Section: Major Arcana
Esoteric Title: The Daughter of the Lord of Truth, The Holder of the Balances
Card Name: Adjustment
Astrological Attribution: Libra
Ruling Planet: Venus
Hebrew Letter: Lamed (Ox Goad)
Tree of Life Path: Path 22, from Geburah (5) to Tipharet (6)
Standing within a diamond is a crowned and masked feminine figure (the Goddess of Adjustment or Maat) draped with blue feathers. On her head is the Uraeus serpent, Lord of Life and Death. She is gripping the blade a sword between her thighs, its blade pointing downward. She is standing on her tiptoes in perfect balance, Behind her is a throne consisting of four green pyramid pillars. The top and bottom of each pillar is adorned with a blue or green sphere, for a total of 8 spheres, 4 blue and 4 green.
Hanging from her crown are twin black bowls suspended by chains (scales). Above one bowl, is the greek letter Alpha and in the other bowl, is the greek letter Omega. The bowls are perfectly balanced.
In each corner of the card are partially visible spheres; the spheres on the top left & bottom right are dark green and the spheres on the top right and bottom left are blue and each sphere is emitting a thin purple ray.
- Blindfold – fairness and impartiality. But the eyeholes suggest that justice is neither random nor blind; Justice sees & knows all. Head-dress of twin ostrich feathers: The feathers of the Egyptian goddess Maat, the goddess of justice; feathers of the twofold truth
- Blue & Green spheres in each corner of the card – balance of light & darkness; perfect balance
- Alpha & Omega – Balance of beginnings (alpha) and endings (Omega); what is started must be finished; balance of the first against the last; weighing the pros and cons
- Sword – the magical sword of The Magician. Some people claim that this is the same sword in the Ace of Swords and therefore represents Will.
- Crisscross patterns of the leggings – represents the Harlequin, a comic servant character (the archetypal fool) from the Italian Commedia dell’arte. Suggests that she is the female counterpart of The Fool – all possibilities are enjoyed; she is the dance of life (the dance partner of The Fool)
- Uraeus serpent on forehead – Symbol of divine authority, of life and death, sovereignty
- Four pyramids & 4 spheres of the throne – the number 4 = law and limitation; also the idea here of balance and equilibrium. Balance & equilibrium of the masculine (pyramids) and the feminine (spheres). According to Crowley, the spheres in each corner are the balanced spheres of light and darkness.
- Black chains & bowls/balances – correspondence to Saturn (Libra is exalted in Saturn)
- Green & blue colors – colors of Libra
Crowley changed the name of this card from Justice to Adjustment, indicating that justice isn’t a passive concept. That is to say, we maintain the balance in our lives by adjusting to our ever-changing circumstances. In this way, maintaining balance is an active process rather than a passive one. It is not something that happens to us but something we make happen and requires constant assessment and balancing on our part.
Adjustment is about self-control and self-order and in order to maintain equilibrium, we need to keep things in motion. This card encourages us to look at personal responsibility in regards to what happens to us. We see this with the idea of Karma in which every action has some sort of reaction, whether it be immediate or several lifetimes from now. Thus, every act we do has consequences. When we feel like we’re being “punished” it is, in actuality, consequences that we brought on ourselves by our actions.
Crowley states that the female Adjustment depicted is the Harlequin – the counterpart of the male Fool. The combined Hebrew letters of Aleph (the Hebrew letter for The Fool) and Lamed (the Hebrew letter for Adjustment) result in AL which is the Hebrew word for God. But if we reverse the letters, we get LA, which translates to “not”. Lon Milo DuQuette points out in this book Understanding Aleister Crowley’s Thoth Tarot that God-Not-God is an important concept in the Western Zen of Thelema.
From all this, we can easily gather that the primary meaning of this card is balance, equilibrium, fairness, justice and adjustment. We also get what we deserve, for good or ill. So in regards to a legal matters, this card tells the querent that if he is truthful and in the right, he will prevail. If not, he loses.
It’s appearance may also indicate imbalance and a need to make an “adjustment” as the card title implies, especially if ill-dignified. Libra’s role is to bring that which is off-kilter or out of balance – bring us back into balance. It’s about avoiding extremes and adjusting our life to bring ourselves back to the center.
Judgment based on impartial facts, balance, equilibrium, fairness, truth, taking an honest approach, order, law, personal responsibility, karmic cause & effect, bringing a situation into balance, weighing the pros and cons, settling debts, doing what’s right, equitable negotiations, order restored, unbiased thinking, legal affairs, carefully considered choices, you make your own future by your actions, honoring agreements, cause and effect, a just outcome, legal agreements, weighing all sides, objectivity, you reap what you sow, law suits, centering
Injustice, falsehood, imbalance, indecision, too much deliberation, too orderly, unfairness, cheating, loss of integrity, denying responsibility, judging harshly, judging without compassion, justice delayed or overturned, decision is against you, over-critical, too structured, overly critical, legal complications
Image from Thoth Tarot