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Major Arcana - Strength

 
Strength In the Rider-Waite deck. Strength follows the phase of the Chariot which represents the urge to connect to the conflicting forces in our unconscious. We wish to get to know these forces and impulses and learn how to manage them. In our formative years and in the process of growing up, because they were not socially acceptable or because we repressed them.

In the phase of Strength we are open to messages from the unconscious; we learn to listen to our instincts and take notice of the images that come to us from the unconscious. In the Rider-Waite Deck the woman on the card depicts receptivity and she has a firm hold on the mouth of the lion, (our instinctual world). She can open it when she wants to listen and close it when she does not. There are numerous situations in which it is preferable to remain silent.

 Strength is a powerful card but not in the sense of being imposing it is more subtle and restful than that.  Will power is present, and at the same time a receptivity, combined with the courage to look at ones self.

Strength is therefore a process of self discovery. We learn to recognize the role of the unconscious in our psyche and discover our actions are more or less determined by unconscious impulses and not by conscious convictions, even though we may have thought that our decisions were wholly rational.

In the phase of Strength we learn to make contact with the less acceptable traits of our personality, such as anxiety, grief and insecurity, passion, malice nagging or sloth. Strength often brings psychological confrontations too. It may be clear that the time is right to begin working on yourself.

When Strength works positively we stand on the threshold of new developments-we experience humility in the realization that there forces greater than the will or that of the conscious mind and this can inspire us to set out on a quest of self-discovery in preparation to move on to the next phase, The Hermit.

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