Faces and Spaces of Justice: Shadow Woman of the Shining Tribe


Justice – Tarot

Shadow Woman is our guide for the moonth that arrives on February 26, 2017 and follows the Soul Shaping Path of the Moon.

In the Shining Tribe Tarot we find Justice not in the temple, but in a cave. Deck creator Rachel Pollack names the figure as Shadow Woman because she marks the half way point to the culminating Major Arcana card of Shining Woman. As a woman in shadow, her true face is hard to discern. She might not even be a figure at all but rather a rock grooved by the workings of nature.

When Justice is not honored in the public sphere, she finds sanctuary in the cave.

Before humans built sites of worship, they entered caves as places to connect with and honor the sacred. Our ancestors experienced caves as the origin place of the Gods and Goddesses or the world itself, a passageway into otherworldly spaces, a place to practice divination and ritual, or a burial site. Suggested by its rounded darkness and these associations with life, death, and mystery, the cave is an earthly womb offering regeneration for those who dare to give themselves to its darkness.

In the darkness, Shadow Woman – and all of those dare to follow her teachings – meets her losses, sees the limits to her power, comes to understand what has thrown her out of balance. In the darkness of the cave she gains this gift of greater self knowledge. In the darkness of the cave she begins the process of regeneration.

I see the Shadow Woman of Justice, who having given herself completely to the cave’s sacred energy, is beginning her return to the world. She stands at the threshold and has placed her two pans just beyond the cave’s entrance. She’s been casting stones – a kind of divination perhaps – to find the right time for her emergence. Now that there are a matching number of stones in each pan, the time is near.

She knows return is imminent because the “germ children” have been calling to her. The symbols on the hillside are from the Aboriginal tradition and represent the spirits of those who have not yet been born. There are six children which makes a connection to the Lovers. Justice (11) and Love (6) invoke the Star (17), which I see represented by the shining eye on the hillside above the cave. Even when Justice was in deepest darkness, hope for her return was made possible by the star’s presence.

To leave the cave behind fully, Shadow Woman seeks to enter the river, a place where the remains of the cave can be washed away and where she can immerse herself again in the flow of life. To reach the river, she faces a final test. She must follow a winding path from the cave to the river.

The path suggests a snake in its form and markings. The snake as symbol offers themes of challenge and potential intertwined. We fear the poisonous snake but recognized snakes as teachers of transformation when they shed one skin to grow another.

The markings on this snake path encode another layer of this message of light and dark integrated. There are 18 dots, connecting this path to the Moon and its cycles that reach from full to dark moon always leading toward new birth. Leaving the cave may not be a quick or effortless journey, but attentive to the calling of those that need her, Justice will persist in re-birthing herself out of the womb – and within each one of us – and rejoining into the flow of life.

Would you like to join in the devotion to Justice? Sign up for the next moonthly chat and meditation held via conference call.

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