Symbology in Tarot—Major Arcana Part XI

Today we are discussing “Judgement” and “The World.”


This card shows the Archangel Gabriel blowing his trumpet to announce  Big Change. He is calling on all mortals to raise from their graves to face the Final Judgement. We see naked men, women and children rising from their resting places, arms outstretched and looking up into the sky. The mountain range in the background represents not only the unsurmountable obstacles we find in our lives, but also the impossibility of avoiding judgement in them. Meg Hayertz said: “By card 20 in the Fool’s journey of the Major Arcana, we have experienced nearly every major type of human experience. We are now able to accept a higher calling.” This card can represent a rite of passage but also the possibility that you are asked to make a critical judgement call at work, college, family, associations, etc. Temperance and Star reinforce the Judgement’s call for release and cleansing. The number 20 represents unity and reconciliation; the number 2 represents critical equilibrium and choice. Its astrological association is Pluto, the planet influencing profound transformations.

Upright Judgement

When this card appears, there ae two great possibilities. They are:

  1. Embrace a Higher level of Consciousness: you must rise to the occasion.
  2. Engage in a Life Changing Decision: you must recur to your Intuition and Intellect.

Biddy Tarot said: “You have reviewed and evaluated your past experiences and have learned from them. All the pieces of the puzzle of your life are coming together to form one unified picture of your life story. This integration has healed deep wounds, and you can now put the past behind you…This purging process will leave you refreshed and ready to take on new challenges.” You must also find spiritual comfort by sharing your experiences with others to support them in moments of need.

Reversed Judgement

This card calls for a period of pause and reflection. The Universe is calling you for a Higher Mission, but you are not listening to it. It could be that you are not willing to bear the sacrifices any major transformation entails or that you want to play it safe. Any major change in our personal or social parameters, is a little traumatic in the beginning, to say the least. But if you do not move, you risk exposing yourself to forces that will be out of control. You Inner Voice is talking to you loud and clear.

Note. This reproduction of Botticelli’s L’Annunziazione di Cestello was taken from Wikimedia Commons.

Philosophical significance

The Archangel Gabriel blows the trumpet to announce the return of God to Earth. In the Abrahamic religions (Christianity, Judaism, and Islam) this angel appears in their holy books. In the Hebrew Bible, he appeared to the prophet Daniel to express his views; together with the Archangel Gabriel, they protect the Land of Israel. In the Gospel of Luke, we find the story of the Annunciation: Gabriel appears to Zachariah and the Virgin Mary, foretelling the births of John the Baptist and Jesus. In the Quran, God sends Gabriel to meet many prophets, including Muhammad. The fact that this angel appears here gives more relevance to the message of change.

XXI—The World

This card shows a naked woman wrapped only with a purple cloth, dancing inside a laurel wreath, glancing sideways at The Past, but resolutely moving to The Future. She has two wands in her hands, representing a process that had started with the Magician and will end up in The World. The circular wreath represents a continuous cycle of completion and new beginnings. There are four cardinal figures in each corner: a lion, a bull, a cherub, and an eagle. They represent the four fixed signs of the Zodiac: Leo, Taurus, Aquarius, and Scorpio respectively. They also represent the Four Elements and Tarot’s Compass points.

Upright World

When this card appears, it means that a long-term project, i.e. a work project, a college degree, a partnership, etc., has come to fruition and it is time to celebrate. You are feeling satisfied with your great achievement, and it is time to celebrate. But do not get carried away by just rejoicing on your success. Do not rush forth yet. It is also time to reflect on your difficult journey and to rightly express your gratitude. Remember that there were many people that have supported you in so many ways. Not only look back to celebrate and express gratitude, but also tie any loose ends. It is dangerous moment too as you might lose focus and start goofing around. Beware.

Reversed World

You are seeking some kind of closure in a very personal issue. You must let go of the past and move on with our life. After some personal tragedy, to achieve an efficient closure requires a very personal touch; there are usually no ready-made formulas. In order to fulfill a big task you must segment your pathway and accomplish your planned objectives in a succession of small steps, one at a time. We do remember a poster that we had watched several years ago in the Argentine School of New York that stated: “There are no shortcuts for life’s greatest achievements.” For an unusually big project, you must prepare yourself to work hard and make many sacrifices; do not try to take the easiest pathway because it may be riddled with traps. But once you reach you major goal, you will feel an immense sense of fulfillment.

Philosophical significance

There are many representations of Women at the Top of the Universe but almost none In the Center of it. For a detailed discussion of this subject, we urge you to read our new book Emotional Frustration – the Hushed Plague where we fully tackle it.

Stay distant. Stay safe. Stay beautiful.

What do you think? Please tell us.

Don’t leave me alone.