card meanings & reading









The Meaning of the Justice
Major Arcana Tarot Card in Readings

The Tarot Justice card meaning in a nutshell:
Justice without blindfold
is not always fair.

Judge - the rule of law.

       The Justice of the Tarot is not blind. There's the sword representing the sharp firmness of the law, and the scales by which to judge the actions of men, as carried by every image of Justitia. But the Tarot Justice has no blindfold, the guarantee that all people are treated as equals before the law. Unfortunately, that has often proven to be closer to the truth about justice.

       The blindfold on the personification of justice appeared at the end of the 15th century, as on the 1543 statue by Hans Gieng below, which may be the first known representation of blindfolded justice:

Justitia. Statue by Hans Gieng 1543.
Justitia. Statue in Bern by Hans Gieng, 1543. Justitia was not blindfolded until at the end of the 15th century.

       So, the Tarot Justice card indicates that the system of justice is hazardous even to the innocent. You need not only to obey the law, but give the impression of doing so. That's not always easy. How can you prove that you are a law-abiding citizen? A basic principle of justice is that we are innocent until proven guilty, but in reality it has happened far too often through history that we've been regarded as guilty until we were able to prove our innocence - beyond any reasonable doubt.

       The Tarot Justice card, then, refers to the judgmental attitude - the one expecting and seeing faults in others and not in a hurry to reconsider or forgive. But if you stand the test, you are acquitted, most definitely, and everything will be fine. You may even receive respect.

       Notice also that on the Tarot Justice card image, the sword is held high, as if to strike, whereas the scales are held low. That's an indication of values between them in the mind of this figure of justice: Fairness in trial is of less importance than the order imposed by the might of the law. So, beware of justice in the shape suggested by this Tarot card.

       Even if you come out of it free of any accusations, you can't be sure that it's because of justice being done or just because you pleased the court. That's a victory with a bitter taste to it and a remaining sense of uncertainty.

       The other great uncertainty with justice, implied by the Tarot Justice card, is the elusive nature of truth. As Pilate asked rhetorically: What is truth? We are rarely sure of having found it, extremely rarely all of it and nothing but it. So, who can judge, really?

       Still, Justice on the picture of this Tarot card shows no hint of humility or hesitation. Not much benefit of a doubt is to be expected. A person with this characteristic needs to learn moderation and consideration. We all err. That goes for judges, too.

       Compare the other Tarot card about justice: Judgement.

A. E. Waite about the Tarot Justice Card

Click the header to read what A. E. Waite had to say about the Major Arcana Justice Tarot card symbolism and meaning in divination.

The Major Arcana Tarot Cards

  1. The Magician

  2. The High Priestess

  3. The Empress

  4. The Emperor

  5. The Hierophant

  6. The Lovers

  7. The Chariot

  8. Strength

  9. The Hermit

  10. Wheel of Fortune

  11. Justice

  12. The Hanged Man

  13. Death

  14. Temperance

  15. The Devil

  16. The Tower

  17. The Star

  18. The Moon

  19. The Sun

  20. Judgement

  21. The World

  22. The Fool

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Creation stories from around the world, and the ancient cosmology they reveal.

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I'm a Swedish author. In addition to fiction, I've written books about the Tarot, Taoism, astrology and other metaphysical traditions. I'm also an historian of ideas, researching ancient mythology. Click the image to get to my personal website.