The Lesson from 2016: Justice

Today’s question was, what lesson did I learn in 2016?

The answer was Justice.

In the Shadowscapes deck, she is a flame-haired creature with closed eyes, broad black and white wings, a long white feather in her left hand and scales surrounded by butterflies in her right. She is balanced on long, twisted branches, and there are red threads at her waist and holding the scales. The crescent moon is behind her. Her left wing is twisted, maybe broken, but she doesn’t seem in pain. She seems at peace.

I had a complicated response to this card, and this image.

That broken wing… I’ve never noticed it before. I’ve drawn this card at least a dozen times in various readings – probably many more – and I’ve never seen that broken wing. But tonight, it’s the first thing I noticed.

And the first thing I thought, when I saw the card? “Make your choices. Think them through, and act on them.”

That’s the lesson – make the choice.


Make the choice.

Do the thing.

Take the step.

Accept the consequences.

I know that Justice is not The Fool, or maybe she’s The Fool after the fall (is that where her wing got broken?). So I know she is not the beginning of the journey. But that’s what I associate with the card – the idea of choices, acting on them, being true to them, accepting the consequences of them, knowing that actions have impacts.

And that wing. That broken wing.

So, in this card, I also see peace with the damage that results from those choices. Acceptance. That red thread of connection. The butterflies – they come completely undone during the transition from caterpillar to butterfly. The pain and the damage is real, and permanent.

2016 was a year of undoing. Unbecoming. Doing. Becoming.

There is damage.

There is a lot of pain.

There is a lot of peace, and joy, as well.

In 2016, I moved out of the home I had purchased less than a year earlier with my anchor partner. I moved in with someone else – someone I fell in love with when we were only supposed to be friends, and I thought we would only ever be friends, until he fell in love with me too and his monogamous relationship exploded, shattering along fault lines that long pre-dated me, and then ended.

And wow, the feelings attached to that, and to the fear that maybe I am a monster? A homewrecking whore, like I’m sure I’ve been called? I know how I behaved, and that I stayed true to my principles. I know that adults have agency and that I did not undermine or destroy their relationship. (Gulp back the desire to list all the ways in which I was supportive of their relationship despite my own desires.)

I know that the choices I’ve made are the right ones for me, and that I didn’t push him towards his choice to leave. I know that this new life fits me so well that even despite all the stress and the change and suddenly step-parenting two young neurodivergent kids, my fibro is better than it has been in years.

But still. That broken wing.

The airy/swordsy feel of this card.

The pain of it.

The way it says, “make the choice, and know the consequences.”

The way this year has hurt – moving out, and causing pain there. Pain on both sides. The relationship survived the transition, but there was so much pain. (Polyamory does not make you impervious to relationship pain.) Seeing the pain caused to all my partners as I struggled with this transition and hurt them in my flailing. Seeing the pain of that other relationship dissolving over the last half of 2015, and the echoes of that through this year. Knowing that his ex did not want to be his ex.

That broken wing.

But the card is so peaceful, despite that.

And when I take a deep breath and check in with my deeper self, I am at peace with these choices and their consequences in my core.

This is the right thing for me.

I can’t make anyone else’s choices or speak for their lives, but almost a year into this it seems like it is better for him and for his ex, and even for the kids who have so many more loving adults involved in their daily lives on both sides of the equation. (Which is not to minimize the difficulty of coparenting or the stress on the kids – but they are thriving.)


The lesson from 2016 is a difficult one.


As Beth at Little Red Tarot writes,

“There’s another lesson in this card – it’s not just about accepting the consequences of the past. Justice also teaches us that we have the power to shape our own destinies. If today I am facing the consequences of yesterday’s decisions, then tomorrow I will face the consequences of today’s. So what am I going to do? Closely linked to the themes of the Swords suit, Justice encourages us not only to understand the consequences of the past, but also to think things through today, so as to help create the future we desire.”

It’s a lesson to take forward, to remember.

Where I am now is so right for me, and my choices as I go forward will shape the future I end up in.

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Gloom Fairy

I'm a genderqueer, queer, poly, kinky, sex-positive, sex-radical feminist and activist and student.

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