the skills we do or don’t have. Think of any childhood wish that you wanted to follow and think of how to combine it with a practical framework.

In this way, we are prioritizing our passions. This card will only show up when you have been given all that you need to go forward. It will not show up when you aren’t ready, because the last push is yours.

The Judgement Tarot Card as a Situation

The Judgement card represents a situation of mystery and excitement. Not everything is known to you yet, but there is a certain element of seeking the truth. It doesn’t have to be a specific situation; it can range anywhere from a time of self-discovery and clarity to a time of important decision making and change.

What is the path that I am truly supposed to take? What exactly is being hidden from me right now? What do I need to know about myself? These questions all involve identifying a certain personal truth. We don’t know all of the answers just yet.

But the Judgement card brings positive news. As much as it is a ‘call to action’, it is also urging you to wake up and understand that you are going through a period of spiritual enlightenment.

So many things may be revealed to you, all internal revelations, carefully plucked from the subconscious and connected to your conscious mind. Your surrounding environment can also hold indicators to which direction you need to take.

Pulling this card is a sign that you are being assisted in every way. Judgement is a waiting game, but also using your discernment to know when you need to take action. And when you finally understand where to go, you will be guided by your own integrity and wisdom.

It is now time to forgive past situations and focus on the present, not fearing future change.

The Judgement Tarot Card Reversed as a Situation

Reversed, the Judgement card speaks of a situation where you are not trusting your own judgement. There is also a lack of external clarity and information. You are confused as to how to make a decision and your intuition is clouded. You may currently feel unfulfilled but unsure of how to receive fulfillment.

This is a situation where you are afraid of the inevitable transformation that you have to go through. This transformation happens via confronting who you are and what you have done. It sounds ominous but doesn’t have to be— both virtues and failings are what make us human.

When you do not trust your own intuition, with too many conflicting internal and external factors, look to past situations. Use the lessons that you’ve learned to not repeat past mistakes.

The Judgement Tarot Card as Intentions/What Someone Wants

As intentions, the Judgement card indicates that this person wants you to face up to how you have wronged yourself or others in the past. They want you to recognize your flaws and truths as a person. Otherwise, they intend to renew a relationship or agreement with you or decide how a current connection will advance.  

This person’s intentions, ultimately, are for your best interests. Were you the one who caused them deep hurt in the past? They want to see you make up for what you’ve done, right the situation, and apologize. They want you to face up to the mistakes you’ve made, even if the only person you hurt was yourself, and recognize how to improve as a person.

This person wants you to change. Part of what comes with that is reassessing your motives and identifying how you may have been hurt in the past, leading you to your current behaviors. There is no malice in their intentions and you only need to be honest with yourself.

If this doesn’t sound like it applies to you, Judgement can also represent this person restarting something with you. It could be a past business idea, a relationship, or even just a contract that they want to renew with you. It is a call to decide what action to take next.

The Judgement Tarot Card Reversed as Intentions/What Someone Wants

A reversed Judgement card signifies intentions that are not the best for your greater good. They are restricting you from following your passions.

The Judgement reversed talks of a person who thinks they are doing the best for you. They certainly want the best for you, however, may be flawed in recognizing how they really are impacting you. They are doing what they think is right, which may not be for you.

Say you’ve already discovered what your purpose is and know what career to go into, but this particular family member wants you to go down a different path. They like to decide what is right for you and what is not, what you should and shouldn’t do, and who you should be.

Like many parents or family members, their intentions are loving, but can be overbearing. It can lead to suppressing your true identity and passions. It can bar you from progressing forward as quickly as you’d like to.

Is the Judgement Tarot Card a Yes or a No?

Upright, the Judgement card is neutral, but leans towards a yes. Reversed, the Judgement card is calling for you to turn a negative answer into a positive one, as this is an inner battle to overcome. Overall, it asks you to trust your inner calling and make decisions that resonate with your own values and passions.

The Judgement card, upright, is usually a positive sign. It brings reassurance that you have nothing to worry about. You can rely on the divine, let go of worries, and carry on doing what you feel is right.

Reversed, the card urges you to take notice of the opportunities around you. Your answer may very well be a yes, but only if you manage to overcome that voice of uncertainty and take courage in the next step.

A positive outcome is close, but it needs you to be willing to take risks and release past doubts.

