Tarot cards often embody great concepts that are particularly important and hold society together. The justice tarot card clearly fits that profile, since the use of fair laws and regulations that settle problems according to clear and objective criteria is one of the things that separate humankind from other animal species.
Traditional meanings associated with the Justice card
Justice in tarot is here to draw the line between right and wrong, and favor the right side in spite of any technicality or jurisprudence that might stand. It urges you to stand for what is right and will show you the best way to make sure you get the support you need to see true justice triumph.
Upright: Justice, responsibility, consequences, cause and effect, and righteousness.
Reversed: Excessive zeal, ego, bigotry, legal complications, and bureaucracy.
Upright justice tarot card meaning
Like the high priestess and the Hierophant, this is another example of a major arcana drawn using a main character sitting on a throne between two pillars. Here, the character is very often female and bears the two most recognizable tools that are usually attributed to the concept of justice in traditional paintings and sculptures: a sword and a pair of scales.
It can be noted, however, that contrary to many depictions of Justice, the figure on the throne does not wear a blindfold (traditionally used to mean that justice is, and should be, blind). The reason why might be partly explained by the actual meaning of the card.
Predictably enough for a card with this name, the justice tarot card meaning is connected to the concept of justice, in every sense of the word. But Justice in tarot is not necessarily as impartial as justice must be in a court of law. Indeed, this card deals with Justice on a more subjective scale, where what is right matters more than the letter of the law.
As such, the meaning of the justice tarot card is also one of righteousness, and calls for the triumph of the deserving side in any dispute. This is a kind of justice that does not do what it should do by the book, but does what is right.
Reversed Justice card meaning
The justice tarot card has quite a different energy when it is reversed, like in most major arcana meanings. Indeed, this is where a more sinister aspect of the concept of justice can be seen in this major arcana, yielding authority to the most down-to-earth aspects of justice, following the letter of the law rather than its intent.
The reversed Justice tarot card might also be a sign of legal complications or matters of bureaucracy, when paperwork and red tape can turn the concept of Justice on its head, releasing the perpetrator and punishing the victim. On a more conceptual aspect, this reversed major arcana can also represent bigotry and severity, judging people for who they are instead of what they have done.
The Fool’s Journey
The Fool now takes some time to look back and digest all the lessons learned so far. The wonderful tapestry glimpsed during the lesson of the Wheel of Fortune has unveiled a wider system of causes and consequences, and the Justice tarot card reminds the Fool that they need to take responsibility for their actions and be righteous and honest with themselves.
The card is aptly named because this is meant to fill the Fool with a strong sense of Justice that will ensure the rest of their journey is meaningful and does not bring any unnecessary harm to anyone else or to the world at large.
Justice and Strength
In the Marseille deck and most early Renaissance tarots, Justice was numbered 8 and Strength was numbered 11. The deliberate inversion of these two arcana in most modern deck is the fruit of numerological and historical studies about the tarot from various secret societies in the end of the Victorian era.
These days it seems that this sense of righteous belonging in a greater world is slowly disappearing from the list of priorities found on the desk of those people at the helm of nations or great corporations. Greed, individualism, and a clearly accepted shortsightedness seem to set the course of global growth without any long-term view or empathy towards those in need.
The world is in dire need of a sharp waking call unless they want to forget the lessons of the Justice tarot card and spell their own doom by being blind to the consequences of their selfish actions.
The Justice in love tarot and meditation
The justice tarot card can hold different meanings when it is drawn in a reading that focuses on love. The main one is that it tries to emphasize a kind of balance and fairness between the various elements of the relationship, where everyone should be treated fairly and equally.
In a more sinister context, combined with other negative tarot cards, and especially when reversed, this can represent the incursion of law and justice into a relationship. The benign aspect might represent the call for a friend to settle a dispute between two lovers, and at worst it might represent an upcoming divorce requiring oversight from a judge.
The Justice major arcana works well as a focus for meditation when you need to center yourself again, or solve some inner conflict in your mind when you do not know what the right move is. When you focus all your attention on the justice tarot card and think about this problem, you should soon realize that one path is obviously the right one over the other. When you strip away outside elements and distractions, Justice makes everything clearer and shows you what is right, beyond the shadow of a doubt.