The Judgement card depicts what one would imagine the last judgment would be, in the various forms that takes in many mythologies. The image in the Judgement card shows women, men, and children who are rising from the grave to respond to Gabriel’s trumpet call. Their outstretched arms symbolize that they are ready to be judged by the universe. They are about to meet their creator, their actions weighed, and find out where they will spend the remainder of eternity: in heaven or in hell. The massive tidal wave in the background signify that judgement is unavoidable, and that this judgement will be final.
An eye for an eye
A tooth for a tooth
Within the field of rushes
Lies the heart of one
Mother, daughter, wife, sister, friend,
Whose time in this realm is done?
Within the field of rushes
Lies the heart of one
Teacher, counsellor, advocate, imagineer, friend
Who took but gave an eye, a tooth, a shoulder
Earth to Earth
Ashes to ashes dust to dust
Within the field of rushes
Lies a heart of one
Who gave more than she took
Who returns to the source
As light as a feather
When I wrote this poem, back in 2005, I was actively working the Soul Food Cafe and taking travellers through the portal into the inner world of Lemuria. When Leonie, one of my travellers, died quite suddenly, I was touched when her daughter asked for permission to read this poem at her funeral.
Working With The Judgement Card
To see this card can also indicate that you are in a period of awakening, brought on by the act of self-reflection.
It came as a jolt when a messenger came with a formal notice calling upon suitcase and I to attend a Council of the Animals and face judgement. Suitcase, my opiniated travelling companion, and I had a falling out when he took it upon himself to enlighten me that I was being a bit of a Pollyanna and should not trust everyone in the Forest, including the Green Woman who I had spent some time talking to.
As we looked at the message it did occur to me that the Green Woman may have overheard Suitcase and reported both of us but then the Raven that delivered the message insisted we come immediately so we dutifully gathered ourselves together and meekly followed the bird.
Now I am not sure how anyone else would respond but I have to say I was, quite literally, shaking in my shoes as we entered the council room and were greeted by this formidable group of forest council members. For his part my suitcase had adopted a subservient pose and was not nudging me, whispering or making any smart comments. Clearly he grasped the gravity of the situation.
After handing me a deck of Forest cards to guide me and assist our capacity to effectively communicate, one by one the members of the Council interrogated me!
- Toad: What are you, really?
- Fox: What brings you delight?
- Deer: What do you love?
- Tawny owl: What do you know?
- Merlin hawk: What is your prey?
- Bat: What fuels your flight?
- Squirrel: What do you covet?
- Raven: What is your secret?
- Hare: What is your madness?
- Hedgehog: What is your song?
- Bear: What is your strength of character?
- Badger: What is your philosophy?
1. Dear Toad! Thank you for asking me who I really am! I came to the forest as the child I really am. I escaped from the pandemic that has bought the humans on earth to their knees, bringing only my books, my tarot cards and my imagination.
Since I have been here I cannot deny that I have not noticed many of the forest creatures who live here. I have been lost in my beloved world of imagination for it is being able to do this which has sustained me all my life.
As long as I can find my way here I will always be that child that I was, a child with dreaming eyes and filled with wonder. I am seventy this year but I am still not ready to settle down, age in the accepted way or take life too seriously. There are plenty of other humans willing to do that and look where it has got us all! I am not too old to live an enchanted life. All that was magical remains magical for me.
2 Dear Fox! I am so pleased that you are interested in what brings me delight! Not everyone has been interested. Many of my species are more interested in themselves to notice what I am doing or thinking. Few really know me!
It brings me delight and joy to have been gifted with the power to draw magic from my body and to be the lover, muse, provocateur, creative force and catalyst for change.
Frederick Lorca spoke about the deep song and the desire to have done something worthy. I can look you in the eye and tell you, not only that my artistry has dream power but that I have done something worthy in my lifetime. Inspiration is a force that can be drawn from within and below and it delights me when I feel that force surge through me, when I am able to direct it and empower others.
3. Precious Deer! I have to be frank and say that love is problematic for me. Perhaps it is having felt betrayed and abandoned by those close to me, but whenever I look at the cards of love in Tarot I feel a pain akin to the three of swords. My heart looks a bit like a piece of Swiss cheese.
It goes without saying that I do love my children. At significant times they have been like two sentry guards holding me up. But love is an emotion I am not really familiar with…. except in my relationship with companion animals. They have been my greatest teachers. It is the quiet patter of paws, feeling my dog gently bound over my body to secure a place alongside me at night that brings me most comfort. It is their warmth as they snuggle closer that fills me with a sense of peace. I know that there will be trials but they have my back. I do not have a doorbell but I really don’t need one. You cannot enter my property without me being alerted.
