Sunday, September 29, 2013


It's poetic justice, you might say, that "Justice" is one of the more contentious tarot cards in the deck. Depending on your school of thought or the deck you are using, it is either card #11 or card #8 in the Major Arcana. Alistair Crowley muddied the waters even further with his undeniably beautiful and profound Thoth deck: "Justice" not being a concept that you or I could imagine a man like Crowley having much interest in, he changed the name of the card to "Adjustment" -- although the symbolism remained much the same. For my part -- although "Circus Justice" is a real thing and not something that you want to be on the receiving end of -- the concepts of Adjustment and Balance seemed to have more meaning for me in the context of a circusy tarot. So, while most of the deck is derived from Waite-Smith concepts and symbolism, I am veering from time to time towards the much less moralistic Thoth deck. It's my hope that this sort of philosophical gene-splicing will make my deck at least a little bit more unusual, and useful in a way that a slavish devotion to RWS would not be.

This card is the reason why my Major Arcana are not numbered: it wasn't (just) a design thing... I want the end-users of the deck to be able to stack up the Justice and Strength cards where it suits them. My personal preference is "Strength" in the eighth position and "Justice" at eleven, but there's no reason why I should force that preference on anyone. 

Red and Green are the colors that Pamela Coleman Smith used to robe her Justice figure, so I've used those colors here as well... but where Smith's Justice is a passive, seated figure, in Tarot of the Zircus Magi, Adjustment is a figure who embodies the concept of balance in all her physicality. This card came together quickly and nicely once I had figured out what in heck I was going to do with it...


-- Freder