VIII. Does Not Suffice

Justice, inspired by the song Does Not Suffice

The tap of hangers, swaying in the closet –
unburdened hooks and empty drawers –
and everywhere I tried to love you
is yours again, and only yours.

Joanna Newsom, “Does Not Suffice” (Have One On Me, 2010)

Image Description

Justice sits on a bed in an almost cleared out room, surrounded by clothing and jewelry in boxes. One trunk is emblazoned with an ear of corn. The closet behind her is empty except for a few hangars. In her right hand, she holds a pair of scissors, over a pile of tissue paper and ribbon. With her left hand, she lifts a pair of scales. The higher of the two scale pans contains a red heart. She wears a head scarf, boots, and a sweater, dressed as if ready to go outside. Behind her, a window is revealed below an empty curtain rod. The top of the window has stained glass panels with a four-petaled flower. In the lower part of the window, there is a pale blue sky, where birds fly in a V over gray mountains.


Justice is the first of three Cardinal Virtues to appear in the trumps (the others are XI. Fortitude and XIV. Temperance). More than legal justice, she signifies the ability to treat all (including herself) with fairness and equity. The scales in her left hand, upon which she balances a heart, represent carefully weighing a decision. The scissors at her right represent acting on that decision, as the narrator of the song does when she divides what is hers from what is her former lover’s. Her feet point to the East and she is ready to go somewhere new. This feeling echoes the migrating geese in their V outside the window.

The heart in the scales rises, no longer “heavy as an oil drum” – but she may be manipulating the scales with her legs. How much of Justice is letting things take their natural course, and how much is making a conscious choice?

The challenge of this card is to honestly take stock of one’s life (along with one’s jewelry and pretty dresses). Once the clothing and curtains are bundled away, the room has complete light and openness.

Selected Meanings

Departure, packing, taking stock, decisions, making a change, balance, fairness, manipulating evidence, self-sufficiency, the end of a relationship