Strength

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The Strength Tarot card shows a woman taming and subduing a fully grown lion, using her inner strength and gentle persuasion rather than force. Could there be a power potent expression of true strength than this? The woman and the lion represent different sides of the the same person – the rational, conscious mind, and the irrational subconscious mind with its instinctual urges, raw impulses and emotions.

When the Strength Major Arcana card comes up in Tarot readings, it can indicate that you are wrestling with obstacles or setbacks, and that all of your inner strength is required if you are to overcome and transcend them. The Strength Tarot card often appears as a reminder of your resilience and ability to rise above life’s challenges with grace and composure. The upright Strength Tarot card indicates that you are in charge, in touch with the primal forces of your subconscious mind, while keeping your rational mind firmly in the driver’s seat.

When the Strength card comes up in its reversed position, it indicates a lack of control and composure. Here, the lion is in charge and your higher nature is overcome by fear or other negative emotions. Your rational mind is no longer in the driver’s seat, and you are acting based on impulse and instinct, unable to control yourself. Alternatively, the Strength card reversed can indicate that you are out of touch with the raw power of your irrational, animal side, and that it is time to reconnect with its vital energy and power.

The Tarot’s Major Arcana

The Tarot deck consists of the Minor Arcana (meaning ‘lesser mysteries’) and the Major Arcana (meaning ‘greater mysteries’). The Minor Arcana divides into four suits, one for each of the four elements, while the Major Arcana is a suit in itself.

The Minor Arcana deals with life’s everyday experiences, while the Major Arcana deals with the greater lessons and archetypal moments of transformation and development we experience as we go through life. Starting with the Fool Major Arcana Tarot card, labelled with the number 0, and ending with the World, labelled XXI (the Roman numeral for the number 21).

Strength Tarot card description

The Strength Tarot card is labelled with the number VIII (8) or XI (11), depending on the Tarot deck. Not only the number, but also other details of the Strength Tarot card differ from deck to deck – but most versions of the card include the same primary symbols and details. Let us study them in a little more detail.

The woman

The primary figure in most renditions of the Strength Tarot card is a woman. The woman wears a white robe and wearing a crown and belt of flowers. Her expression is mild and gentle, suggesting that her strength is not the kind that comes from brute force, but rather from persuasion, patience and determination. Her white robe symbolizes the purity and clarity of her intent and her spirit, while the flowers indicate the abundance, blessings and beauty of nature.

The infinity sign

The infinity sign – resembling a horizontal number eight – is floating above the woman’s head. The infinity symbol indicates the perpetual transmutation and flow of energy through the universe. It indicates a continuous, unbroken cycle, and further underscores the woman’s patient disposition. She is viewing her life from a rational, long-term point of view, as opposed to being driven by momentary impulse.

The lion

The woman is gently and fearlessly stroking a wild lion’s forehead and jaw, slowly convincing, taming and subduing it. She radiates and infectious calm that the lion can’t help but respond to.

The lion symbolizes animalistic instincts, bad habits, impulses, raw emotion and gut reactions. While the lion possesses great passion, fire and power, life easily spins out of control and plans derail when the inner animal is in control.

The luscious landscape

The background in the Strength Tarot card is green and lush, with rolling hills, trees and distant mountains. The landscape seems to be a manifestation of the woman’s directives, patience and planning. The fact that she is wearing a crown of flowers indicates that she is in touch with the natural world, harnessing the raw power and drive of the lion to bring plans and goals to fruition.

Strength Tarot card meanings

When the Strength card appears in Tarot readings, its meaning is generally positive and encouraging, an indication that you are on the right track and taking the correct approach. Here is breakdown of the key upright Strength Tarot card meanings.

Courage

The upright Strength Tarot card indicates great courage, and reminds you that you have the courage necessary to face the challenges in front of you.

Courage can manifest in many different ways. Courage is not always big, loud and obvious. Sometimes, it can manifest as quiet fortitude and gently but firmly standing your ground under pressure. At other times, it can manifest as changing your habits for the better, for example in a health context, even if the people around you are not onboard with your new and improved habits, or outside forces are trying to tempt or distract you from your decision.

Compassion

The Strength card can indicate compassion, for yourself as well as for others.

The lion’s presence in the card indicates raw, unfiltered and often irrational emotions and impulses – including fear, anger and sadness. Like the female figure in the card, you have the ability to view these disquiet emotions and knee-jerk reactions with a sense of compassion.

Self-mastery

The upright Strength Tarot card indicates self-mastery, built on a solid foundation of self control.

Because you are able to constructively channel and direct your animal instincts and raw emotion, you have attained true mastery over yourself. You are not likely to sabotage your own efforts through irrational emotional outbursts, or to let your drives and impulses tow you around in life.

Self-confidence

Another important Strength Tarot card meaning is self-confidence, the kind that is grounded in self-control and a healthy self-esteem.

Like the female character in the card, you have no need for flexing your strength in order to feel confident and capable. You know your own strength and are in charge of yourself. Because you are able to harness the power of your animalistic side without letting it run the show, you know you can attain anything you set your mind to – a sure recipe for confidence.

