Shuffling the Deck: Justice & How to Bring it on Home

We have turned on Fortune’s Wheel and now we are delivered to Justice-but what kind of Justice does this card represent?

It is the Justice of God, the universe, mankind? Do we have a card that represents social justice or the great laws of reciprocity and balance? If I had to give you a sentence for this card it would be:

Actions have consequences.

Or, to put it more bluntly,

“What goes around, comes around.”


The main images for Justice from the RWS card are:

  • A seated figure in a throne-the figure looks androgynous to me but is usually described as being male-he/she is garbed in rich red robes with green accents which cover the entire body save for the tip of the right foot.
  • Two stone pillars are on either side of the figure & throne, reminding us of the same schema from the High Priestess card
  • In the figure’s left hand is a balance while in the right hand is a sword help upright.
  • A purple veil hangs behind the throne of Justice and above it we see a peek of sunny yellow sky.

The first attributes I notice when I look at this card are the two pillars and the sword & balance that the seated figure holds. In Kabbalah there are three pillars supporting the World Tree. The right hand pillar is marked as Severity and the left hand as Mercy.

In order for Justice to be served there must be equanimity between severity through punishment and mercy through reward. Some situations call for a sharp sword to cut through bull and others call for the measured weighing of the balance.

In Divination I have been taught four distinct ways to interpret this card:

1.) Upright: Justice may indicate the need to weigh your actions carefully at this time, remembering that you will reap whatever you sow. Now is the time to gauge a situation, person, or relationship with objectivity, clarity, wisdom and balance.

2.) Justice either upright or reversed can signify court cases or legal dealings. If the querent is asking about a legal case and Justice appears upright then chances are good that the case will be resolved in the querent’s favor. If the card appears reverse then the case may not be resolved to the querent’s satisfaction and/or there may be long delays with the legal process.

3.) Justice in reverse can also indicate that a situation the querent is in will not be resolved fairly and/or the querent has made decisions in the recent past without fully measuring the possible consequences. In both cases further ritual remediation might be helpful and advised.

4.) The Justice card may signify Sun sign Libra so getting familiar with that sign can assist our interpretation of the card. As a Libra myself I can lay out the good points and not so good points of the sign pretty quickly. On the positive side Librans are diplomatic, fair, objective, social, and likable. On the negative side Librans can be picky, indecisive, shallow, vain, and self-indulgent. The card might represent any number of these qualities OR it might represent an individual in the situation whose astrological sign is Libra or has a strong Libran influence in their natal chart.


As the Wheel of Fortune reminds us of the dance between Fate and Free Will, Justice brings to our attention the fact that our actions have consequences. In the past justice was considered a cardinal virtue that every had a share in. Oftentimes today Justice is a notion that brings to mind court rooms and law offices. This makes sense because one of the Goddesses that Justice is most heavily associated with is the Greek Goddess Athena-who created the very first juried trial. Read about it in Aeschylus’ Oresteia trilogy, specifically the final work of the trilogy, the Eummenides-VERY good and highly recommended. The Oresteia not only shows us the first trial-it juxtaposes the wild ethos of nature and Dark Goddesses (The Eummenides) with the Olympian Gods and Goddesses and their new concept of justice.

In recent times we have become ever more aware of “voting with our pocketbook” and now understand that creating a fairer, more just, society begins with creating a fairer local community. Supporting local craftsmen, farmers, and artisans is a wonderful way to bring a little more justice into your local network-for as the scales remind us-everything is in relation (though not relative) to everything else. Its also important when this card comes up to make sure that the querent (whether its yourself or a client) is objective when looking at the card. For most of us the knee jerk reaction is to assume that whatever we want is what is most just-but in reality this is sometimes not the case.

Practice makes perfect! Explore the deeper meanings of Justice by considering and answering one or more of the questions below-post your answers in the comments section of this post!

1.) A Just world would look like…imagine what justice at play in the world would look like to you-go wild!

2.) Scales and Sword-when is it appropriate to be severe & when should a situation or person be greeted with mercy & compassion?

3.) Name 5 ways that you can help create a more Just society-I encourage you to begin with your local community-what can you do to make sure that everyone in the community has enough of what they need?

4.) BONUS for the philosopher or policy wonk in you! Justice is a virtue that is found above and beyond the laws of any land. At best laws are signposts pointing the way to Justice. What do YOU think the relationship to law and justice is in 21st century America?


20 responses to “Shuffling the Deck: Justice & How to Bring it on Home

  1. Hilary Parry | Tarot by Hilary on said:

    What a lovely look at the Justice card… very in-depth and thought-provoking!

    Here are some of my answers:

    1.) A Just world would look like people saying what they mean and meaning what they say. All of us have an equal shot at anything we want to pursue, and money has nothing to do with success.

