Digging into Justice
Justice is one of those cards in the tarot which I love to hate. While we have an innate idea of what justice is, at the same time it can be elusive and vague. As I begin the process of writing a new book, Justice had to be the first card I started to write about.
What is the connection between Justice and the Wheel of Fortune? Inside the Major Arcana, we see a repeating theme of certain pairings of cards, which balance each other or reflect a relationship of opposition. Justice is paired with The Wheel of Fortune, because both cards deal with cause and effect. The Wheel of Fortune dealt with cause and effect in a cyclical fashion, while Justice corresponds with it in a more direct linear way. Justice balances the Wheel of Fortune as a cosmic system of check and balance. The main balancing factor going on is from the control of Fortuna erratically spinning her wheeling, dealing good luck or bad on a system based on worthiness and fairness. The Wheel was unfair with the way it gave its “verdicts”. Justice, meanwhile, is fair. It looks at the facts before issuing a verdict. — Tarot: Unlocking the Arcana
My approach in this potential new book is to dig deep into the knowledge of Greek wisdom from antiquity. I’ve spent a lot of time studying history in my master’s program and through the years of personal engagement, it is time to put down on ink and paper new reflections.
Justice must be your companion. Violators of Justice’s way will inevitably be broken by her weight. Justice loves fairness and seeks to harmonize; to balance. How do we determine what is fair; what does harmony look like? Understanding the nature of Justice, we need to examine the word itself. The English word Justice comes from the Latin iustitia (fairness, equity) and iustus (lawful, Just). In Greek, Justice is dike, δίκη. Dike has many connotations. It can mean or refer to order, right, judgement, lawsuit, trial, and consequence of an action. In Homer, Justice means something along the lines of “proper procedure,” that which is right as opposed to that which is forced.
We can know what is just by knowing what is injust. There are two forms that is found in Herodotus: pleonexia, or receiving of more than one’s fair share, and anomia, not following proper procedure. An unjust person according to Aristotle, is someone who commits an unjust act knowingly.
Reflect for a moment on pleonexia, the receiving of more than one’s fair share. What do you think this means? In context of Aristotle, unjust actions of this sort correspond to someone who assigns to themselves too much good and too little evil. An example of this would be an unjust ruler who profits from their office. The just ruler seeks not to obtain more than what is appropriate and works for the benefit of others, as Aristotle says “justice is the good of other.”