Another old article about the placements of strength and justice in the major arcana sequence.

Many tarot beginners find the placements of Strength and Justice confusing due to the differences in decks. While most decks carry Strength as 8 and Justice as 11, this sequence is still a source of serious debate within the tarot world. The following table lists the major justifications I have read for both placements. These notes are not my own, but come from accumulated years of reading and therefore, there are no citations. Please bear in mind that there have been many other variations in numbering the major arcana while some decks do not have any numbers at all!

8 | Strength      11 | Justice 8 | Justice     11 | Strength
– This system may be based on the Golden Dawn’s astrological associations of Strength and Justice for Leo (Strength) comes before Libra (Justice).

– This places Justice in the dead center of the majors sequence, correlating with the card’s notion of balance.

– The assignment to the 19th path of the Qabalistic Tree of Life suits the card’s meaning which connects the pillars of Mercy and Severity.

– The symbolism of 11 (1+1) harkens back to notions of balance, and numerologically adds up to 2, which again speaks to balance.

– Strength may be seen as belonging to the first cycle of “worldly” archetypes, while Justice to the latter, “abstract” cycle.

– This is the historical order of Justice and Strength, as found in the early Marseilles decks.
– The numerological correspondence with 8 and the notion of adjustment suits well the meaning of Justice.

– The pictoral symbolism of the number 8 turned on its side represents Justice’s notion of balance. 8 also represents 2 cubed, which also links the number 8 to 2 (balance).

– Aleister Crowley suggested that instead of the cards following the signs in a circle, they in fact should follow a different sequence in which the Emperor and the Star exchange places. (Click diagram below to enlarge.)t-sj

Advertisements