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TotOP - XI - Justice

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TotOP - XI - Justice


Astrological Influence - Libra
Element - Air
Month - September, October
Contributor - Kim Tracey
Flower - coltsfoot


What a dower man we find on this card! Such a change from the typical female representations of Justice. But how refreshing. When I see Justice, what often springs to mind is the ubiquitous statue of Lady Justice that shows up on all those American court and lawyer shows. While our tarot Lady may not be blind, she certainly looks a lot like her American sister. But this male figure is a nice change. To my mind, he brings more of a British feeling. He brings to mind druids, civilized tribunals, and learned men (as opposed to the money-hungry lawyers the American system brings to mind, thanks to TV).

This is obviously a card corresponding to an air sign, as we can see by the use of yellow and orange in the figure's robe. In one hand he holds a set of scales, the symbol of Libra and of balance. In his other hand he holds the rune teiwaz/tiwaz, looking like an upright arrow. This rune represents responsibility, strength, stability and justice. Very appropriate here. Hanging around the figures waist, on a chain, is a key. Perhaps it is the key to knowledge and justice?

The man stands on a patch of open ground before a large stone wall. The wall seems to suggest stability and tradition. Notice that it is covered with moss. It's obviously been around a while. Growing in the lower left corner of the card is coltsfoot, representing justice. On top of the wall sits a crane. In dream symbolism, a crane with wings spread is a good omen. Perhaps we can take this to mean that justice will be done, that good things will happen.

A stairway is built into and over the wall. It seems to lead into some sort of golden land. Perhaps this is a peaceful place, a land of justice. If you can pass the guardians by proving you are a just and balanced person, then maybe you will be able to gain entrance into this land.
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I think it is difficult to explain what the card Justice means to me. The name itself is an idea that means different things to different people.

Between post the first message and beginning this post, a car accident occurred just down the street. I live near the top of a rather tall apartment building on the corner of two moderately busy streets. Diagonally across the street is a Catholic high school. Many days I've stood at the windows and watched the traffic, and the high school kids run reckless across the street. I see almost one accident a month at our corner, thankfully none have involved any of the kids! Sometimes I wonder if perhaps having the accident was good for the driver. Maybe they will drive safer now, and avoid accidents in the future. Justice has found them. But, that isn't really right. There is another party that has been served unjustly - either the innocent driver they hit, the family that must suffer through helping them recover, the police who must clean up the scene, etc.

Justice is about more then getting what is coming to you. It is a balance, it is fairness, it is order. It is recognising and avoid temptation, and not taking unfair advantage of situations. You may be 10 minutes late for a meeting, but by speeding and driving recklessly you are doing yourself no favours. Justice is examining the situation and making the appropriate decision based on what you know to be right.


The police have been at the scene for a while now. Luckily enough, one was quite nearby when the accident happened. No one appears to be badly hurt, and even the cars are in reasonable shape.
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[b]A Celtic Dreamscape[b/]

This is such a beautiful card. A mysterious card posing many questions. It is certainly a worthy addition to the many depictions of Justice throughout Tarot tradition.

What immediately strikes me once again is the landscape in which the man stands. I keep referring back to the feeling of continuity I get when looking through this deck. I imagine the landscape depicted in these cards to be a real Kingdom, and the various characters depicted: its real inhabitants. I can truly imagine the Kingdom residing upon a cluster of islands off the coast of Scotland or Ireland, in the late medieval period, totally independent of the mainland; a Celtic/Pagan community living together. I actually imagine four islands in a circle with a fifth residing in the middle. Each of the four islands represents one of the suits, and are lead by the families depicted in the court cards. The Emperor and Empress reside upon central island ruling the whole Kingdom. I sometimes like to think of the fifth island as physical, and sometimes as metaphorical of what the other islands strive to be.

Admittedly it is a romantic idea of something that never truly was. In her book ‘The Forest of Souls”, Rachel Pollack notes the way we mystical types so often like to believe in “a primitive age where people knew spiritual truth and lived in perfect peace”. Such myths began with the Garden of Eden and continue throughout history, Atlantis, various Arthurian Legends, Egyptian, Peruvian, Celtic and Pagan myths to name but a few. While no such age of true enlightenment ever existed in any society, as far as proven history can show, most of these myths stem from periods that show evidence of rare insight and awareness amongst their people, the magnificent temples of Peru, and the mysterious Celtic stone circles, dotted throughout the British Isles, form two of my favorites.

The Old Path Deck, shows a Celtic Paradise, which, although mythical, but draws upon knowledge, rituals, beliefs, and lifestyles that did exist throughout various Celtic ages and traditions, and defines a Kingdom that the most enlightened of those periods would have striven for.

