8 - Strength
Upright: Strength, courage, patience, control, compassion
Reversed: Weakness, self-doubt, lack of self-discipline
Strength Tarot Card Description:
Under a golden sky, a woman gently pats a lion on its forehead and lower jaw. The woman gazes down at the lion with a peaceful smile on her face and appears to be successfully taming this wild beast. The fact that Strength is represented by a woman indicates that this card is not focused on pure physical strength. She has the infinity symbol above her head, the same symbol seen in the Magician. Her white robe is that of the innocent Fool, indicating a purity of spirit. The blue mountain in the background is the same symbol seen in the Lovers. The lion is a symbol of our animal passions and desires. The lion itself is sticking out his tongue. Animals that are preparing to bite do not stick their tongues out. This lion is happy to submit and surrender to the woman. The woman overcomes the lion with a quiet strength that can only come from within. Her left arm represents mental effort, while the right arm represents physical effort. Her right arm is merely holding, while the left arm is exerting all the pressure. She wears a belt and crown of flowers and stands unprotected in an open green field. The crown on her head represents the fullest, most beautiful expression of nature and transient life. The sign associated with the Strength card is Leo.
Upright Strength Tarot Card Meanings:
The Strength Tarot card represents strength, determination, and power in a manner similar to the Chariot. However, the differences between the two Tarot cards are obvious. Where the Chariot represents outer strength and will, the Strength card represents inner strength and the power of the human spirit to overcome any obstacle. The meaning of the Strength Tarot card is about knowing that you can endure life’s obstacles by drawing upon your inner strength and confidence. You have great stamina and persistence, tempered by an underlying patience and inner calm. You are focused on what you need to do, and you go about it in a way that demonstrates great composure and maturity.
The Strength Tarot card also reflects a compassionate approach. You are like the woman in this card who offers love and patience to the ferocious lion in order to be able to tame him. You give others space and you are tolerant of their needs. You are accepting and can easily forgive any imperfections. In doing this, you create a safe and trusting environment where you can then gently influence others. This demonstrates a level of ‘soft’ control, persuading and coaxing others to your way of thinking.
The qualities of Strength Tarot card are already in you, waiting to appear once you have mastered all your emotions and when you are ready to move on to the spiritual tasks that lie ahead. Its main lesson is that emotions must be transcended if spiritual wisdom and intuition are to be awakened. Your inner voice is often drowned out by the constant noise of emotion and preoccupation with fear. Only once you have eliminated these raw emotions can you begin to create the silence you need. So conquer your fears, control your impulses, and never lose patience with yourself or what you are doing. Eventually you will see the wisdom of letting go of your lower self. The Strength archetype teaches you that you have the strength to tame the beasts within yourself. Meditating on this card can assist your process of honoring and experiencing the inherent strength that is within your nature.
The Strength Tarot card shows a balance of the aspects of you that are human, animal and divine. It may seem impossible but love, kindness and a brave heart can bring them into balance. In a Tarot reading, the appearance of the Strength Tarot card indicates a time when you need to be very conscious of your instinctual urges and reactions, and bring them into balance with the greater good and meaning in life. This is not a time to act out in rage or in hatred but instead to look at the situation from a place of love and compassion.
The Strength Tarot card represents a higher level of consciousness that allows you to take responsibility for yourself, so that you can master yourself and your world. The Strength card reminds us that inside each of us is a passionate and instinctual side that, depending on the person, will either burst out frequently or infrequently. If you are one of those people who acts impulsively or irrationally, and who blurts out angry comments or negative things to others, the Strength Tarot card calls on you to try to tame yourself. The woman in this card is calmly subduing the lion by offering peace, love, and warmth. You may need to do the same to prevent yourself from leaping out at others and saying some things you might later regret.
In a Tarot reading, Strength offers you the hope of connecting with both your inner and outer strength. It asks you to find the confidence within yourself to present yourself to the world as strong, assertive, and persevering. If you have been self-doubting, the Strength Tarot card gives you the confidence to fight those doubts. Additionally, if you are feeling worn out or stressed, Strength says to you, “Things are going to get better! You are going to find the strength within yourself and within others to keep going!” When Strength appears in a Tarot reading, you can be assured that you have enough endurance to see this task through to its eventual end. If you are pushing too hard, Strength shows the need to withdraw for the moment, and to be patient. Enlightenment will come only when the time is right – it cannot be rushed.
Reversed Strength Tarot Card Meanings:
Strength reversed indicates weakness. You may have recently experienced a setback, or you are questioning your own journey and whether you are on the right track. Your inner strength and courage is lacking right now and you are feeling inadequate and vulnerable as a result. While these feelings may seem very real when you are in the moment, you will soon come to realize that they exist only to remind you that you are only temporarily out of touch with your inner strength. You need to remember that your core strength will always be with you and now is as good a time as any to reconnect with this core strength. Look towards the positive aspects in your life to reinvigorate self-confidence and self-esteem. Return to the lesson of the Chariot, where you need to draw upon your willpower, focus and determination in order to overcome your obstacles and be victorious.
Similarly, the reversed Strength Tarot card suggests that you may be starting to doubt yourself and lose some self-esteem and self-confidence. Instead of taking the lead and manifesting your goals, you may be engaging in self-doubt and becoming dependent on others’ feelings and actions that dictate your own.
In a Tarot reading, Strength is also related to inner control and, in its reversed position, suggests that you may be giving in to your instinctual reactions and lacking the self-discipline you need. Aggression may be an issue and, as such an anger management course may be a good path forward for you. You need to exercise more control over your emotions to ensure that you do not lash out at others and later regret your actions and words.
In a relationship reading, the reversed Strength card may indicate that you doubt yourself and feel as if you are not ‘good enough’ for the relationship. You may not feel completely secure in the relationship and often question whether your partner really has strong feelings for you. This may lead you to be someone other than your true self, someone who is worried, anxious or overly protective about the relationship.