XX (The Last) Judgement
Alternate names: Aeon, the Angel
BASIC DESCRIPTION: An angel fills the
sky. With flaming hair and red outspread wings, he blows a trumpet
bearing a banner of the Crusades. On the earth below, "all those in
memorial tombs hear his voice and come out." They raise their arms
with joy and face heaven. There are six people coming out of coffins:
man, child and woman in the foreground, and likewise in the
background. The woman on the front right stands out because she has
yellow hair and has a different bearing from the others. All the
people are naked and have skin as gray as their coffins. It's not
very clear whether the coffins are on land or water, as the terrain
is blue--even the trees are blue. In the distance, icy peaks can be
FIRST THING THAT STRUCK ME: The Red Cross--This was a symbol of the Crusades, and many knights wore this design on their shields. In "Le Morte d'Arthur, " which was written late 12th century/early 13th century, Joseph of Arimathea (who brought the Grail to England), as he lay on his death bed, had them bring him a white shield. He drew a cross on it with his own blood. This shield was later obtained by Sir Galahad, who was the most "worthy" (holy) knight, and who "achieved" the Grail. Crowley says its the "symbol of the Aeon of Osiris." If the Aeon of Osiris represents the patriarchal age of Christianity, than a (possibly derogatory- sounding descriptive omitted) is certainly a fitting symbol. But why wouldn't he put the Eye of Horus, if the angel/messenger is heralding the new Aeon?
NUMBER: (I'm making this up...) Since we are on a decimal system, ten is representative of a cycle, as in the Wheel of Fortune. Therefore, 20 shows the first recurrence, which is what makes it a cycle. You can't have a "First Annual" something; only a Second Annual, because it's not annual until it repeats (i.e., becomes a cycle). So the XX signifies that the Major Arcana, or Life, or the Cosmos, or some such, is a recurring cycle. The World is outside the Cycle, and this is why the Fool has three different placements.
Also: Is the Red Cross related to the Roman numeral X? Or is it just coincidence???
TIME: mornings, Easter
MEANINGS UPRIGHT: (The Last Judgment) Change of position, renewal,
outcome. Another account specifies total loss through lawsuit.
Resurrection, rebirth, rejuvenation, renewed hope, fresh start,
shedding old skin, awakening to possibilities, waking up to latent
powers. Judgment, "day of reckoning," legal settlement, hard
choices, separating wheat from chaff,
call to change, inner conviction, promotion, finding your true
vocation, drawn in a new direction, impulse to act, breakthrough,
transformation, self-actualization. Honest self-appraisal, being
judged and judging others, considering how one's actions affect
others, accounting for how one has used opportunities.
"Self-judgment; forgiveness of the self comes from the self."
Repentence, unburdening oneself, amends, atonement, forgiveness,
absolution, setting affairs in order.
ALSO: The attraction of the soul to the Creator, or self to Higher Self. Holy Guardian Angel. "Many are called, but few are chosen." Morning(s).
AND IN A TRIPPIER SENSE: Incoming "New Age" Judgement - New Heavens and New Earth (Rev. 20-21) Aeon - Aeon of Horus which is also, according to precession of equinox, the Age of Aquarius; the so-called "End of the World"; the birth of the Phoenix from the ashes, before he learns to fly.
MEANINGS REVERSED: Weakness, pusillanimity,
simplicity; also deliberation, decision, sentence. Not making
the most out of life, not enjoying life, severe depression,
unhappiness in old age. Failing challenges, ignoring convictions,
excuses/blame become dominant. Shrinking away from self-knowledge and
self-assessment, outer rather than inner judgment, avoidance of
responsibilities, fear of being accountable for actions. Guilt,
blame, inability to love or forgive oneself or others, failures on a
spiritual and/or emotional level.
ALSO: Weakness of body and mind, ill health, fear of death and what lies beyond.
BIBLICAL: The hour is coming in which
all those in the memorial tombs will hear his voice and come out,
those who did good things to a resurrection of life, those who
practiced vile things to a resurrection of judgment.--John
Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.--Matthew 6:21
Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.--Matthew 6:1-3
MYTHOLOGICAL: Phoenix. BTW, what's the cycle of the Phoenix? It wouldn't happen to be a multiple of 2160 years, would it?
