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Bohemian Gothic-Justice

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Bohemian Gothic-Justice


I'm having real trouble with this card. I know the deck is meant to be scary, as well as blackly humorous, and I know that the deck is meant to show, often, the shadow side of the usual meanings. Still, what I love about these cards is that they often illuminate the original meaning of the card rather than just focusing on its shadow meaning.

But I'm not finding the true meaning of Justice in this Justice card. It seems to be the most cynical, ironic and unrelentingly pessimistic card in the deck. We have the epitome of a heartless judge (at least he looks heartless), dressed up in the trappings of the highest authority (aka, wearing his wig and robes), carrying a book used to convince officials and judges not only of the existence of witches, but how to discover them and execute them. This is a book justifying the worst sort of persecution and injustice. It turns this Judge into a criminal and murderer.

As a really black bit of humor, he's carrying a candle as if it's a torch he might use to burn those witches...though he'd probably just use it to help him read that book. In the background is a pale, robed figure. Is this someone who turned the Justice into a witch-hunter and is now looking on satisfied? Or is it a devil in human guise who is satisfied that it's influence has turned a potentially fair and objective man unfair and subjective? It's telling that behind this figure is the glow of a fire.

Justice is certainly something that can very quickly be corrupted and turned wicked by all kinds of human weaknesses and temptations. By our own prejudices, our greed or pride, our fears and needs. Anything can make the man wearing the wig into tyrant, dispensing justice as he/she sees fit rather than according to the law or what is right and fair.

The other cards in the deck, however, do not seem nearly so pessimistic as this one does to me. This card seems to be ironically labeled "Justice" with it's meaning being "INjustice" and no hope in sight for a fair trial. Am I reading this right? Do the deck creators believe that there can be no such thing as real Justice? Or is there a way to bring the card back into the scope of what the Justice card usually means--this being a balance rather that imbalance? Even if the Judge is, in the context of this deck, right to believe in witches, that particular book is still bound to lead him to burn the innocent rather than the guilty. Is there any balance to be found in this very unbalanced card?
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Sometimes just is not fair...
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sar
Sometimes just is not fair...
I didn't say it was fair. I said it wasn't Justice. Killing someone for a crime they didn't commit is not justice. And what I'm asking is if this card has in it any element of the true meaning of Justice, or if it's totally canted toward "Injustice."
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Well yes, I would say that this is a very dark card. But, you know, the people who conducted the witch trials probably did think they were being just. At least some of them probably genuinely believed in witchcraft in a negative sense. At the time when I designed this card (and the concept is mine, although Alex added the figure in the background) I was thinking very much about how messed up the world is right now by so many conflicting ideas of entitlement and justice. So many people thinking they are right - and it's just - to commit acts of terrorism or violence or torture.

So yes, it's a serious card that asks us to think about whether we are really right in our views of "justice". At the same time, to lighten the card a little (hmm no "lighten" is the wrong word - to give another viewpoint or way to read), 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.

On a personal note, I suppose I feel close to the whole notion of witchcraft and I very much empathise with those who were persecuted. As a friend of mine used to say, "If you and I lived in those times we would be the first to the stake."
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Just to add. I think that this deck began as something very, very dark indeed and then as we went along, our natural humour sort of showed itself - Alex and I are both a bit incurably optimistic. So some cards are definitely more "black" than others. But then again, the Gothic is like that - some of M.R. James' stories (and those of Poe in a sense) have a strong black humour, while others are much more solidly dark, gloomy and even horrific.

By the way, I would say that our Knight of Swords is also particularly dark. He is influenced by the fact that we do live almost right under the Castle here, which although it does not have a particularly horrid history by medieval castle standards, has certainly seen its share of nastiness. I don't think he has a redeeming side.
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Justice Bohemian Gothic


I was doing a tarot reading on Samhein or Halloween for a wiccan high priestess. She was throwing a witches ball. The "subject"was Queen of Wands (her) and the next card that came up for "what is known "was the Justice card. We were so blown away because there was an incident with a radio station that had ripped her off for advertising of the event. It was of course religious persecution and thats how I read it.

I also see the person in the background as a priest who may be pressuring the judge to do what he says. It is possible that the judge could have mercy on someone despite pressure from the religous people who during this period preyed on well of women with land to increase their riches.
With this judge though, it looks like your chances are pretty slim.
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Justice Bohemian Gothic


Oops! After I posted the last post, wondered if it was a breach of confidentiallity. I was sort of excited to post it because it showed themeaning can show up exactly as it is on the card. Okay or no?
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I think that's hard to answer without knowing your relationship with the woman you read for. I tend to be cautious about saying anything much about readings I've done, but when I know for sure the querent wouldn't mind, then it can be different.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by baba-prague
So yes, it's a serious card that asks us to think about whether we are really right in our views of "justice". At the same time, to lighten the card a little (hmm no "lighten" is the wrong word - to give another viewpoint or way to read), 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.
Thank you SO MUCH for posting this. It did what I hoped this thread would do and altered my perspective on the card. Please let Alex know that I think he did the right thing with that figure in the background. It didn't occur to me that it might be the spirit of a "witch."

Now that that idea is in my mind, the card is...well, marvelous! As I said, I'm finding this deck to be rather like the negative space that illuminates the meaning of the cards in amazing ways--the dark night on which a star shines, the black velvet on which a diamond sparkles.

The idea of the witch in the background suggests to me the Judge being Judged, the man who puts on the wig and reads the law books and thinks of himself as "Justice" not being the true spirit of "Justice." This makes the card very powerful and emphasizes that the spirit of Justice will come through over those who try to impose their own bigoted and bias definitions on it.

Thank you so much for not only creating such an astonishing deck, but also for taking part in these discussions on it. I know it must seem like your creation has come to life and is walking around on its own, but you really created magic with it. And I'm finding it to be one of the best reading decks I've ever used.
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You know I have looked at this Justice card and I find it brings to our attention the choices we make and whether we are looking at these choices or even ourselves in an objective way.

When you see this Judge holding this book, Malleus Maleficarum ('The Hammer of the Witches") which was a written work on how to identify, try and convict witches - 1487 - I think we may all come to the same conclusion of it not being very just,. Maybe this Justice is also saying that life is not always hunky dory and presents us with problems, and commitments that perhaps we are bound to and that any inability to accept this, the more emotionally distressing our confrontation with Justice may well be.

You know the candle he is holding could well symbolise just that small flicker of illumination it could well mean that perhaps this Justice is now aware that he must be ready to critically examine himself and his motives in order to see whether or not they way he is functioning has curtailed his inner progress.

Again he may be asking if you are able to be objective enough with yourself in order to reach a fair and just conclusion.

~HoneyBea~
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