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Sunday, May 31, 2009

JUDGMENT - Astrological Associations

I continue my astrological exploration of the Major Arcana with Trump 20, Judgment (or Judgement, as it is spelled in some cases). The use of astrological associations with Tarot is completely up to the reader. This is merely intended to be interesting and fun. The astrological associations established by the Order of the Golden Dawn (OGD) are the most commonly used. However, as a professional astrologer, I always find it interesting when someone develops another system.

Thoth Tarot by Aleister Crowley
Crowley titles Trump 20 "The Aeon." He notes: "In this card it has been necessary to depart completely from the tradition of the cards, in order to carry on that tradition. The old card was called The Angel: or, The Last Judgment." Crowley attributes this card to the element Fire rather than any zodiac sign or planet. He does, however, mention that behind the letter Shin (meaning Fire) on the card, we can see "a symbolic representation of the Sign of Libra." He states that "this is the forth-shadowing of the Aeon which is to follow this present one." The OGD uses the attribution "Spirit and Fire."

One World Tarot by Crystal Love
In this deck, Crystal Love associates The Judgment (Trump 20) with the Moon. She writes: "The Moon represents our emotions and our unconscious drives. . . The Judgment can be said to rule our processes at the deepest and most unconscious level. . . The Judgment tells us that all our actions are recorded on our unconscious minds."

A.E. Thierens, PhD. (Astrology & the Tarot)
Thierens titles Trump 20 "The Last Judgment" and associates it with the planet Jupiter. Jupiter governs Sagittarius, a Fire sign. Thierens writes: "This card stands for ideals, religious, social or any other and for the elevating effect they have on man." Jupiter is associated with the higher mind, higher education, spiritual expansion, and knowledge.

The Celestial Tarot by Brian Clark
Clark attributes the Judgment card to "Pluto, the Inner Judge." He writes: "We encounter Pluto and face the future that we have created for ourselves over the past aeons. . . We have arrived at a place where we are more able to clearly judge the wisdom, integrity, and authenticity of our past efforts." Pluto is commonly seen to represent regenerative forces, destruction, annihilation, and transformation. As guardian of the shades and underworld ghosts, Pluto calls our attention to what has been denied and repressed. Although Pluto is no longer considered a planet by astronomers*, many astrologers continue to study its impact in birth charts and events. Modern astrology assigns rulership of the zodiac sign Scorpio to Pluto, and we see the symbol for Scorpio on Clark's card.

The Mandala Astrological Tarot by A.T. Mann
Mann associates Trump 20, Judgement, with the element Fire and Pluto. He writes: "The element Fire shows the energy of heaven which shatters structures to unite humanity, and Pluto. . . shows the required destruction of existing forms before regeneration occurs. Death and destruction are only preludes to rebirth in a new and higher state, as all causes must be transcended."

The Whispering Tarot by Liz Hazel
Liz Hazel notes that the Golden Dawn lists the attribution for Trump 20 as "Fire." She herself uses Saturn in connection with Judgment but writes "Sometimes Pluto is used." Hazel associates Judgment with "important stages in the Saturn cycle that occur in seven-year intervals, and the Jupiter-Saturn conjunctions that occur every twenty years."

* Please see Laurel Kornfeld's comments (below) for a more precise, detailed account of Pluto's status among astronomers and astrologers.

If I'm not mistaken, Judgment (Trump 20) has a greater variety of astrological attributions than any card we have come across in this series so far. We have Fire, "Spirit and Fire," the Moon, Jupiter, Pluto, and Saturn. I tend to lean toward the OGD attribution of "Spirit and Fire" but I do try to take into account the associations made by the creator of whatever deck I am using.

I welcome your comments!



  1. Pluto is still a planet, and is still considered by many astronomers to be one. Only four percent of the IAU voted on the controversial demotion, and most are not planetary scientists. Their decision was immediately opposed by hundreds of professional astronomers in a formal petition. One reason the IAU definition makes no sense is it says dwarf planets are not planets at all! That is like saying a grizzly bear is not a bear, and it is inconsistent with the use of the term “dwarf” in astronomy, where dwarf stars are still stars, and dwarf galaxies are still galaxies. Also, the IAU definition classifies objects solely by where they are while ignoring what they are. If Earth were in Pluto’s orbit, according to the IAU definition, it would not be a planet either. A definition that takes the same object and makes it a planet in one location and not a planet in another is essentially useless. That is why many astronomers, lay people, and educators are either ignoring the demotion entirely or working to get it overturned.

  2. Thank you for those details, Laurel! I should have included more information instead of trying to convey the essence of the IAU's official decision in such an abbreviated fashion. I simply wanted to acknowledge the fact that Pluto's status had changed in some circles, without spending a lot of time on the subject. Clearly that was a mistake! :D


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~ Zanna