I love to travel. Wanderlust is one of my strongest motivators. From January through December of 2019, I traveled the entire year. The trips were mainly for work, but I also took a few personal excursions, all of them life-giving. They offered me an opportunity to grieve—the loss of my grandmother that January, the loss of who I used to be as a creative person before I was a family caregiver. On the other hand, traveling also provided me with time to start planning my life again and I started asking myself questions that might help resurrect my creative purpose. What was I going to do with myself? What would I write next? To that point, I had published a total of six novels and none of them were selling. While I enjoyed writing and the process of book design and self-publishing, once my books had launched, they just kind of went nowhere. What was the purpose of doing all the hard work to publish my novels if they weren’t getting into the hands of readers who would enjoy them?
As fall of 2019 painted the trees and cooled summer’s sting, I began skipping lunch during the weekdays and going down to the gym in the building where I worked. I put in my earbuds and watched The Office while walking on the treadmill. After several days and multiple episodes, my thoughts began straying to my books, and I found that I couldn’t focus on what was happening at good ol’ Dunder-Mifflin Paper Company. What should I do with my novels? How am I ever going to increase my sales? What is the purpose of even trying? Those were the questions that seemed to linger.
One day in late September, I hopped on the treadmill and untangled my earbuds. What am I going to do with my books? There was the nagging thought again. As I walked, I considered what I had determined the root problem in my lack of book sales: marketing. I didn’t market my work. At all. And I had no clue how and where to even start. On a whim, I opened YouTube and typed How to market... and true to YouTube’s intuitive search mechanism (or God or the Universe or luck), the rest of the sentence populated: How to market your book.
I clicked on the words and an onslaught of videos resulted. The first one that caught my eye was the face of a young woman with kind eyes, a sweet smile, and the cutest little corgi. I clicked on her video and watched. And then I watched another and another and another until every day at lunch all I was watching while on the treadmill were young adult fantasy author Bethany Atazadeh’s videos around writing and self-publishing.
While the first of Bethany’s videos that I discovered was a checklist of the top things to consider when marketing one’s book, the video that sparked an Aha! moment was one that provided insight around developing one’s author platform. An author platform? I thought. Until that point, the notion hadn’t been anywhere near my radar. I continued watching, listening to Bethany describe the importance of building a personal brand, engaging with social media, and providing value to readers and fans. The experience of learning entirely new-to-me practices around marketing books and developing real, quality relationships with other readers and writers was absolutely invaluable. What happened to me on the treadmill during that time was a revelation; I was called to do something more with my creative endeavors.
For the two months that followed stumbling upon that first How to Market Your Book video, the Aha! sparks ignited a creative inferno. By November, I had entirely reinvented myself as a storyteller; this included my own personal brand, an interactive website, an overhaul of my social media accounts, two separate pen names, all-new redesigned book covers, and a marketing plan. Those treadmill video sessions uncovered aspects of self-publishing practice I hadn’t even known existed. I was set ablaze! I was motivated, and for the first time in years I was excited about the direction my creative purpose was moving.
Purpose is an incredibly rewarding and transformative construct. In my opinion, without creative purpose, a void can swallow up a writer’s joy, causing floundering, worry, anxiety, depression, and disappointment. For me, when I uncovered new purpose for my storytelling endeavors, identifying goals, and then easing into a writing routine that actively supported those goals, my entire life changed.
Finding purpose in what I love doing has been a revelation, causing a ripple effect that has impacted how I feel about my physical self, how I view about my surroundings, and how I manage my anxiety and depression. In the words of the gentleman from my profile on The Sun card, “I’ve never had so little [lack of purpose] and felt so good!”
Let’s examine the Judgement card and uncover how it relates to purpose, among other constructs.
What's happening in the Judgement card?
Floating down from a cloud set against a clear, blue sky, is a winged, angelic figure blowing a flag-waving horn. The angel is blond, their wings scarlet, and their robes blue. Below their announcement are six nude figures, their bodies grayed with death. They rise from open caskets, their arms raised with acceptance and hope. In the background of this card, we can see an ice-capped mountain range. There are a few green trees in the distance; however, the foreground is covered in water and the caskets (with their occupants) are floating.
Judgement: A Deep Dive
In the Tarot, the Judgement card is one that, like The Star, uncovers a few vital RE-words: revelation, resurrection, rediscovery, revitalization, and repurposing. When this card lands on your writer’s desk, you can bet you are being called to a higher purpose, you are experiencing a revival of energy, a renewed motivation, and/or a dream realized. Yes, on Pixie’s illustration of this card those are dead bodies rising from their graves; however, there is nothing to fear when working with Judgement. On the contrary, Judgement is a card of revelation—of mind, body, energy, and spirit—and because this card is part of the Major Arcana, you can expect said revelation to be significant.
Revelation of mind could look like an epiphany after experiencing an extended bought of writer’s block. It’s an interested literary agent after you’ve filled your nail to capacity with rejections [See Stephen King’s memoir On Writing, page 29]. As a writer, sometimes a revelation can be a new story idea that comes to you seemingly out of nowhere and all at once. It’s the kind of idea that halts you from whatever you are doing in that moment and demanding that you start drafting notes. Another revelation might be a grand announcement you’ve been waiting for: the acceptance of your piece into a literary anthology, winning a writing contest, a publishing offer, or the pinnacle (to me), a Pulitzer Prize in literature.
