The Judgment Tarot Card Meaning

Representing trial, consequence, and rebirth, Judgment (XX) is the 20th Major Arcana. It emphasizes the importance of self-reflection so it often appears just before a major life transition, encouraging self-evaluation before taking action.

Illustration Credit: Nam Dinh
  • Element: Fire
  • Planet: Pluto
  • Astrological Sign: None, ruled by Pluto
  • Key dates: No key dates


The Judgment card represents the last judgment found in the Book of Revelations. The Archangel Gabriel blows his trumpet to summon the dead for their final judgment. Rising from their coffins, three people lift their arms signaling they’re ready to be judged by their creator. This will be their final judgment where they learn if they’re going to heaven or hell for the rest of eternity.

In the background is either a snowy mountain range or a large tidal wave. Both show that judgment is unavoidable and final. If seen as a tidal wave, it’s generally interpreted to be referencing the flood myth and Noah’s ark.

The Biblical imagery lets the faithful know they will be reborn just as Christ was reborn. Rebirth is the reward for those who have lived faithfully while those who haven’t will sink into Hell. Similar to the Death card, Judgment tells us that while everything comes to an end, every end is followed by a new beginning.

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People represented by the Judgment card are intense and passionate, often having gone through a major life-changing event. They’re an assertive leader who rarely second guesses themselves and who has learned from their mistakes. They are often seeking to make the world a better place, usually through community service.


If this card appears in a reading, get ready for a transformation in your life. This transformation is often preceded by a difficult trial requiring self-reflection and letting go of the past. While this process is hard, in the end, you will have a better idea how what you need to be your true self. With this knowledge, you now have the power to make difficult decisions and be the best version of yourself possible.


In a love reading, for those already in a relationship, Judgment indicates that your relationship is important but you may be taking it for granted. Take time to consider what you really need and if either of you has been harshly judging the other. While the relationship may be a long one, it could also be a short one that provides invaluable learning experiences. Communication with your partner becomes even more important as issues you once were able to ignore come front and center in your relationship.

If you’re not in a relationship, Judgment asks you to not critique a potential partner so much and consider someone you wouldn’t normally. Allowing yourself to open up to new people may provide you with a more positive relationship that you would normally miss out on. The reward for this opening up is the possibility of a stable and healthy relationship.


The Judgment card tells you that, even if you haven’t realized it yet, you’re being watched and evaluated at work. But don’t worry, if you continue what you’ve been doing and maybe even go the extra mile, you’ll likely be rewarded. It will also help if you remain ready to adapt to new things and are willing to accept constructive criticism. It may also mean that you’ve been harshly judging co-workers. If so, you need to investigate how your behavior may be contributing to conflicts in the office. Help defuse the situation by taking responsibility for your actions and making improvements.

If you are looking for a job, consider a career in politics, law, or in a job placement agency.


Generally seen as a warning, if the Judgment card appears in your reading, you should try to keep your spending down while you reevaluate your relationship with month. Avoid impulse decisions and make sure investments are guaranteed and safe, and consider purchasing additional insurance for things that are important to you.


In a health reading, pulling the Judgment card is a positive sign indicating that recovery is coming. Through self-evaluation, you may find a sense of wholeness and renewed energy. If you’ve been sick, getting to know your illness will help you step forward and take the next step in your journey to a healthier you.


A reversed Judgment card tells you that you’ve been doubting yourself. This self-doubt is getting in your way. It’s causing indecision, difficulty moving forward, and missed opportunities. If you feel like you’re in a rut and unable to do what you need, you can regain your strength and confidence by seeing past mistakes as lessons to learn from instead of weaknesses and failures. The reversed Judgment card is telling you that you need to take some time for yourself to think about where you’re currently at and where you want to go.


In a love reading, the Judgment card in reverse signals that you may be feeling stuck in your current relationship. Your indecisiveness is getting in the way of the progression of your relationship. It could be preventing you from taking the next step or it could be keeping you in an unsatisfying relationship. Whichever may be happening in your relationship, it’s important that you give yourself time to reflect on what you need and how to fulfill it.

