Strength Tarot Card MeaningsWed, July 21, 2010 - 1:52 AM
Basic Tarot Story
The Fool, victorious over his enemies, is feeling arrogant, powerful, even vengeful. There is a hot passion in him that he can barely control. It is in this state that he comes across a maiden struggling with a lion.
Running to help, he arrives in time to see her gently but firmly shut the lion's mouth! In fact, the beast, which seemed so wild and fierce a moment ago, is now completely at her command.
Amazed, the Fool asks her, "How did you do that?" One hand on the lion's mane, she answers, "Will power. Any beast, no matter how wild, will back down before Divine will." At that moment, the Maiden meets the Fool's eyes; though saintly and young, her look is knowing and filled with great power. "Likewise," she says to him, "there are many unworthy impulses inside us. It is not wrong to have them.
But it is wrong to let them control us. We are human, not beast, and we can command such energy, use for higher purposes." His rage quieted, the Fool nods, enlightened, and walks away knowing that it wasn't only the lion that was tamed this day by a Maiden's pure and innocent strength.
Basic Tarot Meaning
Like its ruling sign Leo, this is a card of courage and energy. It represents both the Lion's hot, roaring energy, and the Maiden's steadfast will. The innocent Maiden is unafraid, undaunted, and indomitable. In some cards she opens the lion's mouth, in others she shuts it. Either way, she proves that inner strength is more powerful than raw physical strength.
That forces can be controlled and used to score a victory is very close to the message of the Chariot, which might be why, in some decks, it is Justice that is card 8 instead of Strength. This card assures the Querent that they can control not only the situation, but themselves. It is a card about anger and impulse management, about creative answers, leadership and maintaining one's personal honor. It can also stand for a steadfast friend.
Wang in the 'Qabbalistic Tarot' likens to the Strength card, at one point, to a Vestal Virgin tending a sacred flame. And this, I think, is one of the best interpretations. Fire is a fearful thing, hot, burning - all too easily able to spark out of control. But somewhere along the way, we lost our fear - but not our respect - for fire. And with will and intelligence, we made it our tool.
And I think it's worth understanding and saying to the Querent, that as with fire or taming a lion, you might get burned or scratched a few times by that which you're trying to control, be it a situation, a person or your own unworthy impulses. The important message of the strength card is not to give up. To have the courage to keep at it till you succeed and to have the faith and optimism that you will succeed.
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Strength Tarot Card Meanings
Words for the Strength Tarot Card Meanings
Introduction to the Strength Tarot Card Meanings:
This is another Major Arcana card that doesn't beat around the bush - it's meaning is quite clear in both illustration and title. Looking at the card we see a great deal of strength - but what kind of strength? Is the young maiden exterting physical strength to subdue the lion? Her face looks serene, her posture is calm - she doesn't appear to be struggling.
Yes, the Tarot card meaning here is that of strength - but not purely physical. The young maiden in white (a symbol of purity) subdues the lion through a strength that is internal. Through compassion, love, patience, and cunning, she is able to calm the lion into retreating into a behavior that is more manageable.
As with all allegories, the story of this Strength card is more than what meets the eye. The deeper meaning deals with having the compassion and understanding to sooth the savage beast within us in more effective ways than brute strength.
Simply put, the lion is our inner beast - that part of ourselves that "needs to feed." This beast is always needing more money, more recognition, or it needs more food, alcohol or drugs to feel at ease. The pure maiden represents that part of ourselves that has the ability to nurture, calm and exhibit self-love. Only she can allay the ravenous "need beast."
When we pull the Strength card it is certainly a message that strength is required for some challenges ahead. It's also a sign that we absolutely have the strength that is required of us. But on a subtle level, this card is a signal that we are already complete and self-love is the key to meeting our needs.
Key Symbols Relative to Strength Tarot Card Meanings:
This section focuses in on a few select symbols that can help us further define the Strength Tarot card meanings.
Lion: As mentioned above, the lion is a symbol for the primal urges - the physical needs and cravings we all, as humans want met. The lion is also a symbol of fire which burns within us - representing our wants and desires with a intense blaze. This is not to say that the lion all it represents is negative. On the contrary, many of us use our needs as motivators for achieving great things in our lives and reaching our goals. The key is to know thyself and temper our primal (ego) urges with our more divine, spiritual nature.
