Key 12: Justice
Daughter of the Lord of Truth; The Holder of the Balances
“The Twenty-second Path is the Faithful Intelligence, and is so called because by it spiritual virtues are increased, and all dwellers on earth are nearly under its shadow.” (Sepher Yetzirah)
The 22nd Path, “The Faithful Intelligence”, lies between Tiphareth and Geburah. This Path is also in line with the Lightning Flash, which defines the involution of the Sephira. It is the establishment of the Spirit into individuality.
Justice holds a sword in her right hand, and scales in her left. The sword is the sword of Truth, the tip of which represents Geburah, forcing reflection of one’s own truth and cutting away anything which does not belong to her virtue.
Here we are introduced to the goddess Ma’at. Anybody who has experienced the Office of the Hegemon, which holds the influence of Ma’at, will know the feeling of being in balance between the forces of Water and Fire. Acting as the voice of the Higher Self for the Candidate, we need to remember that all godforms are aspects of the soul itself and not something outside ourselves. The word ‘Ma’at’ can be translated not just as ‘Justice’ or ‘Truth’, but also ‘Right’ and ‘Straight’.
Ma’at is the powerful agent that maintains order in the Universe, and this is reflected in the scales in her left hand. In the middle of the scales is the letter Lamed. The letter seems to have two Yods – one above, and one below – giving the Hermetic axiom “As above, so below.” On the one side of the scales is a Candidate, and on the other side is Ma’at’s feather, as described in the Egyptian Book of the Dead. All Candidates who seek the knowledge of the Western Mystery Tradition are weighed in the golden balance of Ma’at, and those that don’t have their feet firmly on the cunning fox will be rejected sooner or later.
The Magician who seeks to maintain the scales of Ma’at in balance creates a tension which can be used in ceremonial magic. Even in the act of creating these cards, there is a constant tension of artistic license versus symbolism. Too much artistic license and one loses the meaning of the card. Too much symbolism and the card becomes visually uninteresting. Yet their creation is a mystery, for at the end they manifest from Spirit, Osiris.
Justice, balance and harmony. A favourable outcome in legal matters. Tension. Doing the right thing. Listening to one’s own truth. Artistic impulse. Adjusting one’s path according to Divine Will. Being in control of one’s lower nature. Karma.