Judgement is the 20th tarot card in the Major Arcana, and it depicts a scene of rebirth and transformation, heralding a time of reckoning with the past in order to move forward with a new perspective. All of the lessons of The Fool’s Journey have led to this moment, where we’re presented with the choice to accept a new level of consciousness.

Judgement Tarot Card Upright and Reversed Keywords
Judgement tarot card upright and reversed keywords.

Judgement is associated with the element of Fire and the planet Pluto, which is named after the ancient Greek god Hades (also called Pluton), the god of the underworld. Pluto is associated with personal underworld journeys or periods of immense psychic transformation prompted by confrontations with titanic forces of change outside of one’s personal control. Pluto shows us our strength by compelling us to face what we fear.

Where the Justice card represents humankind’s relationship to morality and righteousness, the Judgement card considers a higher power’s capacity to exact and regulate justice. Similar to The High Priestess, which looks at the transformative nature of secrets, mysteries, and possibilities, Judgement considers how uncontrollable forces can transform the self and provoke awakenings.

Judgement Keywords

Upright keywords

Reversed keywords

a rebirth, a breakthrough or epiphany, the need to evolve and grow, an experience of transformation

denial, a need to review the past in order to move forward, self-doubt, refusing to listen or take action

Description of the Judgement Tarot Card

Judgement is the penultimate card in the sequence of the Major Arcana tarot cards and represents a crucial moment of choice between accepting a new level of responsibility or turning away from the call to evolve. Before we can reach the final card of the Major Arcana and complete the cycle, we must integrate the lessons of The Fool’s Journey and make decisions from this place of heightened awareness.

In the classic Rider Waite Smith tarot deck, an angel appears in the sky, sounding a trumpet with a flag and bearing a cross as several figures emerge from their coffins, arms raised up as if to embrace the angel’s call. The snow-capped mountains in the background suggest that they are emerging from a period of long winter and are ready to be reborn anew.

For the first time in the Major Arcana, we see a direct communication between the messenger of the divine (the angel) and the living beings. The experience of death has initiated an awareness of the transpersonal realm, and they can now perceive the voice of the divine, indicating that they have integrated the superconscious into their conscious minds. This experience of transformation prepares them to be reborn with a new level of awareness, self-acceptance, and absolution.

Judgement Upright Meaning

Judgement portends a major shift in consciousness and a period of awakening to a deep inner truth or newly discovered needs and desires. It represents the need to make decisions that are in alignment with your highest good, and it is a prompt to rise to the challenge of living an authentic life

Often this card indicates being at a crossroads and needing to make an important decision. It suggests a clear review of your past in order to take responsibility for any previous missteps and the ability to make decisions based on new insights or realizations. The challenge is to respond with integrity and take the necessary steps, right now, to act in accordance with your highest good.

There are opportunities to reimagine your life and to expand into greater levels of fulfillment, but an old aspect of self may need to be set free in order to facilitate this transformation. This is a process of purification where the old is composted so that the new self can emerge. This period can be a catalyst for a personal and spiritual awakening if approached with understanding and clarity.

Love and Relationships (Upright Meaning)

An upright Judgement tarot card can represent a time of life-changing, massive growth within a relationship, where the lessons you are learning in partnership serve to reinforce the strength of your bond. In a tarot love reading, it suggests that the relationship is teaching you important life lessons and is helping you evolve to the next stage of life. If you’ve recently been through significant challenges or changes, it is a sign that new life is emerging with the relationship.

It can represent the need to let go of the past so that something new can emerge. Holding onto old wounds or making decisions out of fear of repeating the past may be preventing you from developing your relationship further or from entering a new relationship. It suggests the need to release what keeps you trapped in the past so that you can open to new possibilities and connections.

Career and Finance (Upright Meaning)

The angel of your higher self is calling you to awaken to new ideas that you’d deemed impossible, had forgotten, or forsaken. It is a call from above to take your desires seriously, to believe that you can rise to the challenge, and to release any limiting beliefs that have kept you shrinking from pursuing the fullness of your dreams.

This card can represent finally coming to the realization that you want and deserve more in your work life and are no longer willing to settle. It can represent self-awareness, as well as self-evaluation. You could be contacting long-dormant desires or parts of yourself that you thought were metaphorically dead. It is an encouragement to embrace new goals or career-related projects that align with this newly arrived vision of life.

Love/relationship upright keywords

Career/finance upright keywords

growth within a partnership, relationship as life teacher, releasing old wounds, embracing the new

awakening to new possibilities, rising to the challenge, releasing doubts, no longer settling

Judgement Reversed Meaning

In a tarot reading with a reversed Judgement card, it suggests that you may be hearing the urges and inner calling of your higher self but are choosing to tune them out. You could be fearful that you won’t be able to rise to the challenge of what you’re feeling prompted to do or are feeling mired in self-doubt. If you can face your fears about what this represents, you can achieve an important breakthrough.

Judgement reversed can represent feeling stuck, either because you are unable or unwilling to take the necessary action to move forward. You could be mired in self-doubt or simply avoiding the task in front of you. You may be at a turning point where you are fearful of letting go of some aspect of self or life that must be surrendered in order to move forward.

It can also suggest that before making an important decision, it would be wise to conduct a thorough review of the past. When you take into account the full consequences of your previous actions, you can make a more informed decision based on personal responsibility and accountability. If you need to make amends to yourself or others, this card is an encouragement to do so.

Love and Relationships (Reversed Meaning)

In the reverse position of a love reading, the Judgment card can signify that your fear of pain is keeping you from opening up to the fullness of connection available to you. If you have experienced rejection or heartbreak in the past, you may have disconnected from your true feelings in order to try and keep yourself safe. This card asks you to reconnect to your heart and risk opening yourself to love again.

This card can also indicate that negative cyclical patterns are resurfacing in your relationship and are challenging you to grow and evolve past them. It suggests the need to take responsibility for your role in this pattern and release old beliefs or ways of relating that no longer serve you. If you can embrace this opportunity for growth, you can experience a rebirth in your relationship.

Career and Finance (Reversed Meaning)

In the reverse position of a tarot spread, the Judgment card can indicate that you feel the desire to embrace a greater calling in your work but are stagnating due to fear, self-doubt, or procrastination. These negative patterns of self-talk are keeping you stuck and preventing you from doing the work that would be more challenging or meaningful for you.

It asks you to take responsibility for your true desires and rise to the challenge of working toward them. If you are able to hear the call and respond, you can step into new dimensions of life that expand you past your current reality.

Love/relationship reversed keywords

Money/career reversed keywords

fear of pain, disconnection from heart, negative or destructive patterns, need for release

fear, procrastination, needing to take responsibility