All men are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be, and you can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be.
Martin Luther King, Jr.
As you may know from my many articles on the subject, the numerology of your birthday, or of a particular year, can correspond to the Tarot, particularly through the Major Arcana (the trumps).
Using this system of simply reducing the year’s digits to a number within the Major Arcana, we can discover much about the traits and patterns that may be anticipated.
Therefore, this year, 2018 (2+0+1+8), corresponds to Major Arcana card 11. Welcome to the Tarot Year of Justice.
First a Bit of Kerfuffle
What about The High Priestess?
Some of my Tarot colleagues prefer to further reduce the number 11 to 2, which corresponds to The High Priestess card.
I agree that the influence of the High Priestess in a Justice Year does exist, since they are in the same numerological “constellation,” as Tarot legend Mary K. Greer terms these associations. (I’ll have more to say about their other affinities shortly).
But it has long been my practice to assign the year card based on whether its digits add up to a number within the Major Arcana (1-Magician, 2-High Priestess, 3-Empress, and so on).
If it does not, reduce the number until it does. Once it does, stop.
For example, the year 1998 reduces first to 27. That is not a number that falls within the 22 of the Majors, so we must reduce it again — 2+7=9. Since there is a corresponding Major for the number 9, we see that 1998 was a Hermit Year.
So by this system, I did not reduce 1999 from 28 to 10 to 1. I considered it 10 – a Wheel of Fortune year, not a Magician year.
As Mary notes, “No one in our era can experience the Magician … as a Year Card. Since Jan. 1, 998, the number has not appeared by itself and it won’t again until we get dates adding up to 10,000, beginning Dec. 31, 9957 C.E.”
But Isn’t XI the Strength Card?
One of the most controversial things that Arthur Waite did when he and Pamela Colman Smith created their new Tarot deck in 1909, was to switch the order of the Eight and the Eleven of the Major Arcana. They did this for a number of esoteric and astrological reasons, and decks based upon the Rider-Waite-Smith system now use this as the standard order.
However, for people who use non-Waite/Smith systems, such as the Marseilles or Thoth decks and their progeny, this year would be the Tarot year of Strength, and 2015 was the Justice year. To read about the attributes of the Strength year, you can visit here.
While I believe it is worthwhile to bear the other order in mind, I prefer the R-W-S sensibility on this, and so I believe that we can anticipate a big year for Justice. (I certainly am hoping so!)
On the Heels of the Wheel
The Justice year promises a new beginning.
After the many changes and turns of Fate in last year’s Wheel of Fortune, we are called to adjust to and assimilate what has occurred.
What might this look like?
Well, the last time we had a Justice year, in 2009, we saw the inauguration of Barack Obama amidst the chaos of the economic crisis, which began in 2008 (nearly to the day, when Pluto moved into the sign of Capricorn). Like 2017, 2008 was also a Wheel of Fortune year.
Now, on the heels of a very free-wheeling past year filled with surreal drama, powerful people playing fast and loose with the truth (seemingly with impunity), extreme uncertainty, and dizzying changes, Justice arrives, demanding payment due.
It is time to receive the verdict of past actions, and deal with the consequences.
The wild ride of 2017 slows to a halt. The sense that things have been spinning beyond our control wanes as we get our bearings as to where we have landed.
In a Justice year, we need to take responsibility, evaluate wisely, and determine what to keep in our lives, and what is no longer true or right for us. It is the opportunity to judge how we can restore balance and harmony. It is time to choose how to get some traction and move forward.
And if there is any single theme in a Justice year, it would be about choosing what is fair.. fair to us, and fair to the greater good of all.
The Lady Justitia
Justice is one of the three cardinal virtues represented in the Tarot. The others are Temperance and Fortitude (a word used interchangeably with Strength).
Although the card’s number assignment may occasionally wander, in traditional decks, its title is invariably “Justice” and it always depicts a woman with sword and scales. Usually the sword is in her right hand, occasionally it is in her left. It might be pointed up, or down. Sometimes she has a halo or maybe a crown; she is often seated on a throne.
In some newer decks, especially those that discard the classical interpretations, you’ll see modernized philosophies and naming conventions. But the fundamental concept of this ancient virtue, by and large, remains.