The Judgement Tarot Card as A Place

Any place that involves some sort of judgement, justice, or a reconciling of past mistakes can be represented by the Judgement card. It can allude to places in justice or law enforcement and social or volunteer work. It is often attributed to interview meeting places, where people are being ‘chosen’ for the job.

This place, when signified by the Judgement card, can feel as if you’ve been there before. Even if this is not a place from the past that now offers new meaning for you, it can feel like a home that you’ve just discovered.

In terms of symbolizing particular fields, buildings associated with any type of law enforcement or social work can be represented by the Judgement card. There is a slight crossover between this card and Justice, where both refer to a particular truth or righteousness being brought about.

But the Judgement card can focus on an institution that places importance upon knowledge, and using that knowledge to help or better others.

This can be in rehabilitation centers, where individuals are encouraged toward gaining self-knowledge. Similarly, places involved in activism focus on spreading truth, statistics, and social awareness.

The Judgement Tarot Card Reversed as A Place

The Judgement card is not a common card to signify a setting. You may like to interpret it as an upright card, but with the place still unknown to you. Otherwise, it might signify how you feel toward that place.

In reverse, the Judgement card refers to a place that you may feel restricts your authentic personality. It may not harbor a positive or nurturing environment, instead bring on feelings of fear or distrust.

Always trust your gut feelings toward a place or person! These tell you whether the place is right for you or not. Even though it may be for others, it may not be conducive to your self-growth or even career development.

The Judgement Tarot Card as an Obstacle or Challenge

The Judgement card can indicate the challenge of being unable to let go of past grievances. Your present is still being defined by these past situations, which results in another challenge of remaining in a state of self-uncertainty, afraid to confront change. The reversed indicates a lack of acknowledgement of this.  

When upright, the Judgement card can refer to external factors that are keeping you stagnant, such as a relationship that no longer serves or a career that is unfulfilling. Whilst in reverse, it can refer to internal battles, such as a certain mindset that prevents you from believing in yourself, or just that you are unaware or refusing to acknowledge this challenge.

But regardless of upright or reversed, the Judgement obstacle can be overcome by resolving an internal struggle. Sometimes we hardly recognize the subconscious mindsets that we pick up when we are put through emotionally difficult situations.

We have a tendency to relive past traumas. Even the slightest trigger can reawaken a shadow of memory and emotion that we have stored deep inside our minds.

In this way, we become stuck in the past, unable to move forward, and eventually we stop putting ourselves out there at all in fear of reawakening these old emotions.

The overall challenge that the Judgement card represents is one of letting go. In learning that your past does not define you, but rather the lessons and growth you gain from it do, you can advance onto a path of healing, slowly but surely.

Releasing repressed emotions can thus open up so much more clarity and freedom in the present. Self-assurance and self-confidence will build up once you begin to see yourself in a different light; no longer a victim, no longer a criminal, and no longer held by the opinions of those around you.

The Judgement Tarot Card as Action or Advice

The advice the Judgement card gives is to look upon higher guidance. Trust is a large factor in divine aid. This card encourages you to consider what your motivations are and face up to changes along the way. You will be guided in this journey. Furthermore, this card tells us to forgive and close wounds from the past.

The Judgement card is an extremely reassuring card to pull for the advice position. It says that as long as you are being guided by your integrity and truthfulness here on earth, you will be assisted and led to your destination.

Ultimately, Judgement asks us to go with the flow. Confront the changes instead of resisting them. Do not worry about what cannot be changed from the past. Be in the present.

Additionally, this is also a card of trusting your inner voice. It’s those small thoughts that seemingly come to you randomly, which you dismiss upon the basis of rationality, yet a few weeks later you see that you were right in the end. Claircognizance and intuitive gut feelings are often inherent to many people.

Know that you are in full control and any calculated judgements you make along the way will never lead you to a ‘wrong’ path.

The Judgement Tarot Card Reversed as Action or Advice

As advice, this card reversed is certainly an interesting one. It might indicate that you need to figure out what this decision is first, before advancing onto another step. Decisions in reality are often not as direct as we think them to be.

It might be a sudden inner decision, such as resolving to no longer apologize for things that are not your fault, or a moral decision, such as wondering whether or not to turn a co-worker for something they did. In the latter, avoiding the decision will naturally result in not turning them in, which is not a decision that has been guided by your full moral judgement.

Not many decisions are laid in front of us in an A or B format, and perhaps that is why some are easily avoided, procrastinated upon, or overlooked.  

