Justice Symbols

Justice Tarot Card | KarinasTarot.com

Card Type: Major Arcana
Hebrew Letter: Lamed

In this article Justice symbols, I refer to the Justice card from the Rider Waite Tarot deck, also known as the Waite-Smith, or Rider-Waite-Smith, or Rider tarot deck.

The symbolism found on this trump card is primarily drawn from alchemy, mythology, astrology and metaphysics.

Justice: Key Symbols

Sword, scales, pillars, veil, crown, white shoe, yellow background, blue square, brooch

Best Book For Learning Tarot I Karina Collins

“The pillars of Justice open into one world and the pillars of the High Priestess into another.”

The Original Rider Waite Pictorial Key to The Tarot

Justice Symbols Meaning & Imagery: cartomancy symbol meanings, mythological allegories and myths.

Complete A-Z List: Tarot Card Symbols

Compare The Justice Tarot Card with Historical Decks

A.E. Waite is quick to point out that this card “follows the traditional symbolism and carries above all its obvious meanings”.

In this regard, the Rider Waite version of Justice retains much of the iconography of older Tarot decks, such as the 14th century Visconti Sforza.

Visconti Sforza Justice card | KarinasTarot.com
Justice card from the
Visconti-Sforza Tarot deck (c.1450)
Image: Public Domain

The Visconti Justice card shows Lady Justice wearing a toga and holding a scales in her left hand and a sword in her right hand. It’s worth noting that in some historical illustrations, the sword and scales are held in the opposite hands, and Justice wears a blindfold.

What is The Meaning of The Sword and Scale in The Justice Card?

Sword Symbol

The woman holds a sharp sword upwards, indicating victory. In ancient times, the sword represented authority, and conveys the idea that justice can be swift and final.

Scales Meaning

She holds a gold scale in her left hand. The scale is symbolic of balanced judgement.

What is The Symbolism of The Pillars in Justice?

Two Pillars

The lady sits between the Two Pillars of Justice. In the Kabbalah, the ancient Jewish tradition of mystical Biblical interpretation, it is written that there are two pillars of justice: mercy and severity. The pillar of mercy represents forgiveness for wrong doings, and severity represents punishment in the act of reaping what we sow. The two Pillars depict the eternal opposites of judgement.

Similar pillars can also be found in the High Priestess and Hierophant cards. However, Waite only appears interested in comparing Justice with the High Priestess. He writes “that the figure is seated between pillars, like the High Priestess.” He goes on to conclude that “the pillars of Justice open into one world and the pillars of the High Priestess into another.”

What he means by this, is that the High Priestess judges on spiritual matters concerning the soul, while Lady Justice confines her judgements to real-world actions.

⭐Pillars also appear here: High Priestess Symbols and Hierophant Symbols

Red Veil

Behind the figure of Justice is a red veil. A similar veil can be found behind the High Priestess. Veils are the curtain of illusion which hide reality. In this card, the veil represents the boundary between an action and its consequences.

Stone Throne

The throne is a symbol of how justice manifests, or should manifest, in the physical world. The throne is made of solid rock. It is unembellished, unlike the ornately carved thrones of the Kings and Queens in the Tarot deck. We are led to believe that Justice should have no distraction, and be blind to wealth and influence.

Yellow Background

The yellow background behind the veil is a reference to the element air (which rules logic and reason). The Golden Dawn designated yellow to the air signs, one of which is Libra, the zodiac sign attributed to this particular card.

Alchemy Symbol for Air Sign | KarinasTarot.com
Alchemical symbol
 for air

You will note that the scale of justice echoes the shape of the sign for the element air.

Justice Tarot Card Scales | KarinasTarot.com

What is The Symbolism of The Crown in This Card?


Justice wears a crown with three turrets. The 3 turrets and the 4 sides of the crown give the number 7. This Kabbalistic number represents the seventh Sephiroth in the Tree of Life known as Tiphereth, or Beauty. It is linked to Venus.

In addition, a crown in Tarot always indicates dominion and authority.

Square Blue Stone

A blue square stone, possibly a lapis lazuli crystal, is set into the front of the crown. This crystal sits over the third eye chakra, aiding Justice’s ability to see truth through her higher consciousness. The third eye chakra is associated with spiritual attainment, especially anything to do with clairvoyance, clairaudience and other metaphysical abilities like telepathy.

Brooch Meaning

A white brooch with a red square center, fastens her cape. The square always represents the number 4 and the circle represents the number 22. In total, this figure comes to 26. The number 26 is a gematric number, and equals the sum of Hebrew characters in the name of Yehowah (YHWH), the god of Israel.

White Shoe Symbolism

A white shoe peeps out from underneath the woman’s toga. White is the color of the spiritual plane, and the shoe connects the woman to earth. The meaning of the white shoe is the manifestation of just judgements based on spiritual guidance.

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Karina, author of Tarot in 5 Minutes.

The Ultimate Guide to Justice Symbols

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