But I digress from the card itself. The man in the card, the figure of justice, reminds me of The Wise One (Hermit). He is another of the whimsical figures that can be seen watching over this Kingdom. The Castle we see in the background suggests to me yet another view of the Emperor’s castle that we have already seen in the Emperor card and the Wheel of Fortune (we possibly see it again in the Four of Rods and the Ace of Pentacles, although maybe these castles belong to the Kings of their respective suits). I imagine the figure to be standing in a rarely used, perhaps forgotten, area of the Emperor’s grounds. This idea works if indeed the Emperor’s island is a physical place, but were the fifth island of my imagining a metaphorical place, then it may indeed be heaven, which would fit with the highly attractive suggestion that Silverlotus makes that the stairway leads to Heaven, making the Emperor and Empress the God and Goddess that the people of the islands worship.


I know, as a thread, this one has been a little abstract, but I find myself entering a fictitious world whenever I study this deck and this has somehow evolved into the idea I have described above. I do not do this with any other deck, but I find myself doing it with this one. I think it is because it takes everything beautiful that we see and read of in Celtic Legends, and the magical feelings that still reverberate in certain villages, islands and landscapes that still exist in Scotland and Ireland (especially the further South West you go). I just see this deck as embracing all that these places could be.

Please forgive me if what I have described while exploring this card seems wholly irrelevant; I don’t mean to impose my ramblings, and quite understand if they fail to strike a cord.
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[b]Deserving what is right[b/]

When this comes up in a spread for me, I immediately worry and think “oh no, what am I going to be punished for now?”. Perhaps not quite the right reaction but the card does rather bring this feeling with it sometimes, and undoubtedly a lot of the time it may be signaling that it is our turn to repay a debt, or even feel what we caused another to feel at some point in our lives. Sometimes it seems though that we suffer things that we have never inflicted on others and the balance or karmic influence is not always clear. Perhaps The Guide (Temperance), could shed a little light on the reason for this.

I like to see this card as reminding us how important it is to fight for justice. Justice does not just mean punishing one for what the other has suffered. True justice means ending, or preventing, the suffering of those who do not deserve it. There are so many people suffering in the world who cannot help themselves; they do not deserve what they suffer and freeing them is the justice that they deserve. Some of the best fictional characters are those that eagerly fight for justice above all else. I have two personal favorites but I am not going to disclose them.

Sometimes authorities, religions, lifestyles, governments etcetera, allow us to think that there is nothing we can do for those less fortunate than ourselves, or those who are suffering, or being dictated to or oppressed. But that is what so many institutions would have us believe so that we do not fight for justice. But this is wrong. There are bad things in the world and we should fight them.

Having yet again succumb to abstract thoughts that poor into my head with this deck, I want to draw this thread back to the card’s place in the deck by quoting from Kay Steventon’s book on The Spiral Tarot:

“The major lesson Justice offers is to accept the judgment as a result of decisions we make; we cannot get it right every time. This is the first step towards balancing the different parts of ourselves, the good and the bad. The Wheel of Fortune marks the middle of our journey. Some of us stay on the treadmill forever; some retreat, with fear as the prime culprit. It’s easy to understand those of us who stay where we are because the path is easier and far more comfortable. However, after Justice and acceptance of our karmic debt, we come to meet The Hanged Man…”

Kay Steventon, The Journey of The Spiral Tarot (1998)
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Kingdoms on a series of island really does strike a cord with me. I have a few ideas turning in my head right now. Thank you.
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Two Wands -- Your Kingdom story is valuable and helps the deck come alive. It helps to tie together the relationships. I plan to start using it and see where it leads me -- thanks.

I've seen this sort of storytelling done once before with the Tarot of Secrets. I'm not at all equating the two decks, but you could look there for a similar application of (well applied) imagination.

Thanks,
Zagone

(Zagone who periodically picks up his Old Path deck, shakes his head at why he stopped, and vows once again to keep working through the cards. This discussion IS appreciated!)
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Re-reading this thread and a thought on the key popped into my head - this could be the key that open's the castle's door.

I didn't know this was a crane standing atop the wall, thought it was a swan. With it being such a dark colour and obscuring the sun's rays, it always makes me think of someone's inner fears blocking out hope and clarity.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Silverlotus
Growing in the lower left corner of the card is coltsfoot, representing justice. On top of the wall sits a crane. In dream symbolism, a crane with wings spread is a good omen. Perhaps we can take this to mean that justice will be done, that good things will happen.

A stairway is built into and over the wall. It seems to lead into some sort of golden land. Perhaps this is a peaceful place, a land of justice. If you can pass the guardians by proving you are a just and balanced person, then maybe you will be able to gain entrance into this land.
I was wondering what that bird was all about, thank you. Your analysis of the stairway, etc. brings to mind the religious aspect of this card.
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