Strength - Revealing The Secrets You Always Wanted To Know
Story And Evolution Of This Card
In the broadest of terms, this card has always represented internal fortitude and certainty more than physical power or beauty. Its core symbolic nature represents our personal strengths in triumph over carnal choices or challenges.
Throughout history, many different styles of decks for tarot cards have been made. The earliest decks sometimes referred to this card as Fortitude and assigned its numerical place in the deck as XI or VIII. As with many oracle cards in various traditions, the exact symbols used in its artwork changes by designer and trends of their time.
Many decks will feature a male or female figure performing a feat, like a lady who subdues or controls a lion. Fire and infinity symbols are also common associations, as well as flowers such as roses or precious stones and metals like gold and ruby.
Interesting Decks Where It Plays A Special Role
Though its place in every deck has significant value and power, certain decks have used its distinct meaning and cast it in a new light. This doesn't necessarily change the essential nature of the card's representation, but it can influence how you read it in a spread.
For the Wild Unknown deck, its meaning focuses on the gentleness of power used to overcome challenges or intensity. In the imagery chosen, a powerful lion holds a rose in full bloom in its mouth. The lion's expression has no anger and the flower, often used as a symbol for emotions, is held with delicate care.
This same gentle message shows up in the Rabbit Tarot cards, where the symbolic images switch to a rabbit and a fox. The rabbit holds the calm-looking fox with an expression of seriousness and determination in its face and posture.
Meaning Of This Card - Standing
The most commonly understood meaning for any card is considered its upright, or standing, position. This is the fundamental function of the card. However, there are several different conditions that impact the truths that can be revealed through its upright reading.
When this card shows up in traditional spreads, you can consider it a message of affirmation. In positions that offer caution or distress, it could encourage the reader to rely on their core values for guidance. If it is drawn when asking to take action, it may suggest staying steadfast or being straightforward.
Used upright as a meditative or ritual focal point, the symbolic nature of this tarot card can guide your thoughts towards building the kind of inner peace that lasts through a hard day. It can also serve as a focus for developing the level of self-esteem you need to stand up for your values.
Meaning Of This Card - Reversed
When tarot cards are reversed, this does not always indicate they mean the opposite of their upright definition. What this usually means is that whatever traits were associated with the card in its default position might now work against your goals or intentions.
In this card, that can mean acting in ways that may be seen as arrogant or selfish instead of empowered. This can caution against using a strong voice if it can drown out others. Instead, it suggests you should listen close enough to those who lack the assertive power you may possess.
In the reverse, this card can also link to problems with confidence and convictions. If there are areas in your life where you have allowed your values to be compromised, a reverse position can draw your attention to what you can do to reclaim your principles.
Iconography Of This Card
The meaning of this Major Arcana card borrows from themes first drafted in classical antiquity by ancient philosophers who first wrote about the figures now known as cardinal virtues. Temperance, Fortitude, Justice and Prudence are most closely associated with historical Christian imagery through their adoption into historical Catholic doctrine.
With its beginning as Fortitude, this card continues to share iconic details with that ancient history. Associations with lions and fire and bold, powerful colors mean it shows up in a multitude of spiritual symbolism and art throughout the centuries.
Special Meanings Your Life
Through numerological and astrological calculations, you may find that the Strength card is your birth card. In these readings, it pairs with The Star, another member of the Major Arcana, as a symbol of hope that leads to courage. Willpower and determination are both featured characteristics of this reading.
Other interpretations of this card focus on the primal instincts related to its message of self-control. In the Thoth deck, this card is called Lust and speaks to a person's natural vitality and virility. While it doesn't necessarily relate to physical intimacy, a card reader may find caution or encouragement if they are focused on those as concerns.
The House of Leo holds a connection with this card, where it can show an increased influence in perceptions of confidence and a lively spirit of leadership. Many read this card's symbol of a subdued lion as a lesson in self-control meant specifically for those born under the Leo sign.
Of all the decks, one of my favorites is the Wild Unknown depiction of this powerful and important card. That detail of a lion's mouth carefully clutching a rose is such a perfect representation of the balance of power and patience this card promotes. Do you have a favorite? Let us know in a comment if this card has revealed special truths to you!