KEYWORDS: Courage, Strength, Determination, Patience, Self Control, Compassion, Acceptance
CARD DEFINITION: You have the courage, determination and will power to achieve your goals. Change your ways and start looking at the big picture. Do not concentrate too much on details and forget what your ultimate goal is. Do not be biased and prejudiced in your decisions. Be convinced and optimistic about your decisions.
REVERSE DEFINITION: Your thoughts may be petty and prejudiced. You may feel weak and give in to unworthy impulses. You may face lack of energy and will power. Do not feel intimidated or pressured by anyone.
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Interpreting The Strength Card
The ninth card in the sequence of the tarot deck is that depicting the concept of Strength. As is the case with the entire sequence, the Strength card continues to build on the lessons of the cards that have come before it. The eighth card - the Chariot -- already taught our traveler the absolute importance of gaining control over his raw emotions and baser instincts. Now Strength teaches him to rise above them, achieving a greater state of being in the process.
One of the first things we learn from Strength is that it's not the straightforward concept it might seem to be at first. There are many ways to be strong. Of course, being strong of body and muscle is probably the most commonly known way, but it is very important to note that this is not the type of strength that this card represents. Instead, we're being asked to take a look at fortitude of mind, of will, and of spirit. When we have this type of strength at our disposal, it's possible to overcome anything life throws at us, as everything must eventually bow to a will greater than its own.
The traditional tarot image of Strength depicts a woman clothed in flowing robes of pure white grappling with a lion. We can see that the lion's will has already been bested by that of the lady, as he wears a lead of flowers around his neck. The lady herself is in the act of closing the lion's jaws, although some believe alternatively that she is prying the jaws open. Whichever is the case, it is clear that the lady does not possess the same brawny variety of strength the lion does. Hers is instead a quieter strength based on steadfastness, persistence, and patience. It is also a strength built of courage. Eventually she will best the lion through use of all these virtues in tandem showing that inner strength is ultimately more powerful than outer strength.
The image as a whole represents the triumph of the human spirit and the mind over man's raw, unfettered emotions and baser instincts. Once these powerful forces are harnessed and under control, they are no longer a hindrance to growth and can be used for the greater good at large. Learn to control your animal instincts instead of letting them control you, and you will become an unstoppable force in the world without question. It is the ability to master this process that separates man from beast.
When the Strength card shows up in a tarot spread, it can signify a number of situations. However, all typically have to do with powerful forces at work that can be controlled and bested through the application of inner fortitude. These forces may exist within or without, but either way, the Strength card assures the querent that control of the situation is indeed within his grasp. If Strength shows up in representation of another person, it most likely symbolizes a friend or acquaintance who is incredibly brave or steadfast.
The Strength card can also symbolize general issues as well - especially when it comes to impulse control. It can shine a light on the need to find a creative or clever solution to the problem at hand or it can advise to go about solving the dilemma in such a way that the querent's ever important honor is not sacrificed in the process. Always it cautions the querent not to give up no matter what the circumstances and to do his best to keep faithful in the knowledge that he will be rewarded for his persistence with success.