Tarot Meditation: Strength

Posted: January 12, 2016 in Tarot

RWS_Tarot_08_StrengthStrength, an image of a woman taming a lion. There are a few interesting points about this card. Let’s start with the obvious symbolism. Strength is clad in white and, as with various other figures in the arcana, is bedecked in leaves and flowers symbolising abundance (indeed she’s also crowned with these). Above her head is an infinity loop. Thus one interpretation is that the sure end to all fighting is abundance. This is often reflected in the real world (for example it’s no coincidence that the civil war in Syria occurred in the midst of a major drought).

Less obvious is the fact that Strength (in this version at least) is not trying to hold the lion’s mouth open, but rather to close it. It’s an interesting fact about many predators that the muscles used for opening the jaws are far weaker than those for closing them. So in this image, if we look at it as keeping the lion’s jaws closed, one interpretation is that it’s easier to stop violence and fighting before it gets started. Quite frankly, by the time the tanks are in the street it’s already too late.

Another little touch I like is the lion’s tongue is out, like an affectionate dog. Also dog-like is the tail between the creatures hind legs. This is an animal that’s being well and truly put in its place. And yet there’s no sense of viciousness to the image. Strength and the lion lock gazes and she applies only the force that is necessary to calm the beast.

One last thought, the scenery. First we have the streaks across the foreground, as if the lion has been clawing at the earth. But most importantly, the line of the horizon is very low in this card. Could this be because we’re lying prone, the lion having perhaps knocked us to the floor. Alternatively, the perspective of the two towering over us gives the feeling that these are colossal creatures, far beyond us, looming over the landscape.


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