judgement tarot card XX

Judgement Tarot Card Explained | Upright & Reversed Meanings

Last Updated: December 4, 2022

Judgment is card number 20 (XX) in modern cartomantic tarot decks and the 21st major arcana trump card (The Fool, number 0, is the first card). Divination practices such as cartomancy can help us make decisions, offer guidance, and help us tune into our intuition when we are at a crossroads in our lives. Understanding the meanings of each tarot card can help you sharpen your interpretative skills so you can get the most out of your readings.

For many tarotists, Judgement is all about acknowledging the huge awakening you are about to face! It isn’t just some casual event, this time you’re facing is one that is life-changing in the decisions made, you are quite literally transforming. The spiritual journey here is massive, so it’s time to buckle down, get your self-reflection hat on, evaluate the way things have been, completely embrace those necessary lessons you’ve been having, and prepare to step into your next best self. 

In this article, we will explore the different meanings of this tarot card in various reading contexts as well as the different advice it can offer. To help you understand the deep symbolism within that card, we begin with the below quote.

“Those times of transitions are great opportunities to look for recurring patterns in your life and make adjustments to build on the good and reduce the bad.” – Dan Miller

4 Quick takeaways about this card

  1. Judgement is a reminder that we all will be judged at some point in our lives.
  2. It represents rebirth and renewal.
  3. Judgement can also be a sign that we need to make some changes in our lives.
  4. Finally, Judgement is a reminder that we all will be held accountable for our actions.
Table of Contents

Pictorial Symbolism in the Rider-Waite-Smith tarot deck

The artworks from the Rider-Waite-Smith tarot deck contain deeper esoteric meanings that tarot practitioners love to decipher. The Judgment card’s illustration depicts an angel, amongst the clouds, who is seen blowing a trumpet, and upon this trumpet is a white flag with a red cross on it. The angel blows the trumpet down at men, women, people, and children, rising from their graves and hailing the angel. The symbolism here is that we, as humans, respond to the call of our higher selves. How we must hear the call, respond, and work towards our next significant spiritual transformation.

judgement artwork from rider waite smith deck

Judgement key correspondences

Upright keywords

Reflection, awakening, rebirth, transition, decision making.

Reversed keywords

Self-doubt, poor choices, stubbornness, blame, confusion.

Yes or No

Neutral

Numerology

20 (XX)

Element

Fire

Ruling Planet

Pluto

Astrological Sign

Sagittarius and Libra

Jungian archetype

Light aspect: The Messiah, The Judge / Shadow aspect: The Wounded Child, The Father

Tarot timing

September 22nd to October 21st, Saturday

Associated deities

Lucifer, Anubis, Ma'at

Other name(s)

The Awakening of the Dead (Egyptian Tarot), The Aeon (Thoth Tarot), and Le Jugement (Tarot de Marseille).

Upright Judgement tarot card meaning

In Latin, major arcana translates to “big secrets” and each of the 22 cards in this section of the tarot deck represents an important life lesson we must all face at some point. Judgement, arcanum 20, is no different.

Right now you are heading in the direction of a great and powerful change! This change will be one that is tremendous to you and your entire life, it will have a great impact, definitely something you won’t be able to just brush off a ‘minor change’ in any sense of the word. 

This could also mean you facing up to your past karma, and being made accountable for past actions, but know that these lessons are worth dealing with and learning from, it only means to make you a better person. You too can heal. So, listen to the call and answer it, it’s time to transcend. 

Make the big decisions you need to, and understand that you are only being guided in the right direction – the way you’re supposed to be going. This is a very favourable time for you, trust in it.

judgement tarot card upright

If pulled in the upright position, Judgement is linked with reflection, awakening, rebirth, transition, and decision making.

What does upright Judgement mean in a love reading?

If you’re in a relationship, then it’s time to deal with any past mistakes you’ve made in this relationship, own your BS and make amends for it. You and your partner don’t need to continue this back and forth of being judgemental towards one another, it is possible to work past your issues and see if you can give a new lease of life to this connection you have. 

You just need open and honest communication, to forgive the past, and move together anew as one – if that’s what you both wish to do, of course.

If you’re single, you need to behave yourself and stop looking at others so negatively without getting to know them first! You’re pushing away potential matches because you aren’t willing to spend the time actually getting to know them for who they are, and not just getting a first impression, making assumptions, and running with it! 

