“Change the pattern, and you change the result. Make it accurate, profound, courageous, positive. Then you tame the lion and he becomes your servant. This, indeed, is the secret of all spiritual activities, the secret of strength, the secret of ultimate mastery. Your personal application of this secret will change everything for the better.”
Paul Foster Case
I am always pleased when I turn over the Strength Card in a Tarot reading. It is a most fortuitous card that will always shed light on the seeker and their situation. The card depicts a woman opening or closing the mouth of a lion with no fear. She looks personable and human; a contrast to the striking masculine figure of the Chariot Card which rode before her. Words that come to mind when viewing the card at face value are control and inner-strength. In Fortune-Telling the card can speak of recovery from illness, improvement in mood/circumstance, goodwill and perseverance. It is a fortuitous card for job interviews, exams and long term challenges. A reversed card could speak of exhaustion or lack of courage. But let us delve a little deeper to see what the card can teach us.
In Alchemy the symbol of the Lion represents fiery danger, and French Tarot readers often say that this card is stronger than the Devil. In my mind it is both the Lady and the Lion which give the card its title. Just who or what exactly is the beast that the woman is trying to tame? Is it an aspect of her psyche? The one which could take her down the wrong path or the one she must sublimate to become whole, to be able to make the right decisions in life? Most, if not all, fear stems from a lack of control in our lives. Sometimes it can manifest in jealousy, anger or any counter-productive emotion. If we meditate on the sublime attitude of the woman depicted in the card she reminds us to remember the words of Franklin D. Roosevelt “...the only thing we have to fear is fear itself...”
Self-confidence can take time to build and is something that anyone can struggle with at any time in their life. It is however essential if we wish to create a positive future. Sometimes a woman needs to roar like a lion! The lions open mouth and exposed tongue reminds you to speak out, as long as this emotion is conscious, positive and not based on fear, it will be self-affirming. The great poet and mystic William Blake wrote “The wrath of the lion is the wisdom of God...the nakedness of woman is the work of God”. Be true to yourself and you will shine, embrace the feminine strength within you, and be spontaneous. We know only too well the problems that any form of suppression can cause. The card reminds us that the forces within Woman are natural and not to be afraid of them.
Circus lion tamers took risks on a daily basis, it was their self-belief and the knowledge of the forces they were dealing with that gave them the confidence, that sense of magnetic mastery, to step out into the ring every night. Many did though come to a sticky end; it is not enough to project superiority. The strongest form of mastery is the all conquering one of love. True strength comes from maintaining your balance and cool, but not at the expense of your personal dignity...”If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs”. Think of the Strength Card as a combination of The Empress and The Magician: Intuitive Self-Determination in Action. A release from the bondage and control in the world be it in relationships or our own negative view of ourselves.
There is a car advert on the television at the moment, it ends with the tagline “You don’t need to predict the future if you are creating it”...Always remember you have everything within you to make a good, peaceful and better future.