The Complex Meaning of Pulling the Justice Tarot Card, According to an Expert Reader

Photo: Getty Images/Mengwen Cao
If part of your spiritual health practice includes reading your own tarot, you know how important it is to know that each card represents something different before sitting down for a reading. But knowing the significance of the card, especially if you’re looking to interpret the Justice tarot card meaning, is only one part of the spiritual equation, says Chinggay Labrador, tarot reader and author of Practical Magic: A Tarot Newbie’s Guide & Journal.

“It’s important for people to know that [personal] context is just as important as the actual ideas that the Justice card traditionally stands for,” Labrador says.

In addition to what’s going on in your life, the imagery of each tarot card also clues you into their meanings—which, combined, can help ensure that you’re getting the most well-rounded interpretation of your tarot reading.

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The traditional Rider-Waite tarot deck ($25) depicts justice as a cloaked figure between two pillars and in front of a purple veil that’s loosely hanged. The figure in the Justice tarot card also carries a sword in their right hand and scales in their left.

Read on to learn what the Justice tarot card means, two common misconceptions about this card, and Labrador’s experience with people who get this card in a reading.

How to interpret the meaning of pulling the Justice tarot card

Of course, you can take the Justice card tarot meaning literally—as it pertains to the law and criminal justice system—but there are also figurative meanings for this particular tarot card.

“Justice, to me, is a symbol of fairness.” —Chinggay Labrador, tarot expert

“Justice, to me, is a symbol of fairness,” says Labrador. “It’s a reminder that checks and balances exist in the world and, whether it’s from our own efforts or through the laws of nature, things find their way to balance.”

Let’s say you’re particularly passionate about social justice. If your reading points you to the Justice tarot card, this is a good sign that you’re on the right track in terms of your efforts to make the world a better place. Similarly, if you’re studying to be a lawyer, the Justice card can be indicative that you made the right decision and reminds you that you have the power of this card within you.

Again, though, the Justice tarot card meaning can also be taken in a more literal sense, says Labrador: “Maybe it’s a reminder to go through contracts a little more thoroughly, to deal with red tape, or to read the fine print so you’re sure you’re not missing anything.

If you’re taking on new clients, buying a house, or doing something else that requires you to sign paperwork, receiving this card in a reading is the universe’s way of telling you that you need to slow down and consider what’s right for you before charging on with a decision.

“The concept of justice doesn’t have to just apply to things like contracts or the law.” —Chinggay Labrador, tarot expert

That said, “the concept of justice doesn’t have to just apply to things like contracts or the law,” says Labrador. According to Labrador, this can come up in your romantic relationships if you find yourself asking whether or not things are equal between you and your partner.

The Justice tarot card, adds Labrador, “can even come up in something as mundane as personal finances.” For example, the Justice tarot card meaning might lead you to wonder whether or not you’re being fairly compensated at work. In your personal life, you might introspect that “you’re giving away too much of your money in services of others as opposed to yourself,” says Labrador.

According to Labrador, we’d stand to benefit from pairing the idea of fairness and balance with a lot of mental and introspective work. “We aren’t able to restore balance in our lives or relationships if we aren’t able to think clearly or see things for what they are [as opposed to] what we want them to be,” Labrador says.

Misconceptions about the card

As with all tarot cards (and especially the death tarot card—which does not mean you or someone you love is going to die), there’s a degree of misunderstanding when it comes to the Justice tarot card meaning because of the mysticism surrounding tarot as well as the inclination to take this card literally.

One of the common things people might think about when they pull the Justice tarot card is that things have to be black or white.

One of the common things people might think about when they pull the Justice tarot card is that things have to be black or white, says Labrador. After all, a lot of what’s right or wrong can come down to subjectivity.

“We can always say that X is fair and Y is unfair, and that’s just how things should be,” Labrador says. “But we live in a world that’s full of gray areas and, [again], context is super important too when it comes to the Justice card.” Pulling the Justice card doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re the one seeking justice, which is exactly why it’s so important to analyze your circumstances before you ascribe meaning to the justice card you pulled.

Another misconception about the Justice tarot card meaning is that the concept it depicts is external, thrown on us by societal factors like the law, and, thus, out of our immediate control. “I think most humans have an innate sense of justice,” says Labrador. If you draw this tarot card, tap into your inner justice compass and think about what’s going (or gone) on in your life that can also make you help the fairest decision for everyone involved.

How people might respond when they get the Justice tarot card in a reading

Labrador says that even she has a tough time with this card when she does her own readings because it gives her a daunting but necessary message.

“When I pull this card for myself, I always think that there has to be some deeply intellectual work that I need to do—which I find intimidating and sometimes confrontational,” she says. As scary as this might sound, it’s key to remember that tarot, and whatever and it might give you, is there to help through the power of introspection.

In cases with her clients, Labrador has observed that some people “respond really well to this card” and says that when this happens, it’s usually “people who have really strong beliefs about how the world can be made a better place.”

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