Union Jack

     English Wordplay ~ Listen and Enjoy

Previous Arcanum: The Chariot

Justice
Justice
from the Tarot of Marseilles

8. Justice

Justice is interposed between the freedom of man and the freedom of God. She is seated between two pillars: that of the will (Jachin) and that of providence (Boaz). She does not act; she can only react. That is why she is represented as a woman and not as a man.

Her crown indicates that she derives her dignity and her mission from above - from the Supreme Being. Her balance and her sword that she holds in her hands indicate what she guards and how she guards it. She says:

"I am seated on the seat which is between the individual will of beings and the universal will of the Supreme Being.
I have the power to re-establish equilibrium each time that it is violated.
I am order, health, harmony and justice."

Yet the general meaning of the card is only the antechamber to the Hermetic meaning.

Abstraction and Penetration

The Hermetic meaning does not rely on the generality obtained by abstraction, but rather by the depth obtained by penetration.
The most abstract idea in philosophy is that of the "Absolute".

You can die - and even live - for God, but you would never die as martyr for the Absolute. One of the meanings of the First Commandment -

Justice
Dormition of the Mother of God
(from the Pskovo-Pechorskiy Monastery)
"Thou shalt have no other gods before me"
                                     (Exodus xx, 3)

- is that one should not substitute an intellectual abstraction of God for the spiritual reality of God.

However an abstract idea can give a direction towards spiritual reality, just as an icon or sacred image can be the beginning of sacred knowledge. Let us seek practical spiritual experience of reality by means of concrete images as well as abstract ideas. For the Tarot is a practical system of spiritual exercises.

Judgement

All of us in so far as we are thinking beings are judges. The commandment -

"Thou shalt not judge"
                      (Matthew vii, 1)

- would therefore amount to the renunciation of thought. For to think is to judge. "True" and "false", "beautiful" and "ugly" , "good" and "bad" are judgements we pronounce many times a day. Nevertheless, it is one thing to judge and another to condemn. One judges phenomena and actions, but one cannot judge beings as such. It is therefore better to say to one's neighbour, "you are acting like a madman' than "you are mad".

One is always ignorant of the noumenal being or soul of another.

Intuition

Justice
Crucifixion by Veronese 1580

Intuition being perception due to sympathy and love never accuses. It always plays the role of advocate for the defence.

Father forgive them;
for they know not what they do.
                                     (Luke xxiii, 34)

This formula indicates three facts:

  1. What they are doing, from a phenomenal point of view, is criminal.
  2. Judgement is handed over to the Father.
  3. This is accompanied by the plea, "forgive them", based on the certainty due to intuitive perception that "they know not what they do".

Justice
Jesus Speaks to the Women of
Jerusalem by Eric Gill

Thanks to intuition strict adherence to the letter of the law has been replaced by equity in countries which have accepted Roman and Anglo-Saxon law. It is for the sake of equity - or the judgement of intuition within intelligence - that the jury was instituted in Christian civilization.

Before Christianity the jury did not exist. Neither Pilate's wife nor the women of Jerusalem had a voice at Pilate's tribunal. The "Jury" could only weep or converse with Pilate in secret.

The three functions of justice - instruction, debate and decision - correspond to Plato's δοξα or hypothetical opinion, διανοια or conclusion based on argument and επιστημη or intuitive perception. The Jury rise above the appearance of facts and the formalism of logical arguments with a view to an intuitive perception from a human point of view. Equity has the last word.

the ten sefirots
The Sephirots: on the left the
severity column and on the
right the mercy column

The structure of "fair human justice" can only be an image of divine cosmic justice.

The Jewish Caballah brings this out more clearly than any other tradition.

The Sephiroth Tree consists of three pillars.

The right pillar of wisdom comprises Hokhmah (Wisdom), Hesed (Grace/Mercy or Magnificence/ Majesty) and Netzah (Victory or Triumph).

The left pillar of Severity comprises Binah (intelligence), Gevurah (Severity) and Hod (Glory or Honour).

The Sephiroth of the middle pillar are Keter (Crown), Tiferet (Beauty), Yesod (Foundation), and Malkhut (Realm or Kingdom).

The right pillar corresponds to defence and the left pillar to prosecution, while the middle pillar corresponds to equity.

The ten sephiroth are a system of balance. They are in mobile equilibrium.



Calvin of Geneva
Jean Calvin 1509-1564
Martin Luther
Martin Luther 1483 - 1546

The Sephiroth balance each other vertically as well as horizontally.
In the last analysis Karma is the law which governs the adjustment of the horizontal, mutual debts between beings. But the working of the heaven-earth balance surpasses the justice of karma. It is the justice of grace. The Old Testament is to the New Testament as karma is to grace.

The sun shines on the good and the wicked alike. But it is necessary to open the windows of a dark room in order for the light to enter there.
We need to cooperate with grace. Neither election alone from above (Calvinism), nor faith alone from below (Lutheranism) suffice for the requirements of the heaven-earth balance.

Hell

Buddhist Hell
Buddhist Hell
Burmese 19th Century
Burmese Hell
Christian Hell
Coppo di Marcovaldo 1225-1274

The heaven-earth balance does not weigh quantity; its workings belong entirely to the domain of quality.
This is important to understand with regard to the glaring injustice of eternal hell that life, which is limited in time, can bring about.

