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?