Also, multiple mythologies include 'judging the dead' themes, and they usually occur in the presence of a god, sometimes immediately upon death and sometimes much later.
ASTROLOGICAL: (1) Mercury--messenger of the gods; (2) Aquarius--reformer; (GD) Pluto--death, unavoidable change
ANIMAL/INSECT: butterfly, phoenix
(rooster); butterfly emerging
PLANTS: bulb flowers
SCENTS: spring earth; wintergreen, sea spray
FILM: Seventh Sign
OCCUPATIONS: nudist colony, health spa or summer camp worker; trumpteer, travel agent, archeologist
PERSONAL THOUGHTS: The card contains a feeling of joy, yet causes in many cases a feeling of apprehension. What is Judgment Day? A time of rebirth or a time of accountability?
QUOTES FROM OTHER SOURCES: "Wait till
you are mentally able to understand the Explanation. Wait till the
Voice which is as a silver clarion, proclaims all truth, saying
'Awake, Soul, for thy dream is past! Look now and see,--for thou art
strong enough to bear the Light.'"--Marie Corelli, The Soul of
Lilith, p. 403
"What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls a butterfly." (A butterfly sheds its cocoon, yet still needs half a day to dry its wings before it flits off.)
TaRoma: (Fire, Pluto) For good
judgement, constructive criticism, breakthrough consciousness, and
finding one's calling.
Subject: ARC: Judgement - mostly Biblical and long
Date: Mon, 06 Jul 1998 01:26:03 +0200
Of course, my first response to this card was that it represented Biblical "Judgment Day." But upon further investigation, that doesn't really fit. I looked first in Revelation and found seven angels blowing seven trumpets, bringing plagues and destruction. The Resurrection occurs at least 1000 years later. There are other references to the dead "answering the call," but it is the voice of Jesus/Michael. I found four references to Gabriel, as messenger (Daniel, Elisabeth, Mary). I know there are commonly four archangels, but now I only find these two, and I recall from previous research that there are only three named in the Bible.
I found Paul's description in I Corinthians 15 (:35-57) to be very interesting, and did find mention of a trumpet there: In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. (verse 52)
In readings this card sometimes shows me how a person's view of after life may affect the situation. There are so many possible views, but do you realize how deeply it affects a person's behavior, attitudes and actions? A person who believes there is nothing after they die certainly lives differently, though not necessarily opposite to, someone who believes in heaven, or reincarnation, or evolution, or whatever. I've discovered this to be a deep basic driver which is often overlooked.
Another interesting angle is a philosophy I read in which the author basically switched the meanings of "life" and "death" in some ancient religious and mythological texts, and drew parallels. So this is another question to put to this card. Are we now dead (or sleeping), only to be awakened after life/Judgement Day? As Paul says in I Corinthians, you reap what you sow--by species, but not by form. You plant an inert seed, and reap a living, fruitful plant. (Technically speaking, if the seed is DNA - that amazing orobouros - you actually could be physically resurrected in your earthly body.)
The landscape on this card is blue, which connects the concepts of Abyss as primeval waters, the pit and Sheol/grave. So the figures are rising from the Abyss. But isn't that what we did in the *beginning* of evolution?
The solstice got me thinking about cycles within cycles. Some say the Trumps are a cycle, beginning with 0 and continuing to XXI, then back to 0, rather like 12:00:01 a.m. and 11:59:59 p.m. But I think that Judgement is 12:00, and The World is outside or beyond the cycle - Unity. When we are part of/with God, we won't have to look any farther. I think Waite's description of the World agrees with this, and I think that's why he put the Fool after Judgement - to show that *here* begins the next cycle.
It's like the New Year's Eve of the Great Year - - out with the old, in with the new -- putting the *Devil* in chains -- getting rid of imperfections/flaws/hypocrisy/old system in preparation for the Perfect Unity of the World (XXI). With trumpets.
This page is excerpted from my original contributions to an online
Tarot course discussion of this card graciously sponsored by