The choice between law and justice is an easy one for courageous minds.
Rebecca West, British journalist and novelist, renowned for her coverage of the Nuremberg Trials
As the year’s end looms and we come to the beginning of the holiday season, it seems fitting that we have a visit from the card of the year (based on the numerology of 2018). This week, we welcome the Justice card.
This important Major Arcana card represents rightness 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 stirred up ongoing controversy when he 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. True, 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 get away with rape and murder, yet go free and unpunished. From driving under the influence and cheating on partners; to deadly racial bias in law enforcement; all the way up to the current occupant of the White House befuddling and ignoring the legal system, corruption seems unchecked.
With squabbles breaking out daily as to whether “fact” is even a real thing, it appears that the integrity of the law itself and the concept of fairness are under assault.
These days, we take for granted that we are being systematically lied to — by advertising, government, and other big money interests; not to mention the normalization (and even jokes) regarding the steady stream of dishonesty coming from the White House occupant.
We turn a blind eye to corporations who are destroying the ecosystem, bankrupting families, and debasing 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 aftermath 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 dealings, and civil or criminal jurisprudence could certainly be important now.
But additionally, since Major Arcana cards are less about particular events, and more 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?
With the planet Mercury in retrograde, this is an ideal time for looking back and assessing such concerns. And with infamously foggy Neptune preparing to station direct on Saturday, clarity and meticulous conscientiousness will serve you well.
Although some people may have enormous charisma, 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, are likely to be judged as collaborators in the wrongdoing.
The Slow Grinding
As I mentioned above, 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. If that.
For instance, last month, the American Supreme Court swore in an alleged sexual assault perpetrator with scant serious investigation or due process, in the opinion of many.
We keep signing petitions, donating money; we vote, educate ourselves, discuss, and march, while little appears to change. It can be disheartening, as progress seems faint at best.
Where is the justice?
In my college class that was studying the Watergate indictments and trials (as they were slowly, painfully 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. Although early on, many of us were convinced that the crimes went right up the chain to Richard Nixon, it was vital to understand that the process of justice must be executed finely, and with great care, lest the outcome be thrown into disarray and dispute.
In situations large and small, this needs to be the case. In our warp-speed, zero attention-span 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.
Under the light of this week’s Full All Gathered Moon (among many other beautifully evocative names), you are being asked 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.
Attend to retrograding Mercury’s admonishments, and take your time. But eventually, you must weigh in with your conclusions, for indecision and procrastination can bear their own unpleasant 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, knowing that sooner or later, what goes around, comes around.
Justice will be done.