Ian Parkin is the author of this post.
The Strength tarot card reveals a journey of self-discovery and the personal development that will come from taming the lion within. It's not about brute force. It’s about having the quiet courage it takes to face your fears, your challenges, your very self. Take this card as a call to find your inner strength and roar with it.
Here's a detailed description of the Rider-Waite version of the Strength tarot card:
Central Figure: The central figure in the Strength card is a woman who is depicted as calm and serene. She is dressed in a white gown, a symbol of purity and innocence, with flowers embroidered on it.
Infinity Symbol: Above her head is the lemniscate, also known as the infinity symbol, representing infinite possibilities, wisdom, and spiritual enlightenment.
Lion: In front of her, she gently closes the jaws of a fierce lion. The lion represents raw passion, anger, fear, or desire, while the woman's act represents control, patience, compassion, and understanding. The lion is traditionally yellow, signifying courage and pride.
Landscape: The backdrop of the Strength card is a golden sky and a wide, open field with mountains in the distance, indicating the broad scope of the woman's power and influence.
Rose Garland and Crown: The woman is also seen with a crown of roses on her head and a rose garland around her waist, which stand for abundant life, success, and fulfillment. The roses are usually depicted as red, symbolizing passion, vital life, and desire.
Across Various Traditions
In the traditional Rider-Waite depiction, a calm woman gently tames a ferocious lion. An infinity symbol - echoing the card's number 8 - floats above her head, representing endless possibility and eternal balance. Here, the Strength tarot card signifies power, but not brute force. It's about inner strength, emotional control, and courage - more of a "mind over matter" approach.
Yet, in the Thoth tradition, Strength is replaced by "Lust," picturing a woman riding a lion, holding aloft the Holy Grail. It represents a raw, primal, and somewhat chaotic force. On the other hand, in the Marseille Tarot, we see a woman prying open a lion's jaws, illustrating a struggle with one's beastly nature.
Although diverse, these traditions converge on a similar theme -personal power and the taming of one's baser instincts.
The Strength Tarot Card's Journey: An Inside Job
The Strength card isn't about flexing your muscles, not literally anyway. The heart of the matter is spiritual and psychological resilience, a journey of self-discovery and personal development. It nudges us to confront our inner beasts, those pesky fears, insecurities, and raw emotions that can often run riot if left unchecked.
Historically, The Strength card symbolized fortitude, one of the four cardinal virtues in medieval and renaissance symbolism. It was a reminder that courage wasn't only about slaying dragons but also about taming inner demons.
The Strength Tarot Card in Real Life Contexts
Let's say this card pops up in a career-related reading. It may suggest you need to endure current challenges with patience and fortitude. Maybe it's about confronting workplace conflicts with calm and understanding, instead of fists and fiery words.
In a love reading, it could signal the need for patience, compassion, or even taming fierce emotions. If you're single, it might be a gentle reminder to muster courage and conquer personal fears about intimacy or vulnerability.
Now, should this card appear reversed, it could indicate a lack of courage, self-doubt, or unchecked anger. But remember, it's not a doomsday message. It's a call to action - time to face those fears, tame that beast, and tap into your inner strength.
The Strength Tarot Card: An Evolving Symbol
Across centuries and traditions, The Strength tarot card has retained its essential message - embrace your inner lion. It's a lesson that transcends time and cultures, proving its enduring relevance. From a maiden taming a lion to a woman bearing a grail atop a beast, the imagery has shifted, but the core lesson remains - a call to conquer our inner turmoil with calm, courage, and compassion.
Key Aspects About The Strength Tarot Card
Symbolism: The Strength card in the Tarot is often represented by a woman gently petting or taming a lion. It symbolizes power, courage, determination, and above all, inner strength. The woman stands for compassion and calmness, showing strength isn't merely physical; it's about inner resolve and emotional control as well. The lion, a symbol of our primal instincts and raw emotions, is being tamed, showing that strength comes from mastering these aspects of ourselves. The lemniscate (the infinity symbol) often seen above the woman's head, the same as on the Magician card, symbolizes the infinite capacity of human spirit and mind.
Main Themes: The Strength card represents inner strength, courage, compassion, patience, and control. It suggests the ability to manage one's instincts and implies a period of self-control, discipline, and inner resilience. The card signifies tapping into your inner strength to overcome challenges.
Meaning in Readings: When the Strength card appears in a reading, it encourages the querent to tap into their inner strength, showing that they have the stamina and patience to overcome whatever obstacles they are facing. It's a message to stay in control of emotions and to manage situations with composure and kindness. It may also indicate the need to forgive and to show compassion and understanding toward others. In a reversed position, the Strength card could mean a lack of courage, self-doubt, weakness, or perhaps being controlled by raw emotions or primal instincts.
Numerology: In numerology, the Strength card is connected to the number 8. This number is a symbol of balance, cycles, caution, discipline, and the laws of cause and effect. The energy of the number eight calls upon individuals to be conscious about their actions and attitudes, underlining the balance between inner and outer strengths.
Astrology: Astrologically, Strength is associated with the zodiac sign Leo. Leo, the lion, is ruled by the Sun and is associated with the element of fire, adding further layers of symbolism related to strength, courage, passion, and a zest for life. Leos are known for their courage, leadership skills, and strong personalities, perfectly embodying the qualities of the Strength card.
Archetype: The archetype of the Strength card is the peaceful warrior or the nurturer. This archetype is not about physical prowess but about moral and emotional courage. It embodies patience, compassion, and the ability to influence and control one's environment not through force but through understanding and love. It signifies the taming of the beast within, the control of primal urges through gentle persuasion.