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We have come far on the pathway of the Fool, and we have met many important agencies.  We now come to the completion of the fourth trinity--that fourth trinity being composed of the Hermit, the Wheel of Fortune, and Justice. 

Thesis, anti-thesis, synthesis.  The card of attainment in the Hermit, as a individual proclamation and recognition of the presence of God, becomes reflected in the Wheel of Fortune in the recognition of God's omnipresence and abiding activity in all aspects of existence.  What then is the response?  How is the Hermit to properly appropriate the energies of the Wheel of Fortune?  What is the next step in our growth and development?  How is it that the powers of the Wheel of Fortune and the Hermit will become active and actualized in this earth?  The answer is in Tarot card #11, Justice.

Of all of the symbols in the Tarot, this is, in all probability, the easiest to comprehend because this symbol is the most familiar to us.  A robed figure sits upon a stool in front of two pillars.  Spread between them is another veil. 

In Justice's right hand, is the raised sword, and in Justice's left hand, there hangs a pair of scales. The two potencies of God and man meet here once again.  Justice is obviously a divine attribute, and as God becomes reincarnated inside of us.  Justice then becomes a human attribute.  What is Justice?  It’s another word, much like “Love,” that everyone knows and everyone recognizes, but which is very often hard to define.  As a definition of Justice, I will propose the following:  fair and equal application of all of the laws of the universe.  Notice that this definition encompasses both the human order and the celestial order.  God is just means that, in essence, he always operates in accordance with the ever present law of love.

Modern Christianity has bifurcated the divine being into two halves.  God is pure love and pure justice.  As the story goes, these two sides war with one another.  When man sinned, God's pure love wanted mankind to be with him in Heaven, but God's justice demanded punishment for the wrong.  Therefore God's justice was at odds with his love, creating some form of alleged divine dilemma.  The answer to this paradox was found, so the reasoning goes, in Jesus. 

The problem with this is that it fails to understand the nature of love, the nature of justice and the nature of punishment.

Justice is not a separate self-existent entity.  To say that God always operates with justice means that he always operates in perfect accordance with his law of love.  God's laws of love embody many things which we have seen throughout the cards.  One of the prevailing factors is that of freedom of the individual.  God will not coerce you into doing anything.  As we've said before, God does not want to rape the bride, and he does not want the bride to rape Him.  The celestial dance is a mating song of ecstasy.  It is not a brutal violent rape.  So God holds the sovereignty of the individual to be of utmost critical concern.  This is his justice. 

Inasmuch as God will not violate your personal freedom, and as much as God grants to you the ability to be a co-creator with him, this divine relationship, as it is expressed with every one of God's children on this earth, creates the dimension of human justice.  In short, as God treats us, we must treat others. 

Since God recognizes our individual sovereignty, so too we must recognize the sovereignty of every individual.  Therefore, coercion of any kind is forbidden.  This is the essence of the moral law.  To murder is to remove someone's life from them, coercion.  To steal is to remove someone's property.  To harm them in any way, physically or emotionally, is coercion.  This goes all the way to the macro structures of our social order--macro structures such as taxation, government-required conscription, and obedience to externalized laws. 

Many in the religious world see a separation between the realms of the divine and the realms of human interaction.  Martin Luther, the middle ages reformer, is probably among the most notorious in this area.  He saw his reformation being one of faith and prayer and Bible study and sacraments.  When he was asked to help bring these principles to the social order, he renounced his petitioners as being tools of the Devil.  The Kingdom of God, he said, is not of this world, and therefore matters of civil unrest are not the proper domain of the church.  Of course, Luther was wrong.

We live in a “uni-verse”, as we have said so often.  And the command to love God with our entire being is exactly like the command to love our fellow people as ourselves.  It is quite clear that no one who hates their brother or sister can actually love God.  The two are intertwined.  Therefore, the divine justice, which God has handed out to each of us by recognizing the autonomy of our individual self hood,, we must in turn extend to all other people.

Taxation is theft.  It is coercion.  Theft, adultery, lying, murder--all of the evils of the world--ultimately result from a failed recognition of the commonality we all share as brothers and sisters of God.  They result from our usurping another person’s rightful authority on this earth. 

When we all attain to the state of the fullness of Christ, there will be no reason for any laws.  People will need no coercion, no rules of society, no taxation, none of the other social evils, for they will be ruled by the goodness of God within their hearts.  Neither will we have any reason to teach one or another, because we will all be fulfilled.  Until that point however, what do we do?  This is the higher question regarding justice.  Justice has two sides:  a recognition of how we should operate and what to do when others do not operate in accordance with justice. 

