I hope you are enjoyng my NEW Tarot Series! I am now getting through the cards a little quicker as this Series is long overdue! The link below will show the cards and explain a little more about this series and how I am interpreting them.
The series is based on our Journey in Life and my own philosophical view of how the cards represent our 'livng stages and path'. Of course there are many meanings to each card and I may add more of the textbook standard interpretation, but here I wish to explain them moments in the journey of 'your life' and how each card forms steps in the human psyche. We have just 'left' the Chariot card and we move now to Card 8 - The STRENGTH card. A very keen eye will notice some cards have repeated symbols on them. In this card for example we have the lemniscate which is actually comes from a similar sounding latin word and means ribbons! Above the head of this girl and indeed on the Magician card is this symbol which is like a figure 8 on its side. This symbol actual stands for 'INFINITY'. Perhaps Strength is portrayed as endless and there to draw upon whenever we need it.
When I came to this card, I realised that in some part it was going to be difficult on some level to differentiate it from the Chariot card. There are quite a few similarities about these two cards if we were to adapt them to 'stages of life' or weave them into the Journey of Life which is what this series is all about. Aleister Crowley always said that you can tell a persons ENTIRE LIFE from one card! hard to imagine but actually - the oddest thing is, one card can tell you A GREAT DEAL!
When you look at this card you see a woman. Most people think of woman as the 'weaker sex'. I dare not go into that subject I would start a revolt or a debate! What I think I want to point out is that we consider females as 'vulnerable' or sweeter if you like, (not to suggest men are incapable of that) kind of the sweet pie to the male cherry pie. Actually thats an awful comparison! but I hope you know what I mean. We think of this beautiful lady in the card as the lesser strength when faced with something like a LION? anyone brave enough? She looks so divine in that white gown. The gown itself and the entire image of her oozes with some form of purity - innocence - and even trust is there. Is that what it looks like to you? Think about that last line ..Trust. Trust? Do you really think that lady is opening/closing the Lions mouth because she TRUSTS it? You see this is where Tarot is very subtle and clever too. What you see is not often the case. What if she is just giving us the 'old innocent' routine to fool us and she is actually a LION TRAINER? HOW DO YOU KNOW? All you are going to do is JUDGE what you see isnt that right?
Is she meek, is she trusting, is she a Lion Trainer. If she is a Lion Trainer one thing to realise right away - she IS IN CONTROL. Thats right. She knows exactly what she is doing, she may know HOW to approach that Lion and how to handle him. Perhaps not so much about trust but possibly the ABILITY to hedge the right move. I think of the word infinity as a never ending element. I also think of infinity as 'the divine'. If for example we were the Magician performing some crazy trick like Houdini perhaps there is probably a 'prayer' that all goes well. Im sure some remember the kind of stunts that he did! Like any artiste who may stand behind the curtains of a Theatre or a pop show for example that all group together with their fellow performers or entourage for a prayer to hope the show/evening is a success. Therefore, regardless of how others see it, I see it as also exercising an inner PRAYER or HOPE (wing of a prayer) ? Notice that PREY and PRAY are different only by the E and the A!! They do mean different things . To Lions this lady MIGHT be prey! to the lady she might PRAY that she is not PREY. To boldly walk in and close a mouth she HAS CONTROL and it is not beginners luck because it seems like she might have faced this kind of situation before. Just because she has control however does not mean she doesnt need to PRAY or that she wont BE Prey.
This card shows a human and an animal. ANIMAL INSTINCT! Many times it is written that the Strength card and the Justice card 'go together'. We will get to Justice to explain that because Strength appears in a different way and in that card we have to 'make the right decisions'. We have to weigh things up. In the Strength card we have the STRENGTH to take on dicey situations - pray they work - appear to show no fear (because somehow that will help us more) - yes courage is present of course - but I cant help but feel this card is not SO innocent in all scenarios. It reminds me a bit of the Red Riding Hood Story. The Wolf who we know is dangerous comes across as innocent to catch you off guard, maybe capture his prey. The Strength card is the STALKING CARD. For example a Lion Trainer would need to repeat their actions to get closer each time to the big Cat. It is convincing you that its SAFE - you can get close - but at the same time you take that risk and approach tentatively but still boldly with the intention to calm or prepare the situation or calm the person or objective down. If someone approached you and seemed really nice and had persuasive mannerism even though you knew they were capable of being entirely opposite, you would give them a chance to get close because they are not approaching in a threatening manner.
In this card the lady has Roses so it is trying to portray her as having a 'scent' that might even calm down that Lion. It doesnt feel like a stranger so I am not quite feeling that she is to that Lion so maybe she IS a Lion Tamer because she is wearing a scent. Not that I would personally approach a Lion with just a bunch of roses ha! I think not. I do believe that depiction is to show he RECOGNISES HER SCENT. She can make this whole scene remarkable that this innocent, pure looking vulnerable persona walks in and can calm a Lion. She over powers his strength does not look perturbed by that and the Lion is submissive to her. We know that does not happen in the wild! Look that lion IS in the wild! but still we are being told here that she looks pure and vulnerable and is casually taking full control of this wild animal. Is she really deceiving us? is the card DECEPTIVE then in appearance? Even a Lion Tamer cant be too clever though - many an accident has occurred and that little symbol on her head shows that she goes with ALL FAITH even though she is in control of the situation there is STILL just a little sliver of tentativeness. She cannot be absolutely sure that Lion is going to allow her to handle his face but with an air of confidence and gentleness and firm control she is closing his mouth. To us she could look brave, to us she can look in control and to us she is probably recited the Lords prayer about 10 times before approaching this wonderful beast as CONFIDENT AS SHE IS.
