“The truth shall set you free.”
Nobody has ever gotten this card right, until now. And that’s part of Judgement: you have to be able to see what’s in front of you, and not blindly swallow what other people tell you is in front of you. You have to be able to notice what is there. Which is not the same thing as making stuff up just to be different or to force false evidence of a sign you think you want. Neither to memorize by rote, nor to invent, but to dispassionately take stock of the facts as they are: that is the challenge of Judgement.
I have too often seen this card understood as a passing of judgement. A pompous, passive, critical, victim-mentality-enducing Facebook post response. Does s/he get the Thumb Up or do they get the Angry Face? A bunch of helpless pitiful martyrs lying around in their coffins and then rejoicing when someone on high judges them and tells them whether they are good or bad.
Throw that crap out. Because it’s not in the card anyway.
I invite you instead to think of the phrase, “use your best judgement.”
Navigating life on this mortal coil is generally a hot soupy mess of murk and fuzz. We long for clean boundaries and hard-edged facts, and instead we get lapfuls of drama and goop. The reason all these people were undead zombies, neither alive nor dead, unliving in their world of rippling blue water (turbulent emotion) and pointy mountains of ice and snow (trapped emotion), is because they didn’t have sufficient concrete data to move forward freely with their lives. Or they had it and they couldn’t see it for what it was.
You can see all these people are quite happy to have the Angel of Judgement blowing mouthfuls of truth at them with his golden trumpet. He is blowing life back into them, and as his answers reach them, they revive, their hair taking on the angel’s gold. He is the angel of nice square corners you can bump up against, clean straight lines, borders, boundaries, and solid gritty facts. Just look at his flag. He is the angel who takes away the murk and makes it possible to act. He is the fact-presenter. You don’t have to like or dislike his facts; he’s an angel, and his offerings come with no emotional bias either way. He gives you the gift of finally having something to base an argument on, of something that will help close down some pathways and open up others. It’s not a question of “good news / bad news,” but it is a question of relief.
Finally, facts are going to come out from behind the arras where they’ve been skulking. But it is up to you to see them, and floss the gunk out from your thinking so that you can recognise them for what they are, instead of assuming they are what others say they are or trying to warp them to fit what you want them to be.
Why Judgement is not a sword card
Judgement is about facts themselves, that are just sitting out there, waiting to be beheld. Swords are about thinking, processing, communicating, having ideas, and using the power of the mind to control the world around us. They are more about how we use facts. The suit cards are about qualities within us, and the higher arcana cards are about qualities that feel greater than us, that seem to lie both beyond us and within us, archetypal forces that move through us on occasion but that are more powerful and more universal than any one character. Although they are eternal forces in the world, they usually show up in our lives as definers of temporary moments, not as our inherent personalities. They’re more about the situation, less about your everyday self.
Today, can you challenge yourself to show up for an observable piece of data and use your noggin to truly delineate its boundaries? Can you catch yourself when you’re stealing sloppy off-the-rack predigested answers that aren’t yours? Can you catch yourself when you’re falling into the fantasy trap? Can you take the time to look with a critical eye and a detached heart and take stock of exactly what something is? Because that will bring you clarity, boundaries, and a fact-based foundation upon which you can move forward with your vibrant, kissed-by-angel-gold life.