Continuing my series of major arcana cards, today I bring you my Justice card and the draft of my essay about it. Justice is card 11.
Justice is a card, as it name suggests, of fairness and truth. In order to accurately apply justice, it takes wisdom. That is where the image of this card comes into play. It is based on an illustration of Sophia as the prima materia, or base material, in the Aurora Consurgens, an alchemical text from the 15th century that also borrows inspiration from the “Song of Solomon”. Sophia, whose name in Greek means wisdom, is seen at the embodiment of Wisdom. This concept goes back far into history. Sophia is a prominent figure in Gnostic texts, seen as the mother goddess of the world, the mother of the demiurge (who created the world we live in), and the originator of the Divine Spark that lives within all humans. In the Aurora Consurgens, she is used to represent the transformation of the prima material into the purified philosopher’s stone.
If you know little of alchemy, you may think that the movement was a bunch of crazy medieval scientists trying to turn things into gold. This process is often regarded instead as a metaphor to cleverly disguise mystical teachings that wouldn’t sit well with the Church at the time. The transformation is in the alchemists themselves, the process of enlightenment that teaches them true wisdom, or as Sophia promises in the opening of the Aurora Consurgens, reveals the “Science of God.”
There are several illustrations in the Aurora Consurgens of Sophia. The one this card is based on features Sophia as the Black Goddess. Her gown being white shows she is transforming into the highest form of purity and divinity. The red background represents the dawn, the times between the night and the day, between darkness and light. The caduceus, or twining snakes, is associated with mercury, which represents the mind in alchemy.
To truly embody justice, we must embrace Sophia and the wisdom she gives. As the Justice card falls in the middle of the major arcana, it suggests that, at this point, we still have much of the journey to go. We must complete the transformation into the philosopher’s stone, but we are well on our way by embracing fairness and truth.
Keywords upright: Justice, fairness, truth, wisdom
Keywords reversed: Injustice, ignorance, prejudice
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