So calm the attitude, breathe for a minute, and actually let these people show you who they really are. You may end up pleasantly surprised one day.

What does upright Judgement mean in a career reading?

Drawing Judgement during a career tarot spread indicates a few things… Ever had that feeling that you’re being watched? Now’s the time to be extra mindful of that, as in your job, you very much are! Stop slacking (don’t overwork yourself though), focus on your workload, and keep yourself presentable, as something grand may be coming your way in the way of a potential promotion, perhaps? 

Either way, you’re being assessed for something, and there is a high chance that the end result will be a positive one, so be mindful of those watchful eyes. Just do and be your best when and where you can.

What does upright Judgement mean in a health reading?

This is such a good card to receive in regard to health, as it shows a period of recovery for you. If you’ve been facing a long and hard illness, then know those days are coming to an end. Make sure you still take the necessary steps towards your own recovery and wellness, don’t just assume you can now sit back and do nothing. You’ve still got to be active in your pursuit towards good health – but you will get there! 

Judgement as feelings/emotions

If you are asking the tarot how someone feels about you, drawing the Judgement card suggests that you may be pondering this for some time! The Judgement card doesn’t really give a clear answer to this question, other than perhaps this person is either struggling to or isn’t willing to, open up to you yet. 

If you wish to establish a better connection with this person, then know it may take time, if it’s meant to happen at all! They may even hold a ‘shut off’ nature which makes you feel they potentially dislike you or have something against you, as they may not be the clearest or most open with their thoughts and emotions – this can sometimes lead people to appear standoffish or even judgemental.

Judgement as a person

As a personality archetype, the Judgement card represents a changemaker. The activists, if you will. Someone that sees the bigger picture, sees the necessary change required for the greater good, accepts that all actions have consequences, but pushes towards their own higher calling. 

This may not be someone that’s always the most approachable, as their words may not be ones you want to hear, but sometimes harsh lessons bring the greatest of rewards, and this person knows that. Life can’t be sugar-coated all the time, and whilst they don’t mean you any harm, they definitely won’t cover you in gold glitter and tell you you’re perfect. 

This person is all for progress, change, and development – especially personal development. This is why the imagery on the card almost looks like a biblical rapture.

Zodiac sign association

Judgement is connected to both Sagittarius and from Libra. As this card is ruled by Jupiter also, Sagittarius’ themes of spiritual knowledge and journeys are ever-present.

To be an eternal student that takes things to the next level, this is very Sag. The freedom that change can bring us isn’t always physical, but can be emotional and mental too. It also has themes from the sign of Libra, of bringing back a harmonious balance that is just and fair.

We need to look at all aspects of our lives and make sure that everything is in alignment with our true selves.

Judgement as advice

The Judgement card is calling you to seek higher guidance from your sources. Turn to your guides, your spirit, your angels, whatever your belief may be; tune in with your intuition and listen to the guidance you greatly need right now. You will be guided along this journey, but you need to be open to their help and messages, so be honest to yourself and the world around you, keep following the rightful path and know that you’ll be given all the assistance you need to get where you’re trying to go.

Not only trust in the divine but trust in yourself. If you feel in tune with your guides, then know you’re in good hands, trust your own voice just as much as you trust theirs. Take a moment to pause, reflect on what you have accomplished so far on your journey, and ground yourself ready for where the journey takes you next.

Is Judgement a yes or no card?

With this card’s message of change and a big change at that, you would assume this would immediately mean ‘yes’. But it can mean both yes and no, as indeed there may be a change, but change brings consequences. 

It’s wise to ask the tarot to elaborate further and see what other cards surround the Judgement card – if they’re mostly positive cards, then assume it’s a ‘yes’ if the ‘yes’ you’re looking for would be one of good nature and vice versa!

Below are some of my interpretations based on different types of questions:

Question: “Will I get the job?”

Card interpretation: Perhaps yes, perhaps no. Whilst this card does indeed depict a huge huge huge change coming your way, it’s wise to remember that the Judgement card isn’t the first, or even last, ‘change’ card of the Major Arcana, so whilst it suggests something is coming your way, it may not be the one you have in mind – yet. So it may not be this job, there could be delays or boredom, but it still could be the next. Or, you may even be able to be offered the job role you’ve been after, either way, this card is telling you that change is imminent, and a good chance at that, so if it’s what you’re after: great! But if it doesn’t come about, know that something is, so don’t let it get you down too much! You’ll end up where you’re meant to.