In some traditional Tarot decks, including the Rider-Waite-Smith deck, the Goddess Justitia sits on Her throne without a blindfold, in order that She may clearly see all of the evidence and facts before Her.
Other illustrations show this Goddess blindfolded, as do many modern sculptures in our courthouses. This represents that She is “blind” and adjudicates without prejudice.
Whether or not She is blindfolded, Justitia (spelled Iustitia in Latin) is a relatively new Roman Goddess. According to Wikipedia:
Lady Justice is an allegorical personification of the moral force in judicial systems. Her attributes are a blindfold, a balance, and a sword. She often appears as a pair with Prudentia, who holds a mirror and a snake …
… The origin of Lady Justice was Iustitia, the Goddess of Justice within Roman mythology. Iustitia was introduced by emperor Augustus, and was thus not a very old deity in the Roman pantheon.
Iustice was one of the virtues celebrated by emperor Augustus in his clipeus virtutis [the “Shield of Bravery” award voted on by the Senate for exemplary service] and a Temple of Iustitia was established in Rome 8 January 13 CE by emperor Tiberius. [A lovely synchronicity for the publication of this article. – B.]
Iustitia became a symbol for the virtue of justice that every emperor wished to associate his regime with; emperor Vespasian minted coins with the image of the Goddess seated on a throne called Iustitia Augusta, and many emperors after him used the image of the Goddess to proclaim themselves protectors of justice.
Though formally called a Goddess with her own temple and cult shrine in Rome, it appears that She was from the onset viewed more as an artistic symbolic personification rather than as an actual deity with religious significance.
Her Greek counterparts are the ancient Titan deity, Themis, Lady of Good Counsel in charge of divine justice, and Her daughter, Dike (pronounced “DEE-keeh”), who rules over human justice.
The other most commonly seen objects in Tarot decks with Justitia are Her scales, Her sword, and the columns between which She sits.
The Scales of Justice
The earliest known scales of justice are quite ancient. The Greeks consistently use scales in their artwork featuring Themis and Dike.
But they are certainly the descendants of much older tradition — the scales of the Goddess Ma’at of Egypt.
In collaboration with the Gods Osiris and Anubis, the fate of a soul’s final destination rested on Her scales, as the heart of the deceased was weighed against a feather from Ma’at’s headdress. Only someone who died with their heart, seat of the soul, light as an ostrich feather could hope to reach Paradise.
The sword of Justice warns that, when delivered, her verdict will be swift and final. Unsheathed and pointed upwards in the R-W-S card, it is at rest for now, but poised for action.
It has also been observed that, as a double-edged sword, it cuts both ways. It can represent the fine point that lies between harshness and mercy; truth and falsehood; revenge and indulgence.
The Pillars of Justice
Furthermore, as mentioned earlier, Justice holds the energetic signature of the High Priestess, since that hers the number to which it reduces.
Besides the numerology relationship (which has many implications) there are other similarities between the two cards.
For example, in the R-W-S deck, both of these powerful women are seated between two columns.
The two columns in the High Priestess are named Boaz and Jachin, the pillars at the entrance to the Temple of Solomon.
As Wald and Ruth Ann Amberstone point out in their indispensable book, The Secret Language of the Tarot, these columns reveal that “you are looking at a symbol of initiation.”
So when, in the Tarot journey, we arrive at her numerological counterpart, the Justice card, the Amberstones suggest that these columns “describe the part of an initiation ritual in which the candidate stands between the pillars, under the Balance of Justice.. a test the candidate must not fail, but for which he or she has carefully prepared.”
If the Major Arcana represents the quest for enlightenment, the soul’s realization, or the journey of life, then this step of initiation is extremely significant.
This is a testing of character and purpose that we must not fail.
The Stars and the Cards Align
As most astrology buffs know by now, Saturn, Lord of Time and Karma, returned to its own sign of Capricorn on Dec. 19th. The importance of this cannot be overstated, and there are numerous resources available to read more about it.
Famed master astrologer Steven Forrest sums it up:
Saturn has begun its three-year passage through Capricorn. The King has returned to his own land, in other words. In a way, it’s Judgement Day, but don’t worry – if you’ve lived with integrity, you’ll be rewarded. (That coin has another side, however.)
