The Strength Tarot card plays a very important role in the Major Arcana. It is one of the cards that represent the three cardinal virtues. The other two cards are Justice and Temperance. Like The Chariot, Strength teaches us that we can triumph over adversity. On the other hand, The Chariot symbolizes outward power and victory, whereas Strength shows us that we can triumph over our faults and our lower natures.
Read on to discover the symbolism of the Strength Tarot card in the Rider-Waite deck and what it means in the upright and reversed positions in terms of love, health, work, and money.
The Strength Tarot Card and Numerology
Numbers are not just tools to count things, they have deep meaning and symbolism. One of the axioms of metaphysics is that there were numbers before there were things to be numbered. The Tarot incorporates the symbolism of numbers into the meaning of each card.
That being said, there are two alternate numbers associated with the Strength Tarot card, 8 and 11. In the earliest decks, Strength was 11 and Justice was 8. These cards were switched in the Rider-Waite deck in order to match the order of their corresponding signs in the zodiac. Strength is associated with Leo. Number 7 in the Major Arcana is The Chariot, which is associated with Cancer, and Number 9 is The Hermit, which is associated with Virgo. As Leo is between Cancer and Virgo, Strength was moved to the spot between these two cards.
The number 8 is associated with Infinity. It is also associated with harmony and the celestial order. 11 is 1+1, which is 2. As we saw in The High Priestess Tarot card, 2 represents polarity and balance. Either of these concepts fit with the Strength Tarot card, and both of these numbers are considered correct.
Keywords for the Strength Tarot Card
- Physical and psychic strength
- Health and vitality
- Loss of control
Imagery and Symbolism of the Strength Tarot Card
The Strength Tarot card symbolizes the inner impulses that move the spirit. These are the confidence in reason and the optimism of knowing that we are protected by God. In this card, pleasure is more than mere vital force, it includes both passion and joy. It also includes gaining victory over our lower natures.
The card shows a woman who is taming a lion. She wears an elegant white dress with an apron of yellow flowers and roses. The rose is the queen of flowers and represents the Sun. The lion is also a Solar animal, and the zodiac sign of Leo is ruled by the Sun. This card teaches that the feminine powers of gentleness and self-control can tame our lower and more violent animal natures.
Above the woman’s head is the infinity sign, which shows us that the symbolism of this card relates to our spiritual nature. Understanding that our inner animal isn’t tamed and that it cannot be subjugated by force and repression leads us to accept our own strength to do good and evil. With this spiritual realization, we are free to enjoy every moment and accept every aspect of our lives. When we are on the road to transcendence, we must still be aware of our human and earthly aspects.
Lessons of the Strength Tarot Card
The Strength Tarot card teaches us about the power of the feminine and the need to control our lower natures.
Feminine energy: The power of love
In a bright landscape of apparent solitude, the woman on this card uses nothing more than her hands to keep the lion’s jaws open. Surprisingly, the lion overcomes his fierce nature and licks the palm of his mistress. The force in the card doesn’t reside on the lion’s brute force but in the strength of wisdom and cunning.
There is no point in hurting the lion, caging him, or killing him. You have to use your wit and energy to understand his nature. Then you need to approach him calmly, but with caution. The vile in us must not be destroyed, but instead is ennobled through transmutation.
This symbolism is evident on the psychological level where our will must tame and use the forces of the unconscious to achieve the best in ourselves.
The woman appears to be a self-confident person, who has a bright personality and who knows exactly what to do to manage the wildest creature on earth. Likewise, the card represents the triumph of intelligence over muscle.
Controlling our lower natures
The fundamental message of the Strength Tarot card is that everything will be fine, but we must control our lower natures. Doing so will bring us enormous benefits.
The image of the lady and the lion shows the eternal struggle between our higher and lower natures. Here, our higher natures have the advantage, but why?
Much can be achieved through the power of communication, love, and interpersonal relationships. Faith moves mountains, and this seems to be part of the hidden message of this card. However, this is not a faith free of cunning, but one that confronts the lion face to face. This shows us that it is essential to stay awake and alert to our impulses. Otherwise, they could betray us. Keeping in touch with the animal forces within us is one of the fundamental steps in achieving inner peace. Likewise, patience, tolerance, and understanding must be developed to “domesticate” those aspects that, whether we like it or not, live inside all of us.
