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The esoteric concept of the justice card implies a natural order to the universe, a baseline or rudimentary set of laws that govern the resulting chaos of so many individual forces acting upon each other. This is a highly popular notion, one at the very core of all but a handful of the world’s religions, and the foundation of scientific research. This card is representational of one of the greatest of all “secret” laws, that being the Manifold and Mystic Law of Cause and Effect.
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(Note: In some decks this may be card 8, in others it is card 11. Either way it is still valid.) “Our lady of justice” sits on her throne between the twin pillars the Tarot uses to illustrate authority, a bland drape behind her. A sword is raised high in her right hand, scales in her left, and the obligatory crown on her head also indicating the supremacy of her authority, for Justice can do no wrong (a purely metaphysical concept).
What is interesting is her solid red robe of action. She “only looks” like a judge sitting (er . . . in judgment). Her robes and slightly extended “leading foot” belie her otherwise passive stance. She is judge, jury, and executioner (we have seen this before in two other Tarot cards). But she is the force behind other power. She is pure.
The esoteric concept of the justice card implies a natural order to the universe, a baseline or rudimentary set of laws that govern the resulting chaos of so many individual forces acting upon each other. This is a highly popular notion, one at the very core of all but a handful of the world’s religions, and the foundation of scientific research. This card is representational of one of the greatest of all “secret” laws, that being the Manifold and Mystic Law of Cause and Effect. It is both “manifold” and “mystic” because there are just too many variables to account for everything (see also “chaos theory”).
You can’t have a reliable “effect” if the bedrock of science or philosophy is as fluid as water. Hers is the hand that turns The Wheel. But please remember that Lao Tzu correctly admonished us that “Nature is not human-hearted.” We keep inventing new ways to contain human aggression, but in so doing only create more human oppression. True justice is inherently personal. It comes from within, or it is merely the punishment of animals.
The Justice card is institutional when physical and conceptual when esoteric. First, the physical meanings: This card can indicate actual locations, such as city halls, courtrooms, law offices, prisons (eek!), and political establishments. It is imperative to open this card up or find aspecting and clarifying cards to enhance your correct interpretation of this rather vague card. On an esoteric level, this card denotes “justice” (as in payback, vengeance, or “karma”) and applied social moral values. Once again, clarify the meaning before attempting interpretation.
As an event, this card can indicate a successful resolution, restitution, or settlement in your favor. Of course, this is mildly infringing on Judgment’s divinatory turf, but as these two cards are so densely intertwined it should not come as a surprise if they show up in a spread complementing each other.
But back to this chaos thing. Chaos theory states something about butterflies and hurricanes, and what they are really saying is that sometimes the most seemingly inconsequential thing can be the tipping point in the direction of which way a huge decision falls or process ends up. Justice says “you may not see all of the reasons for this decision, but it will make sense,” so it’s best not to take things too personally if you don’t get everything you wanted from the situation.
One last thing, just for fun: For those of you who really need a little extra pain to get through the day, here is a cute little metaphysical mind-bender—Justice is the card you would use for dharma, or correct causality in your magical workings to effect your “Laws of Attraction and Repulsion,” whereas The Wheel represents the resultant karma or effect.
Sometimes the bad guys win. Someone is conspiring in the background. Sycophants, “yes-men,” office politics, drama, unfavorable treatment, and possibly being on the losing side of any large battle (clarify everything through aspecting cards before deciding meaning).
If this card comes up reversed in the present or the future, continue reading to find out who is doing what to whom, and then toss out the Roundabout spread to find out how to undo or avoid these nefarious cretins.
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