So Saturn in Capricorn declares that, for good or ill, it’s time to pay our dues. For better or worse, this is precisely the message of the Justice card as well.
Steven usually stays away from mundane (global events-based) astrology and what he calls “the astrology of nations.”
But because the influence of Pluto on the United States is so acute, he has published a commentary about the U.S. chart for the first time. In this excerpt, he notes:
Like an individual human being, a nation has a destiny into which it can rise and a shadow into which it can fall.
And just like a human being, a nation has karma — antecedent realities which haunt it and present it with soul-cages and, critically, the means with which to resolve them.
By transit, the present Plutonian realities have brought all those issues to the boiling point. It is time for a breakthrough – or a break down. The ghosts of the past are surfacing…
There’s a phrase I use for clients going through a Pluto period… I’ll say to the client, “You’re ready to deal with this now.” And then…I say, “Well actually, you’re barely ready to deal with this now.”
It inevitably gets a smile.
People get the joke.
But it’s not just a joke. You’re barely ready.
That’s not a statement intended to be disempowering or discouraging. It’s a statement intended to honor the difficulty and intensity of this process. You are barely ready to face something.
So America, you are barely ready to face some truths that you have not been ready to face ever in your history…
Dealing with antecedent realities that are now coming due for action is the essence, too, of a Justice year. So many poisonous ingredients have been boiling in the cauldron of the United States’ karma — environmental debasement, corporate greed, corruption in government, economic disparity, and the racism, bigotry, and misogyny that continue to stain our nation.
Increasingly, political experts and historians are warning that the very future of our democracy itself may hang in the balance.
Will we rise? Or will we fall?
And these issues are not limited to the shores of America.
Environmental disaster is making its mark across the globe.
And Europe faces “a wide array of problems—including the Eurocrisis, Russia, refugees, the erosion of democracy in Central and Eastern Europe, Brexit, regional separatism, difficult relations with Turkey, and terrorism,” notes a recent paper by the prestigious Brookings Institute.
We will all be under the watchful gaze of, as Tarot expert Rachel Pollack describes it, the “psychic laws of Justice, by which we advance according to our ability to understand the past.”
Understanding what got us here is imperative, because sooner or later, what goes around always comes around. Despite occasional appearances to the contrary, ultimately, no one really gets away with anything.
This year will be an opportunity for assessing our karmic wounds, taking responsibility, and remedying them without fail.
Bear in mind this does not automatically equate with punishment. It is about adjustment.
This is where a higher destiny can begin, or else failure can engulf us. Clear-eyed evaluation and truth-telling is vital. Candor and scrupulous honesty will be essential.
It is a make-or-break time, and we are only barely ready.
Up Close and Personal
With a Justice year centering on karma and payback, your own priority may be how to be more responsible, particularly how your choices affect others.
So if you need to make changes in how you conduct your affairs, this is the time to do it.
To give yourself some context, imagine the 2016 Hermit year as being an ending, and last year’s Wheel of Fortune as being the shuffle, the roll of the dice, or even disengaging the clutch between gears. Now, this year’s Justice gets us back in gear.
Whatever was up in the air now lands once and for all. Past gambles and actions come home to roost.
If something is burdening your conscience, now is the time to face it. Reflect on what happened, own your part, and then decide what to do. Thus, a new beginning is possible.
This may be a time when you find yourself dealing with the law or the legal system. Property, inheritance, and financial issues may also be in the spotlight. The emphasis may also be on business or personal partnerships, as well as contractual obligations of all kinds.
You may receive a number of proposals and will need to spend some quality time assessing their pros and cons before you decide. Also spend time carefully assessing the changes you’ve recently gone through.
At work, give some consideration as to whether you are receiving a fair return for your efforts. In a challenging economy, we may often defer asking for a raise, or other compensation, especially if we have taken on extra duties, or if the employment situation is shaky.
But more than anything, the Justice Major Arcana card urges we be fair, including to ourselves.
Open your eyes and your heart, see with clarity, and wield your sword if you must, in order to restore and maintain the balanced scales.
After a year of anything goes, let us honor the relationships between cause and effect, actions and consequences.
We are woven together, you and I, into a single garment of destiny. Let us therefore ensure we always champion what is righteous and fair.
May we receive Justice’s verdict with relief and gratitude.