Justice and Judgement might be the most-frequently compared (or questioned) pair of cards in the majors.
What I see them having in common is (the potential for) clear sight.
True justice means knowing what’s really going on. Judgement Day (the biblical one this card is based on, where sky-daddy God does accounting on all our souls) is when all the truths of our hearts are brought into the light for all to see.
But they also have very different foci, so clarity just represents their overlap.
Here are a few songs to show what I mean.
For Justice (Key 11 in most of the decks I prefer)
It’s about making distinctions. That sword you see in so many iterations of the card cuts between differences.
[“How does it feel” sung by Avril Lavigne.]
This highlighting difference can be polarizing or build understanding (The depiction of Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy in this video is a good representation of both applications).
Understanding differences is important to justice in this time, as always, because if we always “treat everyone the same” we of the dominant culture will continue to center ourselves and our view of the world (as “normal”), running the risk (or exhibiting a myopic arrogance) of not believing the lived experience of marginalized people.
The Lovers is the sixth card in the Major Arcana. The 2 of cups is from the minors (one of the four suits I talk about here).
The main distinction many people make between the majors and the minors is how epic the event is. For example, the Lovers card represents one’s soul mate, and 2 of cups is everyday, happy-to-be-paired-with-you living.
Another way to contrast them is in intensity.
“All along it was a fever. A cold-sweat hot-headed believer.”
“Makes me feel like I can’t live without you…Round and around and around and around we go.”
[Stay, sung by Rihanna and Mikky Ekko.]
About the Lovers card, I once heard another reader say, It burns hottest, but crashes harder.
Reversed, I see it as one of those angsty stories where the audience/reader knows they like each other, knows they’ll be perfect together, but they need to talk.
[Distance, sung by Christina Perri and Jason Mraz.]
“And I will make sure to keep my distance,
Say I love you when you’re not listening,
How long, can we keep this up?”
“And I keep waiting
For you to take me
And you keep waiting
To save what we had.” Read more →
One of the ways I explain tarot to the curious (or nervous) is to describe it as a picture book for grown-ups.
That the whole of the human condition is covered in this deck of cards. Which is why I say it’s not any more wicked than the average person you meet on the street.
The response to this, of course, depends rather entirely on one’s view of humanity, but at least it offers a shift in focus from a particular fear of the cards themselves.
Between 2006 and 2017 I worked on 5-8 novels (self-published one). When my mind was in Story-Mode, everything connected to what I was working on: plot, description, emotional journey – some part lined up with whatever songs I was listening to. This led to my compiling multiple playlists on YouTube – sometimes by novel, sometimes by character.
Recently I began toying again with those loose threads of story, and the songs still resonated – both as part of my history, and in the ways they’d connected to each novel or character situation.
I started to test my own claim: if all of life is covered by the cards (and songs are one of the most potent expressions of experience), I should be able to line up these resonant songs with individual cards.
This led to one of the richest study sessions (seasons?) I’ve had since I first learned the cards almost five years ago. Some topics proved too big to wrestle down to a single card (which totally makes sense), but a remarkable number could line up with various elements in a card, and I ended up making a deck’s worth of connections.
Since I most-recently did a post giving examples of the visual differences between decks’ interpretations of the 2 of wands, that’s the card I wanted to use as my opening example.
That said, every card has shades of meaning, and every reader latches onto the core personality of the card as it resonates to them, so if you disagree, and have a different (or additional) song that jumps to mind for the 2 of wands, I hope you say so! I’d love to hear your angle in the comments and hope you include a link to the song that connects for you.
As I said in the last post, “All the figures – human or otherwise – invite the viewer to identify with their place in the scene, and that identification is part of the method of interpretation.” This is true of the songs as well, though in some cases (I’ll make it clear as we go) the words might be aimed at the main figure. That is, a sort of reacting to them rather than representing them directly.
But we’ll get there a different day.
The first song that made me think of the 2 of wands is this one. [I Can Go the Distance, sung by Roger Bart.]
This example has the bonus of already being part of a narrative, so if you know the story you might make your own connections.
In this song (and story beat) you have insecurity and the unknown alongside optimism and hope or expectation. This is a terrific angle on the 2 of wands.
In fact one way to frame or interpret the 2 of wands (especially since it’s right at the beginning of the wands suit, which tells its own tiny story within the deck), is as the time when someone decides what they want. The world is wide open, and they can DO it. Whatever it is. Read more →