(From the Book)
"Whosoever is ignorant in the weight let him not labor in our books." --Rosarium Philosophorum (pg. 37)
Prophetically, the first of the three feminine powers encountered by the charioteer is Justice, who is the death aspect of this triple Goddess. Justice can be traced to the Egyptian goddess Maat, who weighs the souls of the dead, and is the embodiment of truth and justice. To the Egyptians Maat was the equivalent of cosmic consciousness or the Tao, the eternal truth from which all things spring, and to which all things return. To the Greeks fate was ruled by the three Moirai, but also had a less familiar dual nature. Tyche ruled over the first part as the goddess of luck, and good fortune, and Nemesis the goddess of justice, or divine vengeance ruled the other half. Nemesis' symbol is the wheel of the year, which shows her connection to the Latin Fortuna. The Romans named this aspect of Fortuna Libra, and placed her symbol, the balance, at the midpoint of the Zodiac, where it marked the autumnal equinox. Our modern image of Justice came into focus in the Renaissance, with her scales of impartial judgement, and her sword representing the powers of mercy and vengeance.
Alchemically, Justice weighs fire and water; she balances the masculine and feminine principles. Her alchemical process is called disposition, in which the correct proportion of these elements are determined by weight before they are sealed in the retort. The hilt of her sword bears the alchemical symbol for vitriol, or "oil of glass," which is the secret fire.
The image on the card also has a Kabblahistic meaning: it forms the three pillars of the Tree of Life. Her impartial scales coincide with the pillar of severity, and her upraised sword with the pillar of mercy. Her body itself forms the central pillar which connects with the divine presence, rising like smoke beyond our comprehension. The ten sefirah can be appropriately positioned on her body, with Keter on her crown, and Malkhut at the base of her torso.
Justice's number, eight, is a second or higher order of the number four and represents balancing of the physical world.
This drawing is based on images from Michael Maier's Tripus Aureus, 1618.
Tarot wisdom: Justice solemnly reminds us that right action should be based on sound judgement, and truth. We must balance objectivity, her scale, with subjectivity, her sword. This balancing also is demonstrated in the composition of the card. Justice is structured (logic, objectivity), but she stands at the edge of water (intuition, subjectivity). In a higher spiritual sense, Justice is the weigher of souls. She assesses our progress along our the path of our work, and judges our actions.
The divine fire in her crown, the eye of God, and the rising smoke tell us that in justice there are subtleties that are beyond our grasp. Sometimes, in the end, we must simply give her our trust.