Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Carpe Diem #197, Justice (XI) Tarot

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

As you maybe have seen earlier today I have introduced a new feature on Carpe Diem. I have called it Carpe Diem's Oasis and as the name already says it's a place to be alone with your thoughts writing and composing haiku, senryu, tanka, kyoka, haibun and haiga, without a given prompt. Just a space to create your haiku which you already would have been sharing if there was a prompt for it. Now there is a place to share that haiku, without a given prompt, so without boundaries, just a place full of freedom where you can share (maybe, or not) your deeper thoughts which inspire you.

Back to our topic for today. I have drawn the card Justice (XI) from our divine Tarot and we go on with our journey, our quest to see the all positive (and Christian) meaning of Tarot. Today I will use a different approach, I will look from another angle to this card., but first I will share this card from the RW-Tarot-deck with you all.

In other decks than the RW-Tarot-deck Justice comes as the card numbered with VIII, which we have seen as Strength (VIII) earlier in this month. In those decks Strength comes as XI, but on this moment that's not so important to know, because I use the RW-Tarot-deck and in that deck it's numbered XI.

Lady Justice
blind folded she stands strong
weighing her thoughts

As I first saw this card I thought of Lady Justice. The personification of justice balancing the scales of truth and fairness  dates back to the Goddess Maat, and later Isis, of ancient Egypt. The Hellenic deities Themis and Dike were later goddesses of justice. Themis was the embodiment of divine order, law, and custom, in her aspect as the personification of the divine rightness of law.
Ancient Rome adopted the image of a female goddess of justice, which it called Justitia. Since Roman times, Justitia has frequently been depicted carrying scales and a sword, and wearing a blindfold. Her modern iconography frequently adorns courthouses and courtrooms.
Lady Justice is most often depicted with a set of scales typically suspended from her right hand, upon which she measures the strengths of a case's support and opposition. She is also often seen carrying a double-edged sword in her left hand, symbolizing the power of Reason and Justice, which may be wielded either for or against any party. This idea is also meant through the blindfold she wears.

As we look closer to Justice (XI) we see a male who is holding a double-edged sword in his right hand and a scale in his left hand. He wears a three-pointed crown. He sits on his throne between two pillars and wears a red gown, which stands for fire and action, the passionate love for doing justice.

King Solomon
rightful judge in God's presence -
a child is saved

What does the card of Justice (XI) tell me? What can I learn from it to fulfil my quest for the Divine meaning of Tarot? I think a lot.
Without justice our world should be in chaos (as it maybe is already through corruption and so on), but the judge sitting on his throne, holding his double-edged sword and his scales rules with hard hand, but to rule without overruling he needs the guidance of God. That guidance is shown in the sword pointing upwards to Heavens and the scales pointing downwards to Earth. It's the same image we saw in other Tarot-cards such as The Hierophant. The positions of the hands, in this card the sword and scales holding, means that the judge prays for knowledge to do the right justice.

Jachin and Boaz, Law and Liberty, the two pillars in front of King Solomon's Temple

The pillars, Jachin and Boaz (Law and Liberty) stood also in front of King Solomon's Temple and we saw them earlier in The Highpriestess (II) and The Hierophant (V). These pillars stand for Justice. Justice is based on the Law and will set you free, give you your Liberty through praying and fairness of God the Father. 
The Holy Trinity, God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit, is depicted in the crown the male wears and with that crown we are in the Higher Spheres of the Tree of Life, the Kabbalastic glyph. Justice is part of the first triade, but it also is part of Malkuth, Earth, the tenth sephira on the Tree of Life. So Justice has influence on everything, from Heaven to Earth all what's in between.

justice done
through saying the prayers
God have mercy

Let us dive a bit deeper in the Justice-card. The pillars on both sides of the throne are pointing to the Wisdom of King Solomon. King Solomon was a good and fair judge and his judgements were all righteous. One of his judgements we can find in the First Book of Kings chapter 3 verses 16-28. I will reproduce that text hereafter. It's in the New International Version (NIV).

King Solomon's Judgement (1 Kings 3: 16-28 NIV)
Fresco in the rectory of the Pilgrimage Church of Frauenberg (Austria)

A Wise Ruling

16 Now two prostitutes came to the king and stood before him. 17 One of them said, “Pardon me, my lord. This woman and I live in the same house, and I had a baby while she was there with me. 18 The third day after my child was born, this woman also had a baby. We were alone; there was no one in the house but the two of us.
19 “During the night this woman’s son died because she lay on him. 20 So she got up in the middle of the night and took my son from my side while I your servant was asleep. She put him by her breast and put her dead son by my breast. 21 The next morning, I got up to nurse my son—and he was dead! But when I looked at him closely in the morning light, I saw that it wasn’t the son I had borne.”
22 The other woman said, “No! The living one is my son; the dead one is yours.”But the first one insisted, “No! The dead one is yours; the living one is mine.” And so they argued before the king.
23 The king said, “This one says, ‘My son is alive and your son is dead,’ while that one says, ‘No! Your son is dead and mine is alive.’”
24 Then the king said, “Bring me a sword.” So they brought a sword for the king. 25 He then gave an order: “Cut the living child in two and give half to one and half to the other.”
26 The woman whose son was alive was deeply moved out of love for her son and said to the king, “Please, my lord, give her the living baby! Don’t kill him!”
But the other said, “Neither I nor you shall have him. Cut him in two!”
27 Then the king gave his ruling: “Give the living baby to the first woman. Do not kill him; she is his mother.”
28 When all Israel heard the verdict the king had given, they held the king in awe, because they saw that he had wisdom from God to administer justice.

So in this RW-Tarot-deck card named Justice (XI) we find also God's Wisdom, and another step forward in our journey ... a little bit closer to the Divine meaning of the Tarot.

I hope you all have enjoyed the read and that it will inspire you all to write and share haiku with Carpe Diem. This prompt will stay on 'til May 17th 11.59 AM (CET) and I will post our new Special episode, a haiku written by Kyoshi Takahama, later on today around 10.00 PM (CET). That Special haiku will be:

haru no yo ya tsukue no ue no hiji-makura

the night of Spring -
an elbow-pillow
on the desk


  1. Ah King Salomo, yes a divine justice it was indeed... My Lady Justice is slightly more bent.

  2. Another well researched and composed journey into Tarot Kristjaan, thank you :)

  3. Love your second and third haiku and the choice of King Solomon Judgement to reinforce the article!

  4. I am catching up ! Love this lesson...learned a lot about the Justice icons... and the Justice tarot card as well.
    Thank you,