Question: “Is this new person in my life good for me?”

Card interpretation: This new person is going to be insightful, and have the greatest of intentions in mind, but you may not like the lessons they make you face. This will be someone that forces you to have the demons you’ve buried, someone that will make you realise the way you’ve perhaps not only treated yourself, but those around you, and what you can do to be your next best self and work on those poor, or even toxic, traits that you may have – and could do without! They just want what’s best for you, so don’t take it harshly, but their ‘no bullshhht’ approach is what you need, and it’s time to embrace it for what it’s worth. Work on yourself, instead of looking to other people! You’ll only end up better off for it.

Question: “Will I achieve my current goals?”

Card interpretation: You’ll face something in your very near future that’s going to change everything, a life-changing event and/or decision, and this could mean the same for your current goals. Either you’ll be thrown onto a completely different life path, where your goals, ideas, and thoughts for the future change, or the direction in which you’ll be achieving your goals will change completely and be going in an utterly different direction than you ever thought possible.

Question: “Should I make that investment?”

Card interpretation: Right now it’s most likely best that you avoid any risky investments, or perhaps just all investments as a whole! Even if you feel you have all the information that you need and feel you’ve made a decent decision about it, this card is bringing a warning. Whilst you perhaps believe you know what’s best, this could be a rather poor decision on your behalf, and this card is bringing this to your attention. Delay for a moment. Be cautious, be wary, and do not make any sudden decisions.

Question: “Should I start my own business?”

Card interpretation: You’ll be at a crossroads in your life with this one, you’ve either got to take the plunge or step away, but you’ve got to make the decision, and now. Not in 6 months’ time. Now. Now is the time to choose. Fortunately, this card is in favour of you taking the plunge and focusing on your business plan! So, if you genuinely and wholeheartedly want to start your own business, now is the time to run at it. Now is the time to welcome this huge change as it’s being favoured now more than ever. So stop hesitating, don’t just move towards it slowly, now’s the time to sprint at it.

Reverse Judgement tarot card meanings

Overall, it seems your own self-doubt is stopping you from progressing in your life in a positive way. Don’t allow your own fears to keep stopping you, you’ve got to take the necessary action to address these aspects of yourself, move past them, as you’re avoiding opportunities that will lead you to your own greatness. 

Stop holding yourself back. On the other hand, the reversal meaning of this card could also mean that you’re making the same mistakes over and over again, and you aren’t learning your lesson! You really need to evaluate what you’re doing, what mistakes you keep making, why, and how you can learn to change your behaviour for the better. 

However harsh the lessons may be, deal with them! It’ll only lead you to becoming a bigger and better person. So focus on how best you can improve yourself and your life, you deserve to. 

What does reverse Judgement mean in a love reading?

Drawing this card during a love tarot spread signals you to stop avoiding that decision you know you need to make. Stop allowing these negative feelings towards yourself to stop you from facing your relationship head-on and doing what you must. Whether that be terminating it or working on something that’s been making your relationship stagnant. 

Are you being heard? What problems are there? Can you work past them? Or has the relationship run its course? You’ve got to make that decision now, stop getting in the way of yourself. You’re just going to remain stuck! Try not to let negative words and thoughts from others influence your decision-making when it comes to your relationship; the work you put in if you choose to stick around, has got to be genuine, and you can’t let others taint your own thoughts with potential lies or toxic opinions. 

So don’t let your own self-doubt latch onto these negative words and run with it as if it’s the gospel, it’ll just cause more damage. 

If you’re single then you’re the one holding yourself back, honey! You’ve got that confidence required, you’ve just buried it somewhere deep within yourself, but it’s time to find it! You’re stopping yourself from approaching people, and how do you ever plan to meet someone if you keep yourself closed off and unapproachable? Exactly! 

Don’t spend a lifetime pushing others away because you don’t feel worthy enough, or are too shy to say hello, you can do this. So, let’s start working on it! You’ll be radiating with confidence before you know it – you never know which eyes you’ll catch.

What does inverted Judgement mean in a career reading?

If you’re being presented with opportunities that seem wonderful, potentially mind-blowing, or just damn right glorious, run at them! Stop stopping yourself, because that’s what you’re doing. You’re allowing your poor thoughts and self-doubt get in the way of your own progress, you must stop! 

Good things are being handed to you and you’re letting them slide on by. Don’t let yourself have any regrets, you can still take back control over this, find the confidence you need in yourself, and make sure you’re seizing every single last thing coming your way!  

