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Bohemian Gothic-Justice

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Justice Illuminated


I know this is a little late in the post but this is a very enlightening thread.
At work I was faced with this Justice dude. Imagine going to work and having your boss be the Judge, Jury and Executioner all for a bunch of gossips?
This boss is very into Justice, he likes going to court to watch trials as a spectator. The only thing is - what is Justice? What is Truth? At the end of the day who decides what is Just and Fair? Justice is supposed to be impartial, and if someone is holding a smoking gun and a "good" person has been killed Justice is nice and clean and we can feel good about it.
Now think about the Witches who were tried, convicted and burned to death because of what a bunch of gossips said. Think about the McCarthy era and the "witch hunts" that happened in the name of Truth and Justice. In the RWS deck we have a smug, clean cut version of Justice. With the Bohemian Gothic Deck there is a more "truthful" Justice that explores the idea of Justice as a value judgment concept. The Judge dude holding the book doesn't look very happy about being "Just" and I like to think that the figure behind him is "judging" him and challenging his sense of truth.
The candle he holds is a pale light compared to the broad light of day, he holds a red book and in the background there is the glow of red - red being the colour of passion and impetuous decisions rather than the cool blue of impartial decisions.
Very cool card indeed!
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eyes


I'm wondering if my card is different for some strange reason, but the Judge's left eye is brown and his right eye is green in mine. I've been trying to understand that, but I can't come up with a conclusion. Any ideas?
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JennyFunk
I'm wondering if my card is different for some strange reason, but the Judge's left eye is brown and his right eye is green in mine. I've been trying to understand that, but I can't come up with a conclusion. Any ideas?
I don't think there's anything strange with your card. I just think that most of us don't have your good eyesight. Really, these cards have astonishing details that just add more and more layers.

I'd say that the card is indicating not only that question in Justice of balance--is this man balanced?--but also hinting that he may be the one who has the demon in him, not the witches he's burning.
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Reading upthread that the figure in the background may be a witch passing her own kind of judgement on the foreground figure, I was reminded of one of my favourite quatrains from Omar Khayyam's Rubaiyat:

Shouted at a whore a raucous mullah:
'Drunkard, faithless, a menace you are.'
She replied: 'My lord, I am all you say,
But are you truly all you say you are?'

Which is to say, the card could be a reminder to those who are wanting to dispense justice, to ask themselves who they are that they should do so? The book tucked under the judge's arm purports to define evil and how it should be treated, and that is how some people get when they get judgemental: dreadfully certain. Particularly about things like where is the dividing line between good and evil, and what side of the line they stand on, and what that gives them the right to do other people.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jamil
the card could be a reminder to those who are wanting to dispense justice, to ask themselves who they are that they should do so?
Thats how I feel, totally. This card is a bit scary, well not too scary, but it jostles me, makes me do a double take each time i see it. His eyes, he looks hardened, like Jamil stated, "dreadfully certain." How people can become so narrowed in their opinions. Creepy Crawlies!
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jamil
Reading upthread that the figure in the background may be a witch passing her own kind of judgement on the foreground figure, I was reminded of one of my favourite quatrains from Omar Khayyam's Rubaiyat:

Shouted at a whore a raucous mullah:
'Drunkard, faithless, a menace you are.'
She replied: 'My lord, I am all you say,
But are you truly all you say you are?'

Which is to say, the card could be a reminder to those who are wanting to dispense justice, to ask themselves who they are that they should do so?
Thank you Jamil for helping me to see how judgmental I was getting about Justice.
Also - the Judge does have one blue and one brown eye. Another comment on how one "views" Justice perhaps!
In the intervening weeks since I first posted on this someone told me something very interesting, "Truth is something that two people agree to, at any time". Very cool. So - do you think both figures in this card agree on what Truth and Justice are?
Also, if you are alone in the forest and there is no one around to confirm it does truth exist?
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Okay, for argument's sake and to give the judge some credit, let's try on this interpretation:

The book is the set of laws he has been given to work with. The figure in the background is his conscience: his awareness of the consequences of a wrongful conviction, whether torture for the accused, or hellfire for himself. It might be an actual ghost, or just a thought projection. (Marley's ghost, if you will.) The judge's differently coloured eyes represent the different angles he has to look at each case from: he must weigh the law against his conscience, and vice versa. An honest judge in the days of the inquisition must have undergone spiritual torture, himself, with every case brought before him.

I don't know what weight to give the right and left hand functions: the left hand is the hand of receiving, and he has been given the book, but the right hand is the hand of action, and holds the small, hopeful spark of illumination that someone mentioned. Or, is he holding the book to his heart, and is he about to set fire to something with the candle in his fist? I prefer the first choice, as it speaks more to the complexity of justice.

