no. 11 - Strength or Justice?


I was just wondering what people's opinions were on where the Justice and Strength cards are placed. Some sources point out that both the Magician and Strength have the infinity symbol and therefore they should be the starting cards of each cycle (i.e 1-10 and 11-21 ) - so Strength is no. 11.
On the other hand some say that Justice, as an abstract concept type-thing, should start the second cycle as opposed to strength which is a more 'worldly' quality - So Justice is no. 11. Any thoughts?


The earliest decks which are still in existence (Visconti-Sforza type) are not numbered...

In ancient Greece, 8 was associated with Justice, and since the earliest numbering of Tarot decks, Strength has been 11.

This was swapped by members of the Golden Dawn because of presumed astrological associations.

Personally, I prefer VIII Justice and XI Strength... It gives a rhythm to the deck which is not otherwise there.


I agree with JMD. Persa, I found that same thing your talking about (on my own) by chance recently. It convinced me that the traditional numerical order is correct, at least in my humble opinion. Check out the B.O.T.A. thread under "Tarot Decks" here for more info.

What deck are you using?



Qabbalistically,I find that by having Strenght as XI it gives it( Strenght) a spiritual basis and gives Justice a temporal power.


I understand arguements to the contrary--and in most cases I greatly respect Crowley's interpetation of the cards over Waite's--but, personally, I go for the Strength 8, Justice 11.

Three reasons: first, I do see Strength as a worldly thing, belonging in those first 10 worldly cards, and Justice as otherworldly--a philosophical concept as compared to something personal--launching the next set of 10 which are much more philosophical. Big things like "Death, Temperance, Devil" seem more in keeping with "Justice." "Strength" seems more in keeping with personal, earthly things like "Lovers" or "Hermit." You feel you can meet the Magican, the High Priestess, the Empress. And Strength is about inner strengh on the level of an individual. But you don't meet "The Sun, the Moon, the Star," you are influenced by them, just as you are by "JUSTICE."

As I'm also very much into astrology, it would make absolutely no sense at all to switch Justice and strength. Strength is Leo, Justice Libra and Libra comes after Leo.

Finally, I find the number 11 a good match up for Justice as it's a "1" on this side and a "1" on that side of the scales, balancing them. And while 8 may mean "justice" for the Greeks it doesn't for a variety of other equally powerful (in mystical symbolism sense) western cultures. For the Hebrews it stands for "perfect intelligence, splendor," for Christians, it stands for regeneration, rebirth--which works very well, by the way, for all the 8's in the deck which are about rapid change. And good for Strength, which is about having the strength to deal with changes, to control the chaos that comes at you rather than letting it overpower you.

Number eleven, by the way, is the numerical symbol for "Sin, transgression." Right neither for Strength or Justice! Which is to say, that as the other cards aren't necessarily based on number symbolism in all cases, why should #8 be in particular?

So I have no problem with Strength at #8 and Justice at #11. Fact is, like the old decks with no numbers, I rarely think of the cards numerically anyway, so it's really a moot point, problematic only when teaching or getting into Qabbala--and in that case, the book I use, Wong's, still puts Strength/8, Justice/11.


This has been an issue with me, too. I'm trying to create my own deck, and agonized over the numbering as well.
The oldest NUMBERED decks do put justice as 8 and Strength as 11. Waite deliberately changed this, as he believed it was originally designed to "trick" the uninitiated. But Crowley put it back the way it was.
While Arthur E. Waite was a very intellegent man, and we owe him a lot, I think it was a little egotistical to go messing with the numbering of the cards. But since most modern decks are clones of the Waite-Smith (Rider was just the publisher - Pamela Coleman Smith illustrated them all!), we have the Strength = 8 and Justice = 11 as the more prevalent numbering.
In readings, I just go with whatever the deck says. It's just another nuance, like a different picture for a card, that reflects the deck's "personality."


If one makes the astrological associations which has also lead the Golden Dawn to swap VIII and XI, then one would prefer to have VIII as Strength and XI as Justice... but this does presume that these two wonderful 'systems' (the Tarot and Astrology) have direct correlations which warrants that one system (Tarot) have its internal structure modified for the sake of the other (or for their combination).

Similar modifications on the cards, for the sake of Qabbalistic views held by some card creators, has also resulted in other changes (Aries on either the Emperor or the Hierophant, depending on which deck and correlation the artists have used).

To say that "Strength is Leo, Justice Libra" is certainly in line with Golden Dawn... but is not universal... nor do I think it is intrinsic to either card.

When I mentioned that the number eight was associated with Justice, this is, in my opinion, an added bonus of discovery for this association. To make it worthwhile, one should now investigate why this may have been so (and here one gets into other areas not really relevant to this thread).

For the Hebrew Kabbalists, 'eight', in itself, is not 'splendor'... but the eighth Sephiroth on the tree is. 'Eight' is also the letter 'CHeth' (which, by the way, is, in the Sefer Yetzirah, associated with Cancer!)

'Eight', in esoteric Christianity, also stands for abundance... linking it to either of these cards will result in a different view as to what abundance signifies!

The number eleven is also sometimes said to be called 'an evil number. It is an omen of defeat or death.' One could here see the Justice card as somehow connected with Osiris and Maat, weighing the heart of the dead... but again, this is imposed, not intrinsic to the card.

That many people use either numbering doesn't alter that the earliest numbering is VIII Justice and XI Strength. I too like the Waite and derived decks (though not my favourite)... I do not think, however revealing and useful the deck may be, that this swap is truly warranted.


There is an earlier thread on this: "Strength vs Justice (positioning)" posted by Joya250 back in October.
This has been a cause of concern for me. I have approached it as DeLani--I follow the numbering according to the particular deck. If that does not seem to work, I focus on the card itself.


Ive been debating this myself, because 11 is my personality card hehe. I seem to change my mind daily on it lol, but my working deck has justice as 11 so im using that for now. Actually, 11 is pretty fitting for me, eternally confused and fickle lol


i always thought that waite made strength 8 because of numerology, it only clicked later on about how waite has also put the majors in astrological order (leo before libra as jmd mentioned)