11: Justice

A feather’s weight.

Let’s take a little walk into popularized Egyptology. After death, one meets Anubis, the jackal-headed black god of mummification, justice, and the dead. He takes your heart, and plops it with what must be a moist, unpleasant squidging noise onto one side of a golden balance; on the other side goes the ostrich feather of Ma’at. If your heart’s heavy with bad works and weighs more than the feather, you’re thrown to the crocodiles. If it’s full of beauty and light and weighs less than that feather, you get to enter the afterlife.

Take his wife, stick her in a catsuit, and that’s what you’re looking at here.

Of course, that’s just one layer of symbols. What good is a Tarot deck where every card only means exactly one thing?

Justice, they say, is blind. Here she’s not so much blind as merely really in need of a headband. Still, it’s not as if she can see before her very clearly. She waits, poised and tensed, for the proper moment to strike with her huge black runesword. She’ll bring it down like an executioner if the law demands, for she has only one kind of compassion: a sharp edge.

Like the first of the three Moral Virtues (the others are Fortitude and Temperance), she wears a posture collar. She is bound by rules and law; she is a construct of society. What is “right” and “just” varies from place to place, and she’s all too easily re-shaped by gold.

So ask yourself: What is in balance? What is not? What weighs more than a feather, what weighs less? (And maybe that feather’s made of gold. What’s the weight of a good life?) What do you see when you blind yourself to mercy? Should you?

The laws of physics know no mercy. Shall our own laws be any different?