I spent the morning accompanying a friend who was a petitioner in family court, where the judge made a ruling that will hopefully smooth things out a little for my friend, her children, and their father. Sitting in court got me thinking about judgment, which happens to be the name of one of the cards in the major arcana (“great mysteries”) of the tarot.
The Judgment card from one of my newer decks came to mind almost instantly. The Housewives Tarot is packaged in a recipe box and uses marvelously retro images from 1950s and 1960s advertising. It’s just the right amount of fun and irreverence, depicting traditional archetypes in unexpected and thought-provoking ways.
The Judgement card from the Housewives Tarot is a little shocking to look at. It suggests some of the ugly cultural stereotypes we often experience or employ in judging ourselves and others. But the text that goes with this card reminds us that judgment requires assessment of the good as well as the bad:
The time has come to weigh the facts–and yourself! Judgement is about abandoning bad habits and accepting yourself for who you really are. Don’t be modest; take credit for all your good deeds and valuable traits. Shed the negative thoughts that weigh you down with their high-calorie burdens. True happiness is more about eliminating low self-esteem than losing those pesky five pounds.
The bottom line is that judgment — discernment — asks us to look at the truth in its entirety, to the extent that we are able. Too often we are harshly critical of ourselves in ways that disregard the beauty and strengths we likewise possess. This card is a handy little reminder that we are more than meat, that our whole is greater than the sum of our parts.
(Text and image from The Housewives Tarot by Paul Kepple and Jude Buffum, Headcase Design, 2004.)