The kind of self-confidence that the Strength Tarot card refers to is not for show. It is simply there, an inner resource that not many possess.

Inner strength

The upright Tarot card indicates inner strength. Inner strength is not demonstrative, and it may not even show on the surface – but it is there, as a resource, always ready for you to tape into when you need it.

Sometimes, the Strength Tarot card may appear as a reassuring reminder that you have more inner strength than you are currently aware of.

Overcoming an addiction or other major challenge

In some cases, the Strength card can mean that you have managed, through inner strength and personal determination, to wrestle an addiction or other detrimental behaviour to the ground, ultimately triumphing over it.

The Strength Tarot card may also come up when you have faced and overcome some other major challenge that has required you to tap into your considerable inner strength. You may, for example, have beaten a disease, or exhibited great courage and strength in leaving a toxic relationship behind.

Strength reversed Tarot card meanings

When the Strength card comes up reversed in Tarot readings, its Tarot card meanings instantly take a darker, more negative turn. Here are the key meanings of the Strength card reversed.

Uncontrollable raw emotions

An important reversed Strength Tarot card can mean that you are not in the driver’s seat – your emotions and instincts are. Rather than your higher self staking out the direction of your future, you are being towed around by your impulses.

Self-doubt

Whereas the upright Strength Tarot card indicates a healthy sense of self-belief and self-esteem, the reversed Strength card suggests the opposite.

Here, you may have tamed your inner animal so well that you have lost touch with its strength, raw power and passion. This can result in a lot of self doubt and indecision, as you have no internal drive guiding you in any direction.

Low energy

The reversed Strength Tarot card meanings include low energy. Again, our animal sides are great sources of power and energy. If we tame them too well, or worse, suppress them completely, the result may be low energy and a sense of life being lacklustre and boring.

Addiction

In some cases, the reversed Strength card can indicate addiction, and the powerful hold it has over you. Here, you have a strong desire or impulse that you are not in charge, and as a result, it is running amok through your existence and causing all sorts of damage and havoc.

Strength Tarot card interpretation

The Strength Tarot card – like every other – contains multiple layers, facets and of meaning. Which ones stand out in any particular Tarot reading is always going to depend on the other Tarot cards that come up in the reading, as well as on the question being asked.

Here are a few examples of what the Strength Major Arcana card could mean in the context of different Tarot readings.

What the Strength Tarot card means when it signifies you in a Tarot reading

Upright

When the Strength Tarot card comes up in a reading, it is a good indicator that you are approaching a potentially difficult or challenging time from a place of strength and inner fortitude.

If you are dealing with difficult people, you are being the mature one, taking the higher ground while viewing their emotional responses with a detached sense of compassion.

Reversed

The reversed Strength card urges you to overcome your fear or other negative emotions that are controlling you and that, most likely, are sabotaging your ability to find success or make any kind of significant progress.

Alternatively, the reversed Strength card might indicate that you have lost touch with your inner fire – a vital ingredient to feeling excited about life and filled with vital energy.

What the Strength Tarot card means in a love Tarot reading

Upright

When the Strength card comes up in a Tarot reading about love and romance, it suggests that you are in true control of your emotions. If you are in the beginning stages of a new romantic relationship, you are approaching this potential in a measured way, rather than rushing. You are trusting your instincts, but not letting them dominate you.

If you are in an established relationship, you may be facing challenges, but there is a sense of dealing with them in a mature and measured way. The lion’s presence suggests that there is great passion and fire in the relationship, but that there may also be negative emotions to contend with, such as jealousy or fear of losing the other.

Reversed

When the Strength card appears reversed in a love Tarot reading, it does not spell good news for romance.

Negative emotions or momentary impulses may be running the show and keeping you from forming a stable connection. If you are in a long-term relationship, toxic elements of jealousy and paranoia may be a significant part of it.

An alternative meaning of the reversed Strength card is that you have locked your true desires and emotions away inside and are trying to direct your romantic connections accordingly to the views and opinions of your rational mind. This is not a recipe for happiness.

What the Strength Tarot card means in a career Tarot reading

Upright

The Strength Tarot card indicates that you have big goals and ambitions, and that you are well on the way to manifesting them. You are in touch with the ferocity of your ambition, and you are keeping it closely in check while taking the long-term view of your career and where you envision it going.

Confident in your own abilities, you may be making a bold move by starting your own business.

Reversed

Driven by impulse and desire, you are unable to focus on a long-term career plan. Alternatively, you may be lashing out emotionally at coworkers, collaborators or clients, which makes them recoil.

All in all, it is time to develop a more calm, collected and mature attitude.

Lucius Nothing

Lucius has been slinging tarot cards professionally since 2014. He’s taken the tarot to places most wouldn’t think of: His best-known patrons include Torture Garden, The Dark Circus Party, Handel & Hendrix, A Curious Invitation and The Candlelight Club, where he has been resident tarot reader for the past half-decade. His writing on divination, magic and creativity has been published in Sabbat Magazine and on Medium.

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