If you’re single, Judgment is telling you that it’s time to summon your courage and allow yourself to be vulnerable. Rejection or commitment can be scary but nothing can be gained if you don’t step out of your comfort zone.


Just as your self-doubt is getting in the way of love, it’s also preventing you from advancing your career. Others are aware of your talent and abilities but you’re missing the opportunities they’re offering you because of your indecision.


For finances, the reversed Judgment card is a good sign that your future will be stable. This means it’s a good time to make some riskier investments or splurge on things that will bring you joy. If you’ve recently experienced a financial setback, try to be kind to yourself and learn from the experience instead of allowing it to stall you.


Related to health, Judgment could be telling you to let go of old injuries that are getting in the way of your present experiences. You likely have been letting negative thoughts take up too much space in your mind. You don’t have to put on rose-colored glasses but you shouldn’t ignore the good in the world either. If you forget about positive people, things, and experiences when negativity overwhelms you, make a list of all of them. When you notice the negativity taking over, you can go back to your list and remind yourself that not all is bad.



Judgment in the past position lets you know that where you’re at now is a result of a single, major life decision from your past. While we make an infinite number of decisions in our life, there was one decision that you made that forever altered your life, for better or worse. It had such an effect on your life that had you made a different decision, that version of your life would be unrecognizable to your current self.

When Judgment is in the present position, you’re currently thinking about an important decision. Judgment won’t help you make a decision but it does remind you that this decision could be the one that forever changes your life. While it won’t give you a firm answer, Judgment does often prefer change and may be encouraging you to make the decision that will take you out of your comfort zone. The important message to hear from Judgment is to take some time to reflect so you can make the best decision.

If Judgment comes up in the future position it’s letting you know that current conflicts and confusion are coming to an end. They have been taking up too much of your time but you can rest assured that they are coming to an end. You’ll be presented with a clear choice and the opportunity to simplify your life.


While Judgment usually has a positive message, negative aspects of other cards can dampen its message. Card combinations are important to Judgment since it is heavily influenced by the other cards near it.


While the message of this combination is overwhelmingly positive, it comes with significant responsibility. Independently, the Ace of Swords means valiance, clarity, and victory. When combined with Judgment, they emphasize the message of rebirth. Because of you, someone will experience a life-changing moment. Your actions will inspire them to find their own greatness.


Focus on the self through introspection and soul-searching, particularly following heartbreak, is central to the Hermit’s message. Combined with Judgment, they will allow you to quickly see your heartbreak as a blessing to take advantage of. Finding yourself with too much alone time can be difficult but it also provides the opportunity to take up a new hobby or learn a new language. Judgment and Hermit are letting you know that you’ll be successful with these new activities and that your solitude is short-lived.


When the Five of Swords appears on its own, it represents conflict, defeat, and loss and is rarely wanted in a reading. It combines with Judgment to expose how ulterior motives affected some of your recent decisions. Letting these motives get in the way of your decision-making was counter-productive to getting what’s best for you. Fair decision-making and best intentions are the only way to move forward.


On its own, Temperance means patience, moderation, and compromise. It will reward you for doing the right thing even in the most difficult situations. The combination of Judgment and Temperance encourages you to work with others around you in order to move forward. Take time to listen to those who disagree with you. You may just learn something unexpected.


The Judgment card emphasizes change and the positive. When it appears in a yes or no reading, it usually means yes. Because Judgment represents the final judgment, this yes is particularly strong when it’s regarding major life decisions.



For those currently partnered, Judgment confirms that your current relationship is important. However, its importance doesn’t mean your partner is your soulmate. If you’re single, Judgment is encouraging you to step outside your comfort zone and consider people you would otherwise dismiss.


Judgment in reverse advises you to let go of overthinking and self-doubt. They’re only causing indecision and unnecessary barriers.


In the future position, Judgment is letting you know that your current confusion and conflicts are coming to an end. They’ve been taking up too much space in your mind so this can free you up for more positive pursuits.


The Judgment card is associated with change and the positive so it’s usually a yes.