Eternal hell however is unjust only from a quantitive point of view. But from a qualitative point of view whoever enters the realm of eternity without an ounce of love, enters hell. It is a question, not of time, but of intensity.

Berdyaev
Nicolai Berdyaev, philosopher
Hell is the state of the soul
powerless to come out of itself,
absolute self-centredness,
dark and evil isolation,
i.e. final inability to love.
                       Nicolai Berdyaev, The Destiny of Man

Before committing suicide a person experiences utter despair. She or he prefers nothingness to despair.

By contrast eternal bliss - "heaven" - is the state of a soul which is filled with boundless hope.

The anguish of Gethsemane, which in its intensity gave rise to perspiration of blood, was eternal. it is immeasurable, therefore eternal.
But Hell is vanquished by the Resurrection.

agony
The Agony in the Garden by El Greco

Origen knew with certain knowledge that there would be no "damned" at the end of the world, and that the devil, also, would be saved. Whoever meditates on the sweat of blood in Gethsemane and on the words He said after the resurrection:

Behold my hands and my feet,
that it is I myself:
handle me, and see;
for a spirit hath not flesh and bones,
as ye see me have.
                    (Luke xxiv, 39) 

will know that eternal hell exists as a reality, but that it will be empty at the end of time.

agony
The Valley of Gehinnom was the site
of a heathen cult, whose rituals
included burning children

Jews believe in a populated hell because otherwise God (as the judge) would be lacking the absolute power of punishment; [ though some liken the Jewish notion of hell or Gehinnom to a washing machine].
Also many Jews have taught that hell only lasts for 12 months. But they deny the infinity of love. Christians alone accept and understand the achievement of infinite love.

Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom,
but we preach Christ crucified,
a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles,.......
For the foolishness of God is wiser than men,
and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
                                                                                  1 Corinthians i , 22-25 
Arius of Alexandria
Arius of Alexandria

Infinite Love

Christians know that love will never be taught through severity and fear. The Greeks were worshippers of wisdom and the Jews worshippers of power. There are always plenty of "Greeks" and "Jews" in the lap of the Church. They are responsible for the heresies and have caused the schisms. However in so far as there is peace at the heart of Christianity, it is due only to the supremacy of love.

The "Jews" of the 4th Century, disciples of Arius, were inspired by the idea that the power of God is sufficient to create a being of such perfection as the Messiah, who could accomplish the work of salvation without himself incarnating.

agony
The Spanish Inquisition

On the other hand the "Greeks" known as Nestorians saw an impassable abyss between absolute divine wisdom and relative human wisdom. Those known as Docetae taught that the nature of the Word was only apparent, and that the body of Jesus Christ was only a phantom.

The struggle between "realists" ("Greeks") who believe God's reason is higher than his will and "nominalists" ("Jews"), who believe God's will higher than his reason, has continued until today within the Church and within each individual soul.

protestant propaganda
Protestant propaganda: stoning the
Pope with the rocks of the Gospels
Chardin
Teilhard de Chardin

The victory of "realism" with its faith in what is general at the expense of what is individual leads to the dogma that can result in the inquisition; while the victory of "nominalism" can drown Christianity in the relativity of personal opinion. This is demonstrated by the multiplicity of Protestant sects.

However as the Jesuit palaeontologist, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, said: "the tremendous power of the divine attraction ... is to make man's endeavour holy." (Le Milieu divin. An essay on the interior life.)

Hermeticism and Science

Justice

Hermeticism is the millennial current in the human history of knowledge for the sake of the glory of God. We hermeticists take account of the fact that it is thanks to the Church that we have air to breathe and a place of shelter in this world of materialism.
Therefore we make use of justice and judge impartially.

Blessed are those,
who hunger and thirst after justice,
for they shall be satisfied.
                        (Mathew v. 6)

True science is the discipline of obedience, chastity and poverty.

  1. One cannot be diligent if one is not poor; richness always entails idleness.
  2. One cannot be sober without having a dislike of all that intoxicates; and this is chastity.
  3. One cannot be objective without obedience to experience and the strict rules of research.

Thanks to this practice, science advances in the direction of depth, i.e. into the same domain as Hermeticism.

  1. Science has penetrated to the depth of biology to discover the law of evolution.
  2. It has penetrated the depths of matter and found pure energy.
  3. It has penetrated the depths of the psychic realm to discover the world of occult consciousness.

There are great truths in Hermeticism, but these truths are not scientific i.e. of general validity. They are valuable only for personalities, who have the same hunger and thirst as the ideal I and as members of my family, such as you, my Unknown Friend.

Oratory and Laboratory

The true Hermeticist prays and thinks; and so does the true scientist.
What is this, in the last analysis, if not the practice of the balance of justice?

Conscience

The word conscience ("con-science") contains the idea of balance, for it implies simultaneous knowing; knowledge of the facts of the two scales. One is not truly free when one judges or acts according to character or temperament; but one is free when one acts according to justice, or conscience.

The following Arcanum, the Hermit, invites us to a meditative endeavour dedicated to the path of conscience.

The Ninth Arcanum: The Hermit

Introduction to the Tarot

The Seven Miracles of St. John's Gospel by Valentin Tomberg

Documentaries

Home Page