The Strength card represents inner strength, determination, and the power of self-love. This card asks you to resist taking action from a place of disconnected fear or anger. Strength lies in our ability to reach into the darkness and lovingly embrace the monster in the shadows. Weakness comes from an inability to connect with the wounded parts of yourself that need forgiveness and acceptance. When we hide from painful core beliefs, we become a fractured and fragile version of our whole self. It is time to bring your shadow out of exile and integrate the parts of you that you have labeled as undesirable.
The relationship between the lady and lion represents the incredible power that comes from an integrated sense of self. Anger can give you the energy to keep moving forward in times of despair, guilt has the ability to motivate you to change destructive habits, and anxiety may help prevent you from remaining in a harmful situation. All these attributes belong to the loyal beast within your shadow. Bend down and wrap your loving arms around its neck. After all, this wild creature has played an important part in ensuring your past survival.
Complete acceptance allows you to call on the fierce power of your companion. Your faithful shadow-lion responds to your command and this combined strength is a force to be reckoned with.
“I tap into my inner strength and courage, gently taming my inner demons and and standing in my power with grace and compassion.”
Major Arcana Symbolism
|Tarot Card Name||Strength|
|Traditional Card Imagery||A woman with a lion|
|Traditional Symbolism||Courage, force, the serpent power, sexuality, endurance, goodness|
|Card Number||VIII, 8 (In some decks this card is: XI,11)|
|Traditional Upright Meaning||Strength, courage, bravery, persuasion, influence, compassion, self-confidence without arrogance, inner power, patience|
|Traditional Reversed Meaning||Fragility, self-doubt, weakness, low confidence, needing support, inadequacy, cowardice, low energy, raw emotion, impulsiveness, forcefulness|
|Archetype In Nature||Humanity in concord with nature, symbolized by the interactive power of the lady and lion|
|Astrological Correspondence||Leo, Sun|
|Yes or No||Yes|
|Crystals and Stones||Yellow Tiger’s Eye, Olivine, Lemon Quartz, Heliodor, Yellow Jade, Peridot, Golden Pearl, Sphene, Jargoon, Sulfur, Melichrysos, Honey Calcite, Pyrite, Chrysolite|
Allegory of Power
In the midst of a green plain, surrounded by blue hills, I saw a woman with a lion. Girdled with wreaths of roses, a symbol of infinity over her head, the woman calmly and confidently covered the lion’s mouth and the lion obediently licked her hand.
“This is a picture of power”, said the voice. “It has different meanings. First it shows the power of love. Love alone can conquer wrath. Hatred feeds hatred. Remember what Zarathustra said: “Let man be freed from vengeance; this is a bridge for me which leads to higher hope and a rainbow in heaven after long storms”.
“Then it shows power of unity. These wreaths of roses suggest a magic chain. Unity of desires, unity of aspirations creates such power that every wild, uncontrolled, unconscious force is subdued. Even two desires, if united, are able to conquer almost the whole world.
“The picture also shows the power of infinity, that sphere of mysteries. For a consciousness that perceives the symbol of infinity above it, knows no obstacles and cannot be withstood”.
Strength is one of the cardinal virtues. The female figure is usually represented as closing the mouth of a lion. In the earlier form of this card, which is printed by Court de Gebelin, she is obviously opening the mouth. I prefer the earlier symbolism, but both show the idea of “strength” in its conventional understanding, and both images convey the idea of mastery. It has been said that the figure represents organic force, moral force and the principle of all force.
Fortitude, in one of its most dignified aspects, is connected with the Divine Mystery of Union. The virtue operates in all planes, and so draws on all in its symbolism. It connects also with innocence, flawlessness, and with the strength which resides in contemplation. These higher meanings are inferred and are not transparent on the surface of the card itself. They are intimated in a concealed manner by the chain of flowers.
The chain of flowers represents the sweet yoke and the light burden of Divine Law, when it has been taken into the heart of hearts. The card has nothing to do with self-confidence in the ordinary sense. It concerns the confidence of those whose strength is God and have found their refuge in Him. There is one aspect in which the lion signifies the passions. She who is called Strength is the higher nature in its liberation from those passions. It has walked upon the asp and the basilisk and has trodden down the lion and the dragon.
