“He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? (Micah 6:8 NRSV)
Justice and vengeance are not the same thing. It’s tempting, when this card appears in a reading, to assume that justice is directed outward toward those who have “wronged” us. We may think this card is telling us they “will get what they deserve.” However, I believe the Justice card points more inward than it points outward. It’s telling us that something is out of balance in our lives. Therefore, it’s time for us to do some serious soul searching and figure out what we need to change in order to balance the scales.
The symbolism on the Rider Waite version of the card is unmistakably clear. The scales of justice are a very old symbol. In fact, I have a copy of a papyrus in my home where Anubis is weighing the deeds of an individual after they have died. The two-edged sword that is pointing upward symbolizes divine justice as well as the ability to discern between right and wrong. Hebrews 4:12 tells us that “the word of the Divine is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing until it divides soul from spirit, joints from marrow; it is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” As a symbol, this sword tells us that the Divine is active in this process of justice-making and will help us to discern the way forward.
The two pillars and veil behind the king also echo the design of the High Priestess card which speaks of the knowledge that comes from within; the hidden mysteries and intuition of the Divine Feminine. The thematic link between these two cards is clear.
The DruidCraft version of Judgment is more simplified. The king is replaced with a queen which solidifies its tie with the High Priestess card. The scales of justice and the two-edged sword are also present, but there is also the wonderful addition of an owl. In Native American spirituality the owl represents wisdom and intuitive knowledge so it’s a perfect symbol for this card.
When Justice appears in a reading it is telling us not to make any hasty decisions. Instead, it is telling us to take a hard, honest look at our lives. It may be time for us to be more disciplined or it may be a time for us to be more loving and forgiving of ourselves. What will it take to bring our lives more into balance? This is what the Justice card is asking us.
Copyright ©2016, David Taliesin. http://www.sabbatsandsabbaths.com