Hello out there! This month, we’re moving into Line 2 of the Major Arcana to talk about Strength.
The Strength card shows a woman, dressed in white, draped in flowers, calmly and lovingly holding open the mouth of a lion, who doesn’t appear to mind. Let’s unpack the symbolism around this a little bit. White is almost always a symbol of purity in the cards, and the flowers and infinity symbol above her head illustrate her connection to source/divine as well as nature. The lion is a symbol of primal/wild/ferocious energy.
So, when we take a close look at this card, it really speaks to approaching something that should (in theory) scare this woman. I don’t know about you, but you couldn’t pay me enough money to attempt to hold a lion’s mouth open. I’m not trying to become a lion’s lunch out here…however, she’s somehow channeled that fear/uncertainty/rage/passion into a calm and loving energy that allows the lion to trust her.
This card really speaks to our ability to channel our intensity and fear into courage by approaching something that would otherwise feel scary or contractive to us from a place of openness and love. Remember, we only just left Line 1 of the major arcana (i.e., our ego) in the previous card. We’re finally moving out into the world with our new-found sense of individuality, and without a doubt, there is much to be feared and to feel intensely about. However, this card shows us the great transformative powers of love and being gentle with ourselves and others. In our society, this is an attribute that is entirely under-valued. The patriarchy paints emotional displays as “weak” and has a tendency for placing value upon swinging between the two extremes of suffering in silence or grandiose aggressive displays. So, this card really has a big place in countering and challenging all of those societal norms. It teaches us the value of using our emotional nature as humans to our benefit.
When we receive Strength upright, we’re being invited into a space to recognize and hone our own inner strength and intensity to be able to work with it to our advantage. It’s an opportunity to tame our own wild instincts and approach something that seems intense or scary from a place of openness and love.
In my experience this card is a big cheerleader for us. When we’re really struggling in something, the Strength card will come to us to send us love and encouragement as well as to remind us that we’re stronger than we know. It’s a really beautiful message and a reminder that we sometimes need.
As with most reversals, Strength reversed can go one of two ways. On the one hand, we may be experiencing a period where we’re emotionally raw and particularly prone to aggressive outbursts. When we’re in these emotionally intense moments, Strength reversed can come to us as a gentle reminder that we need to show up to the issue from a place of love. This reversal can come in these instances to validate our feelings around something, but at the same time, remind us that while we’re not in control of the actions of others or the external world, we are absolutely in charge of how we choose to react in response.
The other instance where I see Strength reversed is when we are completely depleted with regards to a particular issue. We think we can’t go on. We think just don’t have it in us. But, we do. This reversal asks us to rest, rally, and come back to the issue at hand with an open heart. This one feels like standing in the eye of a storm to me. just watching things swirl around us and feeling completely overwhelmed exhausted, and full of dread. This reversal comes to us when we need to catch our breath and continue the journey form a place of love - always.