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The Meaning of
the "Justice" Tarot Card

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What is the inverted meaning of
the "Justice" card?

The Meaning of the "Justice"
Tarot Card

The Symbolism of the Justice Card

A serious-looking woman in sumptuous robes and a golden crown holds a sword upraised in one hand, and the scales of justice in another. The scales are in their perfectly balanced position, and her sword is perfectly vertical.

She wears an academician's ceremonial scarf or stole, signifying that she is a woman of great learning and wisdom.

She sits between two pilllars — similar to both the High Priestess and Hierophant cards of the Major Arcana. The similarity with those cards is significant; Like them, Justice represents a form of order and structure.

... this image of Justice wears no blindfold. This is a conscious and directed Justice ...

The image of the woman, is similar to the goddess Justisia whose statues are commonly found outside of courthouses. But this image of Justice wears no blindfold. This is a conscious and directed Justice, looking out at us the reader.

The Justice card is surprisingly royal in its imagery — looking almost like a court card from the Suit of Swords rather than a Major Arcana card.

The visual association with the Suit of Swords is intentional. Like the Swords suit which deals with intellect and matters of the mind, Justice is heavily concerned with reason and the search for grand philosophical truth. If there is a suit which most closely matches the energy of Justice it is certainly the Suit of Swords.

NOTE: You may notice the number 'XI' at the top of the Justice card. In some decks of tarot cards however, Justice is the 8th card of the Major Arcana and Strength is the 11th. Over a century ago, mystics of The Golden Dawn swapped the positions of Strength and Justice, making Justice the 11th card in the Major Arcana. Why the swapped positions? According to the Golden Dawn, it was to better align the card's numerological and astrological associations. Does it matter? No. Not really. Here on iFate, we're in the "Justice is card number 11" club. But if your personal deck doesn't have the same sequence, be aware that these two cards often switch numerical positions.

NOTE: The square symbol which appears twice on the Justice tarot card (Positioned first on the head or crown, and second on the heart or clasp) is a mystical symbol representing stability, structure and law & order.

How to Interpret the Justice Card

The principal message of the Justice card is that a universal equilibrium and balance will always return. Truth will come out, and in the end honesty will be victorious.

... a universal equilibrium and balance will always return. Truth will come out ...

In the simplest sense, Justice indicates that wrongs are ultimately balanced by right. A universal moral symmetry will and must be achieved.

But a more nuanced interpretation of the card is that it represents not only the final balancing of the scales, but an active search for that equilibrium. The eyes of Justice are not blindfolded — they are wide open.

The appearance of Justice in a reading not only heralds the eventual reckoning where prior injustices are corrected — but may also indicate the active and ongoing pursuit of truth.

The card may also be reminding us to be truthful and honest with ourselves — because ultimately we will be forced to reckon with that truth as the scales of justice balance.

The card may also indicate the payment of a financial debt, or a legal settlement.

In a relationship reading, Justice often heralds the evening out of a relationship power-imbalance or the settling of a longstanding disagreement.

The Justice Card Inverted

The reversed Justice card can have a few different interpretations. Generally speaking, they all have to do with an improper balancing of the Scales of Justice.

In many cases, the inverted Justice card indicates that someone is not taking responsibility for poor choices made in the past. Those poor choices have created an imbalance which will balance eventually, one way or another.

... a current debt may go unpaid, or that something borrowed may not be returned ...

A similar interpretation is that a past crime, legal offense, lie or moral transgression has yet to be reckoned with. That moral imbalance is creating tension and spiritual pain somewhere.

The appearance of the inverted Justice card is a reminder not to let imbalances stay imbalanced. The card serves as a gentle nudge to keep working towards a resolution — or things may get worse.

The card may also indicate that a current debt may go unpaid, or that something borrowed may not be returned. If the card is referencing a past event, it may point to a past debt or past loan which was never settled.

Generally speaking, the inverted Justice card has a negative meaning, and can be a source of tension and stress. It has overtones of broken friendships, strained relationships and financial fines.

Common Symbols Found On the Justice Card

Tarot cards often use a symbolic or iconographic language to convey additional information about the meaning of the card. The Justice includes one well-known, repeating Tarot symbol. This common symbol can add an greater level of meaning to the card.

A common symbol which appears on the Justice card is:

  • Pillars

    Pillars symbolism appears on the Justice card:

    The placement of a centrally positioned, figure, seated between two great pillars is an important recurring visual theme in the imagery of Tarot. Even though each specific set of pillars may have its own meaning, in the most broad sense the pillars represent grand philosophical ideas which influence the decisions or the actions of the figure seated between them. Their status and role in life is supported by these immense pillars of theory and philosophy.

    Read more about the symbolism of "Pillars" in Tarot  

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