    2.) It is appropriate to be severe when the intent of something is malicious… I believe intent is everything. Sometimes accidents happen and people make stupid mistakes (and mistakes are necessary in learning lessons): in those cases, a lighter touch is needed.

    I sure will be looking closer at the Justice card the next time it comes up in a reading! (And thanks for the Libra tip as well!)

  2. I love the symbolism of the Tarot and have several favorite decks, even though I don’t know all the traditional interpretations. Love how you interpreted these cards. Wonderful

  3. Bri, I always love reading your blog because of the obvious love and thought you put into it!

    I know one way to bring more justice to the world, and it’s what I tell my kids all the time – just follow the Golden Rule. It’s so simple, but so true: if we all treated others as we’d wish to be treated….would we ever even need the courts system?

  4. Your blog fascinates me – I love the focus and the breadth of exploration you bring to tarot!

    Today I read two polarized political commentaries (before I began receiving client calls that never let me get back to reading) and felt inspired to make a swift reply but quickly got busy with work. This Justice card inspires me to add my voice to the mix: It is NOT okay to accept blatant lies and misinformation from a candidate speaking at a national convention!!

  5. 5 things…
    1) Buy organic food
    2) Buy local food and wares
    3)support handcrafters and artisans, by word and deed by buying and by charity
    4)Finding one thing to compliment about everyone you meet
    5) surrounding naughty drivers with white light instead of yelling at them
    (love the questions a the end)

  6. Justice would mean salaries would be more fair – I could never understand why doctors are so wealthy and teachers are so underpaid, yet they are always referenced together…teacher, lawyer, doctor. Justice would mean that everyone gets a shot at higher education not just the rich. And Justice would mean that becoming the President isn’t a contest on who is the wealthiest male, but who is the best person for the job.

  7. I totally love this post – love the explanation of how it works, because it’s totally a mystery to me.

    For the assignment: Scales and Sword

    I actually struggle with this. There are certain people in my life that I NEVER feel like giving mercy to – but I’m 90% sure that they probably need it. Not necessarily deserve it, but really need it. And maybe it’s not them who need it – it’s that I need to soften my heart and give it whether I think they “deserve” it or not.

    So, I guess that’s my answer. Unless they physically hurt you, or rob you – it’s mercy. Or maybe it should always be mercy. Even if they did physically hurt you or steal from you. Because I think really the mercy is more about healing for you.

  8. I always love reading your blog posts, I always learn something wonderful! thank you for sharing your passion for what you do!!

  9. In a just world, every child would feel loved, everyone would have access to good food and housing, and healers would believe so strongly in their own abundance that everyone who needs healing would receive it regardless of their financial resources. (Climbing down from the soapbox now) :)

  10. Amazing in depth look at the cards, Bri.

    The 5 ways you now have me pondering:
    1. Buy organic whenever possible.
    2. Buy local foods if poss.
    3. Bless everyone I meet. (probably in my head so they don’t think I’m crazy.)
    4. Listen, truly listen when someone talks to me so they feel justly listened to.
    5. Pause when I feel anger or resentment and see if I can channel back to love to help create a more just world.

  11. Miss Bri on said:

    Jessica-The Golden Rule! Brilliant! Simple. Perfect!

  12. Miss Bri on said:

    Thank you Katelyn! Looking at all the different decks is so awesome to do-I love the Fairy Tale Deck’s interpretation of Justice-they connect it to the story The Juniper Tree-check it out!

  13. Miss Bri on said:

    Right there with you Karen!

  14. Miss Bri on said:

    Love your answers Meg-that sounds very Just indeed!

  15. Miss Bri on said:

    That is beautiful Julie-love it!

  16. Miss Bri on said:

    Love it Amanda–so true, being merciful can be so tough sometimes but it always makes us better!

  17. Miss Bri on said:

    Love it Sue! We times this so well for the US political conventions!

  18. Miss Bri on said:

    Share-I love all of your answers but I especially love the one about listening-what a difference that would make!

  19. Hello Miss Bri… will write you an email about this blog.. so interesting to me right now and loved the comment about For “most of us the knee jerk reaction is to assume that whatever we want is what is most just-but in reality this is sometimes not the case”.. so true.. and sometimes we are being initiated through these kinds of challenges, learning to see beyond our five senses into something more symbolic and learning important lessons that are essential to our growth or to standing up for new choices. Love when you explain these cards in detail.. so helpful
    Love to you..

  20. Danielle Dowling on said:

    A just world would be a world where we were all vulnerable + felt safe in that vulnerability. No need for psychological armor + boundaries. Think of the universal sigh of relief that would come as a result of the melting away of the toxic mindsets that are responsible for the worlds injustice!