Marytza K Rubio is a fiction writer from Santa Ana, California and the founder of the nonprofit Makara Center for the Arts. Makara offers free library services, writing workshops, community meeting space, and free arts & culture programs to Santa Ana communities. 

XI - Justice

Every fourth Thursday of the month I host a Tarot & Tea discussion group at Makara. Each meeting we focus on two cards from the Major Arcana and the conversation takes us to unexpected places. We pull cards, talk about the symbols, share stories about decks and teas and dreams.

The tables were full of tarot books and our library’s tarot binders where we keep different decks for reference. I brought in a new Xultun deck that incredibly, forms a complete pictoral story when you lay out the Major Arcana. This discovery lifted us from the lingering foul mood of the Supreme Court shitshow to open up the conversation of the night’s cards: The Wheel of Fortune and Justice.

We discussed the Wheel of Fortune: snakes, kundalini, Set, Anubis, knowledge, reading, the signs of the zodiac, alchemy, Aquarius, Leo, Taurus, Scorpio, “going with the flow.”

We discussed the Wheel of Fortune, reversed: repeating unhealthy behavior, vicious circles, snakes, change, breaking free, bad habits

Then we moved on the next card, Justice. Most tarot readers have developed relationship with certain decks and certain cards. I’m approaching my 25th anniversary of reading tarot and The High Priestess, 2 of Cups, 10 of Cups, Queen of Wands, Three of Swords, The Moon, and my homie The Magician can invoke immediate and urgent sensations of understanding. Not the Justice card.

justice_Santa Ana_Makara_Tarot

In the Pamela Colman Smith deck, the Justice card is a crowned figure in a thick red robe seated between two towers, echoes from The High Priestess card. Yet where you can see the vast ocean behind the celestial blue cloth of The High Priestess, Justice’s veil only conceals.

Who is whispering in Justice’s ear?

Are perceived personal slights distracting you from true imbalances of power (authoritarian regimes, oppressive power structures)?

What does your internal scale look like?

Who are you choosing to pierce with that sword?

Do an inventory of your pettiness. Make overtures and amends while you have time. Karma is sniffing you out.

The mood of the card is similar to The Hierophant and The Emperor: rigidity, authority, masculinity, tradition. The colors are red and yellow and cement. Luxurious robes and so much gold. Sword in the right hand, scale in the left. We went through other decks including the Witches Tarot, the Ukiyo-e Tarot, the Tarot of the Cat People, The Dali deck, looking for a way to see justice as separate from the law and courts we have been told represent justice, but have only witnessed as extensions of wealth and power. One of the tarot readers explained the reason we were struggling: “It’s because we’ve never seen it.” Our concept of justice was the Justice card reversed: corruption, imbalance, decaying tradition, fraud, entitlement, upholding the status quo.

If the Wheel of Fortune is the trial, Justice is the sentence. In the Afro-Brazilian deck, Xango is Justice. In his hands, he holds his double edged ax. This depiction of justice was something we could understand and strive for, Justice is a balanced blade in the hands of an ancient and eternal warrior. Justice: balance, collective equilibrium, harmony, restoration, compassion. Also, when necessary, a scythe.

Marytza Rubio
What I Watched This Summer

Random Acts of Flyness

La Casa de las Flores

Also watched Avengers with the racoon and Deadpool2. Bought popcorn and saw Sorry to Bother You and Jurassic World sequel in the theater. Totally disappointed Jeff Goldblum was only in it for like a minute. 

Put on a bunch of animal shows for background noise/company. The Malaysia episode of Wildest Indochina is my top pick. Crocodiles & carnivorous plants, mangroves and monkeys.  



Marytza Rubio
Meal Prep

I'm making dinner for about a dozen friends next week. Half of them are vegetarians so I can't rely on my go-to  blackened shrimp tacos or BLT pasta. I'll attempt to make a vegetarian moqueca. 

I've skipped the fish and made it with plantains once before, but this recipe with hearts of palm and pumpkin looks delicious. A local Argentine market sells the malagueta peppers and dende oil, so overtime I make it, I get to see that beautiful warm orange and the kitchen fills up with the scent of coconut and an acaraje puesto.

Marytza Rubiofood, recipe, moqueca
Currently Reading
there there.jpg
Lives of Monster Dogs.jpg
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A good friend sent us Tommy Orange's novel after he heard about THERE THERE on the news. It was at the top of my list so getting it in the mail with a lovely inscription from our friend was a welcome surprise. I love reading this book. 

Another intuitive friend gave me LIVES OF THE MONSTER DOGS. She said it was wacky and I would enjoy it, and she's right. She gave it to me a few days after our family dog died, a sweet English bulldog named Roomba, so I am grateful to have more dogs running around in my imagination.

My agent's assistant named BROWN GIRL IN THE RING as a comp book for the novel I'm working on. We have it in our library so I started reading it the day I got my notes instead of cataloging a small mountain of books. The strong and steady voice was exactly what I needed to study in order to identify and correct my shortcomings with pacing. I'm an impatient writer and tend to rush through the action and relationship building. This book is teaching me how to slow down to better maintain an aura of strangeness.

Marytza Rubioreading, books