The mills of the Gods grind slowly, but surely and exceeding fine.
Sextus Empiricus, 3d Century Greek philosopher
As the headlines focus on yet another tweet storm attacking law enforcement (when it is pointed at oneself), it’s perhaps not surprising that this week, we are welcoming the Justice card.
This important Major Arcana card represents justice and 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, although it may switch numbers with the Strength card (Arthur Waite changed it from trump card number 8 to 11), this card is invariably titled “Justice.” And it is always 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.
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.
Rectification and Reparation
When we think of Justice, we often think first of law and order, societal rules, and making criminals pay for their deeds. But this is only an echo of a deeper Spiritual Justice. This card is about rectification — making things right.
Every day there are new stories about people who are getting away with murder, yet go free and unpunished. From driving under the influence and cheating on partners; to disastrous racial bias in law enforcement; all the way up to a president befuddling the legal system itself. The integrity of law and the very concept of fairness itself seem under assault.
These days, we take for granted that we are being systematically lied to — by advertising, government, and other big money interests.
We turn a blind eye to corporations who are destroying the ecosystem, bankrupting families, and corrupting the financial and governmental institutions that were originally meant to serve we, the people.
We watch in near helplessness as the thugs currently in power gleefully unravel the laws and protections for our citizens, while cashing in on their mischief.
But eventually, things will sort themselves out, and evildoers will someday, somehow, have to deal with the consequences of their actions.
The Justice card reminds us that Nature always adjusts and the consequences of every action eventually come around. Despite how it sometimes looks, each and every one of us is, eventually, accountable.
Honesty and Fairness Required
When the Justice card 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) racism, or they get a pass for sexual harassment and assault, deliberately encourage ignorance, hate speech, and fear-mongering, they may enjoy a temporary notoriety. This can even look like success or triumph.
But there is always, ultimately a price. And those who know, but remain silent, will be judged to be collaborators in the wrongdoing.
The Slow Grinding
As I wrote in January, the year 2018 is the Tarot Year of Justice.
From #Resist, to #BLM, the #MeToo phenomenon, and #TimesUp, this is the year of finding and using our personal power for a greater cause.
But as several of my friends have confided recently, it feels like a long slog with only infinitesimal results.
We sign petitions, donate money, vote, educate ourselves, discuss, and march.. but little appears to change. It can be disheartening, because any correction happening seems nearly invisible and is taking forever.
In my college class that was studying the Watergate indictments and trials (as they were unfolding), our professor repeatedly reminded us of Sextus Empiricus’ famous quote, later updated by Longfellow:
Though the mills of God grind slowly, yet they grind exceeding small;
Though with patience he stands waiting, with exactness grinds he all.
That historic event was often excruciatingly ponderous, moving at glacial speed. But I can tell you that although at least one college class (and certainly countless other folks) wanted to jump up and down, shouting, “He’s GUILTY!” we were being taught that leaping to such weighty conclusions prematurely is worse than useless.
The process of justice must be executed finely, and with great care, or else the outcome will be thrown into disarray and dispute.
In situations large and small, this needs to be the case. In our warp-speed, tweetable world, depth, prudence, and painstaking diligence are ridiculed and increasingly rare.
But they are required for any chance of fairness and impartiality.
We Are the Champions
Thus, it is in our hands alone to choose whether to support and reinforce the dangerous nonsense that passes for normal; or else to resist, shine a spotlight on it, scrub it out, and demand its atonement.
Each and every person reading this is the ultimate champion — or else passive saboteur — of what is right, fair, and good.
Bear in mind that the Justice card is not about punishment. It is about adjustment. Justitia’s sword suggests that sometimes this won’t be pleasant. Justice pares things down with that sword so that the scales are made to balance.
Echoing the message of The Lovers last week, perhaps you are being asked again whether you have an important decision to make at this time. Think it over carefully, with absolute honesty and fairness, for it is likely to have long-term effects that will return to you one way or another.
How can you restore balance where it is needed?
What declaration or verdict is waiting for your decision now? Consider carefully the evidence before you. Hear all sides of the story. Get the facts.
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 will affect others.
Go slowly, but go you must. Eventually, it will be time 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. Align yourself with what is noble and righteous, for sooner or later, what goes around, comes around.
Justice will be done.