Do not believe that possibly you can escape the reward of your action.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Hot on the heels of last week’s important Judgement card, we are again looking at a Major Arcana challenge regarding morality and soul-deep truths. In a world that seems increasingly skewed away from such ideals, let us warmly welcome this visit from Justice.
This card represents fairness and finding balance in all things. Justice is one of the three cardinal virtues represented in the Tarot. The others are Temperance and Fortitude (or Strength).
Throughout Tarot history, this card has been invariably titled “Justice” and is traditionally depicted as a woman with sword and scales. Sometimes she has a halo; almost always she is seated on a throne. Usually the sword is in her right hand, occasionally it is in her left.
According to Tarot author and expert Rachel Pollack, the image on the Waite-Smith deck is the Roman Goddess, Justitia.
Often, in other forms of art and sculpture, She is depicted blindfolded. But in the Tarot, She is connected to the psychic laws of Justice, “by which,” as Rachel explains, “we advance according to our ability to understand the past.”
In order for this to happen, we must see clearly the truth about ourselves and about life; so Her eyes, like our own, must be open.
Not only does the Tarot image of Justice represent legal law and order, and making criminals pay for their wrongs, She is the representative of a deeper, Spiritual Justice.
Every day the news is full of people and groups who are seemingly getting away with dreadful deeds, yet appear to go free and unpunished. In fact, they seem to thrive.
Back in January, one Presidential candidate who shall not be named even bragged that he could stand on New York’s Fifth Avenue “and shoot somebody” and still not lose voters.
In the craziness of this time, he might be right, at least in the short run.
But as the saying goes, “The wheels of justice turn slowly, but grind exceedingly fine.”
For example, after years of cover-up, untold billions of dollars hidden in offshore secret accounts by some of the world’s most powerful leaders and groups are suddenly seeing the light of day, thanks to the jaw-dropping Panama Papers.
Eventually, things do sort themselves out. All of life is interconnected, and the world’s evildoers will someday, somehow, have to deal with the consequences of their actions.
Bear in mind that the focus is not on punishment. It is about adjustment. The sword suggests that sometimes this won’t be pleasant. Justice pares things down with that sword so that the scales are made to balance.
The Justice card reminds us that Nature always adjusts, and the consequences of every action eventually come around.
Review, Reflect, Reconsider: A Season of Retrogrades
As is so often the case, the Card of the Week and the astrological influences seem to be in surprising harmony.
My friend Diotima Mantineia of Urania’s Well Astrology writes:
“This week two planets — Mars and Pluto — are almost at a standstill in the sky, and both turn retrograde (Rx) within less than a day of each other on the 17th-18th.
“This means that both are particularly strong this week, and we’ll want to pay attention to make sure that we take transformative action rather than getting involved in, say, violent acting-out of repressed emotions. With these two planets, anything on that spectrum is possible.
“You’ll want to be particularly careful to think before acting during these next 10 weeks or so, and to become aware of and deal with anger management issues. Don’t take major risks or initiate aggressive actions. Wars and other conflicts that begin during this time are likely to be lost by the aggressor.”
Justice is rarely the initiator of retribution, but instead weighs the evidence, determining what, if any, consequences are needed, in order to restore equilibrium.
Regarding Mars retrogrades, my wise friend, Elisabeth Grace adds her insights:
“Mars is the planet of action. Moving backwards is not comfortable. Thus, many people find themselves more irritated, impatient and frustrated than usual when Mars is retrograde.
“Why aren’t things moving forward fast enough? It feels like a truck spinning its wheels in the mud. Frustration built up can lead to an urge to jump into action — rashly. Resist this urge!
“A more appropriate use of Mars retrograde is to treat it as an opportunity to plan an effective strategy. Think of a coach calling a time out on the playing field. Mars retrograde is a good time to huddle — to turn inward…”
Beware of how you deal with challenges, especially the temptation to act out possible frustration or impatience. Justice, sooner or later, will prevail.
We Are the Ones We are Waiting For
When Justice appears, the obvious expectation is that legal matters may be in the forefront. Money, real estate, law enforcement, inheritance matters, and civil or criminal jurisprudence could certainly be important now.
But additionally, since Major Arcana cards are less about particular events, and more deeply about our own spiritual awakenings, this is a time to be scrupulously honest in all your dealings.
Something is working out the way that it must, for there is karmic payback in play. What results might you now be seeing, due to decisions and actions that have been taken in the past?
Although some people may have enormous charisma, or sexual allure, or tantalizing offers of fame and fortune, such influence is almost never a match for our inner compass of right and wrong – our personal sense of Justice.
When the rich, famous, or powerful engage in (or fail to repudiate) racial slurs, ignorance, hate speech, and fear-mongering, they may enjoy a temporary notoriety. This can even look like success or triumph.
But there is always a price for such behavior. Despite how it sometimes looks, each and every one of us is, eventually, accountable. Emerson was absolutely right. Never for one moment kid yourself that you can escape the reward of your actions.
So, who will be the defender of Justice? Who will stand up and say, “Enough!” and insist on accountability and integrity?
It is in our hands alone to choose whether to support and reinforce the dangerous nonsense that passes for normal. Each and every person reading this is the ultimate champion — or else saboteur — of what is right, fair, and noble.
Hear all sides of the story. Do not act until you are quite sure you have considered all possible repercussions in terms of what is right and wrong, or how it could affect others in ways that might be unjust.
But you must, eventually, weigh in with your verdict, for indecision and denial have their own bitter fruit.
It is time to do what’s necessary, no matter how challenging, in order to gain, or re-gain equilibrium.
As long as you have looked honestly into your own heart and know you are acting in good faith, you can trust that, while this might not be the easy way, it is the wise and true way forward.