Card Meaning: XI Justice

Element: Air
Zodiac: Libra
Hebrew letter: Lamed, ל


  It is of the utmost importance to preserve balance in life. Any inbalance can endure only for a period of time, then it is time to pay the price. Here we see the effects of Karma, everything we experience today has a root in our actions from yestreday, and our actions today will shape our life tommorow. Every unfair and negative thought or deed goes against us, hopefully balanced out by every good deed and positive thought. But this card is not about the punishment, but about adjustment of our thoughts and actions. One must see the inner connection between our inner and outer worlds, between our actions and fate. When connection is clear, adjustement comes natural as we reject obsolete patterns that are no longer useful, and more often,  that are even harmful to us. If we consider The Fool as a perspective of the unmanifested and thus, The Magician as a first card illustrating our known world, we can easily conclude that the Justice card is in the exact middle of the Major Arcana, apparently pointing to the property of the perfect balance of ten cards on each side of the Justice. Also, the Justice is the first card of next ten cards of the Major Arcana, a symbolic threshold from physical world to metaphysical world.


Through history this card hasn't endured much alteration. Well-known figure of a woman sitting with scales and a sword in her hands is more or less constant. In Visconti-Sforza tarot on the wall behind her there is a knight with the sword drawn, galloping to deliver the justice to the world. Her figure is probably modelled after the Roman goddess Justitia and the Greek goddess Themis. In some editions of Tarot de Marseille her throne seems to be winged.


This card stands for fairness, impartiality, balance and equity. True justice is possible through purity of spirit. Every action has its consequences, think about your choices. A time comes when responsibilities must be accepted, and accounts settled. Reversed, it can indicate bias, injustice or playing the role of a victim and perpetrator. That is illusion, stop blaming other people if things go wrong and take control of your own lives. Keep an eye on your actions and make sure you don't do anything you may regret afterwards. Unexpected legal issue possible.

woman with the scales and sword, balance, karma, 

   The Justice bears a sword in her right hand and scales in her left. The sword is symbol of the discerning mind and mental capacity as indicated in the suit of the Swords. The scales represent a balance, the balance is achived between harmonius emotions and mind as indicated by the pans. Thus, through transcedence of emotional and mental prejudices we can employ pure discernment to arrive to the fair decision and compromise. The sword is held high in the right hand to symbolize the action of correcting wrongs and holding the balance of justice. The sword also has a double blade, thus we don't get always what we want but what we deserve. The handle of the sword is shaped like a letter T, shorthand of the planet of structure and limitation, Saturn, underscoring the fact that universal law is often above our individual desires and hopes. We saw in the Wheel Of Fortune card that from our perspective fate is sometimes very unpredicatable variable. Justice extends her foot, showing readiness to act in any moment. Her dress is red, indicating desire, but under she wears a green capelet, indicating precedence of love symbolized by green colour. Red and green combine to make a grey, the colour of wisdom. On her left and right side there are two grey pillars, between them a courtain with a noticable symetric form, emphasizing again the balance that is the main theme of this card. The Hebrew letter Lamed can be used as a verb, meaning "to educate", pointing that our actions and their fruits are here to educate us on our spiritual path.

As this card follows the traditional symbolism and carries above all its obvious meanings, there is little to say regarding it outside the few considerations collected in the first part, to which the reader is referred.

It will be seen, however, that the figure is seated between pillars, like the High Priestess, and on this account it seems desirable to indicate that the moral principle which deals unto every man according to his works--while, of course, it is in strict analogy with higher things;--differs in its essence from the spiritual justice which is involved in the idea of election. The latter belongs to a mysterious order of Providence, in virtue of which it is possible for certain men to conceive the idea of dedication to the highest things. The operation of this is like the breathing of the Spirit where it wills, and we have no canon of criticism or ground of explanation concerning it. It is analogous to the possession of the fairy gifts and the high gifts and the gracious gifts of the poet: we have them or have not, and their presence is as much a mystery as their absence. The law of Justice is not however involved by either alternative. In conclusion, the pillars of Justice open into one world and the pillars of the High Priestess into another.


The Pictorial Key to the Tarot, by A.E. Waite

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