Meaning of the Justice Tarot card

Justice Tarot CardA classical representation of Justice, armed with a sword in one hand, and holding scales in the other.

Sword and scales are the same attributes in various depictions of the Archangel Michael, the defender of God’s friends.

For esotericists, however, the Justice card is often a reference to Osiris, the Egyptian god of the underworld, who weighs the hearts of the deceased upon death, using his scales to determine whether or not they are worthy of the “kingdom of heaven”.

The sword represents the rigor of the law and its application, while the scales remind us that Justice is obtained by the correct balance of terms, and that its balance cannot be upset without resorting to counterweights.

General interpretation of the card

Nothing is exempt from the law of cause and effect, and every action will have to be accounted for (in this life or the next).

The woman sitting on the throne, however, represents kindness and grace, which tends to dilute the “severity” underlying this card, perhaps to indicate inevitability.

Harmony between opposites is clearly present in this card. However, the symbolism of the sword clearly indicates that strong actions may be necessary to return the situation back to the right balance.

It can also represent social justice, courts, the mediation of differences in the real world.

The symbolism of the Archangel Michael indicates a just punishment for a situation that has caused us to suffer unfairly. A person who steps in to protect us against injustice.

Specific examples of possible meanings:

  • Inner harmony is the way. It is pointless to seek material achievements, or a person to love us if we find a mountain of flaws in anyone who gets close to us – in reality we should be the first to work on ourselves, accept our merits, accept our flaws, and in doing so accept that we are not the only ones with flaws: others have flaws, the world in which we live has flaws.
  • If you want something in particular that will alter the current balance, according to the laws of Justice you have to accept that this will cause a repercussion, compensation on the other side, something that you have to give up. We often fail to realize that what we want is actually impossible without something else changing.
  • We will get justice.
  • Someone will be punished for the way they have treated us.
  • We would like to “act with the sword”, hate, impose ourselves by force, crush our opponent, but this card reminds us that we cannot hate without some of that hatred coming back on us. With mercy, acceptance, and perhaps forgiveness, we will achieve far more well-being and happiness than with force.
  • Forgive those who have wronged us by taking the first step. As Justice symbolizes, every action must be accounted for. The best situation to tip the scales in our favor is for us to take the first step, and with an unexpected gesture. It is precisely when we can win by crushing our opponent, when we can make them pay for it, that an interesting opportunity opens up for us. If we take the first step, by laying down our weapons first, doing them a favor, giving them a gift, not hurting them when it would be “just” and deserved to do so, we can obtain credit on the scales of fate. I know, 90% of the people to whom I suggest this get even more angry, but I have experienced it myself. Help the person who has deserved to be hated, and you won’t believe what you can get in return.
Rob Sánchez

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