A judge seated on an unadorned bench looks at us intently but dispassionately. She wears a crimson-red robe with a green overgarment, and a golden three-pointed crown with a four-sided stone embedded in it. In her right hand she wields a sword, while in her left are the scales of justice, which hang in perfect balance. Behind her, strung between two grey stone pillars, is a veil of purple, the color of royalty; and behind the veil shines the bright light of day. She is Titaness Themis, “Dame Justice,” whose likeness we see standing in stone in front of every county courthouse—but today her ubiquitous blindfold has been removed, for the justice to be delivered here is not imposed from without but from within; it is the karmic justice we deliver unto ourselves by our thoughts, words and actions, and she is only the vehicle through which the verdict shall be rendered and the judgment assessed.
As the Wheel of Fortune reminds us that God’s seemingly random emanations are all a part, however inscrutable to us, of an eternal master plan, Justice reminds us that the dispensation we receive from God is, and always shall be, utterly rational and in the exact measure we deserve; if it strikes us as unfair or unreasonable, it is only because we have failed to apprehend the degree to which our decisions have affected the evolution of human consciousness. We have discussed this previously, particularly in our review of Trump VIII, “Strength”, but it bears repeating that everything we do or say—every thought we make, and every act we undertake—emanates throughout all of Creation for all eternity, and that is why it is so important that we weigh our words carefully, like the scales of justice, and always act as mercifully and charitably as we can in all things.
One of God’s greatest prophets instructed his followers to judge not, lest they be judged. In our time, our own “judgments” often take the form of what psychologists call “ego projection:” that is, the transference, or grafting, of our own perceived inadequacies unto others. We recognize this whenever we hear someone say something we don’t agree with, and it evinces angry and irrational feelings inside of us. We might think ourselves justified for reacting in this manner, particularly if what we are hearing coming out of the mouths of others strikes us as or intentionally hurtful or adversarial. But the Scriptures instruct us to pray for our “enemies” and not to wish ill upon them. So as we do unto others, we do unto ourselves.
In numerological terms, Justice’s number “11” can be reduced to 1 + 1 = 2, which calls to mind the High Priestess. Let’s examine the two of them side by side, for they can provide us with some guidance in the administration of justice, in the supernal realm and in our more corrupted state:
In the Zohar we read of two rabbis lodging overnight at an inn and discussing the importance of the hour of midnight in the administration of justice. They recall that King David never failed to rise at that exact hour to praise the Lord in word and song, and to thank Him for His perfect justice; according to the Psalms, David even began to use the word “Midnight” to address the Almighty!
One of the rabbis wishes to be awakened at the stroke of midnight, that he might emulate David’s example. The innkeeper’s son asks, “Why midnight?”
One of the rabbis replies, “Because that is when the Divine Judge [God] arises.”
The innkeeper’s son interrupts: “I have heard that God renders His verdicts at midnight because it is at the midpoint between severity (evening) and mercy (morning); thus all judgments delivered at midnight will be perfect and impartial.”
The rabbis bless the innkeeper’s son, and praise him for his insight.
Now the picture becomes clearer as to why the temple of the High Priestess, guardian of the Torah, is so dark by comparison to the temple of Justice; for she administers Divine Law, not man’s law. Therefore she must wait until the hour when the forces of severity and mercy, as personified by the pillars on the Tree of Life are in perfect equilibrium, like the scales of Justice: Specifically, in the wee hours when when we are unconscious, and in our most receptive psychological state. If she were to reveal the Law in our waking, conscious hours, when our egos are most active and agitated, there would be no end of quarreling over doctrine from us!
Put less archetypically, we receive the Word of God in faith, not reason, and this is why the path of Justice, which leads from Geburah to Tiphareth on the kabbalistic Tree, is known as the Faithful Intelligence. Faith does not deny reason but only posits another, equally valid state of consciousness through which we are given sustenance—in this case, manna from heaven as opposed to the daily bread we eat in this world. In a similar vein, this anecdote from the Zohar provides us a clue as to how the Almighty would have us pass judgment—upon ourselves and others—in our plane of consciousness when the need arises: Since our form of justice is administered in broad daylight, we should err on the side of mercy (daytime) as much as humanly possible.
The Hebrew letter assigned to Justice is Lamed, or “ox goad.” This might seem a cryptic connotation until we recall that The Fool who began our journey of self-discovery is the “ox” to be goaded. Hence Justice in our state of existence is merely the vehicle by which we mortal “fools” either encourage or discourage, reward or punish, certain types of behavior. We can ride ourselves hard with the crop, or we can use an easy hand. We know already which the Almighty would prefer from us.
One might look at Justice’s sword and assume her judgment is inherently harsh and violent. There is always a possibility of that, depending on the offense, but as we will discover later when we review the suit of Swords, a sword is a “double-edged” tool. As a blade, it can be used to injure and maim, but it can also be used to heal, as a surgeon’s scalpel; to cleanse, as a razor when shaving; or to nourish, as a knife chopping food to be cooked.
Meanings of this card in a reading can include: life weighed in the balance, just rewards, karma fulfilled, mercy conquers severity, the Law applied equally to all, a fair legal outcome; but also litigation, persecution, ruthlessness, imprisonment, a poor legal outcome. We have now passed the midway point in our sojourn through the Trumps Major. As Justice would weigh our lives in the balance, so too should we consider pausing to weigh our own lives once we reach our midway point—to review our accomplishments, reflect on our shortcomings, and make whatever corrections the course of our life requires. Paul Foster Case notes that the color of Justice’s garments—red and green—correspond to Mars and Venus, respectively, but that her three-pointed crown with the four-sided gem add up to “7,” which the station of Venus on the Tree of Life. If this is so, it suggests that we should enter into all of our dealings with others with our personal scales of justice tipped in favor of love. Tomorrow we shall discover how this is to be done.