I like the ambiguity in this card. It's what real judges have to thread their way through every day, I imagine. And I love this deck. It makes me work, squeezing ever clearer, tastier juice out of the cards!
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Quote:
Originally Posted by swimming in tarot
An honest judge in the days of the inquisition must have undergone spiritual torture, himself, with every case brought before him.
Maybe we're being too harsh on the guy...but the way he holds that book like a shield really works against giving him the benefit of the doubt. It's like he's going to use it to counter any plea for mercy or reason. Likewise, he angles the candle like a sword, ready to stab it into the wood under the next "witch's" feet and set her ablaze. He doesn't look reluctant to face another trail; rather, he seems quite ready for it.

Even the wig comes across as a helmet, making him a knight on a mission, rather than someone seeking to be fair and balanced.

What turns this card around for me is what Karen, one of the card creators, said about her partner Alex putting in that other figure to stand as the spirit of the witch. The judge is walking away from whatever that spirit represents, including truth, conscience or wisdom. And in doing so, he seals his own case. Balance will be restored, if not naturally, then supernaturally. Very apt for this deck.
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This is a really confusing card for me, too. I see I'm in good company on that...
I'm connecting the red glow at the end of the passage as the remains of a which burning which the Judge has presided at. He's going now to question (or judge?) another suspect. He has to believe he's doing the right thing or he couldn't live with himself, so he clutches the Book to him. It contains "higher authority", and keeps his conscience clean. His eyes are 2 colors because his mind is of 2 opinions. He keeps the balance, and fears too much information.
Not to get all pedantic, (AND IF I GET ANY FACTS WRONG, SOMEBODY PLEASE CORRECT ME) but one of the interesting features of the medieval mind was their view of this world being a place of hardship, in order to gain joy and salvation in heaven. Or even admittance. It was all very literal and real to them. So, in that context the witch hunts were useful in 2 ways. It answered that question "If God is good and all powerful and loves us, why are there so many evil things in the world? Why does he allow it?" Well, he doesn't really, the witches did it and God and the Devil may have a bet riding on it. They certainly have a rivalry going, and you'd better be on God's side, as defined by The Church. Of course, to make things a bit more complicated, there was the entire question about free will or fate --but at this time the Catholic Church was into Free Will.

The only thing a human had that was of any real value was his immortal soul. To save the soul of an accused witch they had to confess and be shriven and then punished for their great crimes and human weaknesses. (Waterboarding, anyone?) They had to be tortured to get at the truth, because otherwise they wold just lie and deny and promptly go to hell to be perhaps some sort of minor demon, at best. (A Trusty?) Doubly Dammed.
So the church was doing this For Their Own Good. But the Church did not execute them, that was for the secular authorities to do. The church didn't want the blood on their hands.
Hence the conflicted judge, and the figure behind him, who I take to be an Inquisitor, or Witch Catcher. He looks too puny to be the Executioner. The witch catchers were not necessarily honest, and were paid per caught head. One of the tests of a witch was to feel no pain when stuck with a needle or pin (bodkin). Many of the witch catchers had "bodkins" that went back into the handle and so did not actually stick the presumed witch. There ya go, proof!
So we have a Judge who is doing his defined job, and may suspicious or conflicted about the Justice involved. But if he goes against it, he has everything to lose, including possibly his life. So. Justice... Justice is defined by The Law...and he has to trust that the Law is somehow Just...and even now Judges and Lawyers don't claim that Justice necessarily prevails...they claim the Law prevails.
So I don't know where I am with this card. Perplexed. But I am astonished at how much it--and it's deck--makes me think! No quickie keywords here!
And if anyone has read this post this far, thanks for sticking with me while I come to no real conclusion.
Except, maybe, that Justice is in the conscience of the beholder?
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Quote:
Originally Posted by magpie9
I'm connecting the red glow at the end of the passage as the remains of a which burning which the Judge has presided at. He's going now to question (or judge?) another suspect. He has to believe he's doing the right thing or he couldn't live with himself, so he clutches the Book to him. It contains "higher authority", and keeps his conscience clean. His eyes are 2 colors because his mind is of 2 opinions. He keeps the balance, and fears too much information.
Nice interpretation! I like.


Quote:
the figure behind him, who I take to be an Inquisitor, or Witch Catcher.
Actually, if you re-read the thread, you'll see that the deck creators meant that other person to be the "spirit of the witch." To quote: "Alex added that figure in the background which can be read as the spirit of a "witch" come back to haunt that smug judge. I certainly don't think that figure means him well. There is an element of retribution or karma implied."

Which is why that extra figure makes the card work for me. It tells us that our earthly judgements (and judges) may be flawed, biased, misinformed or whatever--but Justice, the idea of it, the spiritual truth of it, will make itself known. This is especially ironic given what you pointed out about the witch burners. They arrogantly thought they were saving people's souls, but the judge has lost his own soul in doing this; in an effort to save people from selling their souls, he has sold his, and sooner or later, he's going to have to pay up. Justice demands it.
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