Today, we get the Justice card — and in the very week that our Tarot Meetup is planning to discuss it! But I believe it has a much broader context, one that is relevant for anyone who visits here.
In a literal interpretation, the Justice card represents justice and fairness and finding balance in all things. It also can be taken at face value, to indicate we may be dealing with important legal matters, or with systems and institutions that mete out decisions that affect us.
In addition, though, I often think of the Justice card as being about karma. According to Hindu and Buddhist thought, we are born with something called samskara (also called sanskara). Samskara is the imprint left on our subconscious mind by our experiences — both from previous lives, as well as this one.
Samskara shapes our perceptions, our basic nature, our instincts and responses to situations, and our overall state of mind. Samskara occurs based on our previous actions, and the resulting “echoes” have a tremendous impact on our behavior patterns and attitudes. Unless we take the right actions in response, it will determine a mostly unconscious path in life, which, in turn, creates new layers of samskara.
On the other hand, karma is from the Sanskrit root that is “to do.” While its definition varies from tradition to tradition, it can be generally thought of as taking action and a form of cause and effect. Karma is the action which helps us to work through our personal samskara. By taking right, responsible action, we can bring about our healing, even though at times, it can be unpleasant medicine.
What does this have to do with Justice? Tarot expert, Rachel Pollack, writes that the image on the Waite-Smith deck is Justitia, who is normally blindfolded. But in the Waite-Smith deck, She is connected to the psychic laws of Justice, “by which we advance according to our ability to understand the past.” Justitia holds the sword of discernment, that separates truth from distortions and illusions. In order to achieve balance, fairness, and to correct karmic wrongs, we must have our eyes open, so that we can clearly see the truth of who we are, and how our attitudes and choices are colored by our samskara.
This week, consider carefully the actions you take. You may be faced with an important decision that will affect others. Justice urges that you make that decision as impartially as possible, using impeccable fairness and taking full responsibility. To weigh the evidence, you must be clear about your own samskara, that may affect how true your vision is. Think deeply and thoroughly about the consequences of your actions.
And notice how karmic payback may be in play on a wider scale, including such matters as the resignation of the architect of the Bush administration, Karl Rove, the crisis in the global economy due to questionable, greedy lending practices in the U.S., and other matters.
Stay open and be willing to look deeply and fearlessly into your own heart. Your judgments about yourself may sometimes swing between being too lenient, or too critical. But this week, make an extra effort to be more balanced and honest, for if you cannot be fair with yourself, how can you expect it from others?