VIII - Strength
Strength is all about how gentle control is much more effective than rigid power. The woman pictured is softly holding a fierce lion’s head. Rather than biting her, the lion sticks out his tongue to lick her hand. How did she get so close to such a wild beast? We can safely assume she didn’t rush up and grab its head. No, Strength speaks to slow and thoughtful deliberation.
In both relationships with ourselves and others, Strength urges us to adopt a calm and self-assured approach to the challenges life throws at us. We can only obtain this through mindfulness and self-knowledge. What good does exerting one’s will on another do if we’re not aware of who we are and what we want?
The Lion’s affection towards the woman also tells us that strength is achieved through collaboration, not absolute control and competition. The woman has earned the lion’s trust. She understands him and his motivations. She wants to be close to him and he wants a head scratch. Reciprocity, respect, and compassion are essential if we want to emulate this card.
In management situations or in instances where we need to achieve something, Strength urges us to work collaboratively and lead by example. In personal situations, this card asks us to develop our relationship with ourselves. How can we better exercise self-control? Are we able to resist our destructive impulses? Can we give ourselves a third option aside from fight or flight?
This card can refer to facing challenges head on with patience, flexibility, and compassion, as well as dealing with problems in a calm and dedicated way – aka “playing the long game.”
Confidence, gentleness, control, awareness, focus, mindfulness, calm, power
Becoming a leader, handling a stressful situation gracefully, working well with others, using self-control, overcoming reactionary responses, achieving something through self-motivation, being in recovery, delegating tasks, taking on responsibility, being absorbed in an undertaking, remaining mindful in the face of adversity, being diplomatic, mediating a conflict
Deliberate, patient, self-assured, grounded, compassionate, self-aware, generous, graceful, confident
Single-minded, overly goal-oriented, inability to relax, martyrdom