Strength . Strength what a word. It conjures up 'everything you have inside you' the unseen thought the unseen gearing up of the psyche in situations that you need to get through or overcome - and it can also represent the physical strength too. This card in negative situations can bring forward some very awful images. I wont go into those as I am not doing reversals or text writing I am applying my thoughts here quite differently to general readings. However I may expand this series after I have completed the Major Arcana. Meanwhile Strength is a physical force, it is an inner force. It can be a state of MIND . It all hinges on a prayer of 'please god' theory to my mind.
There are many other aspects in this card. Strength EMBODIES the entire characteristics of the CHARIOT card in respect of BOLDNESS, BRAVENESS, CONTROL and RISK but in the Chariot card you JUST DO IT, but in the Strength card you CONJURE UP the psyche and have a deep conviction that is more spiritually based to do /go where angels fear to Tread but you see the difference is that the saying is that FOOLS RUSH IN where Angels fear to tread, but this card is NOT about being a fool. She does not look foolish, she looks competent, and able in the way she is touching the animal yet at the same time GIVING OFF a vibe of vulnerability.
In Life we have these situations. We face these situations. We need strength for all kinds of reasons. Sometimes we have to put on the brave front too even though we are TERRIFIED, we wouldnt be deliberately STUPID like the FOOL but at that the same time, we are doing some of the things in the Chariot card ie risky/bold/venturing forth, setting out to achieving 'big time' completing what we set out to do . In the STRENGTH card we have all of that from the Chariot but a 'please god' in there as well because we do get to a point in life where we are not always 100 per cent sure though we might have done things a hundred times before. It doesnt mean that we are absolutely confident.
Strength is taking control of a situation, calming DOWN a situation, having the ability to access a situation and hope your right and go in and pacify if needs be. You learn some pretty good tricks at this point of life. You have been bold you have stormed into situations previously - now you are being a little bit more experienced in your approach. Seeing how to smooth out the rough edges. This card is LEO. LEO the Lion the SUN CARD. The Sun is a very positive card as you will see later on when we write about that. This Strength card ruled by Leo is a great card for being a showman. Great for HIDING true vulnerability or PUTTING ON AN APPEARANCE. When we learn about life we know instinctively how to react. If we have ever put our foot in things we get this little intuitive nudge to pick our words/actions in tricky situations though Leo traits suggest generally breezing in. They are so sunny and bright and quite loud at times some of them, a bit RISQUE . If anyone is going to do something outrageous it might be THEM. Heart and soul of the party people and often nobody realises that they are also incredibly vulnerable too - if that were not true how could anyone tame a LION.
Maybe that Lion is a nice old soul - maybe he has to make a whole lot of noise because he is scared of us humans. Maybe he actually likes it when the human gets up close and shows that they are not predators themselves. Its not only ANIMALS that are predators. Enough animals get hunted and killed by humans yet quite a lot of animals do not set out to harm us.
What about if this woman has put herself in Danger and she has been LUCKY because the Lion has already eaten? we have to determine situations in our life. We have to realise that what we see is not what the case always might be. We have to still live our lives , face situations, sometimes there is a lot of the 'unknown' about it but we still have to plunge in there and keep our heartbeat steady. You know you must not show an animal that you are scared of it OR PREDATOR...you are likely to survive more if you dont if its a dangerous one! there is a sense of keeping calm, keeping that heartbeat under control. Leo RULES the heart.
Supposing we looked at this differently again. What if you had some attachment to someone. Maybe they make your heart flutter? maybe they dont really feel the same way about you? so to get their attention perhaps you might just flatter them, appear innocent as though you are not attracted to them but trying to conceal the fact that you really are. Your heart would be going like crazy around them.
You would approach them with the feather glove and know that your REAL intention is to get them thoroughly interested in YOU. I did tell you that this is a PREDATORS CARD. This card can actually rule SEXUAL MATTERS =- grooming and reeling people into dangerous situations. There is TOUCH in this card. When you note my remarks about SCENT and allowing people close because we feel safe or calm with them it can be someone close to us who intends sexual abuse but we would not realise that due to accepting them as people we wouldnt imagine could do that kind of thing.
We have to have our wits about us at this stage of our life. We may recognise some of these kind of feelings or situations I have mentioned. We are definitely utilising our Strength to deal with various scenarios of life, overcoming weaknesses and we are taking chances but banking on the fact that we can get through them. We are not quite as risky or bold as the Chariot card but have a cohesion of the traits of both which can reflect PHYSICALLY as well as Mentally /emotionally. We do not see hearts worn on sleeves. The girl can look vulnerable in this picture and she is telling you HEY I look cool but who can be sure? but she is not cowering or showing she is scared. Clearly as a fire card maybe we learn DONT PLAY WITH FIRE and have come to a point where we know what is BRAVE and what is plain stupid and risky. These are all part of our human condition and we certainly do go through the hoops.
I am sure that I will add more to these thoughts and will include them as they come through to me.
Please do join me for the next part of our series with the HERMIT and if you have not read from the beginning of this series click the link below to catch up.