Justice - Het
Seated atop her throne of reason, Virgo calmly holds the scales of Libra in her left hand of emotional intelligence. The sword of truth is now held strongly in the ever-solid grip of her firm right hand of reason and logic. Virgo is the symbol of the most perfected essence of Sol. She represents the most pure form of balance necessary to allow a higher state of human evolution.
The name of the eighth character of the ancient alphabet is linked to the eighth hieroglyphic symbol of the Tarot. The original design of this character (pre-1200 B.C.) looks like this...
The eighth letter of the ancient alphabet–the forerunner of the modern letter H–is represented in the ancient texts by the word חית that is formed from the biliteral root composed of Het/H and Tav/T. This root means “heat.” The etymological relationship is abundantly clear.
The Virgin Goddess of the Tarot de Marseilles
This image of Virgo-Astraea features an individual wearing a crown and seated on a throne. She is perfectly centered in the image and facing straight forward. This positioning of the central figure of this image reveals the true importance embedded within the symbolism of this Tarot key. There are also direct links to the astrological signs of Virgo and Libra that require an enormous amount of attention.
One of the primary aspects of this central figure in this iconic image is the fact that she wields the scale of Libra in her left hand instead of the royal sceptre of power. This is due to the wisdom and knowledge that this lady possesses. There is no need for the royal authority over her emotions, because she is beyond such a need. Her superior intellectual and creative abilities allow for the precise control of her left-sided beauty in such a manner that she always maintains the perfect balance of emotions that is symbolized by the scales. The sceptre of royalty has been transformed into the scale of balance.
Because the scale is symbolic of justice, it is also the most effective tool used to perfectly balance the emotions, and when any type of action needs to effectively employed against any type of entity that would violate the basic moral fabric of the cosmos, then the active right-handed sword of the chaste lady of divine virtue is sure to strike down any such violation of the natural laws of the universe. The sword is truth.
The truth can never be defeated, ever. Such is the divine power of Astraea. Such is the power of virtue. Such is the power of justice.
The Justice Trump of the Rider-Waite Tarot
The main difference between the Rider-Waite Tarot and almost every version of the Marseilles (other than the position swap with the Strength trump) is the two pillars positioned on either side of the central figure. This difference is described in the accompanying text of the Rider-Waite deck, where A. E. Waite states, “It will be seen, however, that the figure is seated between pillars, like the High Priestess, and on this account it seems desirable to indicate that the moral principle which deals unto every man according to his works – while, of course, it is in strict analogy with higher things; – differs in its essence from the spiritual justice which is involved in the idea of election. The latter belongs to a mysterious order of Providence, in virtue of which it is possible for certain men to conceive the idea of dedication to the highest things. The operation of this is like the breathing of the Spirit where it wills, and we have no canon of criticism or ground of explanation concerning it. It is analogous to the possession of the fairy gifts and the high gifts and the gracious gifts of the poet: we have them or have not, and their presence is as much a mystery as their absence. The law of Justice is not however involved by either alternative. In conclusion, the pillars of Justice open into one world and the pillars of the High Priestess into another.”
Other than stating that the pillars of the Justice trump and the added pillars of Solomon's Temple on the High Priestess trump are different with respect to their basic utility, Waite adds little to the fundamental interpretations that have been typically applied to this image. However, he seems to downplay the importance of this trump in favor of the high priestess and has even moved the trump from what is arguably the most powerful position of the Tarot to the second most powerful position. While there is a certain logic that argues in favor of this switch, it is far more reasonable to leave the original order as it stands unless some hidden agenda or subconscious motive has come into play.
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