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Justice is about balance, rational thought, karma, cause, and effect. The Mythic Tarot states that Justice, along with Temperance, Hermit, and Strength are considered part of the 4 moral lessons. My online search found the 4 cardinal virtues are the “bedrock of good character” according to . They are also reflected in Aristotle’s moral framework: prudence, justice, temperance, and courage. Possessing these virtues, Aristotle stated, makes a person good, happy, and flourishing. “The bedrock of good character” enables decision-making with clarity and objectivity, meeting life’s challenges with stability as opposed to responding to our instincts alone. The Light Seers Tarot also speaks on decision making with clarity and balanced thought but adds that we learn from our past experience: it’s balancing the shadow as well as the positivity. In the Raziel Tarot, Rachel Pollack distinguishes between justice in the world, a just society, and spiritual justice, spiritual balance, and honesty within us and in our relationship with the Divine.

Though this card can also mean justice is on our side, successful legal contracts, it is the balance of the shadow and positivity that resonates with me. Justice is the midway point in the major arcana, the first half establishing our values, morals, and the way we negotiate our positions in the world while the second half focuses on our spiritual development. It is, I believe, the first card whose primary message is about balance though the preceding cards also allude to balance along with their other messages.

As a child, I must have said (and felt) “It’s not fair” constantly. Justice was definitely reversed for a very long time as vision issues, being teased and having academic difficulties all added together made for a miserable childhood existence. Everything seemed so difficult, and I was unhappy much of the time. Home life was another assortment of pressure with well-meaning parents who provided for our food, shelter, and protection but were unable to be nurturing or encouraging. My mother panicked and somehow it seemed as though she interpreted my vision issues as a personal attack against her good-enough mothering because to compensate, she took me to every eye doctor imaginable trying to fix the problem. It was more of a catastrophe for her but for me, childhood as a whole made me feel like something was terribly wrong with me.

Whoever said life is short is clearly mistaken because childhood seemed to have lasted forever. I still have the scars located deep within my shadow side. As I established my life and a satisfying lifestyle, I expected the darkness to go away and saw it as a failure whenever it returned. But when I look back at different life events as well as the 10 other tarot cards we studied, I see the darkness differently now. It certainly is unpleasant, but its’ purpose is clearer now. It’s an indicator that I am feeling stuck or trapped and after stewing in misery for a while the discomfort grows into motivation which slowly evolves into a goal that moves me out of the dark and towards balance. These polar opposites are dependent on each other for growth.

When I reached remission the first time, a huge cloud of darkness developed because though I was cancer free, I had great difficulty moving on, establishing new goals and a life purpose. I wanted to be finished with life, but not having a choice in the matter, I realized I needed to accept the darkness and trust that I would find a way out. In addition, at this time my clinical trial pills seem to be having a harder time keeping me in remission and in reviewing the biopsy report with my oncologist, I see that there is a combination of both negative and positive T cells, with the positive cells trying to do its’ job to create balance. Justice is at work within me, trying to balance the shadow with positivity. Recognizing my body’s struggle toward wellness has a positive impact on my emotions and my spirit: I’m more motivated to follow my body’s struggle and work at balancing the emotional turmoil of managing cancer with a life purpose of finding inner peace, using my creativity to establish a satisfying life. I can look at the dark side and be miserable and sometimes I need to do just that, but when I am immersed in sadness, I can also look at it and see it as a clue that something is not working. What is it and what do I do about it?

Working with balance is the task of Justice and I’m discovering that it is not a clear road to the other side. There are detours and obstacles along the way, ebbs, and flows and that is the natural order of life. Osho Zen Tarot calls the 11th card Breakthrough. “Enough is enough” Though their interpretation does not resonate for me, the last statement does: Taking a chance is no guarantee of success but nobody has ever become an individual without facing this danger.