I’ve always had a complicated understanding with Justice, which is the Tarot card associated with Libra. What’s hardest for me to grasp, honestly, is the relationship between Justice and Libra and how that plays out. One of the myths of the Libra constellation in the Hellenistic tradition is that of Dike, the goddess of justice. It’s actually tied into the story of Virgo: allegedly, in ancient times,
there was a “golden age” here on Earth, which meant that folks needed neither incentive nor punishment to treat each other with kindness and respect. My read of the situation was that ego was not a thing in the way that it is now.
Then, something happened—it’s not clear from the mythology what exactly this was—but something happened that impelled people not to be on their worst behavior, but something like it. Maybe dominance culture started to emerge: greed, the drive to best one’s peers, acquisition of generational wealth. This is when what’s known as the “silver age” began, which was like the golden age in that folks generally treated each other with respect, but this time with some exceptions. The goddess Dike was distressed by this and, as she lived on Earth among humans rather than in the sky among gods, she decided to talk to her community about it. She explained the need for virtue, humility and, indeed, justice. But no one listened, and things began to worsen. We entered the “bronze age.” This is where we are now. And the goddess Dike, who couldn’t bear to witness more suffering, chose to go back and live in the sky. She became a constellation: Virgo. The scales of justice, which she carries in her hand, became another: Libra.
So Libra is obviously inextricably linked with the concept of justice, and of course, the corresponding card. But this story is kind of depressing, because it’s a story of giving up. At least that’s my first read. On second thought, I could consider this myth to be a cautionary tale about how difficult justice is to manifest and then to maintain. With the exception of Dike/Virgo, who chose to be in the sky, all of the other constellated beings were given their positions in the stars as an honor. What I mean is, being a constellation is honorary; they all represent concepts, if not discrete beings, that deserve our respect and celebration, that we should aspire to.
What does it look like for us to aspire towards justice this Libra season? Writing this after Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death, I’m thinking of our responsibility to honor her memory as a courageous, revolutionary figure who fought tirelessly to do the right thing. There are so many injustices that we are seeing clearly right now, and truly, the invitation to see clearly is what the Justice card means when I draw it. What’s right can only be manifested from a place of great awareness. This moment is painful and it is not permanent. Don’t turn away. We need your attention, and everyone’s, to transform it.