SPLENDOR OF THE MATERIAL WORLD
JUDGEMENT is not an event or a moment in time. Judgement is continual and eternal. It is a constant examination of the growth of the Personality toward the Universal Consciousness.
JUDGEMENT sits on the first path out of Malkut (material world) into Hod (Splendor), which is on the pillar of Severity on the Tree of Life.
The Golden Dawn calls this path ‘Splendour of the Material World. And what can be more splendid in the material world than shedding its confinements. It is a Path on which the factors of the Personality, first encountered in THE WORLD, are closely examined and scrutinized (judged).
JUDGEMENT is one of three Maternal Letters of the Hebrew Alphabet on the Tree of life: Aleph (FOOL – Air), Mem (THE HANGED MAN – Water), Shin (JUDGEMENT – fire). With the three elements in place, ‘creation’ is complete: “From the Spirit he produced Air, and formed in it twenty-two sounds, the letters. Three are mothers, seven are double and twelve are simple, but the Spirit is first and above these.” And so, as the fire completes the descend into the material world on the Tree of Life, so through trial of fire we begin our ascent into the world of spirit.
A BITING PATH
Perhaps another clue into the card is its association with the Hebrew Letter Shin, which means ‘tooth.’ And so the path of Judgement, biting and tough. A tooth can also kill (i.e. wolf, lion). Therefore, it is only appropriate that the tooth represents a ‘killing’ of your physical self and the path of Spiritual birth (or rebirth). In this card, the Letter Shin is at the bottom spitting fire, coming out of the scorched earth, which it leaves behind.
Astrologically, Pluto rules the JUDGEMENT trump. In Roman mythology, Pluto (Greek Hades) was the god of the underworld. As he is the god of death, so he is of rebirth.
In many Tarot Decks, Judgement represented as physical re-birth, and we are tempted to read that symbolism literally. Yet it is, bar far, not that. It is our own evaluation of our life and the conclusion that we, as souls, come to at the end.
THE FOOL is at the center of the trump. He is no longer in a physical body. He is the very soul that has completed his earthly journey. And so he stands in front of the Jury of his guides. However, it will not be them judging him – it will be THE FOOL, himself. It will be he, who completes his life review as he crosses over into the world of Spirit. Outside of the confinement of his physical body, he will not only be able to justly evaluate the roles he played in this life, but suffer from the pain he brought others, and rejoice in the happiness he caused. Thus, we no longer see the masks that we did in THE FOOL card – the masks of life’s potentials, but the characters that have come and gone: THE HANGED MAN – Water, THE DEVIL – EARTH and THE SUN – Fire. THE FOOL, the element of Air, himself, has now become Spirit.
In a Tarot Reading, JUDGEMENT can represent one or more of the following:
- Reviewing your life
- A major decision which will have a big impact on your life
- Finding hidden abilities