VIII – Tet – Libra – Snake
Objectivity of the Universe, Diplomacy, Balance, and Karma
Adjustment (Justice in the Rider-Waite tradition, which also numbers the card as XI) corresponds to the Hebrew Letter of Tet, which represents the benevolent potential of pregnancy and God’s presence everywhere through EinSof. The letter Tet also represents the ability to judge things properly (a key component of the card of Adjustment/Justice), and means in Hebrew either snake or bed. As a bed, this letter represents the union of man and woman through sex before God, and therefore the woman satisfied, another key part of Adjustment. Adjustment is the dance of the woman in which she revels in God’s glory, and her dance with another human satisfies her completely. As a snake, this letter represents temptation and the ability to resist it. It also reminds us that God is present everywhere, even in the snake; remember Moses’ staff. The pictograph of this letter resembles a snake in a basket, reminding us that we can keep our temptations under control, and must maintain balance.
Balance is the key to this card, who astrological equivalent is Libra, the scales. It is the Sun Sign representing interpersonal relationships in an abstract sense; essentially, the art of diplomacy. Adjustment has this connotation as well, and its airy qualities go even further,as Adjustment is associated with the idea of karma, and represents the order of the universe as seen through action and reaction. The Emperor represents order through structure, imposed from above, while this card represents the universe’s natural tendency to compensate for extreme actions; balancing good with bad, and light with dark. This card then, represents also the impassive objectivity of the universe, and its utmost honesty. It also symbolizes righteousness and the dance of the universe. Going back to Jewish mysticism, this card represents God’s presence everywhere (hence the righteousness), and then also of the prevalence of love everywhere; love is law.
The Rider-Waite art shows a figure upon a throne wielding the sword of Justice and the scales of balance, exuding impartiality and balance. The Thoth art also contains a large scale, with a masked woman (an impartial one, as her face is not able to be seen) standing between the two sides of it, also bearing the sword of justice, but held downward instead of upward. Her image is nearly symmetrical, with only the colors of some of the spheres surrounding her changing, indicating the constant adjustment to keep the universe balanced, similar in some ways to the idea of Two of Disks (though Art also has this meaning).
On the tree of life, Adjustment is the connection between the Sefirot of Geburah (Destabilizing Motion) and Tiphareth (Balance and Conscious Harmony; Experience). This is an extremely appropriate positioning, as this card represents in many ways managed motion (constant adjustment) to bring about balance and harmony to the universe (to Tiphareth).
In a reading, this card asks you to examine the role of diplomacy, balance, and impartiality and objectivity in one’s life. It asks you to examine ideals of justice and honesty in your life, and also warns you to watch out for the consequences of your actions, as it reminds you that every action has an equal and opposite reaction. Reversed, this card’s energies are blocked or twisted somehow; perhaps balance cannot be achieved do to the structure of the world, or you just can’t notice the balancing effect. Perhaps one’s diplomacy is not up to snuff, or someone you think is impartial isn’t in reality – or maybe a woman you know isn’t satisfied; maybe yourself.