The tarot card I picked today was “Justice.” According to various sources, it mostly refers to legal actions, such as contracts, will, settlements, but some sources also say “Justice” includes the outcome of quarrels and disagreements, the judgement of the dead, consequences of wrong actions, atonement and redress.

I kept digging and found that it is also the card of duality. Internal and outer. Conscious and subconscious. Creation and destruction. Gain and loss. Beginning and endings. Light and dark. Self and other. In other words, balance. To a certain extent, opposing forces are the same thing, or at least different facets of the same thing. Neither force can exist without the other. Each causes the other. Everything has consequences, and the consequence of having one side means there will be another side of equal force.

True justice is about putting things back in balance.

Although this card doesn’t seem to pertain to anything in my life today, it is an interesting starting point for a discussion. There is such a demand nowadays for everyone to accept a single side, the side of politicized justness. It seems as if the current attempt to balance out old injustices pretty much creates injustices for a different group of people. In addition, if you don’t think a certain way, you are considered flat-out wrong, but that is not possible. There are two sides to everything, and each side creates its opposite side. So if there is too great a disparity favoring one side, it would create a greater pendulum swing to the other side.

The world of The Wheel of Time was a world of balance. One character was so strong that his presence bent chance and altered what was probable, so all sorts of inexplicable events, both good and bad happened in equal proportion. When the Dark One’s hand started to be felt in the world, this character’s actions almost always had positive outcomes to balance out the evil. Which led to one character asking a wise woman that if good and evil are always balanced, then is there really any such thing as good. The wise woman had no answer. But it left me wondering.

As does this card denoting justice. And balance.

Of course, on a cosmic scale, I doubt there is good and bad because those are human value judgements. But even on a cosmic scale there is always the push and pull of opposites. (Except when it comes to matter and anti-matter — there seems to be an imbalance there, though the imbalance might come from an inability to see where the balance is.)

On a human level, then, even if good and evil are equally balanced, I would still always try to do the right thing for no other reason than that it is the right thing, whether anyone agreed with me or not.


Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator

The Yin-Yang of Friendship

I feel sad today, though I shouldn’t. The weather is lovely — cool with wonderfully clear azure skies. I had a delicious lunch with a friend and afterward we sat beneath a tree by the shores of a lake (human-made, but still a lake) and enjoyed a quiet interlude.

If the sadness isn’t a belated response to my four-and-a-half-year anniversary of grief, and if it isn’t simply a general malaise stemming from the change of seasons, then it could be due to an ongoing disagreement I am having with another friend. This other friend periodically accuses me of being contrary or negative when I resist being taken for granted, and I never know how to yinyanghandle the accusations, so I often make the situation worse by trying to explain my position. This time, I’m not explaining, and perhaps that’s what’s making me sad — I value my friends and I don’t like passing up an opportunity to put things right.

Last year, another friend accused me of being negative. (When most people look at me, they don’t see someone negative but a smiling woman who is doing the best she can with what life throws at her.) I told her I was sorry she felt that way, and that’s pretty much how we left it. We reconnected recently, and she apologized for her behavior, saying I wasn’t negative and she had no idea why she accused me of being so.

I don’t know why she said it, either. To be honest, I don’t know why anyone would accuse a person of being negative. I can’t think of a single instance where I accused someone of being negative, perhaps because I don’t put much faith in being positive. I’m one of those people who don’t care whether the glass is half-full or half-empty. I simply drink what’s there and refill the glass if possible, which could be why I have no idea how to deal with the infrequent person who calls me negative.

The truth is, negativity isn’t necessarily negative. Negativity is simply yin to positivity’s yang. Everything is a duality — complementary forces that interact to form a dynamic whole. Light and dark. Male and female. Hot and cold. Fire and water. Good and bad. Positive and negative. In Taoism, there is no real distinction between these forces that we in the west see as opposites. Since negativity is a matter of perception, the problem lies with the person who perceives me in such a light. And so it goes, the yin-yang of friendship.

Now if the friend had accused me of over thinking everything, I’d have to agree with that. If nothing else, this post is an exercise in over thinking. But I had fun writing this bloggerie and now don’t feel quite so sad — I even have a small smile on my face.

I hope you do too.


Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.