Major Arcana nr. 8 — Strength — connects Gevurah and Chesed on the Kabbalistic Tree of Life. Knowing that Gevurah means restraint, strength, power, and judgment, while Chesed represents kindness, loving-kindness, or love, we can try to understand on the intuitive level what the two conditions of our psyche that are being joined by this card (path) exactly are.
Strength deals more with handling the power already present within us, than with the manifestation of power in the outer world. In contrast, the Chariot Card deals with our expression of impulses and powers over beings or things from the environment in order to achieve our final victory.
A woman is trying to close the jaws of a lion. There is virtually no effort involved, it seems she is succeeding in her intent. She controls the lion almost without using any visible strength. In fact, it appears that the lion has already been subdued, which is a fact indicated also by the chain of roses. The women displays kindness, grace and tenderness. This description is based on the Pamela A deck, which is a set of cards very close to the Rider Waite tarot deck, one of the best decks for learning tarot .
This tarot cards is a perfect image of the energy — eternal strength — that pervades all living beings and all things on Earth. The white dress is as symbol of spirituality. Above the woman’s head we see the same symbol that can be found in the Magician tarot card — the sign of infinity. The lion is, obviously, a symbol of the physical, animal strength. This animal force is obedient in the hands of the more refined spiritual energy. But the woman and the lion are not separate — they are in unity. The fortitude the women shows is actually connected with this Divine union. The chain of roses is a symbol of love. It is not a chain of slavery, but a token of the light burden of Divine Laws (as E. A. Waite so nicely put it). Of course, the Divine Laws are so sweet only if one obeys them.
The lion, one can say, is related to our consciousness on the instinctive level. The woman is a representative of our higher spiritual energy. She is controlling the lion — she is able to open and close the lion’s mouth as she pleases. The key is in the proper use and mastery of the energy. This aspect of the Strength tarot card can also be understood in the following way. The lion stands as a symbol of passions, whereas the maiden depicts our higher self which is a master over the desires of lower nature. In this sense it can be seen how our sexual energy can be used as a means of transformation and spiritual growth. This is why, this card is being given the name “Lust” in some tarot decks.
The Arcana number 8 is also connected with the strength of contemplation. Strength leads to confidence. However, it has nothing to do with the confidence a person has when filled of one's own strength. Rather, it depicts the confidence of those whose blessed individuals strength is founded in God.
The meanings of this Major Arcana Card are courage, energy, action, dynamic strength, great passion. Naturally, it also signifies the victory of mind over matter, and mastering the passions. Some interpretations emphasize that this card is a sign of woman’s strength influencing and having power over the male energy. It can also indicate that one should release ones female creative forces to a greater degree. In some cases it means progress in the world’s affairs.
In the reversed meaning, Strength calls for caution regarding the urges of our lower nature. It also speaks of misuse of power either by dominance or display of force towards other people. It can also mean imperfection or temptation.
Another meaning if this card reverses could be related to your weaknesses. Are you feeling weak because of recent setbacks or troubles. This is only a temporary situation. Have faith in your inner strength. Take some time to replenish your energy. Turn your attention toward what really matters, toward the lasting values of the spirit.
In conclusion, this card is all about the lions powers that are highly desirable for our own spiritual growth and transformation, but should be tamed prior to being useful. This card speaks of our ability to understand our wild nature, accept it, refine it, and use it for our own benefits.
Article written by Pythia.
Thank you so much Pythia. It is refreshing to be able to understand the levels and deeper meanings hidden in the cards. I was asked today what it felt like to be effortlessly aligned with the Akashic records. My answer was Peaceful like a tamed Lion. I particularly liked the bridge between Geverah and Chesed on the Tree of Life. Thank you.