What does upside-down Judgement mean in a health reading?

You’re potentially slowing down your own recovery rate because you can’t let go of things, specifically the past, with whatever has happened. You need to let go of that bitterness. This negativity is not serving you, it’s running you into the ground, and it’ll just make your health worse. 

You need to learn how to completely and utterly let go, you deserve to move on, and to remove all of this negative energy from your mind, body, and soul. Don’t destroy yourself from the inside out, as you may be delaying your own healing. 

judgement tarot card reversed

If pulled in the upside-down position, Judgement is linked with self-doubt, poor choices, stubbornness, blame, and confusion.

Judgement meanings in dreams

Dreams are already incredibly symbolic enough as it is, let alone with the presence of the depiction of a tarot card, regardless of how subtle, or not, it may be! If the Judgement card, or something representing this card, has shown up in your dreams and you’re unsure as to why there’s a high chance you need to face up to something. 

More specifically something from your past. Have you been running from something? Burying your head in the sand and hoping it’ll go away? It’s time to stop. You need to let it catch up to you, bite you on the ass, learn the lessons you absolutely need to, as these will only serve you for the better in the long run, as all of this will lead you to be able to heal. Right now, with whatever you’re running from, you cannot heal until you face it. So, face it head on, and prepare yourself to finally embark on that necessary healing journey. 

You deserve the peace that comes with it, so it’s best to face it sooner rather than later, because you’re just prolonging the inevitable and keeping yourself in your own personal purgatory. And with the Judgement card having such strong rapture symbolism, it’s time to listen to your intuition more.

A Poem to remember the upright meanings

Poems can be a good way to remember information because they often use rhyme and rhythm, which can make them easier to memorize.

Additionally, poems often use vivid imagery and figurative language, which can help to make the information more interesting and engaging.

A figure in shining robes, a wand in his hand,

A book of life and truth, where all is scanned.

The angelic figure hovers above the land, 

A sign of Judgement and a judgemental stand.

 

The figures in the card, they’re standing tall,

A trumpet in the sky, a call to all.

A sign of the times, and a judgemental call, 

A sign of the future, a judgemental wall.

 

The Judgement card, so clear and so stark,

A warning of the future, a sign in the dark.

A call to rise to the challenge, and a sign of the start,

A judgement of the past, and a sign of the heart.

 

The Judgement card, a sign of what’s to come,

A sign of the truth, and a judgmental run.

A sign of the future, a sign of what’s done,

A sign of the present, a judgement of one.

 

The Judgement card, a sign for you and me,

A sign of the future, a sign of the key.

A sign of the present, a judgement of thee,

The Judgement card, the truth we must see.

A Poem to remember the reversal meanings

An indecisive spirit, cause of much distress

Troubles the soul, seeking inner progress

Karmic lessons, a self-awareness plea

Can lead to growth, when the Judgement card we see

 

This card reversed, speaks of lost direction

In a state of confusion, with no protection

A need to make choices, with swiftness and haste

A deep reflection, to break from the waste

 

An old cycle, that needs to end

A push forward, to start a new trend

Life’s path, often full of strife

But with courage, comes a new life

 

A chance to learn, what was never known

A newfound strength, to finally be shown

Time to act, make a decision

Put the past behind, and restart the mission.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the Judgement tarot card is a powerful symbol of reflection, awakening, and rebirth. When this card appears in your reading, it is often a sign that it is time to be decisive and make choices.

Despite its association with mysticism and occultism, the tarot has grown to become much more than a simple “fortune-telling” tool. For many tarot readers, it is a complex system made of symbolic imagery and psychological considerations (Jungian archetypes for example) that can be used for self-exploration, meditation, and personal transformation.

The 22 major arcana cards each correspond to different aspects of the human experience that are universal. They represent the different stages of the “hero’s journey”: our biggest challenges and life lessons, as well as our highest aspirations and greatest potential.

Have you ever had a reading where the Judgement card appeared? What was the outcome? What does Judgement mean to you personally? How do you interpret this card in your own tarot practice? Share your thoughts and experiences with me in the comments below.

If you want to know more about the different tarot cards, feel free to check out our complete list of all 78 tarot cards and their meanings.

amy

Written by Amy

Outside the weird and wonderful world of my craft, I like to cosplay and fully dive into the fantasy genre across all forms, from books to video games and everything in between.

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