This is one of the simpler and least symbolic cards of the deck. On a very basic level it represents justice and fairness.
Since justice is usually played out in the court systems in our society this may indicate a favorable legal settlement for the questioner. On the same level it may indicate an honest lawyer or a fair and impartial judge or jury.
In the realm of relationships this may indicate a romantic or business relationship which is well balanced and in which both parties are getting what they deserve.
On a personal level this can indicate that the questioner is a fair and honest person who treats others carefully and with consideration.
REVERSED: If there are legal matters pending there may be an unfavorable outcome for the questioner. On a personal level this may indicate a person who overly judgmental and critical, even harsh. The questioner needs to take a good hard look at his or her life and relationships and decide if she’s being honest, open, and fair.
How you perceive the Justice card depends upon whether you want to think of it as Justice-small-j or Justice-big-j.
A Few More Thoughts About Justice:
Justice-small-j has to do with our court systems and what you might call ordinary, earth based justice. It will almost always appear in readings when the questioner is involved with some legal process or litigation.
From a small-j perspective it looks very much like The Hierophant card. A person sitting on a throne between two gray pillars. The Hierophant represents organized religion as opposed to true spirituality and, in the same sense, Justice represents organized justice as opposed to morality based justice. The Hierophant is spirituality as it has been collected in books and organized into long standing traditions. Justice-small-j represents justice as it has been collected in books and organized into long standing precedents.
Justice-small-j is all about court rooms, judges, law books, and lawyers. It’s what attorneys go to law school to learn.
Justice-big-j is a whole different kettle of fish. It’s about the principle of justice and whether or not it exists independently from the court systems. We don’t talk about that much anymore but it was actually a very hot topic from ancient times right through the early twentieth century.
Plato argued that there was a, “form,” of Justice, sort of an archetype of righteousness that descended into the material plane and the human mind and heart.
In her wonderful book, “Jung and Tarot, An Archetypal Journey,” Sallie Nichols quotes Carl Jung as saying this:
“It should never be forgotten . . . that morality was not brought down on tables of stone from Sinai and imposed on the people, but is a function of the human soul, as old as humanity itself.”
Dig that: morality is a function of the human soul. In other words, we instinctively seek to do right and to avoid doing what’s wrong.
The Tibetan Buddhists talk about the human soul in much the same way. Chagdud Tulku Rinpoche described it as a beautiful, glowing crystal that’s encased in rock. Each time that we meditate or intentionally act with love and compassion a little more of the rock obscuring the crystal gets chipped away. A little more of our beauty emerges.
We know that at the time the Tarot first appeared Plato was still being studied as the Great Master of philosophy. And we know that the rest of the cards in the Major Arcana are very much archetypal images. So it’s not a stretch at all to assume that Justice was included in the Tarot deck not as a small-j but as a big-j.
When you get Justice in a reading, yes, look for legal matters to crop up in your life. But also look for the principle of Justice to be blowing through your life. Something has been out of balance in the way you’ve been treated and karmic principles are stepping in to adjust that and bring it back into balance.