There are some cards in the tarot that seem to foster a good kinship with each other, however unlikely they may seem to fit. Others are antagonists of each other, representing energies that conflict the core essence of either card as an individual message. Both are important, and both need to be expanded upon. It should also be stated, that one card can have multiple benefactor cards.
One such alliance I see in relation to the Justice card is the Empress. I think that the message of the Empress can help show the sweetness of the fruit born from Justice. Justice, as we have mentioned, is a card about mental clarity to follow the truth. The Justice card seen here (from the Ostara Tarot) shows Justice as blind, unaided in the potential distractions and biases that naturally exist in this world.
However, what starts out as a quest for Justice, for the fair and right course of punishment or action, can quickly become a search for vengeance. When one person or creature is wronged, there are those who are quick to say that the same should be done to the offender. I am not here to argue that this point in and of itself is meaningless, but I do think that it should stated that vengeance is not justice. Vengeance attaches an emotion of revenge or rage to an action. This does not apply to self-defense. Self-defense is in a whole other category. These messages are bigger picture and do not apply to immediate physical or bodily threats of harm.
Justice is not always an easy fight. Read any history book to see how justice came to many groups of people way to late. I was recently watching the movie 42. This movie is about Jackie Robinson, and the racism he faced as he became the first black man to play in professional baseball. This movie is a beautiful story, but one scene spoke to me in particular. One white player went to Branch Rickie, nervous and concerned from a death threat he had received by small-minded bigots. Branch, unconcerned with this player’s fear, showed him a whole file of death threats sent for Robinson. He said that all this hatred was actually promoting empathy for Robinson.
Obviously, segregation in itself is unjust, but the unintended consequence from many peoples’ hatred was an ability to see how wrong it was. Empathy goes a long way. That is why I chose the Empress today. There are other cards that could be paired with Justice, and have great messages to give. But empathy, led by an unconditional duty to promote understanding and truth, can keep justice away from vengeance. Vengeance and revenge do not promote a higher integrity even though they are natural feelings. It is natural to be angry at the wrong-doings of others. It is natural to wish at times that others felt the pain we feel. But empathy opens a door that revenge cannot close.
We do not have to agree with others to show them compassion or empathy. We do not have to believe all the same things in order to break bread with another person. We can be empathetic towards people who are different. But if that other person promotes violence, speaks with racist or misogynistic words, or condemns others as inferior we can use justice to fight for correct actions to remove these people from power, the podium, or our communities. It goes both ways. We do not have to listen to someone spewing hate, but we do not have to respond with hate either.