You wouldn’t necessarily expect a lady with a sword to be talking about a peaceful state of mind, but there it is.
Hello and welcome to the TaoCraft Tarot blog and podcast. I’m glad you are here.
Today’s card is the Justice card from the major arcana.
At first blush this card has all of the usual admonishments to wisdom, fairness, balance and, well, justice. I was listening to news updates a few minutes ago, so of course all the current politics is top of mind as I saw the card.
But I am also reminded of a slightly older current event. Here in the United States, judges on the supreme court are called justices. The senate confirmation hearings for the newest justice, Kitanji Jackson, were publically broadcast and nerd that I am, I watched them. At least sort of. If I’m not listening to music, have a habit of letting the news play in the background during the day. Yes, it is a lot of repetition but enough bits and pieces make it through my foggy inattention to stitch together a picture of the day’s events. During the confirmation hearings, Justice Jackson said something about her early work as a defense lawyer that landed in my brain with a thud and has been there ever since. It was interesting on level because it was an epiphany out of context, an ah-ha moment apropos to nothing I was actually doing at the moment. It was interesting because it was an epiphany. I’d always suffered under the wrong understanding. She disabused the nation and history of that misunderstanding in a handful of sentences.
Like many other people, I always had the vague impression they defended the criminal or the crime, in other words advocating for the wrong side.
Defense lawyers defend the criminal’s civil liberties, not the crime. They protect the constitution and equal justice under law and the principle of innocent until proven guilty. THAT is what they were defending.
Of course in my brain, there is a cut scene right to Jim Carry’s character in the movie Liar, Liar where he screams legal advice over the phone to his most recalcitrant client and tells him to “STOP BREAKING THE LAW!”
It is an interesting, complex balance between protecting innocent society from criminal behavior and protecting equal justice from the very system that claims to have created that self-same equal justice.
All of which begs the question: what on earth does any of this have to do with a Tarot reading?
I have a hunch that this high-minded esoteric kind of thinking is why the Justice card has a reputation for presaging a fair and correct decision in any literal legal proceedings, especially in the prediction-oriented days of Tarot readings.
A number of readers comment on the similarities between images on the Justice card and on the High Priestess card. Justice is thought to be worldly while the High Priestess is of course purely spiritual. That last Sage & Stuff post about Venn diagrams might hold a clue for us today. With the similar visuals, what is the conceptual overlap between the cards?
The High Priestess deals with mystery and esoterica while Justice is faced with nitty gritty action within the real world. Both act from a place of great wisdom, but move in different directions. One is wisdom drawn from ineffable mystery the other is wisdom applied to implacable reality and practicality.
As Baruch Spinoza reminds us, justice, wisdom and indeed peace all go hand in hand when he says “peace is not the absence of war, it is a virtue, a state of mind, a disposition for benevolence, confidence and justice.”
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