Justice is the eleventh Major Arcana in Rider Waite tarot deck and the eigth in the Tarot of Marseilles and in the Thoth tarot deck (where is called „Adjustment“).

Traditionally, Justice was the eighth card and Justice the eleventh, but Waite switched their position, decision based on astrological correspondences. Today, Strength has the eleventh position especially in the English-speaking world and the eighth in the rest of the world, but both placements are considered valid.

We show you how Justice is interpreted by Waite and three other important Tarot Masters: P. D. Ouspensky (author of „The Symbolism of the Tarot“, in 1913), Aleister Crowley (author of „The Book of Thoth“, in 1944) and Papus (author of „ The Tarot of the Bohemians “, in 1892).

Waite about Justice: Pillars of Justice and Pillars of the High Priestess

justice rider waite tarotThe divinatory meaning of Justice is, according to A. E. Waite, expressed by the following words: „equity, rightness, probity, executive; triumph of the deserving side in law“.

When the card is reversed, it can signify: „ law in all its departments, legal complications, bigotry, bias, excessive severity “.

In his chapter about the doctrine behind the veil, Waite insists on the difference between spiritual justice and the moral principle. He explains this Greater Arcana as follows: „ It will be seen, however, that the figure is seated between pillars, like the High Priestess, and on this account it seems desirable to indicate that the moral principle which deals unto every man according to his works –while, of course, it is in strict analogy with higher things; – differs in its essence from the spiritual justice which is involved in the idea of election. The latter belongs to a mysterious order of Providence, in virtue of which it is possible for certain men to conceive the idea of dedication to the highest things. The operation of this is like the breathing of the Spirit where it wills, and we have no canon of criticism or ground of explanation concerning it. It is analogous to the possession of the fairy gifts and the high gifts and the gracious gifts of the poet: we have them or have not, and their presence is as much a mystery as their absence. The law of Justice is not however involved by either alternative. In conclusion, the pillars of Justice open into one world and the pillars of the High Priestess into another“.

Ouspensky about Justice: „You See Truth“

Justice is the twenty-first Major Arcana that Ouspensky meets, in his mystical journey. This is how he describes the encounter:

„When I possessed the keys, read the book and understood the symbols, I was permitted to lift the curtain of the Temple and enter its inner sanctum. And there I beheld a Woman with a crown of gold and a purple mantle. She held a sword in one hand and scales in the other. I trembled with awe at her appearance, which was deep and mysterious, and drew me like an abyss. «You see Truth», said the voice. «On these scales everything is weighed. This sword is always raised to guard justice, and nothing can escape it. But why do you avert your eyes from the scales and the sword? They will remove the last illusions. How could you live on earth without these illusions? You wished to see Truth and now you behold it! But remember what happens to the mortal who beholds a Goddess!»“.

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Crowley about Justice: The Woman Satisfied

adjustment thoth tarotIn the Tarot of Thoth, the name of this Major Arcana is „Adjustment“.

In „The Book of Thoth“, Aleister Crowley connects Adjustment with the sign of Libra, ruled by Venus; in which Saturn is exalted. Justice symbolizes „the equilibrium of all things“ and is explained as „the final adjustment in the formula of Tetragrammaton“.

An important aspect is the exclusive human and reltive sense of Justice, in Crowley’s vision: „This word has none but a purely human and therefore relative sense; so it is not to be considered as one of the facts of Nature. Nature is not just, according to any theological or ethical idea; but Nature is exact“.

Another name given by the English magician to this Trump is „The Woman Satisfied“: „From the cloak of the vivid wantonness of her dancing wings issue her hands; they hold the hilt of the Phallic sword of the magician. She holds the blade between her thighs“.

Crowley talks about the formula: „ Love is the law, love under will“: „Every form of energy must be directed, must be applied with integrity, to the full satisfaction of its destiny“.

Papus about Justice: Equilibrium in All Its Forms

justice tarot of marseillesPapus tells that „the ideas expressed by this symbol are of Equilibrium in all its forms “.

Analysed at multiple levels of reality and of interpretation, Justice signifies, for the French occultist:

  • In the Divine – God the Son of the 2nd septenary – The woman fulfilling, the functions of God the Son –THE MOTHER – Reflex of the Father. Preserver of God the Son in Humanity
  • Passive law of the 2nd septenary – JUSTICE – Reflex of Realization and Authority.
  • The woman of the 2nd septenary – nature fulfilling the function of Eve – ELEMENTARY EXISTENCE – Reflex of the Astral Light. Preservation of Natura naturata in the World