Justice holds the scales in one hand to say that all are free, all are equal, everything is perfectly balanced.  The law of God and the law of man are one, and every human being stands equal in the eyes of God.  And, every human being is completely free.  As it says in the book of Leviticus 19:15, "Do not pervert justice, do not show partiality to the poor or favoritism to the great.  But judge your neighbor fairly.  All are equal." 

In the other hand, Justice holds the sword--the sword of righteousness, the sword of judgment--to meet out properly, one to the other.  As we give, so shall we receive.  That is the law.  And, the proper social order would be exactly what was laid out in the time of Moses--an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.  The thieves have what they stole taken from them.  The murderers shall be killed. 

To some, there appears to be a contradiction.  If it is evil to murder to begin with, how can it be just to repay that evil with the very evil we find so abhorrent?  We must recognize the communal nature of man.  We all share the social order.  We are all in harmony and together in one.  To extricate a murderer is not necessarily fair to that murderer, but it is fair to the rest of the social order.  These are deep and weighty matters, the likes of which people have debated for centuries.

A card, such as Justice, enables us to enter into endless debate, because it is so familiar to us and we all have our own notions as to the best way to live.  If we wish to gain access to the hidden holy of holies behind Justice, we must take the powers of the Hermit.  We must take the revelation of the Wheel of Fortune and all divine powers, and appropriate them for our lives on the earth.

What about God and how God wields justice.  When Adam and Eve, the Lovers in card #6, fell from grace, what was God to do?  This gets us into the proper area of punishment.  There are two kinds of punishment, so most think.  Actually, it is better to say that there is punishment and there is retribution.

Punishment is very different from retribution.  Retribution is where I pass along to you or to another the wrong which you did to me, and there is place and a need within the world for retribution to be meted out.  Retribution, ultimately then, is a tool for preventing greater harm.  If we have a murderer in our midst, the removal of that one murderer potentially saves hundreds of lives.  Therefore, the proper use of retribution is to prevent a further, greater harm.  In exactly the same way, punishment is the inflicting of a lesser comprehensible pain in order to prevent a greater incomprehensible pain.  The clearest example is a child reaching for a hot burner on a stove.  The parent slaps the child and scolds the child, punishing him for what he is attempting to do.  This punishment--a slap on the hand--is a punishment that the child can understand, because it hurts.  But ultimately, that slap on the hand is harmless.  That slap on the hand is a much lesser threat than the incomprehensible threat of the hand which would be so badly burned.  This is exactly what God did in the Garden of Eden, as we've seen before.  God did not seek to get even with them so much as he did give them a smaller hurt that they could understand in order to help prevent the much larger hurt which would have been the immortalization of their egos.

In summary then, retribution is a lesser pain delivered to an individual to protect the greater group.  This is the law of eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. 

Punishment is the infliction of a lesser pain in order to prevent a greater pain to the individual.  The principle is the same, and the principle is always justice--to increase freedom, to help educate in the ways of goodness and health, to expand the power and presence of God in this world.  That is the pathway of justice.  This figure of justice does not sit with his eyes blindfolded, for justice need not be blind.  There is no blindness in God.  That is a human figure. That is a social symbol to indicate that justice is not supposed to distinguish between rich and poor, black and white, male and female.

In the higher spiritual symbolism, God is light, and in him, there is no darkness whatsoever.  We are to maximize full use of all of our faculties--sight, sound, touch, intuition, intellect--all of those things which we have been discussing throughout these cards.  Justice is blind as to differences between people, because all are to be treated individually.  Yet justice remains fully aware of all that happens and takes all factors into consideration.  

The Bible is clear that justice is an attribute shared by God and by man.  Psalm 11:7, "For the Lord is a righteous, He loves justice.  Upright men will see His face."  In Acts 17 it says, "God has set a day when Jesus will judge the world with justice by the man He has appointed.  He has given proof of all this to all men by raising Jesus from the dead."

The death of Jesus is seen in the Bible as an unjust act.  Acts 8:33, "In his humiliation, Jesus was deprived of justice.  In Acts 17, his resurrection re-establishes justice.  This is a divine mystery which we will very shortly be unveiling in these cards.

Justice, then, is the proper application of all of God's laws and principles to each aspect of his creation, and as that is done, it creates a social order and a social law and social justice, wherein we interact with each other and can, through divine wisdom and guidance, deal properly with violators of God's natural law.  God's natural law states very simply that you have the complete freedom and right to do whatever you choose to do, insofar as it does not hamper anyone else's right to do whatever they choose to do.

Upon this is based the law and the gospels, to love God with the wholeness of our being and to love our fellow man as ourselves.  And for those who get out of balance and seek not to operate according to justice, there are divinely guided ways to reset the balance.  The scales must always be equal, and when one side gets out of balance, we must take steps to re-right the wrong so that forever things are in balance, things are equally shared.  The sword of justice is there to cleave truth from evil and to mete out either retribution or punishment, whichever may be needed.


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