Exploring Justice

Welcome to Tarot Thursdays! This week we will be exploring the Justice card and how it can be used as a prompt or brainstorming in our writing.

Tarot is an interesting thing. It’s based upon symbolism and metaphors through imagery. With these images the subconscious mind is tapped into through the story provided. Not everyone gets the same thing from a piece of art. Each piece will influence each person in a slightly different way.


Introduction of the Card

11

The Justice card is card number 11 in the deck and the twelfth card in the Major Arcana of the Tarot.

Let’s take a look at the following examples of this card below.


Card Examples

L-11Notice the similarities between them and take note of their differences. Do any of these move you more than the others? Take your time and allow these cards to tell you their story.


My Analysis of These Cards

The first card is the Mythic Tarot, depicting Athena with her sword, scales of balance, and owl as she sits upon her throne dressed in her armor. Those of you familiar with Greek mythology know her to be the warrior goddess of wisdom and intellect. I have always felt that she has been a good choice, flaws and all, for the depiction of human justice.

Next we have the Dragon Tarot with a disembodied dragon head with a scale of balance weighing a feather against a ball of fire. The backdrop to this scene is an ancient archway behind the head and the world below. So this suggests an otherworldly deity of some kind to me. I’m not sure what the significance of the feather and the fireball is though.

In terms of themes, the Universal Tarot doesn’t feel that much different to me than the Mythic Tarot. Only the wise owl and armor is missing really. Odd to note is that the woman in this image is barefoot. Why did the artist choose to do that here? Is she truly that comfortable in her environment? I find that interesting and mildly inappropriate actually.

The last card returns to the armored theme. Only this time the scales are weighing different beams of light.

I like the armor in both of the cards where it’s present. It gives me the sense that there is a determination to do what’s right. The sword also gives a similar feel but in a different sense. The swords give the sense of a willingness to fight for what’s right while the armor gives the impression one is willing to defend what is right. The Mythic Tarot card is the only card that has both present. I feel both need to happen.


Themes of the Card

Each card has a set of keywords associated with it that serve as themes for its image. These keywords will vary somewhat depending on who you ask.

According to the Learning the Tarot website, the keywords associated with the card are:

  • JUSTICE
  • RESPONSIBILITY
  • DECISION
  • CAUSE AND EFFECT

You can learn more about what this site has to say about this card here.

According to the Biddy Tarot website, the keywords associated with the card are:

  • JUSTICE
  • FAIRNESS
  • TRUTH
  • CAUSE AND EFFECT
  • LAW

You can learn more about what this site has to say about this card here.


What this Card Means to Me

Some people that I talk to will mention law or legal with this card. I think this card deals with more than that. I think this card is an extension of the Wheel of Fortune card actually in regards to karmic law.

The Wheel of Fortune deals with this law in an automated sense, but Justice does not. Justice looks upon our actions and weighs them against our intentions. Justice looks upon this first balance and weighs it against the impact it has upon others. This secondary balance determines the decision that Justice ultimately makes. That decision then alters the balance of karma in the wheel. This is the cosmic wisdom operating alongside the wheel.

I believe the purpose in this is to prevent bad actors from “gaming the system” to their advantage for too long. Also, sometimes actions require immediate attention rather than allow it to sift through the wheel. Crimes against society and community come to mind here. I think this is why so many people think of law and legal matters with this card. They’re not exactly wrong. I just think it’s over simplified. I think it’s really more about keeping the wheel balanced and maintained.

I think I finally understand the symbolism of the Dragon Tarot’s balance and what the dragon is weighing. What we want is for our souls (the ball of fire) to be as light as a feather (our intentions) in all that we do in order to receive the purest karma.

So in interest of keeping the wheel running smoothly, Justice does whatever is required to maintain the balance of those scales on an individual, community, and global level. This includes letting evil rise when there is too much good. This includes allowing chaos to surge when order begins to overpower. This includes allowing death to plague when life runs rampant. And so on. Weird, I know, but as always we need to remain mindful of the basic principals of yin-yang here. One cannot exist without the other. This is how the universe is made possible. In many ways, one could say that the Justice card is the functioning of yin-yang at work.

The key phrase I choose for this card is: BALANCED WISDOM.


Music Playlist

In this spirit of all this, these are the songs I have picked out for this card.


The Writing Exercise

This exercise is a free write. Permit yourself to write whatever comes to mind based upon the theme of this card. Choose a keyword or key phrase and run with it to see what you come up with.


I would love it if you linked or pinged back what you wrote so I could see where you went with this.

Happy writing!


Mythic Tarot by Liz Greene (Author), Juliet Sharman-Burke (Author), Tricia Newell (Illustrator) © 1989
Dragon Tarot by Terry Donaldson (Author), Peter Pracownik (Author) © 1996
Universal Tarot by Lo Scarabeo (Author), R. De Angelis (Illustrator), A. E. Waite (Designer) © 2001
Tarot of Dreams by Ciro Marchetti (Author), Lee Bursten (Author) © 2015

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