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Strength is the ability to stand for one's principles, whilst giving one's emotions due credit.

Strength – Key 8 – Major Arcana

Strength. Rider Waite Tarot.
Strength. Rider Waite Tarot.

Strength is not the boorish display of brute prowess, rather, it is the dignified, elegant fortitude that can stand up against all odds to uphold one’s values.

In most versions of The Strength card, we see a graceful maiden with a huge beast. The Lion looks bigger not only by virtue of its own size but also because of being juxtaposed with the fragile beauty.

The lion is the key to understanding this card. The Lion represents our inner desires and basic instincts. He represents our passions ranging be it, love, rage, jealousy, lust, pride, anger, yearning, greed, hunger, and everything that can be named but only felt to understand its true magnitude. The Lion is the part of us that is not invited around in civilized society since it is considered our baser self or the shadow self.

The Woman confidently rides the Lion. She is the evolved consciousness or everything that is good. The Woman manages to ride the Lion, not because she has subjugated it. Holding the beast against his will would only make him dangerous and it could be a precarious task since she could have been overthrown at any time.

Instead, the woman manages to rise the Lion since he has been befriended by her. She has earned his trust and he knows she would never hurt him. When we deny our inner-self or try to hold it captive it turns from a kitten into a raging beast who can threaten our very existence.

The woman has lovingly accepted her inner beast. She acknowledges, understands, accepts her inner beast, and yet follows what she wants to do. When the Strength card turns up, it means that you have got the strength to do what needs to be done. Like the woman, you can control your inner beast. You may be angry with someone and you acknowledge your inner rage, but you do not react, you still are very civil in a situation.

Strength like the other virtues is a choice. It is a choice that you need to actively make with every decision. Like the woman, you need to keep that calm dignity and strike with fortitude. Today you can choose to act with calm grace and do what is right by all, instead of reacting with passion to something that has happened.

Meditation on Strength

“Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.”– Arnold Schwarzenegger

  1. What does Strength mean to you?
  2. Where do you decide not to surrender?
  3. How friendly are you with your inner beast?
Strength. Light Seer's Tarot.
Strength. Light Seer’s Tarot.

The appearance of the Strength card is a harbinger of opportunities for courage.

Courage means different things to different people. For some, it may mean the triumph of goodness over the more negative experiences, for others it is kindness to children and animals and the ability to stand up for those who cannot fight for themselves. Some may choose to express Strength by loving even those that seek to hurt them while for others Strength is to sound a battle cry. However, an individual chooses to express their Strength, the one thing that is common is that Strength is a choice!

The lady in the Strength card is gently closing the mouth of the Lion. There is a definite affinity between her and the beast. In fact, the beast acknowledges her strength as is shown by his timid tail! When we love and accept our inner beast or the basest emotions, they surrender to us. When we deny our emotions, they can take on the form of a beast far more terrifying than the Lion on the card.

Strength is adherence to principles that are universally good and respectful towards all life. It is recognizing one’s desires and range of emotions, as expressed by the Lion but making sure that they are managed with love by rationality and principles. We can be our best strongest selves when we accept our emotions and allow our principles to guide us nevertheless.

Strength can and is dignified and gentle. Pamela Coleman Smith could’ve used Hercules the personification of Strenth for this card and she chose to use a woman, controlling a situation not with aggression but with love. Strength hence can be defined as patience, resilience, fortitude, tenacity and stability.

When you see the Strength card, remember that you are capable of the task at hand. God in his infinite love for you will not put you to a test that you would fail. You are strong enough to handle the task at hand. By showing up to a situation that is trying emotionally, mentally, or physically, you also affirm that you are capable to take up the challenge.

You also have the wisdom to find your unique solutions, so don’t lose heart. Let your principles guide the way and temper your heart with love and acceptance of your emotions but firmly lead them with principles.

Meditation on Strength

“Sometimes you don’t realize your own strength until you come face to face with your greatest weakness.” – Susan Gale

  1. What does Strength mean to you?
  2. Where have you found your reservoir of strength?
  3. Remember a situation that called for you to use your dignity and stand strong.

Images Used on The Site. Illustrations from the Rider-Waite Tarot Deck, known also as the Rider Tarot and the Waite Tarot, reproduced by permission of U.S. Games Systems, Inc., Stamford, CT 06902. c. 1971 by U.S. Games Systems, Inc. All rights reserved. The Rider-Waite Tarot deck is a registered trademark of U.S. Games Systems, IncMuse Tarot By Chris-Anne. Used with Permission of the Creator.

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