Strength Card Imagery
In the Strength card we see a woman with the same symbol of life above her head as we saw in the card of the Magician. The woman is closing the jaws of a lion, which differs from the conventional image of Fortitude. In the the image of Fortitude, the woman has already subdued the lion, which is being led by a chain of flowers. I have exchanged this card number with the card number of Justice, which is usually numbered eight. This change in number carries no impact to the card reader.
A young girl is calmly closing a lion’s mouth without any visible effort, implying strength. This young girl wears the infinity symbol upon her head, implying vitality.
Significations of Strength
- Reflex of Intelligence = Liberty,
- Reflex of Authority, of Faith = Courage (To dare)
- Reflex of the Universal Life = Reflected and Transitory Life
The Meaning of the Strength Card Throughout History
The Tarot deck is a beautiful synthesis of esoteric thought and archetypal imagery. The journey of the deck, shaped by the events and values of each era, has continued to evolve and take on new significance as it adapts to a larger cultural story. Often a tarot card will have a variety of names and meanings. Exploring the historical interpretations of each card will create a deeper understanding of this powerful method for divination and self-discovery.
Various Names for the Strength Card
|Tarot de Marseille (1650)||Strength|
|Court de Gébelin (1781)||Strength|
|Etteilla (1783)||Strength / Sovereign|
|Paul Christian (1870)||The Tamed Lion|
|Golden Dawn (1888)||Daughter of the Flaming Sword, Leader of the Lion|
|Rider-Waite (1910)||Strength / Fortitude|
Card VIII: Strength
A woman crowned with crown and cap of maintenance, who calmly, and Without effort, closes the jaws of a furious lion. She represents Strength.
Upright: Power, Might, Force, Strength, Fortitude
Reversed: Abuse of Power, Overbearingness, Want of Fortitude
Support Independent Bookstores With These Tarot Selections
Bookshop is an online bookstore with a mission to financially support local, independent bookstores. Their mission aims to strengthen the fragile ecosystem and keep local bookstores an integral part of our culture and communities. We have put together a collection of some of our favorite Tarot items. The deep symbolism of the Tarot can be used to access a wellspring of inner wisdom and guidance. This method of divination is also an incredible tool for accessing your own powerful intuition.
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The Pictorial Key to the Tarot
This guide by Arthur Edward Waite, the designer of the most widely known Tarot deck and distinguished scholar of the Kabbalah, is the essential Tarot reference. The pictorial key contains a detailed description of each card in the celebrated 78-card Rider-Waite Tarot deck, along with regular and reversed meanings. Contents describe symbols and secret tradition, ancient Celtic methods of divination, and wonderful illustrations of each Tarot card. This book is the perfect complement to old-style fortune telling and also serves to make the Tarot entirely accessible to modern-day readers. The Pictorial Key to the Tarot is the classic guide to the Rider-Waite deck and to Tarot symbolism in general.
Heaven & Earth Tarot
Artist Jack Sephiroth takes the classic structure of the Rider-Waite-Smith tarot to new heights of expressive beauty. The illustrations of this deck evoke a sense of mythological grandeur, helping to bring forth the deeper meaning of each card for vivid and nuanced readings. In this tarot, the spiritual and the material are woven together in a tapestry of symbolic wisdom.
Universal Celtic Tarot
Uncover ancient Celtic secrets with this boldly original deck. An excellent tool for any Pagan or Wiccan tarot reader, the Universal Celtic Tarot features borderless cards that showcase the powerful and expressive artwork of Christina Scagliotti. These cards are teeming with soulful energy and will make your readings more impactful and magical. With a touch of surreal beauty combined with the rich greens and blues of the Celtic lands, this breathtaking deck invites you into a layered realm of mystical enchantment.
How will you Harness The Transformative Power of The Tarot?
We invite you to walk into a cosmic narrative in which we are all a unique element in each other’s story. Humanity has long used sacred tools for awakening the soul and illuminating our path toward enlightenment. The Tarot is simply an instrument. These cards amplify your inner wisdom and empower your highest truth.
What aspects of The Tarot can serve you as you walk through your own Mystic Doorway?
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What you have read is only the beginning…
Mystic Doorway is always gaining new insight into the rich symbolism of Tarot. We are looking forward to sharing with you as we continue to expand our knowledge of this divinatory tool. Check back with us soon to see what we’ve added to our Library.