As an action card, Judgement advises us to not be our own harshest critic. Furthermore, the card reversed assures you that it is okay to receive help from others. Sometimes our inner judgement may not be enough and we end up avoiding the situation. On the other hand, refrain from making any impulsive or large changes.

On one hand, this card might urge you to remove mental blocks such as self-doubt or over-analysis. On the other, it can discourage you from acting too fast and with the wrong information.

In this situation, reach out to friends or mentors for guidance. There may be other perspectives that you haven’t considered yet, and so relying on individual judgement is not sufficient to make a proper decision. Try also not to jump around the situation, but instead address it directly.

The Judgement Tarot Card as an Outcome

The outcome that the Judgement card predicts may result in you letting go of something. But this will ultimately open you up to many more possibilities and provide closure for the past. Internally, you might have an epiphany. The biggest things you can take away are knowledge and a full rebirth of the self.

One thing that is clear is that your current situation will never appear the same again. It is time to move onto something better. This card foretells positivity, freedom, and a lot of happiness.

It predicts a clearer vision internally, so that you may see what has blinded you before, as well as all the things that you are better off without. Looking back in retrospect, we can often see the patterns in our lives and why people or situations were with us at certain moments.

This card can also mean that you are just about to discover your authentic path. This is something that you’ve always wanted to do, someone you’ve always wanted to be with, or someplace you’ve always wanted to live. Although sacrifices will need to be made, deep down you know that this is right for you.

The Judgement Tarot Card Reversed as an Outcome

Reversed, the Judgement card represents an outcome that does not result in emotional closure. This can likely be an internal barrier, with you resisting or not coming to terms with the truth. There may be a sense of regret or loss, but it is one that is always present when old situations and energies are let go of.

When a situation or relationship has ended, there is always that feeling of what could have been. When Judgement is reversed, the querent is still hanging onto a chance of resurrection in the relationship. But exactly because it is reversed, this situation is truly over, and it’s time to stop hanging onto remnants of emotions that need to fade.

Ultimately, this outcome is for the greater spiritual good of the querent, but it has not been accepted fully. Ask yourself, “What do I need to do to give up on this?” How can you move on from the past, whilst fully registering and not avoiding what has ended?

Small things such as reconnecting with friends, or doing things you enjoy, will help you heal and recognize what the truth is. Go along with the present to see where it takes you next.

The Judgement Tarot Card as a Person

The first response that might jump into your head is a person who is of a judgemental nature. This is a completely valid interpretation and might apply to your situation, but the Judgement card does go deeper than just pure judgement.

The Judgement card represents someone who has undergone a major transformation. They have newfound wisdom and has just the right advice because they have been there before. They have been reformed, which is why they will inspire you to take action. It could be that they are the right person, at the right time.

This person may grab your attention because of how they seem to be at peace with themselves. They are inspiring in how they’ve overcome their difficulties. They have a strong sense of self and purpose. They are decisive and aim to stay true to their values and beliefs.

Activism could also be something that this person is involved in. As they’ve experienced pain and even addiction, they seek to help others in their journeys to overcome what they have faced up to themselves.

The Judgement Tarot Card Reversed as a Person

The Judgement card reversed refers to an individual who is overly timid and cautious. They often have trust and commitment issues, unable to put faith in the divine nor determine what they truly want. They are fully capable of following their true path if they release fear and the tendency to self-sabotage.

This card presents someone afraid of rising up to their divine calling because of how they will be received in this physical realm. They are paralyzed in their fear of failure or disappointment.

This person may be forgoing opportunities that have been offered to them, hesitating in the face of challenges, and not reflecting internally to see what they truly need to do.

The only thing that they have to do is place enough trust in themselves and the universe to accomplish what they are fully capable of.

What Zodiac Sign is the Judgement Tarot Card?

The Judgement card is one that is not ruled by a zodiac sign. Instead, the planet Pluto and the element of fire are associated with the card. Pluto is a planet of death and rebirth, extremely suited to the resurrective nature of Judgement. The element of fire promotes self-assurance and a drive to be authentic.

Pluto represents the process of going through a painful process of rebirth. Though this sounds similar to a Ten of Swords or Death experience, the Judgement card offers more of a core process of internal reckoning.

Your only opponents are yourself and your past, which you face up to in order to make decisions for your future.  

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