Upright – Justice, Fairness, Truth, Law, Order, Cause and effect

Reversed – Unfairness, dishonesty, lack of accountability

Description of Rider-Waite-Smith

In the tarot of the Rider-Waite-Smith justice is no blind maiden but rather an imposing and regal figure bearing a sword in one hand and an equally balanced set of scales in the left. They are judge, jury and executor of any outcome they see fit to dispense. The figure of the judge sits upon a throne before twin grey pillars between which is hanging of rich red, a scene not too dissimilar to that of the Hierophant, but here the figures are on the same level as the reader indicating they are much more concerned with matters of the material world. 

Key Symbols 


Throughout the tarot, the crown is seen as a symbol of authority and in this context, it is the authority to rule in matters of law and justice. This maybe confirming the right and position of the subject to be making decisions but it may also refer to an authority figure dispensing justice according to their right. The blue stones set within the crown over the wearer’s third eye represent the clarity of thought, wisdom and foresight which lies behind any decision made. The blue stone also indicates the ability to see through falsehood to the truth of the matter before them. 


The scales are a long-standing symbol of justice and decision making, harking all the way back to ancient Egypt and the weighing of the heart to decide if the would be allowed to enter the afterlife. The scales remind us that it is important to balance fact against fiction, logic against emotion. The balanced scales also reminds us of the need to take into account all sides of a situation, as well as a need to consider fairness and equality in what we do.

Double-Edged Sword

The sword is often a symbol of authority and the right to rule and in the Justice card confirms the bearers right to make decisions in this matter. The sword has two sharp edges and, just like the scales, it is finely balanced, ready to fall and cut in either direction. This is a reminder that matters if law and justice are made on a fine edge, with little effort Justice can cut both ways, you may benefit from justice or be at its mercy. 

Justice of the Arcana

Arcana JusticeIn the Arcana the Justice card bears the image of a pig which is dressed in robes and wears a little hat which reminds me of the headdresses you see oriental officials wear in old movies about dynastic China and feudal Japan. This observation may be being reinforced in my mind as there is a red sun-like circle hanging behind the head of the central figure. Before the pig are the scales, but unlike the Rider-Waite-Smith the scales are weighted to one side, on the side of the upright heart. This may be taken to indicate an emphasis on good decision making or the importance of fact and logic. The pillars and red hanging are used to but the sword is absent in this representation of Justice. 

VlastomilIn the game, Justice is represented by Praetor Vlastomil, one of the five courtiers who has aligned themselves with Count Lucio and the Devil. He is depicted as an older man dressed in black and it is indicated that he is something more than human. Certainly he has a fixed obsession with worms, having a giant worm for a pet in addition to other eccentricities. He appears a number of times within the various story lines but most notably he serves as the Judge at Julian’s trial during Book XI – Judgement. During the trial he acts in a manner entirely at odds with the positive attributes of the card, showing unbalanced judgement and a willingness to disregard the processes of justice in order to achieve the outcome that best served him.

Author: knotmagick

Weaving Magick and Crochet in the madhouse I call home. I am a devotee of Hekate and a follower of Pan.

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