There is no point in suffocating our animal natures when they can be properly channeled and sublimated. This was the goal of alchemy, which did not try to destroy gross matter, but instead worked towards purifying it and turning it into gold. In the same way, the lion’s instincts can be destructive, however, if captured and tamed, they can give us tremendous strength and power.
How to Interpret the Strength Tarot Card in a Reading
When the Strength Tarot card appears in its upright position, it is very encouraging. This is because it signifies virtues such as mind over matter and the ability to overcome adversity. Some of the more common interpretations of this card are courage, control over one’s lower nature, compassion, and tolerance.
On the other hand, when the Strength Tarot card appears reversed, it could mean that we are in a period of excess. We may be allowing ourselves to become overwhelmed by our passions. As a result, our lower natures could be in control. When this happens shortcomings such as ferocity, lack of self-discipline, laziness, or insecurity may take over.
The Upright Position of the Strength Tarot Card:
In a Tarot reading, the Strength Tarot card helps you understand the forces within yourself. It asks you to find the internal confidence to become a stronger and more assertive person. This card represents the determination to overcome any obstacle and the courage to face all dangers. It also shows that you have the perseverance to keep moving forward even when the way is difficult.
This card tells us that we should control our lower natures and not try to destroy them. We have the ability to transform stressful situations into profitable ones and to control our environment.
When this card appears, it shows that you feel confident in yourself and in control. You have finally achieved self-knowledge, and you no longer hide your true desires or passions. You now understand your fantasies and desires. Instead of repressing them, you transform them into strengths.
You must defend the just cause and help others with their difficulties. You must also stick to the virtues of generosity, faithfulness, and sincerity. If you do not give up the fight, and if you move forward with sincerity and conviction, you will succeed.
When applied to a person, this card indicates someone who is courageous, disciplined, fair, young, influential, and willing to help others. The person is usually a celebrity, a politician, or some other well-known person.
- Passion and tenacity
- A wedding
- Family bliss
- The love of your partner is honest and faithful and is accompanied by intense and satisfying sexual activity
- The circumstances of the relationship are now entirely under your control
- Excellent health
- Good circulation
- A robust immune system
- This is a very positive card if you are fighting an illness or recovering from an injury
- New professional relationships in the future
- Group activities
- Projects related to entertainment or tourism
- You need to improve your game to achieve better results
- Commercial success
- Successful negotiations
- Gambling profits
- Persevere in investments
- Investments related to tourism and entertainment
- Make decisions without unnecessary hesitation
The Reversed Position of the Strength Tarot Card:
When Strength appears in the reversed position, it can represent weakness, insecurity, inconstancy, or indifference. Alternatively, it can represent excess, violence, and abuse of power.
If you try to break the rules, you risk losing control. You also risk revealing all of the pride, stubbornness, and aggressiveness that you are capable of. Your untamable lower nature can lead to egocentric and tyrannical attitudes. These attitudes could lead to impulsiveness, violence, cruelty, anger, arrogance, or vulgarity.
When this card refers to a specific person, it is someone with an angry and boastful personality. It could be a narcissistic despot, a cruel and authoritarian superior, or a dreadful foe.
The spiritual message the Strength Tarot card, when reversed, is a clear warning. That message is that you must control your lower nature. If you do not, it will control you.
The meaning of the Inverted Strength Trump when it comes to:
- Possessive or unhealthy relationships
- Relationships that lack sincere affection
- Stubbornness and excessive pride
- Weakness, anemia, impotence, or sterility
- Glandular diseases
- Problems with your nose, eyes, spine, femur, or knees
- Wounds, hemorrhages, or inflammations
- Sudden and violent illnesses brought on by stress
- Loss of position
- The danger of being fired
- Excessive or frustrated ambitions
- Arrogance towards colleagues and subordinates
- A job that requires undue sacrifice
- A job that is beyond one’s abilities
- Conflicts of interest
- Failed investments
Rider-Waite images used with permission of U.S. Games Systems, Inc., Stamford, CT c. 1971 by U.S. Games Systems.