Judgement can also present as a physical revelation in that our bodies have the propensity for demanding that we listen to them. When we are hungry, thirsty, exhausted, in love, grieving, injured, or stressed our bodies can sometimes respond by demanding that we listen and act. On the other hand, Judgement can be an energetic calling. Consider the moments when you are inspired to write, make art, give the house a deep cleaning, organize the garage, book a much-needed getaway, or do something to help someone in need.
Lastly, in my experience Judgement has proven a revelation of spirit. It’s waking up one day (most days), making my coffee, switching on my desk lamp, sitting down at my computer, and realizing that I might never become a famous, bestselling author… but that doesn’t mean I can’t—or that I shouldn’t—persist with consistent effort toward writing what brings me happiness and purpose. Revelation of spirit looks like persistence and consistency. It’s the gnawing urge to stick with this writing venture, the calling to see a story to its completion—no matter what or how many stories are lined up and waiting to be written.
Judgement Reversed: The Shadow
When Judgement turns up in a reversed position on your desk, you can expect everything to stop. There’s a significant barrier, an error in judgment, the grounding of your plane. You and/or your characters might find yourselves stuck, in gridlock, at an impasse, or completely defeated. Stale mate. Now is not the time to take action; it’s a time of waiting. Moreover, Judgement reversed can inform being treated unfairly, being judged, ostracized, marginalized, banished, jilted, ignored, discarded, or abandoned.
Notable Symbols for the Judgement Card
Spirit / Fire
In Numerology, the number twenty denotes the preparation for a spiritual journey. The number is a reminder to take care of your whole self: mind, body, energy, and spirit. When broken down, 2 + 0 = 2; therefore, the Judgement card directly relates to The High Priestess, which is assigned Number 2. As you will recall from reading The High Priestess blog post, two is the number of duality, choice, union, and decision.
Angel—There are differing opinions around which Archangel is featured in the Judgement card. While many believe the figure to be Gabriel, the angel announcer, herald of visions, and messenger to God, others think this angel is Michael, the protector and healer of people. In the book of Revelation, Michael was the defender of God’s realm against Satan. On the other hand, Gabriel is often depicted in art and literature blowing a trumpet-like horn.
The color blue—There is a lot of blue in this card, the color of peace, harmony, and spirituality.
Mountain range—structure and a steady foundation; security and protection
Opened caskets—Symbolic of final rest, the caskets are opened, representing permission to rise from where we’ve been sleeping… or hiding.
Six naked bodies—These figures represent rebirth or renewal of purpose and/or spirit.
Water—Water is a symbol of intuition and the subconscious mind. In the Tarot, all water begins and flows from The High Priestess’s robes.
White flag with red, equal-armed cross—The flag attached to a horn is an announcement of restoration, and it also represents human desire to understand and experience life. The equal-armed cross is symbolic of the four directions, the four elements, the four discernible life stages (birth, childhood, adulthood, death), the four winds, Saint George’s cross, and the Knights Templar.
Along their Journey, The Fool is experiencing a final transition, leaving behind who they were before—and perhaps even during—their venture. If the Judgement card arises for you, perhaps you are moving on to a new way of thinking, living, creating, or simply being. Characteristically, this card is an epiphany, a crossroads, a decision. It’s an event or action that requires you and/or your characters to drop what you’re doing and respond. Judgement can be an awakening, a fork in the road, a crossroads, a gate, a door, a crusade, a portal, a last call to make a decision. It can be a direct calling to make something extraordinary of what you are writing and/or yourself.
Notable characters, people, or personas
Rand al’Thor in The Wheel of Time; Kratos in God of War; Christof, played by Ed Harris in The Truman Show; Soul Reapers or Shinigami in Bleach; Archangel Michael, Jesus Christ, Anubis, a sphinx, Odin, and Zeus.
On Writing by King, Stephen (2012) Paperback. (n.d.). Hodder And Stoughton.
Emma. (2022, March 8). 7 Reasons Why You Are Seeing 20 – The Meaning Of 20. Numerology Nation. https://numerologynation.com/angel-number-20/
Venefica, A. (2020, June 14). Flag Meaning in Tarot by Avia from. Tarot Teachings. https://www.tarotteachings.com/flag-meaning-in-tarot.html
On Writer Wednesday, the spotlight shines on indie author Lis Anna-Langston!
In her more than thirty years as a storyteller and visual designer, Amanda “Mandy” Hughes has written and designed over a dozen works of upmarket, literary, and women’s fiction under pen names A. Lee Hughes and Mandy Lee.
Mandy is the founder of Haint Blue Creative, a space for readers and storytellers to explore, learn, and create. Although she earned a Bachelor and Master of Science in Psychology, she has yet to figure out her family, much less herself. And that's a good thing!
When she’s not writing, Mandy loves going to the movies, theater, traveling, nature walks, birdwatching, margarita-making, and binge-watching The Office. She is a tarot enthusiast who uses the cards to promote wellness and enhance creativity. She lives in Georgia with her husband and four boys, two of whom are furrier than the others (but not by much). Visit her website at haintbluecreative.com and follow her on Instagram @haintbluecreative.