Every Tarot reader and enthusiast knows of the "scary" Tarot cards: The Devil, The Tower, the Ten of Swords, etc. While no Tarot card is innately bad, these are the ones that usually strike fear into those who don't know or can't see their positive aspects.
However, I found myself reminiscing the other night about my experience learning the cards and I came across the memory of being frightened by one card in particular: Judgement.
While not typically a card that is "feared", I recall it being one that made me uneasy to see or interpret when it came up in a reading, and I began to wonder why I felt this way.
I didn't have much of a religious background growing up, but did delve a bit deeper in high school in my search for a better understanding of spirituality. Since all I knew were the branches of the Christian faith, that's where I began my search. While I no longer consider myself a practitioner of those particular faiths, the first time I saw the Judgment card some of those old beliefs came bubbling up. I immediately thought "last judgment", the deciding factor of whether or not the next stop in the afterlife would be Heaven or Hell. For someone who is good hearted but has led a less than pious life, especially according to the Christian bible, this frightened me. I then began to worry how I would interpret this card for clients. Who was I to tell them what they should or should not be doing? And what if they didn't believe in what I thought the interpretation was? I certaintly didn't want to offend anyone, but felt like I should be honest about what I was reading. It left me in quite a metaphysical pickle, and for a long time really disliked seeing Judgement pop up.
It took a few different decks and their visual and written interpretations (in particular The Wild Unknown's simple but beautiful take) before I began to fully understand what Judgement meant for me: release. Release and freedom from the trials, worries, stresses, and tribulations of the physical world. Being able to rise above Earthly needs and wants, recognizing your mistakes and what you've learned from them, and becoming aware that only through letting go of all that holds you down spiritually can you truly ascend to your higher self.
Judgment is not to be feared. Instead, we should strive to understand how it can help us realize the benefit of releasing that which no longer serves us. Through letting go of fear, doubt, selfishness, and anger, we're able to see the what can truly benefit us: love.