Mountains: Mountains symbolize aspiration, achievement, courage and accomplishment. In this case we can liken the mountain to challenges we face in our lives. As we look upon the Strength card and see the mountains in the distance we are aware that we will always be met with challenges in our lives. However, what makes climbing the mountain difficult or easy is the way we approach it.
Wreath: Wreaths symbolize completion and infinity (circle). A wreath or crown around the maiden's head is a symbol of victory. In this case, the wreath indicates victory can be claimed in the battle against banal or primal urges that do not serve us. There is hope and understanding when we realize we can achieve harmony in our hearts, and balance can be won.
When contemplating the Strength Tarot card meaning, ask yourself the following questions:
How do you define strength?
In what way do your physical urges motivate you?
How can you approach the "need to feed" syndrome?
How do you exhibit self-love and compassion towards yourself?
What are your internal battles and how can you reach a balance?
What area in your life requires you to have the most strength and what different kinds of strength can you apply here?
Strength - Tarot card interpretation
The Strength tarot card sits at number 11
The Lion is an enigmatic symbol representing passion and strength, both physical and emotional, making the Strength card one of the few major cards which can have both positive and negative connotations either way up. Let me explain this in detail.
The woman in the strength card is the feminine, soft side of us all. She calmly tames the lion, often being shown gently opening the lion’s jaws with no effort at all. This symbolises the ease with which we can all *tame* the inner beast inside us which threatens to assault reason and create sudden overt displays of *not nice* emotions such as jealousy, anger or revenge.
She is aligned with The Magician at number 1 who performs all actions with skill and ease. However, in less aware moments, we are all able to react with passionate outbursts and this is when we require inner strength to recognise the inappropriateness of fury or negative reactions. Only by doing this can we re-attain the calm perfection of the Magician.
Thus in this context the taming of the fire driven lion is the correct action to take.
However, the lion being ruled by fire also symbolises passion and an outward, directed thrust of energy. To hold back on passion and desire for too long through some self deluded sense of righteousness often brings pain, suffering and ultimately illness. I saw this clearly for one woman who was very creative at heart and enjoyed painting and writing.
For many years she had suppressed her creative flair to raise children and follow her husband from country to country in pursuit of his career. By the time she came to me she was recovering from a serious illness which had put her whole life on hold. The Strength card reversed depicted her way forward and she immediately acknowledged her need to let out her creative passion or, quite literally, dry up as a consequence.
I have also, on numerous occasions, seen the Strength card depict someone holding back on having what they deem an inappropriate sexual encounter. They make many excuses for their behaviour such as, he/she is too young or too old, too wealthy or too busy, unable to commit, or the ultimate, that they are married.
When the Strength card is reversed it symbolises a release of the pent up desires, and I have often had feedback and follow up readings where people whose sexual desires have been depicted in earlier readings as blocked are now leading very satisfactory lives while enjoying their passions.
Hence when judging the Strength card during a reading surrounding cards must always be taken into account. To restrain from outbursts of extreme anger or irritability is often positive, while to refrain from healthy activities purely because they are deemed too extreme by others is not always the right course of action.
Very often the timing of the release of the lion is all important. Hold back now but let the passions run high later.
Always with the Strength card we are talking about inner strength rather than physical strength, although in certain context the card does not exclude physical ability. The Strength referred to is not a brutal strength but a gentle quiet sort of strength, the type which is recognised in many famous men and women of courage.
It is the courage to hold one’s tongue when one would much rather shout, the courage to walk away from a fight and the courage to give up something desired for the good of others.
It is the inner strength required to stick to a new diet, to give up an addiction or to study when we would rather play. It is also knowing when to break the diet for an hour so that we can enjoy dinner with friends, to have a cigarette because we fancy one or to dump the books and go out with our mates.
