Tarot Tuesday: the Meaning of the Justice Card

Justice Tarot Card Meaning

Continuing with our series on the meanings of the Tarot cards, we pick up again this week with the Justice card, representing fairness, justice and cause & effect. 


The Justice card is depicted as both male and female, depending on the deck. If female, she is depicted in a nun’s habit. As male, the Justice card has a masculine face with long, feminine hair, rendering an androgynous quality to this symbol. The dual-sexuality of the Justice card depicts balance and impartiality. We’ll be referring to the figure as female here. 


She sits enthroned between two pillars. Like the two pillars on either side of the High Priestess, the pillars here represent the limitations of physical reality, and the finite differences between right & wrong, good & evil, life & death. She wears a square crown and a square broach clasping her cape together. The square symbolizes laws, systems, structure and order.   


The figure in the Justice card holds an upright sword in her right hand. This sword is the same as the Ace of Swords—one of the court cards of the Minor Arcana. The Ace of Swords represents mental clarity, focus and insight. So the figure for Justice wields the sword of clear, focused thinking. In her left hand, she holds a scale, representing her impartiality, objectivity and balance. The Justice card is ruled by Libra, the sign of the scales and balance. 


When the Justice card appears in readings, it can refer to many things depending on the context. Generally, this card literally refers to justice, fairness and equality in a situation. The Justice card usually appears when the consequences of our actions come home to roost, be they good or bad. The Justice card often signals a time where we will be forced to pay our karmic debts. 


The Justice card can also refer to actual legal situations. The Justice card’s appearance in a reading may indicate that you will have to settle your differences in court, or get lawyers involved.  


The Justice card can more generally refer to balance in all parts of the life. If a negative situation has been corrected, the Justice card may appear to reassure you that you have now achieved balance.  


Justice can be good or bad, depending on what you’re responsible for. The Justice card means that you will get exactly what you deserve. Hard work will pay off, injustices will be settled, or irresponsibility will finally be punished.  


In reverse, the Justice card indicates unfairness, injustice, and a lack of balance or accountability. If you are hoping for someone to get their just desserts and yet the Justice card appears reversed, it’s unlikely that they will be suffering the actions of their consequences any time soon. And when they do, it’s unlikely you’ll be around to witness it. 


The reversed Justice card can also indicate a dishonest individual who is not fair, balanced or objective. They likely have an ulterior motive and you are best to steer clear of such an individual.  


If facing a difficult decision, the Justice card urges you to act decisively after objectively analyzing all of the angles with a clear, focused and impartial mind. You are called to use your best judgment and make a balanced, practical choice with sober analysis, rather than impulsively following your gut or risking a hopelessly ambitious plan. 

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