How To Get Woke With The Judgement Card

by | Dec 2, 2016 | Blog











This post first appeared at

A couple of weeks ago I saw a hilarious but cringe-worthy exchange on Twitter between filmmaker Michael Moore and writer Jessica Hellis. Funny because Moore suggested, in the tweet, that women don’t do heinous things. Cringe-worthy because of the irony. The pedestal on which Moore places women is a feature of patriarchy, the very thing he is against. No one wants to be called out or corrected as he was on Twitter that day. And yet that’s just what happens when we pull the Judgment card. The universe calls us out, checks our assumptions, and puts our flawed thinking on the spot.

This is a drag. We like to think we’re done with improving ourselves and that meaning well is enough. But even with the best of intentions, we have blind spots. We miss things. It’s human nature to be somewhat limited by our individual perspectives of reality. Luckily, and I mean that sarcastically, the universe sends us little memos. Sometimes these memos have the heft of a sledgehammer and sometimes, like feathers, they get lost in the wind.

The Tarot are an excellent tool to help us catch the things we might otherwise miss. And when we can’t, the tarot help with that lost feeling we sometimes have. I wrote about Judgment recently at The gist of this card is threefold:


    1. The trumpets alert us – that significant changes are here and things are not as they used to be. I can’t help but feel like the internet and our social networks serve as our modern day trumpets, alerting us that we are all more connected than we realize.
    2. Resistance, fear, denial, or grief – the way we process said big changes.
    3. Awakening – This part’s optional. We can seek awakening, or we can try to keep sleeping. The latter’s more comfortable and so more accessible.


Why get woke?


Is seeking awakening a waste of time? I won’t lie; it could be. Anytime you fixate on anything you run the risk of getting attached and distorting your view. Even if your focus is getting free from limiting beliefs. It’s quite the spiritual quandary. Maybe this is why everywhere you look people seem perfectly fine believing everything they think, everything their parents, teachers, and peers ever told them. That’s what we’re supposed to do right? Accept. Adapt. Buy in.

But what if getting woke is like a muscle you build? What if we start with small things – something as small as an alternative way to tie a shoelace – and build up from there? It’s probably worth it to practice, just in case. To practice detaching just a little bit from the movie in our minds that we call reality and the beliefs we hold dear. It’s harmless to court this kind of doubt. As anyone raised to believe things that didn’t serve long term can tell you, courting that sort of doubt can be a lifesaver. The payoff of this work is peace.

In the wake of the presidential elections, I created a spread based on the Judgment card to help us receive reality’s memos and support us in getting woke. It’s meant to cultivate that healthy doubt. It’s intended to aid in well-intentioned vigilance. It’s simple. No bells or whistles. Nothing in the way of getting woke.


The Trumpet Spread



Pull a card face down to answer each of these questions.


  1. What encourages sleep?
  2. What do you need to feel safe?
  3. What wakes you?
  4. What keeps you moving?
  5. What guidance do you need?


When I say sleep, I’m referring to a lack of awareness or consciousness. When I speak of waking, I mean becoming more aware. Pulling these cards face down allows us to flirt with chaos, the unconscious, the unknown. These things are our allies in the quest for perspective shifts. Use this spread when you get the Judgment card in a reading and you’d like to go deeper, when your worldview is crumbling, when you are afraid to let go of something or when experiencing a lot of attachment. You’ll recognize attachment by what it feels like – dread, righteousness, fear, anger, shock or denial. You know, the apocalypse feelings.

Judgement is about that moment when we realize that major change is happening. The kind we can’t escape or avoid without dissociation or extreme denial. This shift may be frightening enough for us not to acknowledge it and then not notice that we aren’t acknowledging it.

This spread is for getting woke. It’s for shining a light on the dark corners that might usually seem best left alone. With Judgment, we dare to doubt what we previously took for granted to make room for the new truth.

It is important, with this card, to notice the judgments that we take for granted. Things like “it’s bad to be poor, unconscious, different, or women don’t do heinous things like men do.” These are the coffins inside which we lock ourselves, closed off to the light of the truth. When we attach to our judgments, when we feel things are not OK, we deny ourselves. We deny the people around us. We deny reality. To accept reality is to accept each other. And if we don’t get the memo, Judgment comes to remind us.


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Featured deck: The Smith-Waite Centennial Tarot – US Games – 2009

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