Do I love myself? Have I been a good friend to my self? Suitcase here adopted the all too familiar role of inner critic and chastised me when I befriended the Green Woman. I know he speaks from knowing, from knowledge about old wounds. I do understand the desire to protect and shield me from more pain. But I really do want to heal and love myself most of all. I want the critic to be gentler. This image from your deck is the one I want to meditate upon because when I look at it I see self love and self soothing.
4. Oh Wise Owl: What do I know? I know that I know more things than I think I know. I know that just as a tree has roots that weave their way deep into the earth I have access to a network of underground passages similar to the trees. I know that you recognise me, that you know that I am a raven.
I know that a message from you signifies that change is on the way. But I also know that it is Raven who has ignited the energies of magic, allowing me to become one with my intentions and will. It is Raven who has guided me and shown me how to walk into the dark corners of inner conflicts that have been buried deep within. It is Raven who stands at the opened doorway, that has opened doorways to the deepest power of healing.
5 Merlin hawk: As a member of the Falcon family I recognise you as a messenger, symbolic of the rising sun in Egypt, of a house ascendant, royalty. I know that you often speak of flight, of going high in the air to give a new perspective to the situation, to bring this perspective to people like me. As I consider what my prey is I am circling above us trying to clarify who is my prey actually is.
My prey is the giant bureaucracies that are responsible for squashing all creative and innovative thought. As a teacher of writing I have worked with souls crushed by an education system that places most emphasis on providing factory fodder fo corporations.
Having been on planet earth for almost seventy years I am fully aware of the power of these cumbersome giants. Recently I have borne witness to them being bought to their knees. As I am sure you will agree, I have to careful of overestimating my capacity to do anything about these dangerous giants. But I know who they are and I am coming for them in! I am leading a resistance!
Good afternoon Bat: It may sound counter intuitive but for me, flight is actually fuelled by being firmly grounded and standing strong.
I know when a battle is not worth pursuing and I know when to leave. I don’t let circumstances defeat me. I may withdraw, but I withdraw in order to reach within myself and draw forth the strength that is needed to make changes, face the challenge and move forward as courageously as possible.
I have learned that you never need to apply brute force and that it is not cowardly to retreat in order to gather reinforcements.
Well Miss Squirrel, since you ask, I don’t covert toilet paper. I was not one of the hoards that descended on supermarkets and stripped the shelves of all paper goods. As I marched out with a number of blocks of chocolate and some wine I smiled and said that my priorities were quite different to all those other people.
Seriously however! I am an idealist who coverts being able to live the artistic life. I am perfectly comfortable in my home but I keep having this desire to convert the shed into a studio that has taken on the appearance of a primary school classroom. Those primary school teachers have the knack of creating amazing environments for children and I want one of those. I envy their assemblage skills.
Of course we both know that I actually have a very eclectic home and so this is all a bit silly but since when was coveting something based on common sense or reason.
Hahaha! Now Raven! Naughty! Do you really imagine I am going to reveal our secret here? All I will say is that it has to do with the Faery Wind.
I suppose it is fair enough Mr Hare that, given that you gained such notoriety in Alice in Wonderland, you should ask me about my madness. I have a great respect for toads and their skills as healers. So, not so long ago, when a group I was working with finished a series of Baba Yaga style challenges they were rewarded by having their portraits taken with my super glamorous toad. This confirmed what they had suspected! This confirmed my madness!
Sadly Hedgehog, my recurrent theme song is all about having many ideas and not being able to find a balance. There are things that should gain my full attention but, like a butterfly, I flit to something else. Even as I am writing up these notes I am thinking about what I should be doing next. I really do have to be careful not to take on more than I can attend to. At least I am wise enough to know that I am not going to launch myself on YouTube or something. I take my hat off to the folk doing that and I am happy to rest of an afternoon watching them sing.
Well Mr Bear, there is no doubt that my strength lies in my capacity to set a clear intention. I can pour over material and divine which fragments to repurpose. I steal like an artist. The idea behind stealing like an artist is that “nothing is completely original… All creative work builds on what came before… If we’re free from the burden of trying to be completely original, we can stop trying to make something out of nothing, and we can embrace influence instead of running away from it.”
So Badger! I basically believe in the mysteries. No one has provided me with a satisfactory explanation of the complexities of life or categorically shown that there is, for example, life after death. The only thing we can be sure of is death but even then we do not know when or how it will come. Life is a challenge and we can expect to have ups and downs. Eventually all the pieces fall into place and form a coherent image.