The angel-like woman pictured on Strength opens the mouth of a great and powerful beast with gentility and affection, and the lion submits voluntarily to this display of kindness and bravery. Thus we see that acting “strong” does not always mean acting aggressively; many situations require an inner fortitude and perseverance paired with an outer ease, humility and restraint. You may need to display “grace under pressure” or retain a silent, inner fortitude at this time.  If you learn how to keep serene amidst conflict, obstacles and disagreements—and even project this enthusiastic, determined energy to others, in the middle of stressful situations—you will prove to yourself that you are in charge of how you feel, and that nothing in your external environment can distract you from your own well-being, or break the strength of your spirit.

You will also experience how powerful grace and measuredness can be towards calming the storms of the inner world. Symbolically the woman taming the lion represents the power of love and compassion to transform hate, or, alternatively, the soothing influence of reason and understanding upon our wilder, more forceful emotions. The image of the woman calmly handling the lion also symbolizes the calm with which we must face our own shadow side or baser instincts. We must be willing to look honestly and with detachment into the more “animal” parts of our nature, as well as the parts of us that are ugly, mean, jealous and greedy. Strength thus represents integration of the unconscious, and can signify a “moment of clarity” or personal breakthrough about an unhealthy or compulsive pattern. It is an image of the compassionate forgiveness and patient understanding which one must have towards toward the unconscious limitations of others, and which he must also have towards himself.

Strength also symbolizes  the reigning in and taming of desire, or “mind over matter”. One can feel the difference between needs and wants, and resist his own momentary cravings, habits, baser impulses and temperamental weaknesses. One is then able to channel and sublimate these energies into work or spiritual practices. In its more negative aspects, this card can represent putting a false, pretty face on an ugly or unpleasant situation, or trying to impose rational logic onto considerations which are primarily emotional or instinctive.

Astrological Association:

The Strength card is ruled by the zodiac sign Leo, and Leo is ruled by the Sun.

Card meanings upright:

The Strength card represents your courage, passion, strength, self-confidence, patience, and compassion. This card is a reminder for you that you possess great strength and are capable of great love and care, even if others in your life may not be acting as though they care for you.

Card meanings reversed:

When The Strength card is reversed, it can represent a lack of courage, passion, or patience. You may be feeling timid or fearful during this time, despite your strong will power.

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In regard to work, The Strength card mobility and possibility. If you are already employed, you may have room to grow your career through a raise or promotion, so negotiate with full confidence in your skills and worth. If not, now is a great time to consider new possibilities or start your own business. Your options are more abundant than you might recognize, so rely on your skills and intuition to guide your career path.

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The Strength card means good things in your romantic life. If you are in a committed relationship, you may enjoy more mutual respect and benefits than before. If you are single, now is a great time to meet new people because you are likely feeling confident and ready to mingle. Either way, pleasant surprises are in store for your love life.

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The Strength card can represent solid finances and savings. Make sure to stay diligent in your efforts to save money, even if you’ve been doing without for a period of time. Even though you may feel the urge to treat yourself or others you care about, your savings will soon pay off through a high-price reward or purchase you’ve been saving money to obtain.

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The Strength card signals a period of spiritual growth in your life, even if you don’t have a set or strong belief system. To get the most from this period of spiritual strength, focus intently on your body, mind, and spirit and give special attention to each part of yourself equally. You are stronger than you think, and thinks will likely be looking up very soon.

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The Gilded Tarot Deck by Ciro Marchetti © 2004 Llewellyn Worldwide, Ltd. 2143 Wooddale Drive, Woodbury, MN 55125.  All rights reserved, used by permission.

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