Cause and effect – Justice

Justice [noun]: The quality of being just; fairness. The principle of moral rightness; equity. Conformity to moral rightness in action or attitude; righteousness. The upholding of what is just, especially fair treatment and due reward in accordance with honor, standards, or law. [to do justice to: To treat adequately, fairly, or with full appreciation]

Justice Tarot Card - Anna K

Justice, by Anna Klaffinger, from the Anna K Tarot

A pretty literal card. There’s this sense with Justice that, well, justice has been done. That what’s happened (or what will happen) is right and fair and the result of what has gone before.

I like to think that the card represents what Rachel Pollack calls the ‘equilibrium of understanding and action’. Know that what you do has consequences. Think about what’s happening. Understand it. Act accordingly, and don’t be surprised when the expected happens. The ultimate ‘air’ card.

Check out this guy:

Swordskingcheromeeh - Justice tarot card

King of Swords, by Cheromeh

The King of Swords is a character who thinks everything through. He’s in-tune morally, and thus not afraid to take a difficult decision. I wonder when I look at this picture how he lost his arm. Was it a just retribution from someone he wronged? The consequences of a righteous battle? A self-inflicted wound?

I connect him (and the Queen) very strongly with the Justice card. Justice is not always nice. Fairness is not always nice. But there’s a sense of comfort in that rather grandiose idea of Justice Having Been Done. I feel like the King and Queen of Swords might not be the happiest bunnies in the burrow, but they carry a sense of understanding. They know they (and we all) are not perfect. We make mistakes, and we must bear the scars of those mistakes. On a happier note, we also do good, and we reap the rewards of those sound decisions.

There’s another lesson in this card – it’s not just about accepting the consequences of the past. Justice also teaches us that we have the power to shape our own destinies. If today I am facing the consequences of yesterday’s decisions, then tomorrow I will face the consequences of today’s. So what am I going to do? Closely linked to the themes of the Swords suit, Justice encourages us not only to undestand the consequences of the past, but also to think things through today, so as to help create the future we desire.

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  1. kaylee says:

    I love that you bring in the idea of the future in this, and not just the idea of “Justice Has Been Done.” I’ve pulled this card in readings a few times, and always felt like it was grating on me a little, especially because most things I’ve read about it have been so focused on the more traditional idea of justice. But the more I think about it the more I think that Justice has a lot more to do with transformative justice – and the idea that true justice has a lot to do with making change (in our communities, within ourselves) based on accountability and working towards a just world. So for me I feel like justice is almost MORE about the future – the past is there, but it’s taking the past into account so we can work towards something better.

    • Beth says:

      Absoultely Kaylee… I often feel this is a card about responsibility, and accountability (and in The Collective Tarot, it is called ‘accountability’, actually).

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