The Lion she tames is the mind and all of its earthly desires. It is that difficult part of ourselves which we endeavour to control during meditation. It can be tamed with ease through an inner calm or brutally through a desire to *do* or achieve something. In the Visconti-Sforza we find a very different image of a man fiercely clubbing a lion suggesting that to use the brute force of one’s nature (as depicted by the club) is the only way to control the beast.
These days we have progressed and understand that to be gentle on ourselves can be just as effective. With the introduction of modern psychology we have come to realise that we do not need to beat ourselves up in order to attain Nirvana.
Strength - Tarot Card Description
Strength is the first card in the second septenary. This septenary emphasises the forces placed upon man by his environment. The Strength archetype teaches you that you have the strength to tame the beasts within yourself. Meditating on this symbol can assist your process of honouring and experiencing the inherent strength that is within your nature.
The sign associated with this card is Leo, the lion, of course. The rune is Thurisaz.
The fact that Strength is a woman indicates that we are not talking about physical strength here, despite the colour. She has the infinity symbol above her head, the same symbol of the adept we saw in the Magician. Her white robe is that of the innocent Fool, indicating a purity of spirit. The blue mountain in the background is the same phallic symbol seen in the Lovers.
The lion is a symbol of our animal passions and desires. Notice the lion has his tongue sticking out. Animals that are preparing to bite do not stick their tongues out. This lion is happy to submit to the woman. Her left arm represents mental effort, while the right arm represents physical effort. Notice the right arm is merely holding, while the left arm is exerting all the pressure. The crown on her head represents the fullest, most beautiful expression of nature and transient life.
This card represents strength, determination, and power in a manner similar to the Chariot. However, the differences are obvious at a glance. Instead of a powerful, focused warrior we encounter a gentle woman, unarmed and without the protection of armour. She overcomes the lion with a quiet strength which can only come from within.
Where the Chariot represented outer strength and will, the card of Strength represents inner power, the power of the human spirit to overcome any obstacle.
That the woman represents the spirit is manifest by her white robe, representing purity, and the symbol of eternity above her head. She wears a belt and crown of flowers and stands unprotected in an open green field. The Chariot indicates that worldly success is possible if our goals are pursued with focus and energy.
Strength - Tarot Card Meanings
You need to develop true strength. To do so, balance the aspects of you that are human, animal and divine. It may seem impossible, but love, kindness and a brave heart can bring them into balance.
This card means triumph of love over hate. Higher nature triumphs over material desire. The querent is learning to release fear and let it go. Ability to endure hardship.
Strength and courage will be applied to all endeavours. There is little to fear with your confidence. Results may be slow in coming, but you will hold your own, get a lot accomplished and summon up enough energy to do what it takes to get the job done, and in some way, you'll be recognised or rewarded for your efforts.
There will be altercations stemming from an imagined slight or unexpressed resentment. Want positive results in business or love, and to overcome the obstacles to the attainment of that goal. There are powerful spiritual forces at work and obstacles to your success will be overcome. You will be given the power to succeed.
Actions: showing strength; knowing you can endure; having a gallant spirit; feeling an unshakeable resolve; taking heart despite setbacks; having stamina; being patient/a rock; dealing calmly with frustration; accepting others; refusing to get angry; showing forbearance; being compassionate; giving others lots of space; achieving "soft" control; persuading; guiding indirectly; tempering force with benevolence; demonstrating the "strength" of love.
This is an important Karmic period, and actions taken during this time will be the seeds of your tomorrow. If you are feeling challenged, it's because, you are harbouring a deep seated misunderstanding, mistrust, or resentment towards someone (perhaps even God), and you are being given the opportunity to resolve it once and for all. Remember, love conquers everything, even Karma.
Strength - Reversed Tarot Card Meanings
There are two main themes to this card. The more obvious is the strength we have, both internal and external. The second theme is taming the beast within.
Strength offers you the hope of contacting both your inner and outer strength. It asks you to find the confidence within yourself to present yourself to the world as strong, assertive, and persevering.
Strength or Lust is about passion, living life, making love, playing games and sports. We have extra energy to do the things we want that are not just about the basic necessities of life; earning money, finding food and shelter, etc. Nature has been tamed, but we still want to test ourselves, or test our abilities against others. Not having this energy, we shamble through life, having no interest beyond mere survival.