History and Iconography
In the earliest known list of the Trumps (Sermones de Ludo Cum Aliis), this card is called La Iusticia (Justice). It is one of the three cards that represent the cardinal virtues in the Tarot (the others being Strength and Temperance) – the fourth cardinal virtue, Prudence or Wisdom, is strangely absent.
In the Visconti-Sforza Tarot, the card shows the familiar image of a woman holding a sword and a pair of scales, modelled after the Roman goddess Justitia and the Greek goddess Themis. She wears a golden crown and on the wall above her is a harnessed knight who has his sword drawn and rides a galloping horse, delivering justice to the world.
Only a small part of the card that probably represents Justice is visible on the Cary Sheet: we can just make out the base of a throne and the bottom part of what is most likely a sword. On the Rosenwald Sheet, Justice is again depicted as a woman with sword and scales. Like the other cardinal virtues Strength and Temperance, she is marked by a sort of polygonal halo around her head.
In the Tarot de Marseille, the card is called La Justice (Justice). Once again, she is shown seated and grasping a sword, which she holds perfectly straight, and a pair of scales, who actually seem to be a bit out of balance. She appears to be wearing a cord or a heavy necklace around her neck, which in some decks is actually a braid of her hair. In decks such as the Noblet, her stylised throne makes her seem winged.
There really does seem to be a lot of agreement about the representation of this card, because in the Waite-Colman Smith deck too, this card is portrayed as a stately, crowned woman with a sword in her right hand and a pair of scales in her left. Like the High Priestess, she is now seated on a throne between two pillars with a veil hanging in between.
Suggested Divinatory Meanings
Naturally, this card stands for fairness, impartiality, balance and legal issues. Justice serves as a reminder that every action has its consequences, and signifies responsibilities and difficult choices. You may find yourself trying to do the right thing, holding on to what you believe in or having to face the truth.
These are not accepted outside of those who follow such attributions
Golden Dawn oriented (and derivatives)
Numeral : VIII; 8
(though note that many 20th century decks have adopted the GD-numbering, exchanging trump 11 with 8)
(Note : These correspondences are specific to Justice as Tarot trump 11. That is, they may not be appropriate for decks which place Justice as 8.)
In other languages
- Dutch: Gerechtigheid
- French: La Justice
- German: Die Gerechtigkeit
- Hungarian: Igazság
- Italian: La Giustizia
- Portuguese: A Justiça
- Spanish: La Justicia